Interview with Makenzie Maupin

12 Sep

Check out her table at Zine Fest Houston this year!

Why do you create zines?

I started making zines about 1 1/2 years ago as a way to keep myself from total overwhelm of a tricky mix of anxiety and boredom. Making zines makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile with my time, something I can share with other people and get a sense of personal satisfaction. Whenever I feel like I’m wasting my life or I feel listless or too anxious, I put on a tv show and start drawing and writing. It’s so exciting to finish a set of zines and give them to people.

What is the concept behind your zine/zines?

I think someone described my zines one time as dripping with self-deprecation which I sort of took as a compliment. They’re largely self-centered, indulgent, and a bit silly really, but I make them primarily for my own fulfillment not for an audience. A lot of people seem to make super cool amazing zines with hip art that seem pretty marketable but my zines are just a by-product of my coping method. My art focused zines revolve around a certain topic (for instance: the idea of being “dateable”). Only recently have I started making more writing based zines, which center around the four seasons. I try to pick a few themes in my life during the said season and reflect on the events.

What new projects are you working on this year?

I really want to make a zine called “I Hope You Die in A Fire And Other Love Stories” about the people I’ve dated etc. But I would never want it to fall into the wrong hands so I guess I will just make it for myself.

What will be on your table at this year’s zine fest?

The zine I’ve recently made that I’m most excited about is a zine about my trip to London. I spent a lot of time working on it and it has really good stories about my time in the UK with my family who just moved there. I also have a guide to cheap eats in Houston that I put a lot of love in to, mostly just because I love to go out to eat. You can have a good meal for under $10 at every restaurant I listed. I also have the first 3 installments of my quarterly zine, Girl Afraid, which is hugely self-absorbed and a little embarrassing but I tell a lot of personal stories.

What is something you think people should know about DIY in Houston?

Wise advice about DIY culture from a naive 22 year old: First, if you think there’s nothing cool about Houston, you’re just not looking in the right places. Second, the more you put in to your community the more you get back. For instance, I used to think there were not many political people in Houston, but as I put more personally into local politics, the more I got out of it. Same with art, spirituality, music etc. If you are dissatisfied with your community, maybe you need to start changing your behavior first.

Why does self-publishing appeal to you?

I like self-publishing because it is the anti-thesis of everything I learned in business school. I never think about profit when I make zines. I do think about the cool zines I will get to trade and how inspired I will be by other people’s works. I like bartering and I like making something expecting nothing in return. It’s the opposite of a market system. It’s nice not to worry about maximizing profits, or increasing efficiency in production, or marketing a product (can you tell I take a lot of business classes?).  Bet you wouldn’t guess from all this talk that I’m actually pretty conservative…!


Interview with Richard Alexander of Richy Vegas

5 Sep
Check out our interview with Ricky Vegas Comics!
What is the concept behind your zine/zines?
 Richy Vegas Comics are an autobiographical series that explore my experiences with mental illness.
 Why do you create zines? 
I am not able to interest a publisher in my work.  In 1998 I sent an unfinished project to Harvey Pekar to look at.  He advised me that self-publishing might be the way to go.  So far, his advice has proven to be true.
What is your favorite part of zine fests?
I definitely enjoy meeting the people who stop at my table.  A lot of them really seem interested in what I’m doing.  For years my books just languished in the closet, and it’s only been the last couple of years that I’ve been renting tables at cons and fests.  I also like meeting other people doing zines and comics.
What will be on your table at this year’s zine fest? 
Everything that I’ve self-published since 1999.  Including the latest issue of Richy Vegas Comics, “A Tribute to Don Rickles/ Witch Hunt!”
What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines?
My band, Insect Sex Act, will release a CD before too long.  I also write and perform my own songs as, “The World’s Least Important Singer/Songwriter.”


28 Aug
hey zinesters!
time to sharpen your pencils, dampen your quills, and call your old buddy who has the in on a fool-proof kinkos scam; zine fest houston is going down in just over a month!
most importantly though, you need to go ahead and register for a table so you can distribute your witty, sardonic, vulgar, politically-charged, enigmatic, or just plain silly little (or big) booklet of words and/or images.
read ya later,

Zine Fest Houston

Interview with Jess from Unsellable Grrrl Zine

24 Aug
“I am writing from the stand point that we are not being sold on this cookie cutter idea of how we are supposed to look, act, dress, and be.”
Jess from Unsellable Grrrl Zine is our next featured Zine Fest Houston participant. Check out the interview below & be sure to check out the Unsellable Grrl Zine table at Zine Fest.


Why do you like zines? 

I like zines because the give creativity and voice back into the creator’s hands.  I think a lot of people feel that unless they get published by a traditional publisher, that there is no point in them every creating something like a zine. I think zines show that people can take their own creations back into their own hands, and have it come from their voice-and not what a publisher thinks should be said based on sales quotas.

What is the concept behind your zine/zines? 

My zines touch on feminist issues that are relevant to women today. I chose the title “Unsellable” because I think a lot of women don’t agree with how society and the media views us. I am writing from the stand point that we are not being sold on this cookie cutter idea of how we are supposed to look, act, dress, and be.

What is something you’re looking forward to about the 2012 Zine Fest Houston?

I just moved to Texas and am really looking forward to meeting others in the Texas zine community.

What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines? 

Currently I am working on a book of poetry. I also paint, draw, and am getting into lomography and sculpting.

What new projects are you working on this year?

I am in the planning stage of starting my own distro.

Interview With Noel Kalmus

16 Aug

Noel will be one of our tablers this year. Check out her flickr page here for samples of her work. Image

Why do you create zines?

In kindergarten my teacher stapled together little blank books with construction paper covers. Whenever we had free time I would take a book from the box and fill it with stories and drawings. Any type of book has always made the most sense to me as a space for my work. Sketchbooks are of course essential, but when the book is reproducible and shareable, that’s when it becomes really fun.

Why do you like love zines? I love books, I love small things, I love looking at other peoples’ drawings, I love collecting things, I love hand-made things, I love making things, I love the community/collaborating, I love how innovative you can be when it comes to content, materials used, binding, etc. 

What is something you’re looking forward to about the 2012 zine fest Houston?

I’ve only tabled at Staple! in Austin so far, so I’m excited to meet different people and see a bunch of new work and experience the culture of a different zine fest. Also hopefully visiting Houston’s Domy for the first time, and seeing one of my favorite friends.

What are your favorite zines/minicomics/etc?

I am drawn to experimental art/drawing that takes risks and is innovative as well as graphite drawings and printmaking processes. Unfortunately my book collection is temporarily packed away so I will inevitably forget something, but the ones that come to mind are Christina and Charles by Austin English, Goodness by Mel Stringer, Boys Club by Matt Furie, Jin & Jam by Hellen Jo. And I’m going to stop there because I could just go on forever…man I am not looking forward to suddenly remembering all the amazing books I forgot here.

What new projects are you working on this year?

I graduate from Southwestern University with an art degree in December, so I am taking advantage of access to the printshop and making intaglio, relief and litho prints, and drinking lots of coffee to be able to fit comic making in with that. I’m constantly drawing in my sketchbook so those drawings will be included in future zines. I have a story/drawings for my next comic in an embryonic state.

What is the concept behind your zine/zines?

I have many long hours of drawing and writing ahead of me to discover that. Honestly I struggle with disciplining myself and my work ethic but I do know that I was born with a passionate desire to put my drawings in little books, and that zine and comic making is not an endeavor that can be accomplished with intermittent bouts of work. So I guess right now my zines deal with the themes of anxiety, low brow humor, and more anxiety.

Interview with Mitch Clem

7 Aug

Below you’ll find an interview with poster/comic/zine creator Mitch Clem. There is also a Wikipedia page about him.

How did you become interested in zines?

I’d gotten into punk rock somewhere in my early teens, and, from there, the transition to zines is pretty natural. It started as would be expected, Maximumrockandroll, Flipside, Punk Planet (realizing now I’m dating myself a bit, as only one of those is even still published). But the zine that really changed things for me was Cometbus. Not even sure how specifically I got into it other than it’s just sort of the ubiquitous punk-lit zine, but the first time I read it I was just floored by how much it resonated with me as a writer, and the handwritten pages instilled in me for the first time just how approachable the zinemaking process was. Even though now everything I make is comics, I still consider Cometbus a huge inspiration.

What is your favorite part of zine fests?

Oh my god you guys I’ve never been to one before! Since all my self-publishing to speak of has been comics, and I’ve made friends with some other cartoonists, we’d always just go to comic book conventions. Which, you know, doesn’t really cater to anything I’m about or anything my art is about. That world’s more “hey look at my drawing of an impossibly-proportioned mostly-nude woman holding a light saber in a provocative fashion” type stuff. And, I mean this in the nicest, most open-minded way possible, that shit completely fucking sucks. Eventually I made a cartoonist friend who also makes comics about punk rock and she told me to go to some zine fests or indie expos, and that I’d have a better time. And then this one happened and I got excited! Is there gonna be a ton of Star Wars stuff or what?


What new projects are you working on this year?

Right now Amanda and I are working tirelessly to finish issue #2 of Turnstile Comix, starring a very very exciting band that we’re keeping secret as of right now. That is taking up ALL our time. But I have recently started curating the first issue of a project called As You Were, which is a zine comprised entirely of comics by punk rock cartoonists/comickers. Assuming everyone turns in their submissions on time, the first issue should be out soon! Aside from that, the usual stuff: I still do Nothing Nice to Say, my webcomic about punk rock stuff, with my friend and co-writer Joe Briggs, and I still do the autobiographical comic My Stupid Life with my girlfriend and watercolorerist Nation of Amanda which appears in every issue of Razorcake magazine. I also bought some wild berry Pop Tarts, which I feel like should be super amazing and exciting but really taste almost indiscernable from the cherry ones except that the icing is a way more fun color. Oh, and I started making my own cold press coffee, but I’m not gonna bring that to the fest or anything, that’s just for me.


What will be on your table at this year’s zine fest?

The best thing will be the debut issue of my new series, Turnstile Comix, where we adapt a band’s craziest road stories into a comic book that comes with a 7″ by the band. The first issue stars Minneapolis punk rock quartet the Slow Death (featuring members of Pretty Boy Thorson and the Falling Angels and the Ergs). Issue two should be out pretty soon, though doubtfully soon enough to have for the zine fest. I also made a zine collection of some of the recent incarnation of my webcomic Nothing Nice to Say. I may also bring the Nothing Nice to Say book, but maybe not? Oh, and I made some shirts making fun of crust punks which I might bring because it’s printed on organic, cruelty-free, USA union-made cotton shirts, so the crusters can’t even get mad about them. It’s not like they’re made out of plastic bags, ya know? I’m rambling. Are you guys getting dizzy too or is that just me?

How long have you been creating zines?

I started my first zine in high school (late 90s). It was called Summer’s Over. I published ten issues over the course of five years and then retired it when I eventually started doing the webcomic Nothing Nice to Say. From there it was all webcomics for a number of years, but over the past couple years I’ve regained a passion of actual print stuff, and have shifted most of my focus there. Boy it sure takes longer to fill a whole bunch of pages of drawings than it does to just scribble out three panels at a time a couple days out of the week! Yeesh.

Interview with Victoria of Foo Dog Blog

31 Jul
Victoria of Foo Dog Blog answered a few questions for us.  This will be her first Zine Fest.
What is the concept behind your zine
Basically, Foo’s adventures have taken him all over the country. Some zines and location specific. Others focus on a singular topic but all over the country. The possibilities are endless.
Why do you like zines? 
It provides a short, homegrown artistic outlet with a story at a reasonable cost for fans.
What made you decide to participate in 2012 Zine Fest Houston? 
A friend who follows Foo’s blog and has been to Zine Fest before and said, “Hey, you know where Foo would be great?” and so Foo is here.
What is something you think people should know about DIY in Houston?
Houston is an amazingly artistic city with a population of innovative and creative people that are all about DIY. It’s cool to DIY.
What will be on your table at this year’s zine fest
An assortment of Foo zines and products, a Footeria Mexican Bingo game, a catalog of available Foo t-shirts and other products, 8×10 Foo canvas portraits and an interactive Creative Caption Contest that can win participants fabulous Foo prizes.
What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines? 
Foo lets me help put together and write the Foo Dog Blog, and I write novels. The first, “In Death We Part,” is on sale now; and at the moment, I’m working on finishing the sequel, “Running in the Mists.”

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