First timer at the East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest

I’m pretty new to making zines. Having made a couple and forced them into the hands of friends who didn’t burn them or chuck them in the trash, I wanted to venture out to the wider Bay Area zine community. The East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest (EBABZF) seemed like the ideal place to do that, given that it seemed accessible to a newbie like me and half a table was $15.

Getting a friend to go into the Berkeley Community College to drop off my registration form and money (apparently he managed to get in to the office and leave it on someone’s chair. Is that creepy? I can’t tell,) meant that I actually had to start taking this a bit seriously and getting things photocopied and put together. For a novice, this is pretty scary. How many zines are too many? What if there aren’t enough? What if NO-ONE buys them? Why does everyone get upset when you say you want to sell your zines for 50c? Also the repetitive cutting and folding void when you realize you have 24 hours before the zine fest and you’ve got 100 bits of paper to fold. Ahem.

December 8th rolled around and I found myself trying to set up half a table with an oversized rug and my weird poetry zines in the bowels of the Berkeley Community College. The EBABZF crew were really friendly and stopped by every so often to check on you, something they did throughout the day which I really appreciated. In fact, I think the guy from Rad Dad even bought one of my posters, which was an unexpected cool moment.

People were ridiculously friendly, from neighboring tables (a big shout out to Marisa de la Peña who I sat next to for the day. You should check out her stuff here: to anyone who stopped by my table for a chat. I managed to trade for a load of awesome zines and people ACTUALLY bought my zines, despite my complete lack of sales banter. I’ve noticed there are lots of people who are very good at this. I am not one of them.

Given my hyper-excitement and inability to relinquish my table to anyone for longer than 5 minutes (I was forced to take a lunch break by concerned friends. Berkeley Farmer’s Market. $8 crepes. Discuss,) I missed all of the speakers, panels and workshops. Reliable friends and housemates tell me they were excellent, especially the silk screening workshop and Adam Mansbach’s reading. I did get to have a quick wander round the other tables though and was bowled over by the amount of creative people making funny, political, thought-provoking and beautiful art.

SFZF at Treasure Island Music Festival

For those of you attending the Treasure Island Music Festival this weekend, we're happy to announce the SF Zine Fest will be hosting a Zine Reading Room (well, technically "Reading Tent") at the event. If you need a break from the sun, wind, or happen to be walking by, please stop by! The Zine Tent will have a collection of hand-crafted books, fanzines, and comics, for you to admire. Hope to see you there!

SFZF 2012 Wrap Up

Whether you were an attendee, exhibitor, or volunteer, we would like to thank everyone who participated in this year's San Francisco Zine Fest. We're happy to say that it was a huge success. Not only was it well attended, but the general vibe was warm, friendly, and it felt like a solid community. The feedback we received has been purely positive. Even though we, organizers, worked hard to put this together, our efforts are only a small part of what SF Zine Fest so amazing. Its success is truly based on the people who exhibit their work, attend our events, and volunteer their time and labor to make SFZF happen. This year has been really rewarding, and that is thanks to you.

Download the 2012 SFZF Program!

This year's Zine Fest is only a few days away and anticipation is through the roof. We want to make sure our attendees are fully prepared for all the exhibitors, panels, and workshops going down this weekend, so we're making this year's Fest program available digitally as well as in print. You can pick up a print copy at the Fest, but if you're looking for a sneak peak click the link below to start the download!

Click HERE to download the 2012 SFZF Program>>

Photo courtesy of Cindy Maram, Dig In Magazine

SF Zine Fest After Party @ Mission Comics

Celebrate the fun and excitement of the SF Zine Fest at our annual Mission Comics after party, happening Saturday September 1st, at 7pm!

Mix and mingle with some of the Bay Area's most talented creators and meet the team that makes the Zine Fest happen. There will be food, drinks, and even a few DIY-themed party games where you can win some seriously cool prizes.

Don't forget to join the event on Facebook, and as always, admission is FREE!

Cartoon Carousel: A Cartoonist Slideshow Reading

The SF Zine Fest and The Cartoon Art Museum are proud to present Cartoon Carousel: A Cartoonist Slideshow Reading, at the Cartoon Art Museum on August 30th, from 7pm to 9pm.

A diverse lineup of small-press cartoonists will read from their respective works, accompanied by a special Keynote presentation. The lineup, consisting of artists exhibiting at this year’s SF Zine Fest, consists of Eli Bishop, Amy Martin, Gabrielle Gamboa, Ric Carrasquillo and this year's SFZF special guest, Sarah Oleksyk. The suggested donation for this event is $5, although no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Zinester Spotlight: Gabrielle Gamboa

The greatest thing about conventions is that they bring artists together. And these artists are not only talented craftsmen, they are also amazing individuals. Gabrielle Gamboa is no exception. I had the privilege of meeting her at the Latino Comic Expo, when she and I were on a Zine panel, alongside Jaime Crespo. Honestly, I don't know why I was asked to be on that panel, because my knowledge and experience with comics and zines paled by comparison, and I had little to add to that conversation, so I ended up asking them more questions than the audience did. How could I not? I wanted to know everything about these artists.

Gabrielle talked about her love for music, and how she stumbled into Punk fanzines in the late 80s. She "fell in love with the immediacy of zine publishing, and the intimacy of being a zine reader," so she created her own. Gabrielle became a part of the Puppy Toss Comics publishing collective in the early 90s. She hasn't stopped creating comic zines since then. I am always deeply moved and entertains when I read her zines. Her work has a strong narrative aspect to it. The visual work only makes her story-telling stronger. She takes people, and all of the things she loves - music, film, literature - and packs it into a tight little 24 page package. Each page is so rich, that words and images will stay with you throughout the day.

What roles do music and literature play in your creative projects?

Older generations had mythology. Since the advent of mass media, we have pop culture. I have absorbed and synthesized the media I grew up with into my own personal narratives. In some ways, all of that is just as real to me as events that happened in my life. I was also a library nerd who would spend all summer gorging on novels. When the dvd happened, I became that way with movies instead. I don’t think it’s laziness, I just think that to a visual person like me, cinema is very seductive.

Your characters vary from teenage rock stars to writers. How do you choose the people and stories you want to illustrate?

When I find myself thinking constantly about an idea, I know I need to make it happen. Other times, I just work with whatever obsessions I am geeking out on at the time. I think I choose to focus on creative people for characters because I can relate to them. I also find that the older I get, the more I enjoy narratives about the creative process, so my work deals with that topic more and more.

One of your zines, Miss Lonely Hearts, is based on Nathanael West's novel. Why did you choose this novel?

I adore this novel because it asks the big existential questions, offers no real answers, and yet is darkly funny. I find it comforting. To adapt it into a comic, I have to remove or reinterpret West’s stunning prose. That is just the nature of the medium.

What is your current project?

I am continuing to adapt and publish Miss Lonelyhearts chapter by chapter. I am also working on an original graphic novel, the most ambitious project I’ve ever taken on, which is both exhilarating and terrifying.

What do you like most about SF Zine Fest?

I love the sense of community and collaboration that Zine Fest creates. This is something we could have only dreamed of back in the Factsheet Five days. Factsheet Five was a zine from the 1980's and 90's that reviewed zines and gave contact information on where to get them. It was one of the few ways to find out about new zines in the pre-internet days. Getting your zine listed in it was key in those days. The bad part is that there is so much great quality stuff at Zine Fest that I can’t buy it all. But I’ll probably still try.

To check out more of Gabrielle's work, make to visit her online at:

SFZF is also happy to announce that Gabrielle will be at the Cartoon Art Museum this Thursday, August 23rd for the Latino Comics Expo's "Noche de Latinas." We hope to see you there!

The SFZF Countdown Begins!

We're less than two weeks away from the 2012 SF Zine Fest and things are gearing up to make this our best year yet. If you haven't already, make sure to check out our Exhibitors and Panels & Workshops to see all the fun that's in store.

For now, we leave you with a little special something...our flyer for this year's show, designed by our very own Ric Carrasquillo!

Zinester Spotlight: Caroline Saddul

Caroline Saddul takes adults challenges but eliminates their seriousness. Her designs explore the themes of gender roles and relationships, with a child-like curiosity and sense of humor. Caroline will juxtapose the image of a girl, shouting, with that of a dinosaur’s roar. Her cards vary from cute dogs to bloody monsters, who declare their love for you. This variety of images and styles covers all range of emotions. Over all, Caroline Saddul’s work manifests courage, and it invites you to laugh at adulthood and all its expectations. Here is what Caroline has to say about her art.

How would you describe what you do and the work you produce?

I'm a graphic designer who loves creating artwork that combines my love of whimsical monsters, animals and pattern.

Why did you name your line "Dolls and Monsters?"

I named my card line Dolls and Monsters because to me they are recognizable childhood symbols that evoke both fear and pleasure. “Dolls,” for me, refer to three different things: scary female effigies, the female sex symbol/standard of beauty imposed on all women, and the particular gendered pleasure of beauty and femininity.

As I get older I’ve become more aware of ideas of beauty and the power of female sex symbols. This part of “dollness” is my acknowledgment of the commodification of female bodies as objects for visual pleasure. The figure of the female form as a spectacle for an erotic gaze carries with it both power and danger.

As an adult woman I have learned to accept the joy I derive from wearing makeup, adorning myself with feminine accouterments, and other traditionally feminine things (sensitivity towards others, compassion and love towards the unloved) as something not diametrically opposed to my deep sense of feminism and humanist activism.

What are you trying to communicate through your zines, art, website and other designs?

Through my card line I wanted to introduce a space where the joyful aspects of adulthood can marry with the happy silly parts of childhood. I want to combine my particular conception of childhood glee with adult understanding. This means beloved characters—like animals, for example—but in silly, adult environments that reflect the culture around me.

How did you get into independent publishing, art and the like?

I was inspired by the Comics Factory in Pasadena, Southern California. Comic artists would go in and out and mingle and chat with comics fans, and it sparked within me a joy for not just the art work, but also the people. I grew up loving Tintin, The Spirit, and the comics section of the LA Times, and Betty and Veronica. As I got older I discovered and became a fan of graphic novels by Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise), the Hernandez Brothers (Love and Rockets), and the incredible Julie Doucet. My dear friend Leo introduced me to the Zine scene in SF and the East Bay. His zines, his introductions to friendly people in the scene, as well as his encouragement gave me the courage to get involved.

What is your current project?

I am currently working on my zine "Naks Naman! #1" which is a Tagalog expression that means, "How impressive." It's meant to be cheeky. It refers to my particular kind of goofiness, and is also a nod at my cultural background. Filipino sense of humor can have a really wonderful corniness that I really appreciate and love.

What is your favorite thing about the SF Zine Fest?

I enjoy the opportunity to meet wonderful artists, discover their artwork, and the opportunity for all of us to get-together and celebrate the diversity of talent and backgrounds in the Bay Area.

Where can people find you?

My Dolls and Monsters blog is