Creator Q+A | Melaina Comics

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 creator is Melaina of Melaina Comics. Stay tuned for more!

Q. What inspired you to get into small-press/DIY publishing?
A. I first got into DIY publishing when I moved from the East coast to San Francisco *gasp* 11 years ago. I was struggling with finding a way to keep in touch with the friends I was leaving behind. Rather than write a boring form letter, I decided to start publishing zines with short stories from my life. The first several zines I published contained prose, collage and photography. At the same time I was self-publishing these zines, I was hanging out with my friend MariNaomi in her art studio, where we'd paint together. She noticed that I enjoyed telling stories from my life and enjoyed creating visual art and suggested I put the two together and start making comics.

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. The first comic I published was technically back in the second grade and was called "The Shy Boy Moved In." However, I only made a single copy of that one (fortunately for the rest of the world). My first zine intended for an audience outside of my family was written in 2002 and was called "Buttman III." No, there was not a Buttman I nor a Buttman II. I liked leaving a bit of mystery by starting with 3. I thought it was pretty good at the time, but I recently reread it and immediately hid it away on a shelf, where no one could find it.

Q. In addition to the kind of work you will be showing at Zine Fest, what other creative pursuits do you have? Hobbies? Passions?
A. In addition to the creative work that I will be showing at ZineFest (my comics), I also enjoy swing dancing and knitting. My comics are autobiographical or memoir style and I've also been working on what I call "Autobiographical Art" where I've been taking pages out of my high school diaries and turning them into collages or origami. I may bring some of that stuff to ZineFest this year, too.

Q. What are you working on now? What are you gonna do next?
A. Right now, I'm working on a comic called "Crash Course," which is about my attempt to learn how to drive again after taking public transit for 10 years. I'm hoping to have it done in time for ZineFest. Cross your fingers!