Amidst the the profound event of our election there has been another something on my mind. I occasionally go through phases where I am obsessed with zines, whether making my own or collecting them by others. I have hundreds of zines since I started making and taking them in 2002.
This past Sunday I went to APE (the Alternative Press Expo) in San Francisco to buy comics and zines from small and independent publishers. I brought along 10 copies each of my recently published zines hoping to give some away. I never would have guessed that I would have gotten so much mileage out of them.
I totally dorked out and gave a set to Jaime Hernandez. Jaime is one of the artists of Love and Rockets and the single largest artistic influence I’ve ever had. I actually chickened out the first time I went to give them to him; just asking him to sign my Love and Rockets graphic novel instead. I finally ended up working up the courage to do it and confessed my shyness as I handed them over to him. Jaime was totally cool and happily took my zines. I dorked out similarly with Keith Knight but I was able to play it cool and have a great conversation with him. I’ve been reading Keith’s comics and listening to his group The Marginal Prophets since I was a freshman in high school. I never actually mentioned to Keith that the very first sentence of Peligroso Pop lists his autobiographical comics as the primary inspiration for its creation. Hopefully it’ll be a nice surprise to him if he reads it.
I was totally shocked that I was able to trade my zines for other people’s zines and comics. While wandering the many tables at APE my eye was caught by a zine called Tortilla. Being a Tortilla Artist myself, I quickly chatted up its creator Jaime Crespo. We hit it off and I was able to trade my zines for copies of his books Tortilla and Slices.
Sometime later I ran into Marcy Voyevod, one of the artists in the Day of the Dead exhibit I curated this year at SomArts. It turns out her daughter Sophie Elliot was at APE with a table for her latest work A Door in the Swamp. Sophie’s art in the book is amazing and if anyone come across a copy of the comic I hope you snatch it up. I scored again when Sophie traded me the first two issues of A Door in the Swamp for my zines.
A few minutes later I ran into my homegirl MariNaomi on the floor of the expo. I’ve always met Mari when I never have any zines so I was excited to finally share my work with her. I gave her my last copy of Peligroso Pop and she was totally kind and ran over to her table and gave me the fourth issue of Estrus Comics.
I left APE with a new sense of confidence about my work. I had gone through a three year dry period of not producing any zines and these two books were my chance to get back in the game. So far the reaction has been really great, especially with the Ghetto Frida Reader. There’s an energy of renewal in the air and it’s motivating me to work on more zines and comics. More to come!