Tag Archives: True Artist Tales

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!

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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.
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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.
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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.
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