Great news in the world of small press comics this week. ShortBox, the quarterly, independent comics box announced it is partnering with White Squirrel to provide domestic fulfillment for US-based customers. The good news here is that this partnership will essentially reduce the cost of Shortbox since domestic shipping rates would be applied rather international shipping rates from the UK. White Squirrel is a company focusing on helping increase revenue for creators and artists and their partnership makes a lot of sense. Their main business consists of online store management and bulk fulfillment. This partnership make complete sense and should hopefully increase the reach of ShortBox in North America. White Squirrel was founded by Andrea Demonakos, the current festival director of the Vancouver Comics Art Festival (VanCAF), the West Coast sister festival of TCAF.
ShortBox was created by Zainab Akhtar (Comics & Cola) in 2016. It is a quarterly box of curated comics from a range of international contemporary cartoonists and artists. Since its creation ShortBox has moved incrementally from distribution to publishing to great critical and industry success. Two of its early titles (Diana’s Electric Tongue by Carolyn Nowak and Your Black Friend by Ben Passmore) won for Ignatz awards and two of its most recent comics (What is Left by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell and Barbara by Nicole Miles) were nominated for Eisner Awards. ShortBox has been a really interesting success story. Zainab Akhtar transformed her passion for comics into a booming publishing company creating bold and interesting comics. I recommend you look into it if you haven’t already. Here’s a short excerpt from their mission statement:
ShortBox was borne from our love of receiving bookish post- namely, the excitement of comics mail. However, despite there being a variety of comic ‘boxes’ and subscriptions available, none featured the type of work we’d like to see: the self-published, small press and independent comics that continue to invigorate the medium and keep us passionately invested. What we wanted was a quarterly comics box heavy on the comics (no T-shirts, key-rings, or Funko Pops) that allowed the customer to see exactly what they were getting for their money, and discover fresh and with the option to also include one or two special items from exciting artists both within and beyond the field.
I’ve been a supporter of ShortBox since the very beginning, but even I must admit that shipping costs were prohibitive. The content was absolutely worth every dollar, but it was definitely a steep cost for US and Canadian readers interested in getting those comics. With a new shipping partner in the US, the shipping cost will be reduced and should allow more readers to afford this fantastic quarterly selection of comics.