Tag Archives: houston

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.
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.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 #17: Shane Patrick Boyle

16 Oct

Shane Patrick Boyle Image 1We 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.

Shane Patrick Boyle Image 2ZFH: 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.

Shane Patrick Boyle Image 3ZFH: 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!

ZFH 2015 Interview #16: Misha Storm

16 Oct

Misha Storm ImageMisha Storm runs Storm Press and will be debuting a new issue of Houston Histories at Zine Fest Houston this year! Read on to find out more about her work.

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

Misha Storm: Hi. I’m Misha Storm. I run Storm Press, am an archivist, make stuff, cook stuff, garden, and love my cat, Jojo. Storm Press is mostly Houston Histories, but I’ve started to expand into other series. At ZFH 2015 I will have five volumes of Houston Histories. Volumes 1-4 cover The Woodland Heights, Sixth Ward, Freedmen’s Town, and The Montrose, respectively. Volume 5 will be just finished and will cover Second Ward. Each zine tells the history of a Houston neighborhood via the histories of historic structures in the area. I will also have the first issues of two new series: Backyard Harvests and Lady Makers. Backyard Harvests is all about gardening! The first issue of Backyard Harvests covers Houston Fall Veggies, some of which can still be planted in late October, so if it is picked up at Zine Fest the instructions can be used right away! Lady Makers is all about women artists. The first issue is The Weaving Edition. It covers female textile artists, starting in the early 20th century and moving into contemporary art. All of these goodies can be found at www.mkt.com/storm-press

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

MS: I know that the “digital world” can cause a great deal of nostalgia for simpler times and physical objects, but I think when it comes to zines it is a beautiful thing. I’ve been able to access zines through a PDF and print them at home for myself. How cool is that? Zine making is such a specific niche that I don’t think we will lose the value of the physical handmade object as we expand into digital venues. I definitely welcome both the old and new school zine makers.

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?

MS: I am on the cusp of being a BB born in the tech age. While my entire adult life has been spent with computers, the Internet, and cellphones, I do remember the days before these things were ever-present. Let me put it this way – I played Oregon Trail on a 5 inch floppy and did not have a smartphone to rely on for a subway schedule when I took my first “adult” trip to New York City. My zine making started late in life when I was already a Photoshop Kung-Fu Master and completely dependent on my iPhone, but I still made me first zine the old way with my scissors, glue stick, and photocopier at work because quite frankly, I had been reading a whole lot about Kathleen Hanna and wanted to make zines the same way the Riot Grrrls made them in the 90s. My history of being interested in punk rock and DIY art movements like Dada gives me a love of the old school collage aesthetic. That said, today all of my zines are designed via the computer and then lovingly folded, stapled and trimmed while watching Seinfeld. That’s the beauty of making zines in 2015, you can easily tiptoe between both the analog and digital worlds.

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

MS: The Internet.

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

MS: The Internet.

ZFH: How will you best honor our cyber overlords?

MS: My presence is an honor.

Thank you, Misha!  We really dig your Houston Histories zines.  Glad that you’ll be a part of the fest again this year!

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 2015 Interview #14: Dakota Cates aka Wizard of Barge

14 Oct

Dakota Cates ImageDakota Cates, also known as Wizard of Barge, conjures up monsters and ghouls to take over the world. Check out his Etsy store for prints and original art. He talks to us about his new zine below!

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

Dakota Cates: I’m an artist from Houston/Austin areas who goes by the name Wizard of Barge. Weird monsters, pop culture nostalgia, and a bad sense of humor is what I’m all about! I just came out with a zine called Oddballs, it’s kind of like people watching at a mall in another dimension.

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

DC: Zines are awesome, it’s just another DIY way of showing your work, there’s no rules you just make whatever you want, and the last few years they’ve been getting a lot more popularity.

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?

DC: I’m STILL learning all of this digital stuff. It’s a pain, I wish I could just download it into my head, cause that’s how technology works right?

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

DC: Probably the smartphone, social media plays a huge part on getting your art out there, it’s too convenient.

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

DC: For sure the selfie stick, those things suck.

ZFH: How will you best honor our cyber overlords?

DC: Hours and hours of eye strain!!!

Many thanks, Dakota…oops, Wizard of Barge! So great that you can join us at Zine Fest Houston this year!