What is ShortBox?

ShortBox is a quarterly, independent comics box, containing a carefully curated selection of comics and art goodness from a range of international contemporary cartoonists and artists. 

Created and curated by Zainab Akhtar (Comics & Cola), with Clark Burscough (assistant director of Thought Bubble), ShortBox was  borne from our love of receiving bookish post- namely, the excitement of comics mail. However, despite there being a variety of comic 'boxes' and subscriptions available, none featured the type of work we'd like to see: the self-published, small press and independent comics that continue to invigorate the medium and keep us passionately invested. What we wanted was a quarterly comics box heavy on the comics (no T-shirts, key-rings, or Funko Pops) that allowed the customer to see exactly what they were getting for their money, and discover fresh and  with the option to also include one or two special items from exciting artists both within and beyond the field.

Intrinsically, ShortBox is an extension of Comics & Cola's sensibilities in bringing together excellent and interesting comics from around the world. It feels like a natural extension to go from spotlighting and recommending that work, to putting it directly into people's hands. 

Is it a subscription? Can I sign up for it?

ShortBox is not a subscription service- there's no signing up. It's a quarterly box which goes up for general, limited sale every 3 months in 'normal' fashion. We have a Twitter account here, which will provide ongoing sneak peeks, information, and a link to the sale listing once it goes live. The sale listing will detail titles, authors, interior snippets, and photographs of the box contents. 

What's inside the box?

Each box contains 5 comics, at least one extra item, and some sweets! Extra items range from exclusive prints from artists such as Michael DeForge, art zines, limited edition pins, and so forth. Comics included in the box are books that may have gone under the radar that we feel deserve wider attention, debuting comics, early releases, books created especially for ShortBox, and comics with special variant covers created just for us. We're honestly stoked for everything that's lined up for each box, and we hope you will be too!

Is it a blind box?

No. We've worked very hard to put the box together and are champing at the bit to share it all with you. Everything that's inside the box will be photographed and detailed on the sale listing. 

Is the box themed?

The theme is quality! The box is not themed. We have lots of ideas, including the possibility of doing themed mini-boxes in between the quarterly ones -a bundle of say 3 horror or romance comics, or 3 comics from India-, but one step at a time.

Where do you ship to?

We ship worldwide. A couple of notes regarding that: shipping prices include packaging costs. Our prints come in strong, protective polythene bags, with the books parcelled separately in thick tissue paper to prevent bumping during their journey, all of which is then packaged into the box itself. Combined with the size and weight of the box (box #2 has 50 more pages than the inaugural edition), this means shipping to places beyond Europe isn't as cheap as we'd like it to be. Clark and I are both huge comic buffs ourselves and as people who buy frequently from artists abroad, we understand how expensive postage can be a deterrent to buying something you want, and are actively working on  alternative solutions and ways we can rejig things to bring those costs down.

Who is ShortBox?

Zainab Akhtar founded the Eisner-nominated Comics & Cola blog, and has written about comics for publications including The Guardian, The Fader, Publisher's Weekly, The AV Club, and more. She is a (dormant) professional librarian residing in West Yorkshire, who loves dinosaurs, potatoes, and crime novels. And the rain- which is just as well.

You can find her on Twitter @comicsandcola
Profile picture by Giannis Milonogiannis

Clark Burscough is an odd mix of scientist and lawyer living in London, England. He gained his love of comics from his father, who also named him for the last son of Krypton, starting at a young age on Calvin and Hobbes and Posy Simmonds. 

Clark attended university in Leeds, where he first volunteered for the Thought Bubble Comics Festival, an organisation dedicated to promoting comics as an important cultural medium, of which he is now the assistant director in his spare time. Any remaining spare time is allocated to reading comics, playing video games, and daydreaming about owning a dog.
Profile picture by Olly Moss

ShortBox logo and header by Ryan Cecil-Smith