Today we are featuring Flyover Zine Distro, a newly created distro that “archives and publishes anti-authoritarian, queer, and POC zines that are of/about the U.S. South.” We go behind the scenes about the formation of Flyover, upcoming projects, and more!
ZFH: Tell us about Flyover Distro’s mission. What gaps in the broader narrative is it seeking to fill and how do you think it will reframe discussions about PoCs and queer people in the South?
FZD: We actually found each other as collaborators after having a conversation about what it means to live in the south as any combination of queer, radical, or POC. There’s this idea that if you’re here & queer, you gotta get out. Our lives have been shadowed by a pull from the mythical north, the “progressive” cities, where queer lives are somehow more legitimate- and Flyover works to resist that notion. We are also interested in the idea of the “romantic south” and how class/race/gender/sexuality work to complicate this romantic image with something more authentic for those who are marginalized. We hope that this archive helps facilitate a conversation we’ve been living our entire lives, and we hope to contribute towards the collective liberation for others who feel similarly.
ZFH: What new projects are you working on this year?
FZD: We’ve done a lot of work on building our archive, so now we are interested in publishing new original zines! We hope our presence at Zine Fest will encourage other radical / POC / queer southerners to create zines about their experience and put them on the internet (preferably with us but whatevs).
ZFH: What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest?
FZD: Our free, online archive is organized into three categories- art, history, and theory- and we will have original copies of every zine in our digital library to peruse at the table during Zine Fest. We are also releasing Lena’s new zine, Light Skinned Tears, with a few other zines for purchase from Flyover Press. We even have a few surprises that we’re working on right now and really excited to pass out- you’ll have to stop by our table and see!
ZFH: What is something that you’re looking forward to about the 2014 Zine Fest Houston?
FZD: We’re definitely looking forward to building a presence for radical zinesters, and finding that community among those we meet. Zine Fest is also the first event where Flyover Distro has a physical presence! We are really excited to show up, put our archive out, and see what resonates with everyone.
ZFH: What are your favorite zines/mini-comics etc.?
Cecelia: The first zine I read in our archive is a popular one, Memoirs of a Queer Hapa #2 by Jackie Wang, and it gave me a really personal understanding of how zines can be a tool for radical self-education. Being a queer hapa (part Asian) myself, that zine was the first time I found the language for a systematic understanding of race and sexuality that applied to my nuanced lived experience. Zines can do that- illuminate your position in the world in a really humanizing and transformational way.
Lena: It’s hard to choose just one! For theory zines, Anarchist Reimaginings: Communities of Resistance because it is so simply done and focuses on borders and prisons, two really important issues in the south. I also love The Radical Cheerleading Handbook, a uniquely femme form of protest that a lot of radical queers and women use to be visible at protests and rallies, which can be disproportionately dominated by masculine or male voices.
ZFH: What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines?
Cecelia: We joke that one of us brings art and the other bring activism to the collab. I was introduced to the zine scene less than a year ago, coming from an arts perspective. My work as a playwright deals with crafting interesting and honest narratives surrounding queer experience. My work as a theatre teacher deals with helping students understand ways in which they may be systematically oppressed and subverting these structures through art. So Flyover felt like a great way to continue this work on a larger scale.
Lena: I’ve been hanging around the activist crowd for a few years, and sort of make art on the side. I really value the activist focus on the big picture and strategy, but I feel like art is crucial for remaining human when shit gets hard, remembering to be playful and feeling/processing the emotional fallout from events that people might classify as “activist”. I’m a writer, and a giant book nerd, so my main gig is with the radical library in town, Solidarity Houston, formerly Sedition Books, as well as some other coalitions.
ZFH: Why does self-publishing appeal to you?
FZD: Zines are written by real people who are not focused on a self-validating endgame that is created by traditional publishing. And because zines have no value to mainstream publishing, the content is not edited in the same way. People who self-publish know that they are accountable not to a huge corporate entity but to their community, so zines become then this form where the exchange value or “currency” is trust-based, where providing honest education is the goal.
Thanks y’all! We are very excited for you to make your debut at ZFH 2014!!