I started Domino Books in 2011. At that time, I wrote the following about my hopes for what Domino could be:
Domino Books believes that all people—not only those that call themselves artists—have images and phrases lying in their hearts and minds. We’d much prefer a world where people sit down and try to bring these things to the surface, rather then attaching widgets to gears for someone else’s benefit.
We publish artists that remind us that art is worth devoting your life to, even if there are no tangible rewards. It is our sincere hope that readers of our publications will have yet another pressure put upon them to not ignore their innate creativity any longer.
9 years later, I still believe this, and I’m proud of the efforts Domino has made to articulate these ideas. Domino has published 12 books and distributed over 500 self published mini comics and zines.
People (myself included) constantly try to define what comics are, or what the medium can or should be. However, actually looking at the wide variety of work being made in this moment presents a clear refutation of any neat summary. For 9 years with Domino, I’ve tried to curate a selection of items that express this, often going out of my way to include work that doesn’t fit into what I like about comics but still has a powerful expression within it.
The accessibility and affordability of the materials needed to create and publish comics makes it one of the most radically open mediums in existence. With Domino, I’ve been trying to build a place for comics that can be accessed by anyone in the world, who can then engage with artwork made by anyone in the world. The work on our site is sent to us from hundreds of different artists, and then sent out again to hundreds of different readers, who can then struggle with/against these works with as much energy and thought as they choose to bring to them.
I’m writing all this because I’m choosing to spend more time on Domino to properly articulate all this and hopefully figure out how to do more with the already in place structure. Over the last few months, I’ve been adding more and more work to the shop, and will continue to do so from here on out. I’m trying to build an even richer portrait of what people do with comics, a portrait that I hope contradicts my own ideas as much as possible. You can view this changing picture every day here.
Logo by Marlene Frontera
Hey, some new books are up in the shop! Go grab em all!
Hey, we’ve got some incredible new books in the shop. Go have at ’em!
Hey! We’ve got a bunch of new books today, so let’s get right to it!
A few months ago we were very excited to stock a half dozen Steve Ditko comics in the DOMINO store. The items sold out within a day, so this time we are proud to offer 12 Ditko titles, half of them for the first time in the DOMINO store. However, quantities on these books are still very limited, so if you want ’em, grab them as soon as you can.
Ditko is both an iconic figure in comics and a genuine master of the form. He has worked in the field for over half a century, producing hundreds and hundreds of stories. Of the many that I’ve read, there is always a creative and intellectual idea expressed that is totally unique to Ditko’s language of imagery. No story is wasted. His early superhero stories left such a mark on me as a young reader. The storytelling was crisp and inviting in a way that many other early superhero comics never were. Something about the inward inkiness of it all made Ditko my favorite. The language of his marks and hand gestures suggested the potential of comics subconsciously to me: something can be expressed within the template of comics that is greater then the story itself—by maximizing all the tools that the form offers for expression, the language of cartooning becomes a versatile tool. That seems like an obvious conclusion to an adult, but as a kid I first felt that with Ditko’s Spider Man. His superhero stories were well told but there was a seething world of thought and emotion hovering around every line.
Despite always brimming over with ideas both visual and language-based at once, Ditko’s work is never self indulgent. Characters hand gestures, the placement of text—all of it is utilized purposefully and no area is wasted for expressing ideas and concepts, but Ditko’s work (and this is rarely discussed) is incredibly elegant. If his work is to be described as poetic, it’s not skronk jazz but rather composed and restrained containers with something often jabbing out at you to punctuate the refined nature of it all.
Ditko is approaching his 90th birthday and for decades now he has been producing work in comic book format editions with black and white covers, black and white interiors. These volumes, published by Robin Snyder, are a mixture of short stories, visual essays, continuing sagas, and so much more. It is rare for a legendary artist to produce some of their most thrilling work in their later years but I believe these volumes by Ditko are beautiful works of art with with few rivals. They are not easy reads—the dialogue functions almost as notes for things people would say rather than things actual human beings say (a good observation by comics critic Bill Kartalopoulos). And, fair warning, the content of all the stories is colored by Ditko’s extreme Ayn Rand influenced worldview. The combination of avant garde artistic tendencies and highly conservative messaging is a rare one, and might catch readers off guard. But I’d urge all readers to look into these books—they are some of the most incredible comic books being made today.
I also really, really want to encourage people ordering Ditko books from Domino to check out our entire store. I think Ditko’s work offers a very important dialogue between the formative years of mainstream comics and the more avant grade work Domino mainly works with. Ditko and contemporary art comics are antagonistic and sympathetic all at once—I’m excited to fill orders with Ditko’s work and other offerings from our shop together.
Here are the Ditko books we are currently offering:
5 new comics loaded up into the shop today, give ’em a whirl:
Hey y’all! 4 great new books in the shop today…have at ’em!
Hey, we are excited to have added two comics today by the amazing Goda Trakumaite! Have at ’em!
Happy today to be able to add one of my absolute favorite comics of 2017 to the shop, Inés Estrada’s ALIENATION, as well as her short story collection IMPATIENCE. ALIENATION is so, so, so good and I’m so excited it’s now available to DOMINO readers in our online shop. Grab some!