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Trash Comics Workshop at Rope Press

On Thursday last week I had the opportunity to attend a workshop at Rope Press. Rope Press is a book shop located in the Jubilee Centre in Birmingham. On my first visit I was blown away by what they had there. And they also specialise in risograph printing which is something I’m interested in. Sometime last year I purchased a comic from there entitled ‘Neon Noir’ which also contained a comic called ‘Dirt – The Debate’ which was written by Michael Kennedy. I thought that Dirt was unreal for a lot of different reasons, it felt fresh. It was Michael that was running this workshop on Thursday so I was pretty excited, but I can’t draw to save my life and I’ve never written a story since I was at school! Reece, that runs Rope Press with his partner Elyse, assured me that I didn’t need to have either of these skills.

There were a handful of us at the workshop, and I didn’t have a clue what to expect. I found out that we were going to be making ‘trash comics’. I’m not sure what the correct definition is of trash comics, but we were given books and magazines and told to cut out pictures and create 6 panels/frames for an A3 page. Then while we were half-way doing that, Michael took another book and ripped out a few pages and handed them out. Our instruction was to use words and sentences from the material he’d just provided. While participating in this, it felt very similar to making music (for me anyway). There were a lot of parallels, such as cutting pictures and sentences from a book or magazine is like sampling a piece of music to make something new. And even though the images when stuck together might look like they don’t work together, when it goes through a printing process it all seems to feel cohesive – and this is almost like the ‘mastering’ process for when you have finished making a piece of music. The workshop was a lot of fun and I would really encourage anyone interested to check it out. I wouldn’t say I was a creative person because I haven’t got those skills, but making the trash comic made me feel like it didn’t matter whether I was creative or not, because it’s all about experimenting and trying things out – the results of it almost feel unimportant because it’s the process of cutting and pasting which is the fun bit (again another parallel to making music). It was very inspiring and it is something I will definitely do in my own time.

Once we had arranged our panels onto the A3 paper, they got printed on the risograph in any colour we wanted. The results that all of us developed were pretty awesome, there was some really good stuff that came out of it all. When I got back home I was eager to put something together sonically to go with the trash comic I had created. I tried to stick to the same concepts in the workshop. I dusted off my trusty SP505 to chop up a few samples, recorded them onto my computer and then I added a few more sounds. Within a few hours I had put together 6 very short tracks (less than a minute) to go with the panels. So I decided to make a little video of it all, here it is:

Rope Press:
Michael Kennedy:
Trash Comics: