DIY or Die: A Richmond Zine Fest Review
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In a crowded room full of creative freaks, geeks, hippies, hipsters, couch surfers, leather tramps, communists, visual artists, poets, queers, transsexuals, transvestites, radical mental health advocates, anarchists, and…um, am I forgetting anyone?–oh yeah, I forgot vegans–how do you stand out? What can be done to draw people in and get them to at least acknowledge your presence and if you’re lucky, look at the ephemera you’re offering for sale or for swap?
Do you bring a pretty pregnant woman, about to pop, dressed in purple? Do you grow a giant coppery beard the color of some fabled dragon what lives in a volcano? Perhaps cat ears will look cute, especially if only one ear is perked. Would colorful signs help? A nice smile? Maybe a demonic glint in the eye?
Last time I reported on the Richmond Zine Fest was from the point of view of an attendee and this is what I had to say about it. Obviously I enjoyed myself enough to return as a tabler and I give many thanks to those who made it possible, the organizers, the attendees, the other tablers. This was the most fun I’d had in a long time.
My second time at the Richmond Zine Fest, I represented the astonishing, astounding, amazing ArmzRace. Available were copies of almost all the books we’ve each created in our centuries-long history (Take that Marvel and DC!):
- Cheap Shots
- ABCs of the USA
- Angels and Amphibians (clearly our best seller)
- Why My life Sucks
- Why My Life Still Sucks
- Gags: Bound
- Tales of a Fish Whisperer (with color!)
- Booty Call (our actual best seller–hey, sex sells, even bad sex)
This past year was a blast. I was anxious about getting set up, yet left half hour later than I planned, on a near empty tank of gas, having driven from Long Island and stopping in Manhattan to pick up a bunch of books from Mark!, which meant double-parking on Lexington Ave. after circling Mark!’s block about three times trying to find parking.
For some reason, my escape from New York via the Holland Tunnel kept me on Lexington for most of the drive, which sucked for the first twenty or thirty blocks and if I was lucky, I made two streets per light change, but once I hit the top of Midtown, I flew, which was odd, because I’d have thought Midtown would be packed a lot more than uptown. Anyhow…
Having tabled, I learned a few things that might make the next event better:
- A black tablecloth with the ArmzRace logo spray painted in white, using a stencil. I want that DIY look.
- Attractive signs advertising our freebies
- More sexy bearded men with cat ears
- Silk-screened or otherwise color covers that attract attention
- More sex. Booty Call moved the best, possibly because it’s sexy and also because some people expressed interest in swapping or buying from the creator(s) who were actually there, though I expressed that Mark! and Cej would have been there if they could.
I did my best to always be at the table when visitors were around, but otherwise got to visit almost every table in the joint and swapped with a huge number of people, using mostly Booty Call since I’m not comfortable swapping Mark!’s and Cej’s stuff. I realize I should get over that so I can get them more awesome stuff!
Not that I could afford to, but I think I spent about $96.00 on comics and zines in additional to all that I managed to swap for.
- Pornopticon 2 – Cyberpunk Apocalypse – website
- You Are Not Alone (In Feeling Alone) – Mara Hyman – Tumblr
- A Zine About Billy: A Story of a Story – Danny Mae
- Minutiae 2: Wandering Sweet Pea – Aijung Kim – website
- Keller – Gary Llama – website
- In-Between – Aijung Kim (this is some good stuff)
- LIPS: Expressions of Female Sexuality: The Power Issue (from people at William and Mary College) – website
- LIPS Richmond 2: The Monster Issue – Various – Facebook
- Walking the Edge of Insanity – Sacha Scatter
- Unraveling the Bio-Psychiatric Knot: A Future History of the Radical Mental Health Movement – Sascha Altman DuBrul AKA Sascha Scatter – Facebook
- Unicorn Poop 5: The Sexy Time Issue – Elizabeth Raines et al. – no website
- Unsure what this one is called (no, this is not its name)
- Discomfort: One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Zine: A Collection of Found Things – Dave Gunn – Facebook – Etsy
- Unsure what this one is called also (again, not its name) – D – actualize.the.collapse (at) gmail.com
- Smash the Pastryarchy – Kara – Etsy – (a gift for the zinester author of Dangerous Compassions)
- Mr. Sqibbley’s Pooch: Fang – Eric Gordon – inkblotto (at) gmail.com
- Full Sanction – Rusty Rowley and Joe Mochove – Full Sanction website
- Fuck You: Pictures from the Heart – Kseniya Yarosh – website
- Dino Docs – Rusty (Rowley?)
- Culture Vulture – Eric Gordon – Big Hand Comics – Mobius Studios
- Candy or Medicine 4 and 13 – Various – website
- All in Danger Now – Rusty Rowley and Joe Mochove – Full Sanction
- Animated Dog Breath – Eric Gordon – Big Hand Comics – blog
- Nielzine 77 – Scribd
- Wayward, Mildred Pierce – Leeyanne Moore (writer) & Liz Vaughan-Mead (visual artist)
- Marvel Vs. DC – Oura
- Fanciest Lumps: Letting Go – Mark Delboy
- Unfed – Mark Delboy – website
- Portraits #1 (One-of-a-kind cover) – Stephanie Kwak – website
- Oh No, Oh My: A Collection of Emails – Kseniya Yarosh
- Ninja Force – Oura Sananikone – EastCoast Comix
- East Coast Comix #1 – Various and Oura – Myspace
- Crazed Mazes #2 12-Page Preview – Myron Smith – on WeMakeZines
- Attitude Adjustment: On Being CRAZY in a Crazy World… – Distro?
Even the Business Cards Are Cool, and Some Stickers!
Some were free, some were bought: stickers! I really like the Icarus Project sticker and bought a second one for a friend. And there were some free, cool business cards!
Wheelin’ and Dealin’
And then, at the end of the show I went to the table for the publisher Adhouse Books and most of the following zines and comix came from a huge printer-paper box they had. The man said to make him an offer and so I did and that meant the box was mine. I also bought a Johnny Hiro TPB was only five dollars and a bunch of normal-sized comics they had in a dollar box. I think I made out well, though oddly found one of the ArmzRace freebies in the box, probably got from the “free” table.
I did give Adhouse rep. Chris Pitzer copies of Angels, Fish Whisperer, Apokalips, Booty Call, Why My Life Sucks and Why My Life Still Sucks, hoping he might want to publish some of our stuff. Yeah.
Some Over-sized Comix
- Tarot Rizers – Alex Avery – Capsule Comics
- Slurricane 2 – Will Laren – website/Blog
- Sick and Tired or maybe Funnies, Vol. 5 – Charlie Fogel – Myspace
- RIA: Cyber-Smasher – Alex Avery
- Funny Kung Fu 1 – Jake Bornyasz and Alex Avery
- Fire ‘N Brimstone – Alex Avery
- Dirtman -Special Issue 1 and 2 – Sam, Matt, and Alex Avery
- Circulating Drafts – Alexander Rothman – website
- Public Education – Jon O. – website
Standard DIY Size Comix
- Led By a Madman – Vi Cao – randomperson89 (at) gmail.com
- Incomplete Breakfast Comics – Caitlin Bridges – Tumblr
- I’ll Take You To the Moon And Leave You There 1 – Skuds McKinely – website
- I Don’t Get It – Vi Cao
- The Downward Spirals – John Simcoe
- Howdy Pardner – Andrew Brandou – Virtu Art Gallery
- Decorum – Ed Choy Moorman – website
- Comic Book Previews – Michelle Nunnely – website
- Cartoon Delia 1 – Johandson – blog (in foreign tongues)
- Black Star 5 – Jeff Zwirek – website
- Jeremy, Carol, Danny – Lizz Hickey – homepage -
- Space Jam – Ian Jay – website
- The Song of Otto 1, 2 – Frank Fiorentino – blog & Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer – website
- Social Insect – Adam Meuse – meausetrap (at) yahoo.com
- Sketch Charlottle: Free Comic Book Day Anthology – editors Seth Peagler & Heather McKinney – blog
- Rangda : The Witch Queen of Bali – Keny Widjaja – website
- Puppyteeth: A Collection of Short Comics – editors Kevin Czapiewski & Liz Suburbia – website
- The Pistoleers 2 – Dan Nokes – website
- Introducing Parly Pork – Rellie Brewer & Harrison Stewart
- Now in Lemon – website
- Michael LaVelle Sketchbook – DeviantArt
- Mailroom – Rebecca Mock – blog
- My Every Single Thought: What I Think About Being Single – Corinne Mucha – website
- Leper – Jeff Zwirek
Seriously, it was a great deal!
- Imaginary Monsters – Peter Lazarski – website
- Gimmick Illustrated 1 – Jason Little – website
- Rocking So Hard – Shannon Smith – website
- Instances – Tom Galambos – Sequential Tart
- Badman’s Cave – Derik Badman – website
- The Apocrypha of Amelia – Amelia Onorato
- Prison for Bitches – Various – website
- Vacation 1, 2 – Daryl Seitchik – website
- The Travelers Garden – Saul Zimet – saulmz (at) gmail.com
- Tom Huck: A Life Out of Line – Kevin McClosky – website
- Siamese Grandson and Other Stories – Danny Mac or Daniel Patrick McCloskey via Cyberunk Apocalypse (sort of?)
- Red Lighter – John Simcoe
- Mermin – Joey Weiser – website
- Grixly 18 and 19 – Nate McDonough – Facebook (for the comic)
- Sketches of Fishtown Vols. 1 and 2 – Jeffro Kilpatrick and Sean Gallagher – blog
- Simple Routines 13 – JP Coovert – website
- Scurds & They – website
- Hamster Blues – John Simcoe – website
- The Enigama of Dr. Longsnout – Danny Mac – via Cyberpunk Apocalypse
- Dog Comix 6 & 1/2, 7 – Gary Fields – website
- Black Hole Brains 2 – Lady Dorian – DeviantArt
- Bears in Space – Nate McDonough & Danny Mac – via Cyberpunk Apocalypse
- The Adventures of Queen Christina 6 – Amelia Onorato – website
- Monster Isle: Big Monster Stuff – Joey Weiser – website
Some were from the dollar box, some were from the big box
- Too many to list right now
- Our Lady of Sweet Revenge – Joy Taney – Facebook
- Too many more to list right now
Some Trade Paperbacks included in the box (not pictured) were:
- Witchblade: Witchhunt – meh!
- Top Cow Holiday Special/Jingle Belle: Grounded Flipbook
- Dark Age: Book 01: Dominion
I’d also bought Nate Beaty‘s BFF: Brainfag Forever, which I found to be OK, but fairly typical of autobiographical comix, in that I could handle only so much at a time before wanting to scream.
While I didn’t have much time to focus on this, I did get two awesome sketches, the first from Dave Gunn and the latter from Oura and I appreciate these immensely because they are awesome, but even more than that, because these two individuals went above and beyond to take the time to do this for me:
Yes, that is a semi-filled condom the pigeon is thinking about while reading some silly comic. Moo? Awesomely funny!
Thank you, awesome artists!
And this concludes our broadcast. Stay tuned for reviews of each item pictured here!