It's hard to believe that the Paper Jam Comics Collective started (albeit in an unnamed form) waaaay back at the start of 2007. That is a long time in comics, proof that Jack and Mike created one heck of an unstoppable-comics-beast-thing, and long may it continue.
But what is the crack with it all? If you're a new person interested in getting involved, what can you expect?
Well, here's a rough guide to the PJCC:
We meet up
Traditionally, on the second Thursday of every month at 6.30pm - in person if possible (current venue: upstairs at Newcastle's Split Chimp micropub), or online on Discord.
We like comics
As a rule, everyone who's part of the PJCC is into comics. You want to talk about comics of any sort, you will probably get a decent conversation at a PJCC meeting. Sometimes we have particular books or topics we might talk about, sometimes just general blather, but hopefully always kind of interesting.
Some folk are doing some things
First, it's important to note that this is not obligatory. You do not need to be working on a 5000-page graphic novel to be part of the PJCC. In fact, you do not need to have any interest in making comics at all. However, some folks do. And if you do and you want to tell people about your comic at a meeting, to get feedback or promote it, this is likely to be well received - speak up, pass around comics or sketchbooks, pitch your story; people will be interested and talk to you about it. Also if you're interested in something that someone else is doing - do feel free to ask them about it, people are usually happy to talk at length about their latest projects. If you're interested in any individual members we have some links at the side to their own websites and blogs and suchlike (or, y'know, there's Google).
We make comics together sometimes
We've made a plethora of cracking anthologies, each on a different theme. Everyone draws a page or two then we print up some copies and sell them at Travelling Man and at fairs and conventions and the like. Often we have ace launch parties. All the comics have ...And That as part of the title, suggesting in the local vernacular that the comics are all variations around a theme (e.g. Alcohol... And That is about subjects relating to alcohol, er, and that). If you feel inclined, you can support us and get tremendous reading material by buying one right now - via our stores on bigcartel, comicsy, or buysmallpress.
We draw 24-Minute Comics
PJCC meetings are very informal and unstructured. Generally there's brief introductions to say hello to any new folk, then an opportunity for announcements, then people just blather on for a bit, maybe sketch their own stuff, and at some point someone will probably shout "Twenty- Four Minute Comic?" which is usually greeted by mutterings of approval and a demand for paper.
How it works: everyone writes a word or phrase on a bit of paper, these are put into a hat (literal or metaphorical) and two are drawn at random. These together now form the theme. The object is to draw a comic (usually a single side of A4, though some people get more creative with the format) within 24 minutes on that theme. Artistic skill is absolutely not required and is usually seen as a hindrance, as speed and enthusiasm are the key attributes that make for success. You don't have to participate, but seriously: it is always super excellent fun.
The 24-Minute Comic is one of the PJCC's finest innovations - a variation on the well-known 24-Hour Comic (which PJCCers also do) but with a lot less sleep deprivation. Once the 24 minutes is up (traditionally noted by a 'ducks quacking' iPhone alarm (it just is)) the resultant artworks are passed around the table to nods of approval.
We publish comics online
If people are feeling particularly enthusiastic then they may then scan their 24-Minute Comic and post it to Paper Jams - the home of 24-Minute Comics and other PJCC sketching craziness, or we might just post some photos to the Discord chat. We've now also put several of our 'classic' out-of-print anthologies up on Issuu to read for free.
Getting involved is very much encouraged. Help out at events, in organisation or staffing stalls. Swap tips on art or comic-making. Collaborate with each other. Contribute to and help with anthologies. Bring sweets. Long live the PJCC!
The vaguely official rules
Anthology submissions guide
Contact PJCC HQ: email@example.com - if you're interested in actively being part of Paper Jam, ask to join the mailing list to be informed about what the group is up to, the (regular but infrequent) emails have the most comprehensive info about what's going on.