Creator Q+A | ButterSword

Throughout the month leading up the the SFZF we will be running daily mini-profiles of some of the many zinesters, cartoonists, and other creative types who make the Zine Fest what it is. Today's creators are MC and Jen Miller of ButterSword. Stay tuned for more!

Q. When did you create your first zine or similar project? Can you describe it for us? When you look back, are you proud, embarrassed, both?
A. MC suffered from a lifetime of non-completion. After years upon years of unfinished comics, games, bands, films, and/or any other artistic pursuit, money scheme, or combination of both, MC finally took one of his abandoned webcomics and with it made his first zine in 2001. It was actually a pretty good zine about a band of drugged-out nerds and their misadventures. It was loosely based on a gimmick band that he played the drums in called, The Geeks. After the luck of his first zine being pretty ok, popular, and well selling, MC went on to make many very lousy zines that no one liked. When he looks back on his first zine, The Geeks, he still thinks it was a good zine.

Jen co-created her first zine in 2007. It was called, Helicopter Arms and was comprised of comics made by her and a friend. Most of the comics were lighthearted jokes with a few repeating characters; a spoon, a mosquito and a squirrel. However, like MC's comics the pages were also riddled with adult language. It was due to this zine that MC and Jen were able to meet at her first DIY/small-press event and trade zines. When Jen revisits Helicopter Arms, she isn't very proud of it. In fact, she cringes when MC gets nostalgic and pulls it off the bookcase.

Q. What is your all-time favorite zine/comic/etc (by someone other than you)?
A. Long ago, MC ordered The Haunted House Handbook by Shawne Baines from the classified section of Fangoria magazine. It turned out to be a zine. It was a great zine.

Q. What would you like to see more of in the small-press world?
A. We'd like to see zines be more available. Every independent business across the nation with seating or a waiting room should have at least a small zine rack.
Q. If you could give advice to an aspiring DIY creator, what would it be? What advice do you wish you had gotten when you were starting out?
A. As far as advice, MC thinks had anyone ever bothered to give it, he wouldn't have listened. So he'd rather not give it either. Just go for it. You'll figure it out in some way. Be influenced by yourself, otherwise you'll be an imitator. And after all, that's what zines are all about anyway.

Jen's advice to someone making a zine would be to really view every page in your zine as valuable real estate. Zines can get expensive to make the more pages there are, and that becomes a bigger problem the more zines you make.

Q. What subjects do you wish there were more zines about?
A. More informational zines and entertainment zines please. We grow weary of the perzine and poetry zine trend. This is opinion. Many are quite popular.

10. In addition to the kind of work you will be showing at Zine Fest, what other creative pursuits do you have? Hobbies? Passions?
10. In addition to their webcomic ButterSword, MC and Jen also create a second comic for Vegan Mainstream called Plant Life. Aside from all this drawing, zine and game creation, and the making of grab bags, MC and Jen find the time for gardening, unusual home improvement projects, biking, hiking, knitting (Jen), scavenging for curbside treasure on bulky trash days, learning basic carpentry, and dealing with those damn day jobs.

Q. What are you working on now? What are you gonna do next?
A. Currently we are making preparations for our 2010 late summer zine tour. We'll be tabling in Portland and Dallas as well as San Francisco. After those thirty days of for what is to us a vacation, we'll return to ButterSword, and we'll have to learn how to draw again. Hopefully it won't take as long as it did the first time.