Tag Archives: zinester feature

A Trip to Skweegie Island with M. Austin Bedell

7 Oct

In honor of ZFH week, we’ll be featuring a zinester feature EVERY DAY! Ohh yes, you read correctly. So strap on your raybans and adjust your tommy bahama gear, as we journey through the forbidden pleasures enjoyed on Skweegie Island!

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portrait of the artist as a young garbuckle

What is your favorite part of zine fest?

Pronouncing “zine” with a long i, like “wine,” and insisting that’s how you say it. It’s almost as fun as saying “Star Track” at a sci-fi convention, or emphasizing the second syllable in “Marvel” (mar-VEL) at a comic con. I also enjoy the process of describing a book of mine to someone, just to have them tell me they only like the opposite thing.

What is something that you’re looking forward to about the 2013 Zine Fest Houston?
Xeroxing my butt with the Gutenberg press. (ed: noooooooooo! yeeeeeessss!)

What new projects are you working on this year?
I’m working on a comic book love letter to my hometown’s long-gone video store, Fred’s TV & Video.  Well, maybe not a “love letter.”  I mean, don’t write love letters to dead things; it’s just sick.  But apparently there was a monkey in the back of the store that didn’t actually exist (?)

What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest?
The complete smorgasbord of Skweegie Island comic books!  YES!!!!  EVERYTHING YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR!!!!

Why does self-publishing appeal to you?
It’s like running my own little world.  Nobody can tell me what goes and what doesn’t go, and the only struggles over content are internal.  I mean sure, nobody buys…  But, oh! how sickeningly satisfying it is to stare at a library of my own creation.
What is/are your favorite place(s) in Houston?
Astroworld is pretty fun.  Let’s go there!

Interview with ArmzRace Comics!

7 Oct

Today we’re shining a light on a collective effort to create productivity, and whose strategy is obviously paying off in dividends: ArmzRace Comics!

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How long have you been making comics?

Unofficially, I’ve been creating comics off and on most of my life. Officially, ArmzRace Comics began in 1998 when Mark! and I decided that we wanted to get serious about making comics. We realized that the only way to get anything done was to set some (realistic) goals and then make each other stick to them. Since then, we have prodded each other along, sharing critiques and information about new techniques, and hopefully we have become better as creators and produced some great comics. Over the years, other creators, like Hardtraveling Hero have joined in the ArmzRace merriment.

What is the concept behind your comics?

ArmzRace Comics is a loose confederation of people who create comics. We’re all amateurs, but we provide support and constructive criticism to one another. Making art can sometimes be intimidating, but by setting a monthly goal and having a support network, we’re able to create some pretty cool work. From there, the sky’s the limit. I tend to do political comics, while Mark and Paul tend to prefer autobiographical. That said, we dabble in anything that interests us.

Why do you create comics? Why do you like comics?

I’ve been reading comics for as long as I can remember. They are a wonderful medium for expressing the whole range of human emotions and ideas. They are relatively low-cost to create, but they have tremendous scope, really only limited by the creator’s imagination. And while there are some “good practices,” there are no hard and fast rules on how they must be done. Sometimes I feel stymied because my artwork isn’t as good as I’d like it to be, but then I remember that there have been some great comics that only had stick people. That encourages me to keep creating.

 

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What is something you’re looking forward to about the 2013 Zine fest Houston?

It’s always great to see what other people are working on, because it helps inspire me in my own work. Plus, I always like asking people how they did something, because I usually learn some new trick or tool that saves me a lot of time. Additionally, I’d love to meet other people who’d like to join the ArmzRace.  Zinefest 2013 will be particularly exciting for me, because my ArmzRace compatriots Mark! and Hardtraveling Hero, who are usually out on the East Coast, will be in town to table with me.

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

ArmzRace will have about a dozen mini-comics from Cej, Mark!, and the Hardtraveling Hero. They range from short fiction to autobiography to gag comics. Mark! will bring his new Gags: Bound mini, which is a book of one-panel jokes; and I’ll have my new For Whom the Bell’s, which is an autobiographical comic about dealing with Bell’s Palsy; and Hardtraveling Hero will have a book called Booty Call.

Any final thoughts?

I want to encourage people to come out to Zine Fest and support the arts scene in Houston. Likewise, I invite everyone to take a look at http://ArmzRace.com I enjoy getting people’s feedback, and I’d love to have other creative types join the Race!

A Chat with Shane Patrick Boyle, founder of Zine Fest Houston!

27 Sep

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!

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You can help support Shane’s upcoming zines and attendance at ZFH 2013 through his indiegogo campaign!

 

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.

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