What is COPRA?
COPRA’s a full color, serialized action comic written, drawn, lettered and colored by me, Michel Fiffe.
How do you pronounce it? Your last name, too.
COPRA: Rhymes with cobra. Fiffe: FEE-feh.
What’s COPRA about, anyway?
It’s about a group of mercenary misfits thrust into a macro-revenge mission. A pack of desperate weirdo fugitives who sometimes end up in other dimensions, other times in Tokyo, but they always get brutal no matter where they land.
When did COPRA start off?
I posted COPRA on my Etsy store on November 8th, 2012 and started selling it then with the promise of fulfilling a monthly 12 issue arc, each issue being 24 pages and ad-free. That weekend, COPRA made its public debut at the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival on November 10th. I signed & numbered the 400 copies I had printed.
Only 400 copies?
That’s all I could afford to print. Plus, I estimated that I would only be able to sell about half of that, while the backlog stocked up. I went back to press a month later when orders kept coming in. That was for another 400 copies.
That’s still not a lot.
That’s more than enough for me to manage, pack, and ship off. I’m a one-man operation who can be found printing up postage whenever there’s not a page that needs to be inked. Every single copy of COPRA is directly overseen by me.
Is that why back issues are difficult to find?
That, and the readership has generally held on to them. That’s why Bergen Street Press has been an incredible help in keeping these comics available. First with the 3-issue Compendiums, which served as an immediate solution, but especially now with the main format we use: the 6-issue Rounds. COPRA #1 has been well covered; here’s its entire history.
What’s the print run now?
The first two issues were 400 copies (their respective reprints were an additional 400). From issue 3 to 6, the print run was 600 and I was still signing & numbering them. From issue 7 to 12, it was 800. That was the first major arc, the first batch of comics I promised to complete. After a brief break to work on stuff), I returned to COPRA with 2000 copies of issues 13-16, 1000 copies of 17-25, and 900 copies of 26-28, with the mini-series Copra Versus locking in a steady 1000. This is all determined by sales and seasons and availability. As readers discover and stick with the title in collected forms, a steady rise in new readers is the reason the single issues are holding on strong.
What is COPRA VERSUS?
It’s a 5 issue mini series that focuses on various Copra villains that didn’t get the time to shine in the regular series. First issue covers DY DY and the second issue covers A.R.M. (the cyborg bounty hunters from issue #4). Upcoming: Los Asesinos (from #19), the Ochizon horsemen (from #s 11 & 12), and the Vitas crew (from #1).
What is it with you and single issues?
I think the 24 page comic, as a unit, is the perfect delivery system for this kind of story: serialized cliffhanger adventures with a lot of characters. The limited page count and the space to tell the story in are interesting challenges that only a comic can excel at. It has to be swift but not too brief, it has to give you your money’s worth but not be a slog to get through, it has to entertain and compel. I don’t strictly “write for the trade” — I want every issue of COPRA to give you enough to want to come back for more. On a practical level, it’s about as much work as I can do to keep the story alive in the traditional system of American superhero comic books. I also like letters pages, pin-ups, and cool extra stuff like that.
Say I wanted single issues, where do I get them?
Sign up for a subscription, which guarantees you the latest 6 issue arc. This is the surest way to have a copy before it sells out and receive them before anybody else. As for comic shops, the following is a master list of all the stores that currently carry the COPRA single issues. If you are missing a specific COPRA back issue and I don’t have it in stock myself, contact these retail outlets to see if they can help you. This list will continue to be updated as shops continue to come and go. Many other stores primarily carry the collections, which can also be ordered directly from Bergen Street Press.
Mysterious Time Machine (NYC)
Forbidden Planet (NYC)
JHU Comic Books (NYC)
Desert Island (Brooklyn, NY)
Mama Says Comics Rock (Brooklyn, NY)
Escape Pod Comics (Huntington, NY)
Comics N More (Easthampton, MA)
Chicago Comics (Chicago, IL)
Floating World (Portland, OR)
Cosmic Monkey (Portland, OR)
Bridge City Comics (Portland, OR)
Zanadu Comics (Seattle, WA)
Destiny City Comics (Tacoma, WA)
Mission: Comics & Art (San Francisco, CA)
The Secret Headquarters (Los Angeles, CA)
Acme Superstore (Longwood, FL)
Chapel Hill Comics (Chapel Hill, NC)
Big Planet Comics (Washington, DC)
Third Eye Comics (Annapolis, MD)
Collectors Corner (Baltimore, MD)
Velocity Comics (Richmond, VA)
Copacetic Comics (Pittsburgh, PA)
Beguiling Books & Art (Toronto, Ontario, CAN)
Strange Adventures (Halifax, Nova Scotia , CAN)
Variant Edition (Edmonton, Alberta, CAN)
Orbital Comics (London, UK)
What about digitally?
Okay, forget the issues — you said something about collections?
The COPRA Rounds are published by Bergen Street Press and they each collect 6 issues of the original series. Round Four has recently been released and as I mentioned, they can all be ordered directly through Bergen Street Press. If you’re a comic store that exclusively orders through Diamond, the books are listed in the Previews catalogue.
Any plans on a larger, hardcover collection?
It’s in the works. Updates soon.
Do you sell original art?
No, but I do like to take naps on it sometimes. (RIP Clover)
Please get those pages off the floor.
Fine, sometimes I do sell original comics art, but generally no COPRA-related pages or covers. I might need them for production purposes. Plus, I’m super attached.
Do you at least sell merch?
I do, I do! Currently I have a couple of packs of vinyl stickers…
… but due to the nature of these small press, boutique item-type of mostly handcrafted stuff, mass production is not part of the process. Therefore, I’ve sold out of all the merchandise I’ve developed. I want to bring it all back into circulation, but time and resources will tell. Here are a few items of note:
Split Print with Chuck Forsman
White Copra Skull T-Shirt
Black Copra Group T-Shirt
Hand-stamped VITAS Prints (subscriber exclusive)
Real quick: have you ever been interviewed?
Sure, a few times. Take a look:
What about in-depth articles?
Funny you should ask: