History

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.

The first foldy

Oubliette: Prologue, the first foldy

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.

Read more:

Here’s a video of New Hampshire Public Radio producer Taylor Quimby (Word of Mouth) unfolding Drought:

*I’m not so arrogant as to believe no one ever thought of this before. I’m just not aware of anyone who did. if you are, please point me in his or her direction.

2 Comments

  1. John says:

    Ah! Thank you so much! I have been looking for a way to make a poem more than just a page of typing. Your foldies are gorgeous.

  2. julia says:

    cool, opportunity for a bigger statement but keeping it folded and small. a discovery of sorts.

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