Qompendium is an evolving and ever-changing platform for philosophy, art, culture and science, represented by a series of print publications: magazines, books and monographs. Furthermore, it is enriched by a gallery concept, a work shop and a fast-moving online portal.
Similar to the centuries-old printing process leading back to Johannes Gutenberg, pop-up books, or movable books and “toy” books as they were once called, also experienced quite a similar evolution. Having begun with volvelles, lift-the-flap harlequinades, and pull-the-tab creations such as those engineered by Lothar Meggendorfer, pop-up books slowly metamorphosed into the embodiments we’re familiar with today.
Dean and Son was the first publisher to produce movable books on a grand scale and to take advantage of the lithography printing process invented in Germany in 1798. It was also around this time that books produced specifically for children began to take form. Though Dean and Son was a leader in the pop-up book scene for the majority of the nineteenth century, the German influence with Raphael Tuck and Sons enjoyed its flourish during the 1890s. New York-based Blue Ribbon Publishing was also a pioneer in the production of pop-up books, most notably with the title Puss in Boots by Harold B. Lintz. On the French front, S. Louis Geraud used a photolitho printing process which lacked the refinement of German chromolithography, but still produced high quality print by-products in vibrant colors.
Today, Intervisual Communications (ICI) produces many of the pop-up books we currently see in the market.
New York-based pop-up artist Matthew Reinhart, who in his earlier career initially looked to forge a path in the medical field, found his calling in paper art during a volunteer workshop with renowned pop-up engineer Robert Sabuda. Ever since he has released a collection of covers including DC Super Heroes, Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharks and Other Sea Monsters, Young Naturalist’s Handbook: Insect-o-pedia, The Pop-up Book of Phobias and The Pop-up Book of Nightmares among many others.
Due to the intricacy of his mechanisms, Meggendorfer’s books could easily be damaged by eager children. He introduces Comic Actors with this cautionary poem:
Now Children, dear, pray come with me
And see some comic sights,
You all will laugh with mirth and glee,
Or should do so by rights.
When you to them your hand apply
These figures dance and caper
"'Tis really hard" I hear you cry
"To think them only paper."
The men and creatures here you find
Are lively and amusing,
Your fingers must be slow and kind
And treat them well while using.
But more of them we must not tell,
The pictures would be jealous,
So turn the leaves and use them well
And don't be over zealous.
We wonder how effective this was with all the small, prodding fingers.