Today’s spotlight is on Shane Patrick Boyle, a long time creator of zines and the founder of Zine Fest Houston, whose first event was held in 1993. That’s 20 years ago! This guy has held the helm of ZFH in the past and even from afar helps ZFH be as great as it can be in every way! Thanks Shane!
How did you become interested in zines?
When I was a kid in Beaumont, I dreamed. As many kids do, of starting my own comics publishing empire. This dream was still alive throughout most of high school. In ninth grade, our family moved to North Little Rock, and I started going to a comic shop called Collector’s Edition on a regular basis. The owner was Michael Tierney, who created and self-published a comic book called Wildstars. When I asked his advice on how to get started as a comics publisher, he told me to start small and he explained how to make a simple 5.5x 8.5 pamphlet from 2-sided 8.5 x 11 pages folded in half. By the time I got around to trying this, I was living in Texas again, Alief this time, and had started a science fiction, fantasy and comics club. I followed his instructions to put together the club’s fanzine called Astrozine which I published on a consistent monthly basis for an entire year. Later I discovered there was more to zines than just fanzines. I got into literary, political, art, travel and personal zines. As I got more into zines, I outgrew the dream of becoming a publishing mogul, but the passion I developed for small-scale self-publishing has stayed with me my whole life.
What do you like about zines?
I like that anyone can create a zine and a zine can be about anything. You don’t need to have a degree or be famous or hire an agent. I have seen zines by fast food workers, single mothers, homeless people, teachers, writers, artists, prisoners, waiters, dish washers, retail employees, kids, retired people, students, squatters, librarians, janitors, temp workers, activists and just about every walk of life. The only credential necessary is the determination to finish a zine.
You can also live anywhere and create a zine. You don’t have to be in a cool city like Portland or Houston. You can be in a small town in a rural state (as I am currently) or even on the other side of the world. It’s also cool to discover zines from different places and experience interesting locales through the eyes of zinesters.
Ultimately, a zine, regardless of subject, is a personal expression of the person who created it. It is not a commercial product that is the result of marketing research. Zines have no obligation to be popular.
What is something that you’re looking forward to about the 2013 Zine Fest Houston?
I am looking forward to getting out of Mena, Arkansas and visiting with other zinesters. Sure, the scenery is beautiful here, but I’ve been here since Christmas, and other than a trip to Portland for ICAF and a trip to Little Rock for their awesome zine gathering, I haven’t been able to hang out much with people I can actually talk to, so it will be nice to get back to Houston.
New zines and old friends are the main draw for me this year, but I am also looking forward to getting out and revisiting the city I used to live in and looking forward to tasting authentic Mexican food again. Hell, I am even looking forward to the humidity.
What is your favorite place in Houston?
I lived nearly a quarter century, off and on, in Houston, and moved a lot from neighborhood to neighborhood, when I was there, but I found myself returning most often to the east end. I guess Greater Eastwood (not EADO or any of the area the condos have conquered) is what it would be called, but I am also including the area south of 45, surrounding the universities.
Montrose and the Heights are still cool, but have lost a significant chunk of their character over the years, while Eastwood and the surrounding areas are still much the same as they were in the 90s and this area is still reasonably priced compared to other inner loop neighborhoods, especially when you consider how close it is to downtown and two universities.
What new projects are you working on this year?
I am working on four new zines to debut at Zine Fest. They are:
- Ouachita Journal #1: A zine about Arkansas and my experiences living, here, in Mena (located in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains).
- Offline Adventure Zine #1: a travel narratives zine about getting out and experiencing life, regardless of how old you are or how much money you have or any other excuse that may be holding you back.
- shane # 9: tenth anniversary issue of my ongoing self-titled zine with a new theme each issue. This issue focuses on gender and sexual orientation in comics.
- Cluttered Mind #3: Featuring articles, essays, reviews, poetry, comics, fiction and art. This issue includes a reflection on the 20-year history of zine gatherings in Houston.
These zines are more personal than most of my recent work and represent a new direction for me. I am also planning to include some color photos in these zines.
What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest Houston?
Mostly the zines I mentioned above, some postcards related to these four zines, stickers and a few of my art prints. I may also bring a deluxe reprint of Walkin’ Man and a micro minicomic featuring a new Flyin’ Man story. Next year, both of these characters will be celebrating their tenth anniversaries.
What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines?
I do prose writing (fiction and nonfiction), art, and comics. I am also in the process of launching a couple of new blogs that tie in with my zines.