I have 35 copies of Paper Science left. To my knowledge they are the only remaining copies not currently in the public’s hands, although I have a sneaking suspicion that there may be a dozen left at Rough Trade East. That makes for, at a conservative estimate, well over 400 copies handed over to the public. And that all took place on Saturday. Tom meanwhile has reported that Solipsistic Pop 2, a luxury item in today’s economic climate, has sold almost half of its print run in the space of a week. That’s incredible.
Now, he and I are the first to admit that we’ve not made spectacular inroads as far as reaching beyond comics. That’s because it’s a full-time job, and we both – for the moment – have full time jobs. And while I want to be very careful about claiming we’ve discovered a fever within UK comics for high-quality publications and the diverse interaction that our platforms provide, we’ve certainly discovered a taste for it, a taste that very nearly allows these projects to be self sustaining.
But what we definitely have managed to nail is momentum. Look at one of Kieron‘s greatest bugbears about Phonogram – 13 issues in four years. If Solipsistic Pop can hit the biannual deadline it really will be a special body of work in no time at all.
In conversation I’ve been transparent about what I wanted WAW+P to achieve, but I don’t think I’ve typed it yet: Phase One was about getting comics people on board (Brick Lane Market, Paper Science 1, Thought Bubble), Phase Two was about exploring formats (another Paper Science, Modern Romance, two Drop In + Draw Sessions, the ‘Lost Treasures’ residency, P.R.E.S.S. plus forthcoming announcements about festivals and ‘A Month of Sundays’) and Phase Three is about regularising that output, making it financially sustainable and taking it into more new places.
And, yep, I’ve put personal projects on hold for it, but it’s absolutely worth it. I’ll hold with me the breakneck pace of Paper Science II for a long while yet: Nought – Distribution in 16 days. It’s absolutely awesome. But in Phase Three the stakes are much higher, and by the time of the Thought Bubble 2011 after-party the people at the heart of WAW+P will be making a decision about where to go next.
We’ve got Support, Momentum and Formats on our side, next on the list is the big stuff.