Too often it feels that no matter how hands-on your print project, you’re still working in the shadows of a digital world – like it or lump it. Which is why we felt a broad smile creep across our faces upon discovering Harlequin Creature. This literary zine is hand typed by friends from Los Angeles to Ann Arbor, Mich. to New York during “typing bees.” And that’s hand typed on typewriters, mind you. Each copy is then hand bound, with a limited number illustrated by that issue’s featured artist.
Inspired by a literary journal that founder Meghan Forbes put together for students in Prague back in 2009, Harlequin Creature publishes two issues a year – about 100 copies each. This requires 50 people to type up a copy of the magazine…they’re using carbon copies to make up the difference. The front cover is usually letterpressed or silkscreened.
At a time when paper lovers everywhere are nervously declaring that print is not dead in between peeks to make sure the patient is still breathing, it’s hard to overestimate the importance of projects like this. When not pounding out copies of the latest issue, the 501(c)3 nonprofit uses its large collection of typewriters to teach children how to use them. You know, the ones who will determine the future of a lot of things, including paper.
For $10/year you can become a “member of the collective,” which entitles you to submit works for publication, and to receive occasional mailings that are themselves handmade paper art (see below).
If you’d like to get your own copy of Harlequin Creature, you can order issue 5.5 – and 5.5 only – here for $15. The rest are only available at certain shops in New York City, Los Angeles, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Kansas City… and Berlin.
And in case you haven’t guessed, the website will quickly set you straight:
the journal is not available in any digital form that might be compatible with the kindle, ipad, or nookies. [sic]
Photo credits: ©Sasha Arutyunova (images 1, 3, 5), Meghan Forbes (images 2, 4)