We are excited to share with you an interview with THE Shane Patrick Boyle, founder of Zine Fest Houston!!! We always enjoy talking about zines with him and hearing his stories. Stop by his table at Zine Fest Houston to check out all the new work he’ll have this year!
ZFH: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’ll be showing at ZFH 2015!
Shane Patrick Boyle: I have been creating zines and comix since high school, but I won’t say how long ago that was. My work has covered various subjects and styles. Oh, and I was also the founder of a certain zine festival in Houston that is kind of a big deal now. Current projects that I hope to have ready for Zine Fest include:
shane # 10: This is a mini-comic / zine with a different theme every issue. Issue 9 centered around my childhood interest in female superheroes. Issue 10 explores this theme further with a fictional story in comics form. The setting is a playground in the 1970s and it includes appearances by Wonder Woman, Curious George, Stormtroopers and Cylons. I am planning this as a 24-hour comic, but it won’t be a true 24-hour comic, because I already have the story planned out in my head.
Offline Adventure # 1: I have been planning this series for a few years and my vision for it continues to evolve, but essentially it is about getting out and doing stuff. The main focus is on travel (around the world or around the block), literal and metaphorical, including the long detours we find ourselves following in the journey of life. It is about going out and finding adventure, regardless of where we are, how old we are or how much money we have. The first issue will chronicle my solo bike ride to Galveston, back in August, on the anniversary of my bike accident, and will also explore the important role that bike riding has played in my life since I began riding at the age of 42. Topics of future issues will include my experience hitchhiking / walking to Austin in ’93 and my trip to New York in ’94 for the 25th anniversary of Stonewall with just enough money for a one-way Greyhound ticket.
Art.Spirit: This will be a collection of comics, one panel cartoons and musings inspired by quotes from Robert Henri’s The Art Spirit, with a nod to Charles M. Schulz as well.
In addition, I am planning 11th anniversary reprints of my Walking Man and Flying Man comics with additional material and I will be reprinting one of my prose stories as a stand alone zine. I also plan on bringing some vintage zines to Zine Fest. These are zines and comics I worked on in the 80s and 90s including Elsewhere, a science fiction and fantasy zine, Virus Board, a literary zine, and Shorts, a comics anthology magazine.
ZFH: What is the future of zines in this new and rapidly digitizing world?
SPB: We don’t live in a world that is new or rapidly digitizing. If anything, the digitization of our world is slowing down. Back in the 90s, the world could, perhaps, be described as rapidly digitizing. Back then, there was talk about e-zines (now known as blogs) and the death of print and about how the internet would kill zines, but 25 years later, zines are even more popular than they were in the 90s, and many are being created by people who weren’t even born when this prediction was made.
The future of zines is the same as it was then. Some day, somebody will declare that print is dead again and that the Internet (or whatever takes its place) will kill zines. People will repeat this claim and every time they do, it will seem more true. Eventually, zinesters will become discouraged and many will stop making zines. Then one day someone will read about zines, on the Internet of the future, and will become curious and start making their own zines. Their friends on the future equivalent of social networks will start doing the same. They will connect with the people who never stopped making zines, and they will bring back zine festivals. Zines will become cool again, and before long, there will be another zine renaissance.
Zines will outlive the Internet.
ZFH: Were you an analog to digital transition or were you a BB born in the tech age?
SPB: I am not sure I understand all that technical jargon. I created hand-made books for my elementary school teachers and classmates. Later, in high school, when I made my first printed zines, I did the typesetting and layout on a manual typewriter and left spaces for the artists to fill in. Later, I graduated to an electric typewriter with a 10,000 character memory and interchangeable print wheels that allowed me to use four different fonts.
ZFH: How does technology and recent technological developments affect your zine-making practice?
SPB: The most recent technological developments do not affect me, because I cannot afford to keep up with them. These days, I combine old school cut and paste with digital typesetting. I am gradually entering the digital age, but mostly I only have access to old technology and open source programs (no Photo Shop or Page Maker). I did buy a printer / scanner online when I was living in Mena, Arkansas, because there was no copy shop within 80 miles. I used it to produce several zines, but it seems to have stopped working, so for my next zines, I will probably either borrow my roommate’s printer / scanner or go to CopydotCom.
ZFH: What in your opinion is the best invention of the last 30 years?
SPB: For me, the most important invention of the last 30 years was the insulin pen, invented exactly 30 years ago. As a type 1 diabetic, I need insulin or I will die. I have a long-lasting insulin I take before bed and a fast-acting insulin I take before meals and whenever my blood sugar gets high. When I use insulin in vials, I have to keep them refrigerated, they break easily, and they can’t be re-capped. I also have to carry syringes to draw the insulin out of the vials, and when cops or security searched me, they would often find the syringes and assume they were for drugs. The pens are much more portable, don’t require refrigeration after they are opened, and are virtually unbreakable. They are expensive as hell, even with insurance, but when I can get them, insulin pens allow me so much more freedom than insulin in vials. I can carry insulin with me anywhere without needing a cooler. I can go on long distance bike rides, take trips on the Greyhound or spend a week traveling and staying in hostels.
ZFH: What in your opinion is the worst invention of the last 30 years?
SPB: The worst invention of the last 30 years is the e-reader (Kindle, Nook etc.). I have nothing against e-books, but a special device for reading them seems silly. Especially when it costs as much as two bookcases. If the whole point of technology is efficiency, why not just read on your laptop, your tablet or even your phone. The latest versions of the Kindle are becoming more tablet-like anyway, and tablets are starting to do everything computers can do, and phones are starting to combine everything. If you have to bring an extra device just for reading, you might as well bring a book.
ZFH: How will you best honor our cyber overlords?
SPB: I do not currently honor my flesh and blood overlords. I intend to show the same disrespect to all overlords, whether they be made of circuitry, stone, light, spirit or anything else.
Thanks, Shane! We enjoyed reading your thoughts about the zine scene and are looking forward to your new zines!