Monthly Archives: May 2010

Hey pals! Help us Publish the New Scam Anthology!

Dear awesome pals,

Always looking for new ways to keep print media alive, we at the Microcosm Publishing clubhouse have teamed up with the super sweet, a new fundraising website that allows artists and small companies to appeal for donations for upcoming projects. Recently profiled on Pitchfork Media and in the New York Times, Kickstarter works on a time-based system; you set the amount you want to raise for your project; family, friends, and fans can donate via the site; and if the amount isn’t raised by the specified date, no money is given over to the project. Rad.

Our Kickstarter project is publishing an anthology of the beloved long-running zine Scam which will cost over $11,000 to print. Scam is a hard look at finding a better way to live, about pushing for ultimate freedom, and discovering the alternative histories of America. As said A People’s History of America author Howard Zinn about Scam editor Erick Lyle, “Forget the statistics and pretentious analysis of urban society. Take a walk through the city with Erick Lyle and discover the reality of how people live in an American city.” The Scam anthology will collect Lyle’s long out-of-print work and give it a deserved platform for all to read.

Alt text

Everyone who donates something will receive a gift in return–with increasingly larger gifts as the donation amount goes up! (The gifts are listed below the press release.)

To read more about Microcosm’s Kickstarter campaign and watch a video describing the whole shebang, go to

For questions email

Your friends,

Joe Biel, Jessie Duquette, Rio Safari, E. Chris Lynch, Steven Stoddard, Sparky Taylor, Matt Gauck, Adam Gnade, and Wade the Cat.

Alt text

Pledge $5 or more

You will receive updates about this project and we’ll give you a shout out for making it all happen on our website and in our newsletter.

Pledge $10 or more

In addition to the above, you will receive a copy of 13 Years of Goodluck.

Pledge $15 or more

In addition to the above, you will get a copy of the Scam Anthology and we’ll add your name to the Special Thanks section on the website and in our newsletter.

Pledge $25 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of the Zine Yearbook #9

Pledge $30 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of Xtra Tuf #5 by Moe Bowstern

Pledge $35 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of Xerography Debt #25 and #26

Pledge $45 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of Cantankerous Titles DVD

Pledge $50 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of Sounds of Your Name by Nate Powell

Pledge $60 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of Dreamwhip 14 by Bill Brown

Pledge $65 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of Constant Rider by Kate Lopresti

Pledge $75 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of the Best of Intentions by Keith Rosson

Pledge $85 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of Things Are Meaning Less by Al Burian

Pledge $100 or more

In addition to the above, you also get an original edition $100 & T-shirt DVD

Pledge $200 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a six-month BFF subscription (we will send you all of our new published titles each month)

Pledge $300 or more

In addition to the above, you get all of those plus a copies of Brainfag Forever by Nate Beaty, Chainbreaker Bike Book, CIA Makes Science Fiction Unexciting #5, Distance Makes The Heart Grow Sick by Cristy Road, DIY Screenprinting by John Isaacson, Dwelling Portably ’80-89, I Hate This Part of Texas/Keep Loving, Keep Fighting, Invincible Summer Volumne I and II by Nicole Georges, Mostly True by Bill Daniel, My Brain Hurts Vol. 1 by Liz Baille, Rough Guide to Bicycle Maintenance, Snakepit 2007 by Ben Snakepit, Still We Ride DVD, Welcome to the Dahl House by Ken Dahl, X Ray Visions DVD (and soundtrack CD), and Zinester’s Guide to Portland

Pledge $400 or more

In addition to the above, you also get copies of The CIA Makes Science Fiction Unexciting #1-4, On Subbing by Dave Roche, Doris Anthology by Cindy Crabb, Hot Damn & Hell Yeah / The Dirty South Cookbook by Vanessa Doe and Ryan Splint, Best of Intentions: The Avow Anthology by Keith Rossen, Coffeeshop Crushes, Homeland Insecurity DVD, and a Microcosm T-shirt

Microcosm’s 2009 Financial Report

In our continued efforts to be more transparent in everything that goes on at your friendly neighborhood radical zine store, here are our finances from 2009:

ze store!

2009 Income $313,423.46



Total staff wages (divided between Nate, Jessie, Adam, Joe, Matt, Rio, Sparky, Steven, and Chris) $84,616.02. (Paying an average annual wage of $9,401.78)

Printing Bills $76,188.34

Shipping $41,286.31

Publishers and distributors $38,303.33

Zines bought from makers $37,558.21

Rent, utilities, insurance, phone, office supplies, etc $14,709.02

Royalties to authors $13,417.13

Travel $11,151.01

Catalog Printing $6,851.93

Donations $4,825

bike moveStaff Healthcare $3,165.06

Advertising $2,316.89


Total Expenses $334,388.25

Total $-20,964.79 (loss)

(which was partly borrowed, partly taken from income from the following year, and partly from savings)

It was a pretty rough year for us. There was one point where it looked like we might have to start working for free, but several factors converged to carry us into the forseeable future.

Despite not being a 501(c)3 organization, we are working hard to act in accordance to the rules opposed on these type of nonprofit organizations. This way we will keep our mission statement in mind through all of our decisions and show you our annual finances.

As a teenager, I used to read and really appreciate the financial reports in Maximum Rocknroll—even when I didn’t understand more than whether they made or lost money. And then in 1994, it was strange to see that as punk broke, so did MRR‘s finances—in a positive way! I can’t wish such a burden on zinemaking again, but perhaps something less obnoxious can be our financial boon.

2009 tour

So here’s to many more years of successful supporting of zine makers, distribution of radical literature, and giving people access to information—in print—that they find hard to come by.

All that said, now is an excellent time for financial donations of all shapes and sizes. We will be launching a campaign on in the coming weeks to support the printing of our next book: Scam: The First Four Issues.

But you don’t have to wait for that and sending financial donations just to support our general operating expenses are always needed and appreciated!

You can send paypal donations to or checks to Microcosm 222 S Rogers St. Bloomington, IN 47404. Please specify it’s a donation with your check so we don’t think we need to mail you something beyond our eternal gratitude.

Meet Microcosm, Episode Five—Compounds, Trailers, and Treehouses, The Joe Biel Interview!

For this episode of our Meet Microcosm blog series we talk to Joe Biel about weirdo funlands, nontraditional tours, and the importance of trash.

Alt text

Q: First off let’s talk Cantankerous Titles. You just released a new comic, the epically funny (and epically sweet) lovestory between Glenn Danzig and Henry Rollins, Henry and Glenn Forever. Tell us a little about Cantankerous…

A: Cantankerous was intended to be the stuff that either wasn’t appropriate for Microcosm to publish thematically or things that I felt were appropriate for Microcosm and other collective members did not. But Henry and Glenn Forever was something that Tom Neely approached me about because he liked the look of Jesse Reklaw’s Applicant and he knew my style. It was, of course, stupidly successful and can only continue to be that. I thought it would take years to sell out a print run but it took two weeks.

That said, I don’t want Cantankerous to feel like it only catches dregs or is more of a hodgepodge. I definitely see it as having a coherent style, form, and presentation, even if that is probably not yet clear to someone on the outside and some mistakes will probably be made along the way. Because I don’t have a nest egg to invest into printing books and don’t have a warehouse, all of the releases so far have been DVDs and zines. That may change over time and right now I’m honestly signing onto projects as they come up and don’t know what I’ll be doing next week! 

Alt text

Q: What’s coming up for Cantankerous? Any dream projects you’d like to release?

A: The original idea was that since Microcosm would not be doing DVDs anymore, I could release some classic and upcoming no-budget scrappy documentaries with it. But those films haven’t really emerged yet. I’ll probably self-release my new documentary Aftermass which should be finished in the next year and is about the new bicycle activist scene in Portland post-Critical Mass.

I would really like to become more of a beacon for filmmakers who share something of an ideological base with this idea of no-budget digital video that is more centered in journalism than art form. But I honestly don’t know how many people exist out there like that. Stay tuned. If you build it….?

Q: Tell us about the super-rad PDOT!

A: My involvement with The People’s Department of Transportation (PDOT) was kind of a spin off of working on Aftermass. I was very attuned to conversations in town around activism and a lot of folks don’t really want to bump heads or even rub elbows with people who work in official capacity of city planning and transportation. So new groups would start and I would go to their meetings and talk to people or shoot what was happening and it would kind of fizzle out as the role of the organization was being made clear in group process, rather than a few people getting together and saying, “This is what we are doing. Who is with us?”

So with PDOT, a half dozen people were talking about problems that were going on in their neighborhoods—mostly city streets like 39th, Powell, or Foster being managed as state highways by ODOT and how citizens could respond to that. In Howard Zinn’s last living interview he was asked what people can do who feel that voting is futile. His response was very simple: “Organize locally in your communities.” And that sticks with me a lot when I’m assessing how to impact a problem.

The city was building a wall between the light rail station and the bus stop in the 3rd busiest transit center of the city so The People found it necessary to embarrass ODOT for such ridiculous behavior. It turns out that the whole project started because the city had identified that area as a “crime problem” but all discussions around it talked about “jay walking” which wasn’t happening. If you are 150 feet from a marked crosswalk, it is legal for you to cross the street in what is legally defined as an unmarked crosswalk. But on 82nd Ave, where this was occurring, the biggest concern of ODOT was to stonewall any effort to make pedestrians safer, e.g. slow down traffic. And they were quite effective at creating a scenario that is even less statistically safe.

So what followed were some informational videos, a chicken suit, a series of crossing guard actions, a lot of press coverage, and numerous public figures and organizations publicly changing their stance on “The wall of 82nd Ave”

Future projects must remain slightly secretive but there is some big shit brewing.

Q: As far as living situations you live about as far as it gets from the white picket fence, 2.5 kids, and two-car garage. Tell us about the weirdo funland that is the compound, the trailer, and the treehouse…

Alt text

A: I live on six lots of land in inner-Northeast Portland with four other people. Calling it unique might still be selling it a bit short. My landlord, Fred Nemo, is proof that you don’t have to give up the dream and he’s providing a living situation and lifestyle that I honestly couldn’t afford otherwise—where I can focus on the things that I want to do instead of paying the going rates of rent around here.

I live in a travel trailer that I bought from my friend’s grandpa and have been refashioning away from trailer and more like home. It has a composting toilet, an electric stove, a normal queen-sized bed, a dining room table, and a fridge. The shower’s not working right now but now that it’s finally spring, the plumbing can finally get replaced from when it froze out two winters ago.

There is also “The Treehouse” which is a freestanding structure built around a tree that we keep adding on to the monstrosity of. When I first lived in it in 2006, it had gaping holes in the walls and was very obviously incomplete. Now it has a deck on the second floor, an overhang for keeping wood dry and bike parking, and all of the cracks upstairs have been patched and reframed. My friend Sara Stout lives downstairs and upstairs is a communal artspace/living room.

I think it’s very important to live somewhere with creative people who are producing and you can respect their work that are also respectful and supportive of each other. I’ve got a rare circumstance like that. And when something breaks we just fix it. I honestly just find that arrangement so much easier than relying on someone else.

The Tour Game!

1 What five things should every person who tours bring with them?

Toothbrush, shaving razor, nail clippers, telephone with email, laptop. I think I’ve honed my craft enough that if I had those things, my merch, and projector, I could have a functional tour. 

2 Ideal tour vehicle…

Lately I’ve been thinking it’s either a Sprinter or a Vanagon. But I was totally wrong and it’s an Xtracycle or regular bicycle and Amtrak combo. 

3 Ideal tour-mate…

Must I choose between Dave Roche and Joshua Ploeg? It should be clear based on my habits of the past seven years.

4 Best place to table in the States…

Minot, North Dakota. 

5 We’re stealing this question from Pitchfork: If you could have one thing on your merch table, some dream piece of merch (sky’s the limit, of course, money is no option, neither is rationality or common sense) what would it be?

I would like to get some actual cast chainrings made of the Microcosm logo that could actually be used on a bike but could be sold for $10.

Alt text

Q: You’re going on tour this summer and it’s going to be pretty nontraditional. Tell us a bit about that…

A: It’s still not entirely clear. Basically, I get invited to table, speak, present, or show movies at all kinds of events all the time. But summer is often the worst because there will always be multiple things on the same weekend. Some of them can pay money and some of them can’t but if I can string together enough dates it becomes practical to make it into a “tour.” It started when the City of Boise asked me to run a workshop on graphic novels for teenagers around the same time that Minnesota Indie Arts asked me to come and present a panel on bicycle activism. Quickly, Billy had roped me into showing some movies at Why Not? Minot Festival and I was going to Minneapolis twice! I had to cancel the tour in January/February because I broke some ribs in a bike wreck and so there were already a number of events that I should do a makeup for. And there’s still plenty of gaps to fill in. It’ll be between Portland and West Bend, WI. Now the only question is, “What kind of transportation makes the most sense?”

Bike-related Word Association!

  1. Biking in Portland! dangerous.

  2. Broken bike! normative.

  3. Safe bike! burgeous.

  4. Mean bike! typical.

  5. Bike zine! inspirational.

Alt text

Q: You’ve been to known to haul trash across great expanses of Portland on a regular basis. What’s the deal with that? Why is trash important?

A: Well, because of the size of our yard, it’s hard not to collect things. I’ve been known to bring home giant wood scraps and intend to build one thing out of them and end up building something else. From what I can tell, my brain has a cataloging system of where I need or could use some kind of better arrangement system and a shelf could be built or an item of “trash” could contribute to solving a problem. So this past week I collected some discarded dresser drawers to make a new patch display out of at work, some little light fixtures, plenty of clothes, a fair share of 2×4″s, and even bottles of pills.

Conversely, with a property with so many former roommates, we have lots of rotting discarded items to get rid of. So part of my job is to bike the trash from the compound back to the trashcan.

Q: Finally, the question we ask everyone, what do you do for Microcosm day in, day out?

Alt text

6 AM: I create another draft of the proposed cover design for a new book that comes out next month and submit it to the author and the collective.
8 AM: I write checks to zinesters for money we owe them and figure out royalties owed on the books that we publish.
10 AM: I figure out how we are doing financially in our current month and update our publishing production chart based on any email updates I’ve gotten from the authors, designers, or editors.
Noon: I answer email while eating lunch.
2 PM: I bike down to the Microcosm store and make restock orders based on what we’ve sold in the past week. I clean up and rearrange the shelves and often this week—build more new shelves!
6 PM: I check our mailbox and mail out orders for the day. Even though most of the actual order fulfilled is done in Bloomington, there’s always a handful of things that need mailed from Portland each day on top of mailing all of the checks out.
8 PM: I recline in the chair and contemplate if I have enough energy to ride my bike home.

6:48 Feel guilty about the sheer amount behind at work I am.
8:12 Ride bike while pondering appropriate responses to difficult to answer emails.

(Photo credit: All non-blurry photos by Elly Blue)

Tom Neely Talks–The “Henry and Glenn Forever” Interview!

Recently called “the most talked about comic in America” the Henry and Glenn Forever comic is a sweet lovestory between punk/metal superdudes Glenn Danzig and Henry Rollins. We talked to co-creator Tom Neely about all-things Henry and Glenn!

Q: First I want to say that, as a massive fan of all-things Danzig, my heart turned to clarified butter the moment I saw my First Henry and Glenn panel. Such a super sweet and romantic love story! What was the genesis behind Henry and Glenn Forever?

Basically it was a joke born out of a night of drinking too many beers with my art fraternity The Igloo Tornado.  At some point in the evening Gin Stevens said something like “There should be a book like Tom of Finland, but with Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig…”  and we all agreed that we needed to make this happen.  It ended up nothing like Tom of Finland. We all did our own take on what would happen when pairing the two icons.  Scot makes repeated pop-art portraits in which Glenn simply agrees with anything that Henry says.  Gin had them writing notes to each other and sending postcards.  And I drew inspiration from my own neuroses and past relationships to make more classic one-panel gag strips about domestic life.  Now that it’s out there, it’s taking on a life of it’s own and turning into some kind of monster. 

Alt text

Q: Henry and Glenn is totally pee-your-pants hilarious but I get the feeling that there’s a steady current of love and respect for those dudes’ work in it. Tell us about your own Rollins and Danzig fandom. What do you love about their music?

I’ve been a huge fan of The Misfits since I first heard Last Caress in the 6th grade. Being a small town kid who was mostly listening to Mötley Crüe at the time, Glenn’s lyrics were the most evil thing I’d ever heard, so I immediately had to seek out more.  The Misfits were my introduction to punk rock and dark themed music. Considering now that most of my music buying is in the black metal section, it kinda set the course for my future listening pleasure.  Black Flag came to me much later.  I became a fan of Henry Rollins after seeing his spoken word performance at my college in ’94.  Not long after that I got into their music as well. I made a lot of my strips riff on some of their well known lyrics because I just love those songs so much.

Q: Danzig and Rollins both come from a staunch DIY background–the self-releases, the hand-packaging, the fan-friendliness–was that at all an inspiration in you doing comics?

Yes definitely.  I’ve been self-publishing my comics for 10 years now and I think I’ll always be mostly a DIY artist.  I feel very strongly about protecting my art from external influences, and through many experiences of dealing with publishers and galleries, I’ve learned that no one else will understand my art or represent me better than myself. I’ve turned down offers from major publishers because I would rather do it my own way.

I read This Band Could Be Your Life a few years ago and it was a huge inspiration to me. Especially the chapters on Black Flag, The Minutemen and Fugazi. When I feel like I’m getting nowhere with my comics, I think about that book and it reminds me to be patient and stick to my guns. I also look to a lot of musicians in the punk and metal scene who are friends of mine who do things their own way and I feel a strong kinship to what we’re doing.  And other like-minded people in the indie comics scene like Carla Speed McNeil, Jesse Reklaw, Dylan Williams at Sparkplug Comic Books, Global Hobo and Microcosm who all do what they do with integrity and a dedication to their own vision.  As the indie comics world is growing and getting more and more attention, I’d like to see more artists stick to DIY and self-publishing.

Q: If you were making a 10-song all Danzig/Rollins mixtape, one that could cover all points of their careers, what would the tracklisting be?

Oh man… It’s so hard to choose.  I don’t know if I can answer that.  I pretty much love every song that the Misfits did with Danzig.  I love almost everything Samhain recorded. I love the first 4 Danzig albums. And I love almost everything Black Flag did with Rollins.  I’m looking forward to the new Danzig album because it’s supposed to be more rockin’ like the early Danzig and less of the industrial stuff.  I’m sorry… there’s just too much to boil it down to a 10 song list.  Maybe I’ll just have to sit down and make a mixtape.

Q: I grew up in San Diego and saw Danzig at his booth every year at ComicCon. Any chance you’re going this year?

I’ve been exhibiting there for 10 years now.  I’ve had a full booth the last 4 years and have been joking about what would happen if we ran into Glenn ever since we started making the self-published zines of Henry & Glenn. I’m sure he’s heard of the book by now, and I’m a bit worried.  But I really hope that both of them will see the humor in it.  And also see that I’m a real fan of both of them and there was no malice intended in this book.  Maybe we’ll all be friends someday, or maybe they’ll try to sue me.  I don’t know.  I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.

See Henry and Glenn Forever! here.

Meet Microcosm, Episode Four, Talkin’ with Mr. Steven Stothard!

For this episode of Meet Microcosm we meet Bloomington collective member Steven Stothard and hear about his super busy life. So, without further adieus, meet Steven…

Q: So, the main reason we’re doing this Meet Microcosm series is to see what Microcosm folks do outside Microcosm. And you do a lot. First off as a Bloomington resident, Boxcar Books is a big part of your life. Tell us about what you do for them…

A: First of all, thanks for doing these Meet Microcosm interviews. It’s important to me that folks understand that Microcosm is actually a group of people working together to keep indie and radical publishing alive and well in these dismal times. Boxcar Books has been a huge part of my life. For those of you that don’t know, Boxcar Books is Bloomington, Indiana’s all-volunteer-powered, non-profit, and collectively-run bookstore and community space. We’ve been around since 2002 and our goals are to keep indie publishing and radical ideas alive, to provide a free community meeting and events space in Bloomington, and to directly support the rehabilitation of prisoners through the Midwest Pages to Prisoners program–our sister organization. I started volunteering at Boxcar in 2004, after moving to Bloomington from Columbus, Ohio. Whenever I had visited Bloomington, I came to Boxcar as a space to get information, to see what events were going on, and to connect with local folks. It just felt right that after moving to Bloomington I would get involved. I started by making flyers, working a shift, and taking on the never ending task of shelf-reading. From there I took on more and more responsibility and became really invested in the collective, mission, and other workers. For the last few years I’ve been the events coordinator and more recently the general coordinator, which means I pretty much try to make sure shit gets done. People will tell you, I have a tendency to micro-manage and it’s true that secretly I have lists upon lists of tasks to do, I even have a list of my to-do lists. It’s kinda crazy, but it takes a lot of time and energy and patience to help run a bookstore. As you probably know, it’s a really tough time for independent booksellers and radical businesses in general, so really it’s the Bloomington community who chooses to support the bookstore and the collective of volunteers at Boxcar that are the backbone of our success. Boxcar is really too big for me to fit into one interview, so if you want to learn more, I highly recommend checking out the website and our facebook: and / be our friend and we’ll let you know rad stuff that’s happening in Bloomington. And please come visit!

Alt text

Q: Tell us a little about Pages to Prisoners…

A: The Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project is one of the most successful and well-established books to prisoners programs in the country, and it’s right here in Bloomington and has been for over 13 years. Termed “Pages” for short, Pages and Boxcar are the same non-profit with pretty much the same mission, but exist in different spaces. I always describe pages as the direct activism hand of Boxcar. Boxcar as a bookstore acts as a constant fundraiser so pages can focus on sending free books to prisoners upon request. It’s really an inspiring program. As my role at Boxcar Books expands, I unfortunately don’t work directly with Pages as much as I should. But there’s a core of committed collective members who are really dedicated and hard working folks. If you’re reading this, you should really donate to Pages, tell them I sent you. Even a buck or two would really help. Check out their website for how:

Q: You also worked as a recreational therapist for adults with mental illness at the Center for Behavioral Health. What was the deal with that?

A: It’s true. Before microcosm, I worked for a behavioral health center in Bloomington as a recreational therapist. Basically, I taught life, social, communication, and community integration skills to adults with various mental illness. In the form of group sessions, classes, outings, and one-on-one intervention, we attempted to help folks with long histories of mental illness become more independent and to empower them to access community resources to help themselves. Oh damn, on the one hand that job was amazing on so many levels, but it was also very crushing to the soul. First of all, I worked with a team of other health and social work professionals for the same goals, but we worked at it in our own ways. As therapists, we had tons of support from our supervisors to do really whatever we wanted to support our clients. For instance, I saw a real need to address all these young dudes and ladies with schizophrenia because nothing existed for them specifically, no program was focused on being young with mental illness. We started a young adult group that focused on community integration, access to community resources, and how to navigate the terrifying times of being young compounded with having a mental illness. To be honest, we talked a lot about sex–they were all interested in getting laid, but that was good because we talked about safety, consent, and how not to get pregnant. And sure, there were pretty boring and structured activities like accessing community kitchen, the free clinic, getting library cards, using the library system, and plugging in to other places to address some real needs… but I also had the go-ahead to go plan fun trips like laser tag, fishing, and even a couple shows at the all ages youth center in town… just to be kids. That was great. But like I said, on the other hand it was really hard to not be affected by the bureaucratic bullshit within the mental health industry and to leave my job at the office, you know what I mean. Although the work was inspiring, there was also a lot of painful and heartbreaking stuff to say the least.

Alt text

The Book Game
1. Favorite book, and why…
A: Are you kidding, I don’t have time to read. But really, you must read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It’s one of my recent favorites. Absolutely dismal and beautiful… a good look at what’s to come.

2. If an 80 year old grandmother asked you to recommend something “useful” what book would you recommend?
A: The Guide to Getting it On. Old people are all about getting laid, you just don’t know it.

3. What would your autobiography be called?
A: Wow, I don’t know about that. But I have two friends in New York, Edan’s kind of a big hairy guy and Dave’s tall and skinny and I forget who said it, but if they made a porn together, it would have to be called An Otter Day in Bear-adice. I think that’s perfect.

4. What are you reading right now?

A: I’m towards the end of the Autobiography of Malcom X. He’s fucked up and “spiritual” or whatever, but what an interesting time, you know.

Q: Finally, what do you do for Microcosm, day in day out?

A: Well, first off I work at Microcosm Bloomington obviously. We run the Midwest Microcosm out of a house, nothing fancy. We have an office, a packing room, and storage in the basement. All of us at Microcosm end up doing a little of each and every task, from publishing to editing, from tabling to promotions and we stay well-connected through phone conference meetings, email, and our recent all-staff meeting. But, I’d say my main duties at Microcosm are shipping, customer service, and event coordinating. When you order something from Microcosm, whether you’re a store, a distro, another online distro or an individual customer–we pack up the orders and I ship them out. Basically, I’ve gotten really good at using a tape gun and determining weights of things just by holding them. I’ll help you get the things you ordered and take care of any problems you have. Event coordinating is just a fancy word for figuring out what events and tours we’re going to table and how to organize it. We table pretty extensively for the size of our publishing company, and it’s a nice opportunity for Microcosm staffers to get out of the office or store and actually interact with people, authors, and other publishers face to face, not just via email. Recently we tabled the Left Forum Conference in New York City, Stumptown in Portland, Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair, and the New York Anarchist Bookfair. We’ll be tabling the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair this month and Expozine in Montreal later this year with the help of our good Canadian buddy Jonathan Culp. Personally, one of my favorite events to table is the New Orleans bookfair, typically in November. I used to table a lot more on tour with bands like Against Me!, Defiance, Ohio, the F-Yeah Tour, Strike Anywhere, and other folks nice enough to let us come along and hock zines and books at the shows. I feel tabling is a pretty important part to staying connected with folks and keeping books and zines hip and visible. That’s one of the main reasons why I initially got into politics, picking up zines and AK Press books at punk shows in Dayton, Ohio. Never underestimate the power of tiny, little life-changing experiences–it may change the path for the rest of your life. Kevey Evilsizor–if you’re out there–I salute you and the Know Nothings!

Visit us in real life!

How to use a Microcosm Store. from Cantankerous Titles on Vimeo.

the counter

We’re Open:







From 11 AM to 7 PM!

And full disclosure: Nathan is often working on Sundays too. Just call first to make sure.

Head on over to the ‘cosm office and store at 2752 N Williams Ave. (that’s in Portland, OR folks).

Inside you will find everything that we’ve published and anything you can find on this here website plus a curated selection of zines and books from other publishers. Our selection also features remaindered (read: cheap!) and hurt books, i.e. books with minor dings that are deeply discounted—half price or less!

The store also has the addition of tons of unique and forgotten gems from the past—with sections like DIY, espionage, graffiti, bikes, gardenz, activism, and graphic novels! We may, in fact, be the only store in Portland where you can learn to build your own submachine gun and practice square foot gardening! But to us, you’re worth it (at the expense of our FBI files)!

Give us a call if you want to make an appointment to stop by at other times. 

Microcosm hQ Store

2752 N Williams Ave.

Portland, OR 97227

(503) 232-3666