Wednesday, September 13, 2017

SF Zinefest 2017

The weekend before last Connor and I went to San Francisco Zine Fest. I'd been trying to go for years, but something always came up. Last year we went to Joe and Emily's wedding. The year before that I realized it had passed exactly one day after it had happened. This year there was nothing standing in my way.

For those of you who don't know what a zine is, it is typically a little self-published magazine someone has made using a copy machine. (I guess there is some controversy over whether or not a book made using a printer or publisher counts. Most of the books we saw had previously been in zine form or on the internet, so the book was more of a compilation.) Zines can be about literally anything. It might have essays on someone's opinion on carrot juice or just have photos of socks. Connor said that if it were possible to walk into the internet, zinefest would be the closest to that experience.

We weren't sure what to expect at zinefest, but after walking into the building the event we were handed a map and wandered our way into the reading room. The reading room had a ton of zines that anyone was welcome to sit down and read.
This is maybe and eighth of what was available to read

Most of the zines in the reading room were from past years and weren't available any more. I took a picture of this one so I could look up the author later, but out turned out that he was tabling and had this for sale.

There was so much to do and see, I'll admit I got rather overwhelmed. I did get to see two people I knew who were tabling: Maia Kobabe and Amy Watson. Maia Kobabe writes fantastic comics about gender identity. I've learned quite a few things, including gender neutral pronouns. (E, em, eir in place of he/she, him/her, their.) Amy Watson is the woman behind 1984 printing. She is the one who printed Lit Knits.

We did come away with some treasures. There were so many different types of zines, but I was more in the mood for comic books.
The top two books are by Andy Warner. I really love his command of the medium, but also I'm a sucker for histories of things you might encounter in every day life. I had heard of his Brief Histories book, but also picked up When We Were Kids just to give it a read. I asked Andy how he ended up making a whole book on everyday objects and he said he had drawn about ten of them, but wasn't getting paid, so he quit. He had made them into a zine and sent them to various comic stores. It just so happened that someone from Picador (the publisher of the book) went into one of these shops, picked up the zine, and loved it so much he asked Andy if he'd like to make a whole book on the topic. Andy said yes. He said it really was an out-of-the-blue opportunity as he hadn't drawn that series for two years at the time of the offer.
We also picked up Liz Prince's book Be Your Own Backing Band. It is a collection of music-related diary comics that had originally been in Razorcake. I really like her comedic timing in her comics.
Finally, we found Slices, by Jaime Crespo. Slices has 40 1-page vignettes of different people who Jaime has run into in his life. He sure has met crazy people!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some more comics to read.


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