Jarlidium Press consists of James "Tibo" Birdsall and Dan "Flinters"
Canaan, and the history of it starts in the mid-90's, when Dan was doing
fanzine publishing with the Unigraphix crew. He ended up on the west
coast, separated from the rest of Unigraphix by the width of a
continent, at about the same time that improved consumer-level color
printing technology was eating away at Unigraphix's main business,
which was doing fancy dye-sub color prints for various artists.
The fanzine business was still going strong, so when Unigraphix
proper folded, Dan had no reason to stop. James, who was stunned by the
revelation that just anybody could publish a fanzine, was already
starting to get into the act. Then we saw an ad for a secondhand Xerox
With the printing now literally in-house, our activity increased, and
when we took over the monthly Dallas Brawl Update, the Jarlidium Press
marque was born. When Xerox finally dropped support for our original
copier, we leased a more recent unit, then moved over to a Canon digital
copier. Since it was both a high-speed sheet-fed scanner and a network
printer as well as a copier, it gave us our first taste of doing
production on the computer — we could scan the incoming art, do all the
touchup and layout electronically, and then print the final product
directly from the files.
The rise of print-on-demand services on the Internet completed
Jarlidium's transition to the purely electronic. When the lease for the
Canon was up, we returned it and did not get a replacement. We can get a
better product — professionally-printed paperback books and comics
— by letting the specialists handle that part, and with the
disappearance of homemade fanzines from the fandom, professional
printing is what buyers expect these days.
What's a fanzine? Back before the rise of big Internet art
archives, the only way for art to get from artist to audience was on
paper. There were professional publications,
comics such as Furrlough or Genus or Zu or Critters, where the artist
got paid, and then there
were fanzines, where the artist didn't get paid but did get copies of
the publication. Fanzines were generally digest sized, 5.5" by 8.5", the
size you get if you fold a standard piece of paper in half, and were
printed on copiers at the publisher's local copy shop. Some of the
fancier ones were 8.5" by 11" and had colored cardstock covers.
Fanzines used to be the mainstay of the fandom, and at their height
there were several dozen active titles.