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Mould Map: Pulp Science Fiction

Inspired by sci-fi illustrations, Mould Map is an anthology of comics and narrative art in book form

"Weird lo-fi 70's UFO subculture and pulp science fiction" form some of the references behind the first issue of Mould Map, released through Landfill Editions. Launching this week, the new quarterly revels in carefully considered production. The entire print is in two spot colours - one fluorescent- in A3 format. The list of international and home-grown contributors reads like a narrative art wish-list, featuring Lando and Kitty Clark. Dazed spoke to editors Hugh Frost (Landfill Editions) and Leon Sadler (Famicon Express) ahead of the launch tonight.

Dazed Digital: How did the concept for Mould Map come about?
Mould Map:
The idea began as a loose plan for 100 single comic pages by 100 artists. We scaled down the project to keep it manageable and, most importantly, fun to work on - e.g. not having to print in China, or take out a bank loan for a book of art comics - which felt like a terrible idea. Our main aim became to bring together a really focused, cohesive collection of art with a constant mood to it without having to disclose a specific theme.

DD: How do you go about selecting artists for print?
Mould Map:
There were some artists we already knew we definitely wanted to work with. So we've just provided a shared habitat for them, and to encourage them to really push at the things they already master. Leon wrote a few loose paragraphs of direction referring to "tired/humourless SF... 1956 abductee diagrams/drawings... Illustrations for early editions of Analogue and Galaxy Magazine... Drifting off to sleep watching some old SF video. But something also like the innocent fear/awe feeling when you think you saw a UFO one night. Like a more personal feeling of wondering what's out there, than actual eyewitness descriptions". So this was the sort of thing we thought the artists involved would be perfect for, and the reason we asked them to take part.

DD: What about paper selection, general production decisions; how did you approach these?
Mould Map:
While to some extent we were trying to reference weird lo-fi 70s UFO subculture, and pulp science fiction, we didn't want the final object to become a parody of those artefacts, so production values were kept relatively high, printing two-colour offset on a medium weight recycled paper and in a large A3 format to give the art as much impact as possible. We also wanted to choose a format that the artists might not usually be able to play with, so it'd be more exciting for them to see the work in this way.

DD: Are there any themes running through the content?
Mould Map:
If you believe in aliens you will like this book.

DD: Some people may dismiss sequential art as a counterculture to contemporary and fine art; what would you say about this?
Mould Map:
I suppose by dismiss you mean that it's less valid, but we find it hard to see any category of culture as inherently 'better' than another, it doesn't seem useful. Context can be important in interpreting art but there are too many amazing images and ideas in contemporary visual culture to discount any of their worth based on whether they're seen in galleries or computer screens or panels on a printed page.

DD: What can we expect from future issues?    
Mould Map:
We have some ideas for editions influenced by science and knowledge in the 1700s, German comics from 1980s and a very long contributor wish list of some of our favourite artists from both a comics and non-comics background.

Mould Map 1 Thursday November 18 at Concrete, Kingly Cour,t 6-9pm. The event is part of Comica Festival 2010