Here's Wikipedia's definition. But I mean Small Press Comics. And for a current definition of those I would point you to the FPI store's Small Press Section.
When I say I hate the term it's only because I fought against it tooth and nail at Nostalgia & Comics. Way back in the day comics were divided into Marvel, DC, Indie and Small Press. Marvel and DC are of course easy to recognise. Indie and Small Press much harder.
Nowadays the Indie section of any comics store contains material far, far more accessible to the average reader (not comics reader - an important distinction) coming in off the street.
But Small Press always seemed derogatory. To me it just means comics that are self published, often A5 size, often black and white. Recently it feels like there's been an upsurge in the movement, most easily (and loudly) championed by the guys at London Underground Comics.
And I've found my own interest in the small press has been growing as well. It's astonishing the breadth of material and the talent on show.
So, currently on the list of things to look at:
Vampire Free Style
by Jenika Ioffreda
A lovely goth/manga influenced vampire love story. Enjoying it very much and will get around to reviewing it asap.
by John Cei Douglas.
The complete book is online as a downloadable pdf here but trust me, you really need to get it in your hands to understand just how lovely it is and how good the story is.
Again, review soon.
At this size the picture just doesn't do this gorgeous wrap around cover justice. From Buffalo Roots by John Cei Douglas
by Ciaran Cross
Finally for tonight: some very interesting stuff at first glance (again, no time to really go into it - yet) is Bulkhead by Ciaran Cross. So far it's dense, dark and very interesting. Ciaran describes it as:
in an unnamed latin american country, a multinational corporation is being attacked by a group of locals determined to halt the voracious export of national resources. a militia has been elected to impose order on a fragile state of affairs by hunting down the insurgents - led by the elusive Jesus Pais...
into this walks Bernard Bridges, a photographer sent to capture the company's accomplishments for its advertisting department. before he knows what's going on, he finds himself dragged into the escalating situation, and faced with an irreconcilable conflict of interests...
You can download the first 3 chapters of Bulkhead as a 9Mb pdf from here. Ciaran's blog is here and his website, full of comics and films is here.
It's a very good time to be into comics. There's so much great work being published. And thanks to the glories of technology it's accessible in so many ways.