The Five-Page Folded Mini-Comic (also known as a “quatrefold” or “foldy”) is a comic printed on a single sheet of paper. The paper is folded in half four times so that the resultant page is 1/16th the original size. Each unfolding then reveals a page double the size of the previous page. The fifth (counting the “cover”) and final page takes up one full side of the sheet.
I was working as a receptionist in the spring of 2007, with way too much time on my hands and access to plenty of paper, when i first stumbled upon the idea*. I thumbnailed out a number of folding comics, but it wasn’t until the end of that year that I found a story that seemed really well-served by the format. Prologue became the first of a series of ‘blog-like autobiographical gestures I call The Oubliette.
At the Stumptown Comics Fest in the Spring of 2009, I happened upon Jon Chad, whose minicomic Whaletowne employed the same format. Charmingly drawn and tucked into a silkscreened whale-shaped paper slip-jacket, it details the rise and fall of a whimsical subterranean empire.
That Summer at the MoCCA Art Festival, i met Swedish cartoonist Sofia Falkenhem, who’s long had her workshop students make similarly-formatted mimicomics (her variation uses three folds instead of four), which she’s found to be a useful educational tool. Comics supercouple Matt Madden and Jessica Abel have likewise reported happy results after incorporating a foldy comics exercise into their classes at SVA and MoCCA.
They’re fun, and you should try one.
- Word of Mouth (NHPR): The View from Inside the Oubliette
- Drawing Words & Writing Pictures: Make a “Foldy” Minicomic
- Oz and Ends: Single-Sheet Comics
- Stumptown Trade Review: Mini-Comic Madness: Oubliette
- Optical Sloth: On the Beach