Tag Archives: comics

ZFH Spotlight on: Robert Boyd!

1 Nov

As we careen headlong into the weeks leading up to Zine Fest Houston 2016, we want to spotlight some tablers we are excited about! To kick things off, here’s an interview with Robert Boyd, author of The Great God Pan Is Dead, publisher of EXU Magazine, and contributing writer to Glasstire (Robert Boyd – Glasstire). We learn about Robert’s background in comics, and his ideas about the future of zine culture. Thanks Robert!

exu cover0002.jpg
Tell us about yourself!
 
I was born in Australia in 1963. I moved to the USA when I was 3 and to Houston when I was 5. I went to Rice University and studied art and art history. I lived in Nigeria and Brazil for a while, working for a seismic company. Later, I worked as a comic book editor for Fantagraphics, Kitchen Sink Press, Dark Horse Comics, Roger Corman’s Cosmic Comics and my own venture, Westhampton House. Then I got an MBA from Rice and a real job in the energy industry. I was laid off in January. Meanwhile, I have been active in the Houston art scene as an art writer for my blog The Great God Pan is Dead as well as writing for Glasstire, The Comics Journal and other publications.
 How long have you been self-publishing, and why does it appeal to you?
 
I started self-publishing in 7th grade with a comic book I did called Super Ghost. This was 1976. It was a black and white xeroxed production.
 
I did it then because I liked to draw and it seemed the next step after you drew a comic was, naturally, publishing it. And who would publish my crude, Mad Magazine-influenced comics except me?
How did you first become interested in zines? Can you remember the first zine you came in contact with?
 
Yeah–it was around 1976, and it was a humor zine published by some high school guys that were friends of my friend John Richardson’s older brother. It strongly influenced my desire to self-publish.
Tell us a little bit about your work and what inspires and motivates you!
I did a newsprint publication called EXU because I wanted to have a publication that showcased visual art without making a distinction as to whether it was gallery art, illustration, comics, or whatever. I made the kind of publication that I would buy. And I wanted to do a magazine that fairly paid its artists.
What other creative ventures/ interests do you have besides making zines?
In 2009, I started a blog about art mostly in Houston called The Great God Pan Is Dead. I pretty much shut it down last year, but I occasionally use the platform to publish something when the urge strikes me. Prior to that, I had been a comic book editor for Fantagraphics, Kitchen Sink Press, Dark Horse Comics, Roger Corman’s Cosmic Comics and my own venture, Westhampton House. And I am currently curating a show called True Artist Tales featuring the comics work of Scott Gilbert which will be opening at the Galveston Artists Residency on November 26.
tat.jpg
What do you think the zine / comic / self-publishing scene will be like in 10 years?
 
I don’t know. To be honest, I’m surprised there is such a vigorous scene now (although it seems like a pale reflection of the Factsheet Five days). The necessity of zines is completely defunct. When I did zines in junior high and high school, it was because it was the only way to get my work and the work of my friends out there into the world. There was no internet then, of course. A punk rock zine in, say, Tulsa Oklahoma in the 1980s (like Blatch) was the only way for information about local bands and the local scene to get out to the “public.” Zines filled an information niche that couldn’t be easily be filled other ways. Now that is not true. If you want to share your art or writing, you have tons of platforms for doing so. That’s why I started a art blog instead of an art zine. But I like books and magazines and physical objects, and I doubt the fetishistic love of physical objects is ever going to end. So I expect in 10 years it will be about the same.
Nathaniel Donnett.jpg
 
The images featured here are, in order: the cover of Exu (an image by Ike Morgan), It’s All True, a collection of true Artist Tales strips by Scott Gilbert that he self-published in 1995 (which Robert will be carrying at his table), and an interior page from Exu by Nathaniel Donnett.

Zine Fest Houston 2016 at Lawndale Art Center!

21 Jul Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 10.47.34 PM

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 10.47.34 PM.pngHOUSTON, TEXAS, Wednesday, July 20th, 2016–

Zine Fest Houston is excited to announce its partnership with Lawndale Art Center for ZFH 2016: Year of the Ama-Zines! This year the fest will take place on Saturday, November 19th at Lawndale Art Center (4912 Main St, Houston, TX 77002). Registration for Zine Fest vendors will open on August 19th.

 But, why are we moving?! Because of the growing popularity and scale of Zine Fest Houston and to accommodate growing crowds and accessibility needs, the festival is moving to a larger venue for 2016: Lawndale Art Center. This move will provide a more comfortable fest experience for both attendees and vendors. In addition to a physically larger space, Lawndale also provides close proximity to public transit and good parking availability. Although we are changing locations this year, Zine Fest Houston would like to thank The Printing Museum for its past collaboration and cooperation, and we look forward to continuing a fruitful relationship with the museum and its staff in the years to come.

Zine Fest Houston is a local volunteer-based organization and annual one day festival dedicated to promoting zines, mini-comics, and other forms of small press, alternative, underground DIY media and art. With 72 vendors and over 1,000 attendees in 2015, the fest continues to grow apace. Since 2013 fest organizers have been diligent in seeking out, collaborating on, and creating fresh year-round programming in the form of workshops with organizations such as Art League Houston, The Houston Center for Photography, and Writespace Houston, pop-up tabling events, and unique zine and creator driven events like Comix Gauntlet, and the annual ZFH compilation release.


For more information on Zine Fest Houston: zinefesthouston.org
We are also on Twitter and Instagram: @zinefesthouston

For information on Lawndale: lawndaleartcenter.org

ZFH 2015 Interview #18: Chris Sweet

16 Oct

Chris Sweet ImageHere’s an interview with comic artist Chris Sweet! He is the creator of Effing Decaf, a comic about a frumpy bunny and his adventures skulking around a land of butts-nutts and dingle-whatevers. Read on to find out more about him and his work!

ZFH: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’ll be showing at ZFH 2015!

Chris Sweet: Like many suburban white boys who grew up in the late 80s and early 90s, a lot of my stuff is inspired by video games. But I’m trying to break my habit!

ZFH: What is the future of zines in this new and rapidly digitizing world?

CS: I think mini-comics will have a place in this world as long as paper exists, but I can’t speak to other zine forms.

ZFH: Were you an analog to digital transition or were you a BB born in the tech age? How does technology and recent technological developments affect your zine-making practice?

CS: The former. I have to admit, having access to a scanner and a sketchy copy of Photoshop 7 are as valuable to me as my guillotine cutter and long-reach stapler. I feel like having a blend of digital and analog options opens up more avenues for creative expression. Also, let’s not forget that paper and pens and bookmaking are also a form of technology!

ZFH: What in your opinion is the best invention of the last 30 years?

CS: Genetic sequencers.

ZFH: What in your opinion is the worst invention of the last 30 years?

CS: The Shake-Weight.

ZFH: How will you best honor our cyber overlords?

CS: By dying like a good and proper meatsack.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Chris!

ZFH 2015 Interview #15: Mystic Multiples

15 Oct

Mystic Multiples Image 3Mystic Multiples, a full service letterpress and risography publishing service located in Houston, TX, consists of Sarah Welch and James Beard. Begun in 2008, Mystic Multiples exists to produce challenging, new work in print for designers and artists. Sarah Welch is also this year’s featured artist!🙂

ZFH: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’ll be showing at ZFH 2015!

SW: Mystic Multiples is a local letterpress and risography print shop. We do commercial jobs and quite a lot of art prints, comix, and zine publishing. James Beard is the fearless founder / master printer and Sarah Welch is the artist / printshop lackey.

The hot new newness for this year is the third installment of the Endless Monsoon series, Only Humid. I just opened a show under that same title at Box13 Artspace, the premise of the show was to do a book release that was also an art exhibition of objects/ props/ artifacts lifted from the pages of the comix. It was weird and fun and you can see it through November 7th.

Our other new, very exciting thing is the Brackish zine and Brackish Box Sets. We finished these mid-Summer but our release party was flooded out, so now is your chance to finally, finally pick one up. This project was a collaborative effort between myself and Houston artist, Katie Mulholland. Brackish images the past, present, and invented future of the Houston landscape. The book features local and invasive flora & fauna, architecture, interior spaces, city infrastructure, industry, and residential vignettes. Special attention is lavishes on locations with ancient, sometimes futuristic presence. Think 2001: A Space Odyssey meets Jurassic Park. The zine is great, the box set is even greater and comes with three risographed prints and one amazing letterpress Mossman print by Katie Mulholland.

As always we’re gonna have lots of fun riso art prints and hopefully, time permitting a special Halloweenie themed print I am currently working on. All sorts.

ZFH: What is the future of zines in this new and rapidly digitizing world?

JB: Digital just meshes well for some people’s style. If you want to get it out there on a tiny budget, it’s hard to beat the internet. But, a lot of our work focuses on creating a means to support continued zine making via creating a tangible object that’s different from the other stuff out there. There are still a lot of unexplored areas, and industrialization with has made it easier than ever to get your hands on the tools of the trade (check craigslist!) to print your own. So, I think we’ll continue to see more web work, which is great, and I think we’ll continue to see more people getting DIY in a sense that blurs the line between home production and professional production, which is also great!

ZFH: Were you an analog to digital transition or were you a BB born in the tech age?

SW: This is soon to be the question that will define if you are an old fogey or not.

I’m just gonna out myself now as an old fogey by saying: I typed my first book reports on an electric typewriter. That said, my folks were somewhat early adopters–I think?–to home computers and AOL free trials. I remember having home dial-up access by the fifth or sixth grade.

JB: I see the distinction as not being too different. The thing I always worry about is that technology is making it easier to use a machine without understanding how it works. This isn’t to say that you need to understand the catalytic converter on your car, but you probably understand that the gas ignites and pushes a piston to power your wheels. Digital technology is a little more obscured, and we could end up with a lot of machines that work by button and contain ‘no user serviceable parts’, which is really a threat to DIY in general. I like the older technology because it’s a little more human in that sense. But I could have never gotten into it without the Internet, so that knowledge factor is definitely part of my life.

ZFH: How does technology and recent technological developments affect your zine-making practice?

SW: Like everyone else, technology is a crucial but mostly invisible part of so much I do. I use the Internet for research, Adobe for coloring and formatting my comix, and social media to share whatever I’m currently working on. I know James has sourced 100% of the print equipment we have through the Internet. Ironically, we’ve even found old service manuals for our out-moded machines-both the letterpress and the riso!–online. So it’s just this constant back-and-forth between old and new and digital and physical. I don’t see zine making as this misty-eyed, nostalgic practice removed from current technology at all. Zine making has been impacted just as much as any other media by technological development.

ZFH: What in your opinion is the best invention of the last 30 years?

SW: Wow. If this was “best invention of the last 50 years” I would have said widespread availability of the pill, but, the obvious answer for the last 30 years is the Internet. Common, household use of the Internet. At first those two things seem very different, but I think to be a great invention, something must have ability to empower large swaths of humanity.

JB: The Internet. How can you beat KNOWLEDGEEEEEEEEE. It’s like that episode of Star Trek: TNG where Lt. Barclay had his brain wired into the enterprise after encountering the alien probe that expanded his intelligence. The probe is the Internet.

ZFH: What in your opinion is the worst invention of the last 30 years?

SW: So many to choose from… Unmanned Combat Drones? New Fracking Technology?

JB: Cell phones? It’s a love / hate sort of thing. Being available 24/7 is just about the least zen thing ever, which is sad.

ZFH: How will you best honor our cyber overlords?

SW: Planning to replace half my brain with a computer😉 Maybe some robotic eyeballs.

JB: 3-in-1 oil lubrication fountain, marine grade protective wax, sacrificial finger in the press?

SW: Hahaha, yes oil lubrication fountains everywhere.

Awesome, thanks Sarah and James! We❤ everything you do!!!

ZFH 2014 Interview #12: Art Fart Zine

24 Sep

Today’s interview features Art Fart Zine, collecting illustrations, comics and writing ranging in topic from the hilarious to the obscene! Read on, intrepid zinesters…

IMG_20140923_184023

 

ZFH: What is Art Fart zine about and do you take submissions?

AFZ: Art Fart is just full of doodles and photos. YES I absolutely take submissions and I love doing collaborations with other artist and writers. My contact info is printed in every issue.

 

ZFH: Why do you create zines?

AFZ: Just to make sure I’m continuously illustrating and painting. Its a good way to measure the progress on my portfolio throughout year.

 

ZFH: Why do you like zines?

AFZ: Because there’s no censorship. In zines I have found the funniest comics, the most interesting political theories, the most insightful interviews and the most revolting illustrations. As a writer or artist publishing your own zine you don’t have to give a fuck if people like it, so its automatically better than other means of publication.

 

ZFH: How did you become interested in zines?

AFZ: In high school my friend gave me her copy of “Stolen Sharpie Revolution” a zine about making zines.

 

ZFH: What is your favorite part of zine fest?

AFZ: Trading zines with other people is fun. I’ve traded my zine for all kinds of shit. Plus at the fest you get to meet the people who make them.

 

ZFH: What is something that you’re looking forward to about the 2014 Zine Fest Houston?

AFZ: Probably wanna buy some art.

 

ZFH: What are your favorite zines/mini-comics etc.?

AFZ: Nothing Nice to Say! I got to meet the author last year (or maybe 2012?). The Sedition Book Collective has a zine library that is awesome.

 

ZFH: What made you decide to participate in the 2014 Zine Fest Houston?

AFZ: I didn’t forget to register this year.

 

ZFH: What new projects are you working on this year?

AFZ: I’m doing a series of comic book- and anime-related paintings for Comicpolooza 2015.

 

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

AFZ: If you are seeking any goods or services it can be immensely empowering to learn how to do it yourself. Whatever “it” may be. Or you can find someone else with the skills you need to help you, or teach you, or advise you. This is a great way to make friends and build communities. Within your own circle of friends and coworkers I bet you can find an auto mechanic, a nurse, a lawyer, a seamstress, etc. Cut out the middle man. Get to know people. Save you some cash.

 

ZFH: What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest?

AFZ: Just zines and some small acrylic paintings.

 

ZFH: What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines?

AFZ: Painting, making jewelry and accessories.

 

ZFH: What is the concept behind your zine/zines?

AFZ: Whatever I think is cool in mine and my friends’ sketchbooks.

 

ZFH: How long have you been creating zines?

AFZ: 6 years.

 

ZFH: What is/are your favorite place(s) in Houston?

AFZ: The library at MFAH, the sculpture garden, the gems exhibit at Museum of natural science and The Real School in 3rd Ward.

 

ZFH: What do you think the zine/self publishing scene in Houston will be like in 20 years?

AFZ: That depends on what Houstonians want. As access to technology increases zines will become even more kitschy. In Houston where can you find zines? Who distributes them? Domy Books, Sedition Books, East Side Social Center. Those places are all gone now just because the demand is low. All types of hard copy literature are becoming obsolete. Zines may be obtained almost exclusively through online distros or maybe we’ll see zines at craft fairs or conventions. Who knows.

ZFH 2014 Interviews #10: Rough House Comics

19 Sep
Today we interview Rough House Comics, an Austin-based comics collective specializing in riso prints of their work! It is at turns surreal, obscene, hilarious, and thought-provoking stuff. Read more below!

———1399248631262—————

ZFH: How did Rough House come together? What would you say is the glue that holds the collective together in terms of style/content, if any?

RH: Rough House came together as a group of Austin cartoonists who wanted to leave their studios once in a while and engage with other artists with similar interests. Soon after, we purchased a Risograph and quickly started working on an anthology to showcase the best cartoonists we could find in town. We then starting looking beyond Austin to include quality work from both established and unknown comics artists from around the world.


ZFH: 
Why do you create zines?

RH: Books are a format that humanity has been experimenting with longer than most of the media we encounter on a daily basis. In this digital age it’s nice to experience a work of art that takes up space in the physical world. The sense of touch is more important than we give it credit for.


ZFH: 
Why do you like zines?

RH: There are no rules and they are relatively inexpensive to produce.


ZFH: 
How did you become interested in zines?

RH: 
When people think of zines they often think of black and white photocopied punk zines. While this tradition is certainly a contingent in the zine community, we came to zines from the tradition of artist books and mini-comics and that’s where our focus lies.ZFH:

What is your favorite part of zine fest?


RH: 
I attended Zine Fest in 2012 and had a great time meeting other artists and zine enthusiasts. There’s such a great sense of encouragement and community at events like this.


ZFH: 
What is something that you’re looking forward to about the 2014 Zine Fest Houston?

RH: I heard the venue is great and I can’t wait to check it out.

ZFH: What are your favorite zines/mini-comics etc.?

RH: The last few years have seen a small explosion of micro-publishers of comics. There are now dozens of comics subscription services that are usually printed, stapled, and distributed by one or two people on a very small budget. It’s great to see that the internet has only strengthened the print community. I like the work that’s being put out by Space Face, Retrofit, Oily, and Sparkplug among several others.

ZFH: What made you decide to participate in the 2014 Zine Fest Houston?

RH: We attended the MenilFest and had a great time. Everyone told us to go to Zine Fest. Houston always treats us well.
Gillian Rhodes

Gillian Rhodes

ZFH: What new projects are you working on this year?

RH: We’ll be publishing various mini-comics in the coming months including a SummerZine, some collaborative comics, and a comic by Austin artist James Roo. And we’ll hopefully have the next Rough House anthology out in the spring.


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

RH: It exists!


ZFH:
 Haha! Short and sweet. Love it. What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest?

RH: 
We will have copies of our latest anthology, Rough House 2. It contains comics from over a dozen artists. We’ll also have various mini-comics available.
ZFH: What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines?

RH: The members of our collective are individually involved in creative endeavors that range from music and painting to figure skating. Our love of comics brings us together.


ZFH: 
Why does self-publishing appeal to you?

RH: It allows you to work with minimal financial risk, which in turn allows for greater artistic freedom.


ZFH: What is the concept behind your zine/zines?

RH: We just aim to publish interesting comics. The avant-garde and slapstick comedy are equally at home on our pages.


ZFH: How long have you been creating zines?

RH: Our collective formed in 2012 but our members have been producing mini-comics for some time before that.

ZFH: What is/are your favorite place(s) in Houston?

RH: 
The Orange Show


ZFH: What do you think the zine/self publishing scene in Houston will be like in 20 years?

RH: 
Hopefully it will just continue to grow stronger and gain more visibility.

ZFH 2014 Interviews #8: Dalton Stark

15 Sep

Today’s interview features a Jurassic-sized helping of deets about Dalton Stark, illustrator and full-time dinosaur lover! Raarr

~~~**~~~**~~~**~~~**

Stark-Its a ME!

ZFH: Why do you create zines?

DS: My making of zines comes from my will to simply create cool stuff. Zines are just such a fun format to express my own silly muses in.

ZFH: Why do you like zines?

DS: I have always adored DIY style projects, and zines are a medium in which artists are really given that ideal playground to showcase ideas. Pens, printer paper, and a copy machine. Folded and stapled into sweet chocolatey goodness. Doesn’t get much better then that. I think.

ZFH: How did you become interested in zines?

DS: I made my first zine during my freshman year of college to really just amuse myself. When I showed it to my English professor, he made me informed of the entire community surrounding it, and so i decided I needed to make more and get into zine fest!

ZFH: What is your favorite part of zine fest?

DS: My favorite part of zine fest has to be being surrounded by so many brilliant creatives. Their energy is all so wonderful and being in their presence is so thrilling. I just love the people.
Stark-Lizard.paladin
ZFH: 
What is something that you’re looking forward to about the 2014 Zine Fest Houston?

DS: Im definitely looking forward to seeing all the other zinesters and their creations, and hoping mine are received genuinely as well!

ZFH: What made you decide to participate in the 2014 Zine Fest Houston?

DS: After participating in 2013, I found this was an event I had to make another appearance too!

ZFH: What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest?

DS: If everything goes well enough that I manage to complete these in time, I’ll hopefully have The Book of Dinosaur, which is essentially an illustrated dinosaur encyclopedia zine, and some sort of Pokemon zine

ZFH: What is the concept behind your zine/zines?

DS: I love drawing cartoons, and mainly just filtering reality through them. I just want to draw the world and the things that reflect my own inner child.
Stark-Time.Wizard

ZFH: What is/are your favorite place(s) in Houston?

DS: The Houston Museum of Natural Science Paleontology Hall. Oof.

ZFH: You’ve been developing a lot of new designs lately. What are your influences overall and what direction are you trying to take your work in these days?

DS: Im highly influenced by both old and new cartoons, and in saying that, Im currently just developing my portfolio so I can perhaps show it to Cartoon Network or something super sweet like that.

~~~**~~~**~~~**~~~**

Sweet! Thanks Dalton!