Sunday, December 09, 2007



San Francisco Zine Fest 2007 was held back at the beginning of October, but I hadn't made time to blog about it until now. SF Zine Fest is an annual gathering of indie/self-published zines covering comics, art, poetry, etc. It's like Alternative Press Expo but without such a heavy focus on hand-knitted wallets, Ugly Dolls and bigger publishers. This year it was held October 5-6 in my neighborhood, less than two blocks away, so I stopped by a few times to see friends and prowl for cool new zines.

(Click image above for the full details of the event)

Overall, the number of exhibitors at the event was pretty small (and a good chunk were selling lame/shoddy books I wasn't into...) BUT I managed to snatch up a batch of really great ziness for a small amount of money. Like APE, it's also a great chance to see friends and scope out new cartoonists that haven't YET gotten as much recognition as they deserve.

I didn't want to feel like a totally uncreative/useless loser, so I left about 20 copies of a minizine I threw together last month called YOUR SEAT IS MY BEHIND on the free table, and was happy to see them all picked up. (That mini is a compilation of self-introductions written in English by my Japanese high school classmates, from back when I was 16 and lived in Saitama for a summer).


The view from above. Not a lot of exhibitors total, but tons of gems mixed in with the crap.

Me, Jason Shiga, Derek Kirk Kim

Jason is excited about something. I learned that SF would be losing DKK to Portland :(

Jenn and Hellen Jo checking out the Sparkplug Comic Books table.


I'd met Calvin previously when he dropped by our group table at APE 2007. I knew he was a cool dude, but I didn't put it together that he's an illustrator and cartoonist until seeing his stuff at zine fest. I don't know how I missed him, but he is a guy that you need to check out.

I bought the first two issues of the comics zine Ortolan (edited by Robert Syrett and includes collected drawings and strips by their group of friends) along with a beautiful screenprint. There is something really natural about Calvin's lines that make them poignant and direct but not twee. Here is what the print looks line in my growing hallway of dorky coolness:

On Calvin's section of the XIP.NU collective site, you can sample two of his comics from Ortolan, called Simple Humble Neighborhood and Holy Shit It's The Future. These two are probably my favorite comics I discovered this year-- no joke!

Also, Calvin's done an insane illustration of Gargamel especially for Electric Ant #1... it's not to be missed!


Estrus Comics 5 is out-- in a new format for this all kissing edition. A supremely fascinating and charming read. One of Mari's first kiss comics will be featured in Electric Ant #1! What else can I say about this?--- Mari's comics are great so just go freaking buy it now, okay?


Papercutter is a relatively new comics zine from Tugboat Press, and each issue features 3 short-to-medium stories. The stories have ranged from impressive to somewhat mundane, but every comic is presented in a detailed, well-designed manner.

Notable comics include a Mourning Star side story by Kaz, a charming collaboration by my friends Laura Park & Julia Wertz, and some shorts by Vanessa Davis, Liz Prince and others. The look and feel of PAPERCUTTER is basically what a comics zine should aspire to, and I'm definitely gonna pick up the older issues (along with upcoming issue 7).

BLUEFUZZ the Hero by Jesse Reklaw

A fantastic short comic, mixing a sortof epic fantasy story around the dim-witted Bluefuzz. Like LOTR-meets-The Odyssey but with a goofy blue guy with an overbite at the center of it all.

The cover was hand-painted onto a scrap of wallpaper sample, and mixed throughout the B&W book are color pages with children's storybook paintings of Bluefuzz. SO RAD!

ART BUREAU 13 & 14
An art/interview zine edited and published by by Bert Benson.

Featuring Kyle Pellet, Swamp Donkey, and others.

I heard that SF ZINEFEST may be held again in late Spring 2008, to fill in the gap by Alternative Press Expo being moved back until November. It'd be tight to have a chance to pick up new stuff, see friends and hand sell Electric Ant #1!


Cal said...

Thanks for the shout out Ryan, my print sure looks surprisingly decent on your wall, I must say. Good call on the green frame!

Estrus Comics and Bluefuzz are some of my favorites from this year.

SFZF Team said...

Hey, so glad you picked up some cool stuff... I was really into a bunch the same stuff last year!

Just to mention it, the Zine Fest will be held this year on July 19 + 20 at the SF County Fair Building! We are super excited!