Eugene hosted the Euzine Comics and Zine Fest on Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Broadway Commerce Center. This is the first year for the fest. The Commerce Center was at maximum capacity with 50 publisher tables. Zine is a catch-all term for a self-published booklet that usually includes non-mainstream stories or information.
“I love that zines can be anything,” Euzine festival organizer Jamie Walsh said. “This is our first year and we see this fest growing.”
Many elements associated with production were on hand — screen printing, button making, stickers, patch making and general do-it-yourself (DIY) publishing. Most are produced, published and distributed by one person, though some very well known zines are community projects. The typical asking price is about $1 – $5, but fan communities are heavily into trading with many distributed freely as a community service.
“It stems from this very accessible and inexpensive means to communicate,” Walsh, whose favorite local zine is titled “Tectonic Jelly,” said.
“For years I was sort of known as the zine-ster of Eugene,” Lane graduate Sage Liskey said. But he hopes that reputation will fade now that other people are producing locally. Liskey showcased a number of his own titles like “You are a Great and Powerful Wizard” and “A Truthagandist Primer.”
“The Eugene zine scene was surprisingly very small but through this event I’m excited about it growing,” Liskey said.
He produces booklets about political organizing, activism and mental health and creates about 20-30 of each zine for festivals. While he has attended the Olympia and Los Angeles festivals, Liskey hopes to one day attend the Chicago zinefest.
“I have an old ‘90s gigantic robot printer that is excellent. Old technology really does the job,” Liskey said.
Printed zines face challenges from the internet but purists still talk about the desire for people to hold something in their hands.
Zine culture has a long history with punk rock and radical politics but Walsh has noticed more variety lately.
“People are taking zines in different directions and I see a lot of variation now,” Walsh said.
“I think that there is going to be a deeper interest in the alternative, the radical, in direct action and in so many forms of protest and self-expression,” Liskey said about America‘s shifting political climate and whether it will cause a zine resurgence. Walsh says that there was a waiting list for tables at this year’s festival and she hopes to organize an even bigger event next year.