Hive 3: A Somewhat Quarterly Comic Journal
Ed. by J.M. Shiveley
Hive is a theme-less comics anthology that’s edited by J.M. Shiveley and printed by Grimalkin Press — Shiveley’s ambitious DIY publishing company. To wit, the third issue of Hive is being sold through a Barnes & Noble store. See? Ambitious.
Yes, individual B&N stores have a history of carrying books from small-time publishers, but those titles tend to cover local history and still look like “books.” You know, soft- and hard-cover vanity-pressed books.
None of these terms describe Hive 3 which is folded concertina-style and has a double-sided letterpress cover. Hive 3 is certainly a fat 2-in-1 booklet, which is something I thought I’d never see in a big box bookstore. I’m calling that an achievement.
That said, while printing experiments in comics are admirable, there are some clear issues with the publication style of Hive 3. It’s eye-catching, sure, but there’s just too much going on with the printing of this book that doesn’t make sense for the material. I guess if you’re going to charge $10 for a self-published hand-made black-and-white anthology, it should really have something distinctive going on, but I’m afraid this issue has crossed the line from unique to gimmicky.
To be fair though, a book shouldn’t be judged entirely by its cover, and what Hive 3 presents deep down inside is a high-quality selection of short comics and art.
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