BIG RED A PRESS is a small, independent publishing house founded in the Summer of 2004 by Michael S. Jordan, when it released it's first title, THE PARVERIAN TALES. Creatively, however, it's actual inception can be traced further back than that. Originally, the PT books sported the name of JENNIDAN PRESS, (an amalgamation of names that we won't go into here) essentially the same entity, but with less focused goals. Then, in 1999, shortly before the first attempt to start the company (why the first books have the older copyright date) the name was changed to BIG RED A PRESS, and it stuck. Due to bizarre zoning laws (not kidding), we weren't able to start the business legally without opening a separate office facility. Then, after a change of address, a second attempt was made, with all the i's dotted and t's crossed, and BIG RED A PRESS was officially born.
BRAP: THE EARLY YEARS
In July of 2004, BIG RED A PRESS released its first issue of THE PARVERIAN TALES. By the end of the year, a lot of water had passed under the bridge. Issue Two had come out on schedule; two separate ads had passed the pages of (the now defunct) WIZARD MAGAZINE; we had articles up and down the local newspapers heralding the new business; the new website was up and running with previews of the next books and such; we had issues and displays in most of the comic shops in the state; and in the beginning of December, our founder had begun the first of his series of workshops for comic minded teens. It was an incredible start, and promised a bright future for BRAP except for one minor detail. Despite the 2600 hits on our site in November, almost no one knew we existed.
BRAP: THE LESS EARLY YEARS
The next handful of months were a bit hairy. The due date for Issue Three came in January, and because of financial difficulties (we hadn't yet sold enough copies of 1 and 2 to print #3) went without a release. Undaunted, we pressed for more recognition, but, with the budget constraints, had to forgo advertising by the normal means, and after much wrangling, finally caught a break from the good people at PULSE (a comic preview portion of comicon.com). They gave us the opportunity to show off our current books in their on-line comic posting, which carried over from late winter into early spring. This gained us two things, a review by Mitchell Perkins on his cable network show and multiple articles in foreign comic review magazines (one in Portuguese, honest); but very little else in revenue activity. Still, we forged onward, and the workshops helped immensely to keep us afloat, albeit just barely.
BRAP: A NEW HOPE
In May of 2005, less than a month before our first anniversary, our coffers standing nearly empty, we had to take very realistic stock of our current position and where we were headed, if anywhere. The decision came down to two choices. One, to cut our loses and shut down. The other was an idea we'd been toying with since January, and that was to put Issue Three online, in its entirety--so those several hundred who had bought the first two issues could at least continue with the series. Looking back, it wasn't really any kind of choice at all; we went with the online idea, expanding on it slightly. In June of 2005, we here at BRAP shifted gears and began to publish in cyberspace instead of on paper, starting with eager to be seen #3. For six months we brought the next installment of the PT, until, as we said, in November, we presented the final pieces of "THE CULMINATION" and "MALDREN'S TALE". But then we were faced with another challenge. What now?
BRAP: A NEW DIRECTION-SORT OF
Having burned through six issues (that's 168 pages plus coves and the FTWWTK bits) in as many months, we here at BRAP knew we would have to do something differently. There was no way that Mr. Jordan was going to keep up with the publishing schedule already set forth, or a twenty-eight page book a month. So, once again since its inception, we had to shift gears if we wanted to keep going. The only real solution was to slow down the output-to a page a week. And that's what we did for the next few years. Every Friday night we uploaded the next page of the next PT story, "The Pentacost King" (which doesn't have anything to do with religion-it's a King Arthur story). But then the worst happened.
BRAP: OUR FUTURE
Due to a
bunch of icky medical stuff (no, nothing catchy), Mr.
Jordan's art career, and consequently the whole blames business, went
on semi-permanent hiatus. Without going into the gory details, suffice it
to say that it is not a condition that will be improving in the near future.
So what does this mean for BIG RED
Well, for about a year, it meant that there was no new art being published, with
no light at the end of the tunnel in sight. But then something happened
which might have been seen as a set back, but was actually the turning of a
was forced to change its web hosting company, which meant that all of the pages,
from issue one all the way up, had to be re-uploaded to the new site. This
created the room for all sorts of options. We could be lazy and start the
same old PT all over again page by
page, or we could continue the story from where we left off over a year ago, or
we could reboot the whole project-taking into consideration all the constructive
input we've received over the years. After much soul searching, the reboot
won hands down.
We sincerely hope this answered a few of your more burning questions. If not, drop us an e-mail, and as long as it's not too personal, we'll fix you right up.
Before we begin the rip-roaring roller-coaster ride that will bring you up close and personal with our amazing and talented staff, we feel behooved to disclose two very important facts about these rollicking pen men. First of all, there's really no staff here at BIG RED A PRESS. Well. that's not entirely true. There is a staff, but it is decidedly not plural. There's just little old me, Mike Jordan, artist, writer, publisher and everything else. (I've been writing most of this in the first person, plural so we sound more official, not from some bizarre royal bent.) Secondly, I am not the same Michael Jordan of basketball, baseball, and underwear fame. I'm the artist and author; he's--well--everything else. (By some strange coincidence, we happen to be the same height, though.) That having been said, we can proceed without any feelings of guilt or fear of any legal ramifications. So sit back, open your favorite beverage, and enjoy:
THE TERROR OF MIKE JORDAN IN EIGHT EASY LESSONS
LESSON 1: In the latter third of the Twentieth century, Mike Jordan was born somewhere in the teeming metropolis of Lewiston, Maine to the great exaltation of his mother, father, and three year old brother. He grew up with little serious trauma and few scars (except for almost losing two fingers to a vicious wagon) in the small town of Lisbon, where he eventually attended the same high school to where the famous horror writer, Stephen King once matriculated, in fact having several of the same teachers. It should be made perfectly plain at this point that his all had nothing to do with the grotesque defects that took control of his life in the years to come.
LESSON 2: The signs were there early on, of this there is no dispute. In his youth, his favorite pastime was to visit the local mom-and-pop store in town called BRETON'S MARKET and purchase some of the ample stock of comics (ten cents apiece or trade two for one) that were always kept on a lower shelf in the store, always a short distance from the candy counter. All the old masters passed through his young hands: Kirby, Ditko, Adams, Buscema, and their skill and influence did not slip past unnoticed. By the age of seven, he had created his own "funny" book, a MAD MAGAZINE rip-off which lampooned his favorite comics, movies, and television programs. The writing of skewed short stories commenced soon after in later elementary school along with equally skewed illustrations (who could ever forget the cauldron bombs for the annual Halloween art contest?). Had the proper steps been taken then, the horror could have been avoided.
LESSON 3: Fortunately for all, the local school department looked none too kindly upon the liberal arts and kept none of those unnecessary programs in their curriculum, but even this lucky stroke was insufficient to curb the disease that was festering in the unsuspecting youth. He continued to produce comics, still mostly lampoons, and, in junior high, began to develop the big-nose style that he would eventually refine and cultivate into what it is today. If only there had been a vaccine so far back in the dark ages of the early eighties, the suffering that could have been prevented.
LESSON 4: By high school, the die was cast; the fatalistic tumblers in place; the monkey pudding gelled. He had begun down the sinister, one-way path of creating longer, more complicated comics, based no longer on movies and TV, but mostly on his friends and schoolmates. One of the first, and possibly the virulent of these was a horrendous yarn called "ADVENTURES IN QUASQUETON", based upon his running role-playing game and the the eventual basis (very very loosely, mind you) for the atrocity that would eventually be known as "THE PARVERIAN TALES". Now, nothing could stop it.
LESSON 5: Rather than college and on to a good, steady job like dock work or accountancy, the next several years saw the inception of "THE MIDNIGHT ANGELS" and "IRON IAN" and the involvement in two different ground-floor comics that never got past pre-press. It was during this incubation period that he developed his twisted sense of humor, his warped taste for sub-referencing, and the insane need to bicycle really, really fast and really, really far. The only saving grace during that hateful time was the appearance of his keeper, Jen, whom he would often palm off as his girl friend. Most likely a ruse to cover his growing dementia, but history has no facts to support the assumption, so we must take him at his questionable word.
LESSON 6: Some pundits claim that it was the trip to California that finally set him off, but, by the middle of the nineties, he was seriously contemplating getting his work published. "THE PARVERIAN TALES" had reached a state of full maturity, and he made the rounds with it for the first time in hopes of cajoling some unsuspecting publishing house to release this bane on the innocent public. It has been widely suggested that their unprecedented narrow-mindedness in adding something different to their vanguard was the only thing that saved our world from the Y2K destruction that had originally been predicted by Nostradamus, but it has been discovered recently in an archeological dig that they treat everyone that way and should in no way be entitled to any credit for saving all of our lives.
LESSON 7: After briefly going mad (what he refers to as sociably insane) and constructing a giant suit that makes him stand nearly ten feet tall and all for no really good reason, Mike Jordan returned to his hometown, a few hundred yards from the old site of BRETON'S MARKET, and this time was playing for keeps. After a few rounds of Earth saving hardcopy publishing disappointment and distribution heartache, he has begun to release his work online for all the world to see. And now, nothing short of monitor blindness or excessive hardware failure will stop him! Warn your children! Lock up your Ovaltine!! The age of cultural Armageddon is upon us!!!
LESSON 8: And that's not the last or the worst of it. Just as we predicted, now he is after our children!!! Shortly after he began publishing his "comic", he was approached by the teen librarian, Sally Holt, at the Auburn Public Library to do a workshop with young people, and it went so well that soon he was invited everywhere-Pittsfield, Boothbay Harbor, Lisbon, Kennebunk-to perform these so called shows, showing them how to draw muscles and use technical pens, warping the kids' minds, making it appear normal to draw pictures in sequences. This is not rational and must be stopped. Get your torches and meet me behind the Quickie Mart. This time it's war.
Ahem. Yeah, that's how it happened. Sort of, but that's as close to an autobiography as it gets. We're not going to tell you any more or point out the exaggerations. You'll just have to wait for the Kitty Kelly tell-all book to come out.
|This is the section of the website where we here at BIG RED A PRESS plan to get all sentimental and misty-eyed and put our heart-filled thanks--to those who've helped me produce much of what you've seen here--out in the open where everyone else can point and stare. Well, (sniff) here it is.|
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
DENNIS GREEN has been my friend now for almost twenty years. We met while selling 'extended warranties' for a well known department store chain. In that time, he has always been on the cutting edge of computer stuff, so, it was just natural that when I started work on my website, he would assume the role of mentor (or guru), and let me tell you, he's earned the title. Sorry about the frustrated late night calls that were nearly inconsolable, and thanks for being swell enough to console me anyway. Dennis (if you're wondering about the double portrait above) was a short time ago involved in an independent film project (he was the villain!!) for which he created a fan website (now defunct): THROG THE MOVIE, and has recently launched his own computer design business called INDIEGRAFIX. Most recently, he started his own blog called Classic Geeks. and has his own leather working business called BYGONE LEATHERS.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
JOHN BOWIE and I have known each other since the sixth grade and have been good friends since early high school (I don't care to point our how many decades that's been). Although not one of the original cast, he has been a part of THE PARVERIAN TALES since the late eighties, almost back to their very beginning, and he was one of the first to read all eight issues (and one of the few to own all of the issues). However, it isn't for the unflagging support he's shown all these years in my talents (even when sometimes I doubted them myself) or for his own vast computer acumen (certainly giving him guru status) that I've included him here for extra special lauds. Nope, although those and the flatbed scanner he loaned me were greatly appreciated. I'm including him him here because of his eyes. That's right. Some years ago, he was returning some rushes I'd loaned him to read and complained (in a nice way) about the lettering in "MALDREN'S TALE", which he said gave him a headache. Still not clear. Well, you see, all of my lettering back then was all hand done, and, to make a longish story short, he was the one who finally convinced me to buy a computer to do my lettering. John, much of this is your fault. Thanks for helping to drag me--albeit kicking and screaming--into the twenty-first century using no more than a pair of scissors and a lighted display case. My pal is the director of financial aid in a New England medical college and most recently got married to the love of his life for which ceremony I was the best man.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
JENNIFER BABINEAU and I have been together since the last ice age. We are both artists. She paints and makes crafts (including miniatures and oragami) whereas I do mostly ink work. Kind of a Jack Sprat situation. One would think that would make for an idyllic relationship, and they would be wrong, at least part of the time. Two temperamental people together under one roof sometimes makes for some pretty volatile situations, and only through the strongest bonds of love and devotion have we survived all these centuries and all the humdinger "downs" (wow, that makes us sound like we deserve a spot on American Gladiators or something--definitely not the case--really. She can take me two out of three falls.). That is why I'm including Master Jen here, not for any of the help she did directly on the books (she hates ink), but for loving me enough and being a strong enough person not to kill me in my sleep for the crap I might have shoveled the day before. (Wow, now it's a Jerry Springer spot!) Thanks for always being there, and cutting me enough slack in my share of our household duties so I could put the time into a comic book company. Baby, you're the greatest, on the moon or anywhere else. Jen works in a local restaurant and has her own miniatures business called JENNI'S MINIS.
EXTRA SPECIAL THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
This is a special thanks for my Mom and Dad, without whom, literally, this project could never have happened--on oh so many levels. Forty-some-odd years ago, they had the amazing foresight to mix their particular chromosomes together in just the right manner to produce a wonderful son like me, and also because they loaned me the money for Issue One of THE PARVERIAN TALES. Thanks you guys, and I'll have the money back to you soon. Honest. I mean, how could I continue the business, much less draw with broken fingers? Of course, I'm kidding. They've always tended toward legs instead of fingers. Seriously, it would take forever to list all the things they've done for me over the years, so I'll just say thanks for everything. My Dad works in a local shipyard and my Mom just retired (happily) from the local branch of a multi-national retail conglomerate.
SUPER HONORABLE MENTION THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
Last, but certainly not least, I'd like to offer no small chunk of gratitude to the members of one tiny role playing group that unwittingly lent me their in-game persona to create characters upon which most of THE PARVERIAN TALES cast would be eventually based. That's a very round about way of saying thanks to the guys from Littletown: PREM, PATRICK, PRAKASH, C.J., ARTHUR, and RICKY. I hope that sometime soon you all get to see what your antics in the land of make-believe have eventually led to--Once upon a time.