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Friday, December 17, 2010

PULP TATTOO: a barf history of self-publishing

1992:The first incarnation of Pulp Tattoo was a mini comic. 4¼ × 5½".My buddy Mark Innes had been self-publishing them for a while so I monkey-see-monkey-did one my own self.It contained an assortment of one-page comix and some longer pieces.

 Literary historians will want to take note that this issue contains first appearance of Professor Ham!


I didn't have any copies handy at the time of this writing. I found some of these images on a site in the Uk that had a copy for sale.
I am in no way affiliated with 'ecrater" but it was handy for them to provide some visuals I could share.

Back in them days we didn't have no fancy innernets to flog our wares.WE had to go out and trudge through mountains of slush and dead bodies to find the shops who would allow our little booklets to occupy precious shelf space.


All that slogging around did eventually get an unexpected result. One day,several weeks after I distributed my merchandise, I received a phone call from a reporter who was doing an article for The Toronto Sun.He found a copy of Pulp Tattoo in one of the bookshops that I was initially reluctant to venture into.

The conversation went something like this....

Voice: "Do you do Zines?" 
Me: "Uh...I did a mini comic..."
Voice: "Yes, you do ZINES?"
Me: "I guess you could call it a 'zine"
Voice: "Great! Can you come down to the offices tomorrow to answer some questions and do a photo shoot? Do you have anything in colour? "
Me: "uh..."

It turned out the reporter had caught wind of the local "Zine Scene" and was contriving an article about all these young self publishers aspiring to become the next Randolph Hearst or Conrad Black... When I showed up at the Sun office it was just me,the reporter and a photographer. Apparently the other members of the Zine Scene were not available until after sundown. I said "yeah" to the right questions enough to get included in the article. I really didn't think I belonged in that article since I barely knew what a zine was at the time and I had only made a very tiny contribution to "the scene". 


When the article came out I was very surprised and horrified to see a full page spread mostly occupied by a colour photo of my big hairy face grinning and holding up my little comic.The photo was titled "Pulp and Pepper" and it made me look like I was the King Of All Zines. It was completely misleading. The article continued onto the next page where there was a very small black and white photo with 4 or 5 people who actually made regular contributions to the Zine Scene.


 I felt pretty bad about it at the time.Even though it wasn't my fault.In the runaway part of my brain I expected the entire Zine Scene to rally against me and chase me into a windmill carrying burning copies of my unworthy un-zine.

Nothing cool like that happened though. Nothing much at all happened. A few people I knew saw the article and noted how large and hairy my face was filling the page but beyond that no more phone calls . No huge jump in sales. Not very many groupies followed me around.It all happened in a flash and life went on.

                           I was doing key animation on a TV series at the time.

Ultimately:it was a pretty neat thing to happen to a first time attempt at self-publishing and most importantly it did not deter me from publishing bigger things in the future...

                                                                   6 ⅝" × 10 ¼" !!!

                                   to be continuum...

*Newspaper clippings provided by the Mike Urry archives.


  1. I've still got two copies of Pulp Tattoo, want one? I've also got the Sun article....send $1000000 in small bills, or your "big hairy face" photo hits the web, lol!

  2. Hey Mark, I remember Pulp Tatto.. and you sitting next to Rich Dannys,

    Hope you are well,

  3. Hey Mark,
    I remember you giving me copies of Pulp Tattoo..
    and you sitting next to me.

    Also hope you are doing well,

  4. my god its like you too are in the same room together again!

  5. Hi Drazen! Hi Rich!

    Here we all are together again in blog-land.I am humbled by all your impressive blog archives. Lots of inspiring stuff! I will be generating lots of traffic at ya's.

    Nice to hear from you guys!