In the language of comics, a solrad is the wavy line that emanates light and warmth from the sun or other light sources.1 This is the ethos of SOLRAD, the first venture of Fieldmouse Press. Our goal is to provide critical insight and resources for the comics community. Our motto, “Luceo, non uro,” is translated from the Latin as “I shine, not burn.” We will shine light on comics and its greater network; our critics will honestly engage with art and seek to understand and explain it.
SOLRAD, first and foremost, aims to provide a new platform for comics criticism and journalism, one where contributors are paid well for their efforts. We seek to explore the world of comics from as many different points of view as possible, with an eye towards what is new in the artform. We see SOLRAD as a broad and inclusive voice that values writers and artists. We envision SOLRAD as both a place to explore the arts as well as a place to find new work. While we anticipate that the work of SOLRAD will grow and evolve over time, our core values — comics, criticism, collaboration, and community — will not.
SOLRAD is largely a volunteer effort from a collective of experienced comics critics. Daniel Elkin will act as the Editor-in-Chief of SOLRAD and as a columnist for the site. Alex Hoffman is Publisher of SOLRAD and will be a columnist for the site. Rob Clough is developing schedules, editing, and recruiting critics and other writers. Ryan Carey will be a lead critic and columnist. All of this labor is completed as a service to the comics community and without compensation. We want to bring this to the forefront of the discussion because of the precarious nature of comics criticism and journalism in the world today. SOLRAD exists to give back to this community; as organizers of this effort and intermediaries, we feel that the resources we’ve been given are best used to directly compensate creators and critics, not editors or publishers. We intend to use these resources wisely, in the best possible way we can. While we admit that we don’t know what the future holds, our goal is steadfast; to serve this community and seek its betterment.
SOLRAD is also built on the desire to be radically transparent. As a community, we think comics deserves no less. We encourage anyone with questions about this project to directly contact either the Publisher, Alex Hoffman, or the Editor in Chief, Daniel Elkin, using the contact form provided at the bottom of the page. Financial filings will be made available on the Fieldmouse Press website after they have been submitted to Internal Revenue Service, no later than May of each calendar year, including this year in 2020.
Both SOLRAD and its parent publisher Fieldmouse Press have been in the works since the spring of 2019. But collectively the goals of this project have been reexamined and broadened since the death of Tom Spurgeon in late 2019. Tom, the Comics Reporter, played a vital role in the comics community: as a critic, a journalist, and a vehement supporter of the people who make comics. One of the questions that Tom Spurgeon used to ask was, “Can we do better?” We think that the answer is yes. And we hope that you feel the same way too. So as we build this new thing, we do so with Tom’s legacy in mind. SOLRAD is driven by that guiding precept — to do better — for now, and forever.
This is the start of a journey, but in a way, it already feels like coming home. Welcome, welcome, welcome. Let’s make something beautiful together.
1. Walker, M. (2000). The Lexicon of Comicana. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse.