Monkey & Bird Mini-Comic: It’s a Folding and Stapling Party!

Cover of the finished product.

Last week I covered the digital side of producing our Monkey & Bird Mini-Comic. I told you about the layout and printing process of our little book so we wouldn’t arrive empty-handed when we went to the Philadelphia Alternative Comic Convention. Going to PACC gave me the impetus to actually go ahead and get it done. That, and a hell of a price from my printer.

We had two stacks of signatures fresh from the printer. Now came the hand-done part of folding, assembling and stapling our Monkey & Bird Mini-Comic! Tina and I cleared the dining room table of dinner dishes; got out our supplies; neatly stacked the two signatures within easy reach; tuned in Pandora on the Roku box, and had ourselves a folding party.

So we folded the signatures down and placed the inner signature into the outer which doesn’t sound like much, but it took a couple of hours, and we listened to a lot of Bowie and Lou Reed on Pandora.We used a bone folder to burnish the folds so that they were nice and crisp. They are called bone folders because they are made of real bone. I’m not sure where they get the bones, but it does a nice job on folds and saved Tina and I some blisters.

Bostitch 615

We got all of our books together and now it was time for stapling. I borrowed a Bostitch #615 saddle stapler that has a metal V where the book sits and a helpful little guide so you can put your staples in the same place every time. Unfortunately, it was a well-worn stapler which had seen some better days. It would stick every now and then. The V was also giving me a hard time in that it was scratching the toner from my center spreads which was really annoying after all of the work that went into the books. Tina reassured me that nobody would notice, but I couldn’t get around my annoyance so I pulled out my Swingline Long Reach Stapler which I didn’t think would be as good as the Bostitch.

It was better. Much better. It sailed through my booklets.

I was going to buy a #615 which is 2-3 times more expensive than the Swingline depending on whether you could catch a deal or not. I’m glad I didn’t.

Swingline Long Reach Stapler

As I was merrily stapling along I ran out of staples and learned a valuable lesson: Don’t go cheap on the staples. I loaded store brand staples into my Swingline and loused up a couple books. Fortunately, I remembered having a box of vintage staples from the early 1970s. I put the old Staples in, and they worked beautifully!

Thanks, secretary lady! I love you, and I love your Speedpoint No. 4 Staples in the convenient plastic box (not pictured.)

I did the stapling and soon we wound up with what we thought was enough books for PACC.

Now they needed to be trimmed. I decided against risking a fingertip or two cutting them myself with a utility knife or a No. 11 blade. Besides, they would probably come out ragged. Why risk ruination at this stage of the game? I took it to the printer and their cutter chopped down almost a hundred books in what seemed to be less than 10 minutes.

It cut the top and bottom through the folds on the signatures, and it was cut on the right side making a beautiful, neat and even little 32-page comic book.

…and now a BONUS, of sorts. After completing last weeks installment of Creating the Monkey & Bird comic, I realized that I may have some of you confused as to how to create the map or dummy for the little booklet. I had a diagram of the comic with page number indications, but I figured I’d prepare a little something that may give you a better idea of how to create that little mock-up. So here’s an annoying animated GIF that will hopefully clear the air. Again, your layout may vary, but this is how I did mine:

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