A Chance Press Miscellany

Posted on by Jordan Hurder

So, what have your fine friends at Chance Press been up to the past couple months? Well, with the restoration of Carol Es’s books completed, we’ve been focusing on our next two projects, which we’re excited to announce:

Coming (hopefully) in June of this year is Ink Poems by Michael Phillips (MJP to you and me). MJP has been cranking these out for the better part of a decade using 100+ year-old paper (sometimes as old as 400 year-old paper) and hand-ground inks to create genre-bending works of cartoon/poetic art. Examples litter the eponymous website: MJP was warm to the idea of collecting some of our (meaning Justine and my) favorites into a book, so that’s just what we’re doing – 30 ink poems (digitally printed in full color), plus a new introduction for the book, inked by hand by the man himself. 50 or so copies will have Gocco-printed covers – the “trade” edition, if you will. Another 20 will have handmade covers with scraps of 100 year old paper applied in a decorative configuration, plus hand-lettered titles by the author. Finally, we’re doing 8 hardcover copies covered in 300 year-old paper, each of which will have an original ink poem on the cover. These will be ridiculously deluxe, as you’ve come to expect. (Check back  for a post with process photos…)

The second book we’re releasing – hopefully sometime in July – is the first published work of an author we both feel eminently confident is going to move on to a fabulous career as a cartoonist and illustrator (not to mention that elusive, nebulous title of “fine artist”). Brett Harder is his name, and his skill is, not to put too fine a point on it, jaw-dropping. Here’s the thing about Brett – I didn’t expect him to be any good. He got in touch with me over my blog after reading my Serafini article, saying that he began researching Serafini because some people had seen his work and asked him if Serafini was an influence. Now, I’ve become pretty jaded to this line, since I’ve been contacted by more than one person who claims to ‘channel’ Serafini, but instead only channels something that looks like the bottom of the sink after I do the dishes. I was bored, though, and so I clicked over to his website to see what he had. And. I. Was. Blown. Away. The Serafini influence is definitely there, although calling it an ‘influence’ is unfair to Brett, since he was unaware of Serafini at the time he was working on the book we are going to publish, titled Furlqump. Even more remarkable is that Brett is a young fellow – an exciting prospect considering where his talent will be with 10, 20, 30 more years of experience. I don’t really think of the books we publish as investment pieces (although I would be very happy for our collectors if our books did appreciate in value), but this one is an exception, since I can all but guarantee that Brett is going to move onto larger publishers and wider audiences, leaving this as the “lost” first edition of his first book that people are buzzing about on message boards years in the future.

So what about it? We’re printing it digitally, in full color in an edition of 100 copies, although we will do another printing of 100 if the initial run sells out. We’ll do a run of 26 hardcovers printed entirely using archival inks for the best possible image quality (take THAT, commercial publishers!) that will be signed (hopefully with a little sketch), and for the die-hards, an amazing, heretofore unseen (except in my own head) binding concept I’m calling a “triple hardcover” that includes an archival print on museum-quality paper. This edition will be printed as close to actual-size as possible, meaning that it will measure around 11″ tall by 9″ wide, printed entirely using archival inks. Obviously it will be limited, so like I always say, let us know if you’re interested so I can mark you down for one. Without diminishing any of our other books, this is really one that you shouldn’t pass up.

What else is going on? Well, we’re doing a little fundraising drive to raise some money to fund the above books, but it isn’t really taking off. If you’re on our email list, you’ll get an email about it shortly – and if the idea of buying stuff from us that isn’t advertised on this site, not available in our store, and only going to be made to fill orders we get through our fundraising promotion (a la Kickstarter), is interesting to you, shoot us an email and we’ll fill you in on the details.