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Posted on Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Dave! Since I have never even attended a "zine show" I'm a little nervous about exhibiting at the Portland Zine Symposium this weekend. Part of the problem has to do with a sentence out of the tabling guidelines...

"In order keep the Portland Zine Symposium focused on zines and to maintain the DIY spirit of the Portland Zine Symposium, at least 51% of merchandise at any table must be handmade zines and/or independently published materials."

Sure, THRICE Fiction is independently published... it's just Bob and myself... but we're hardly "Do It Yourself" when it comes to the actual production of the magazine. Digital copies are given away for free, but anything people want to physically purchase is professionally printed. So... the question becomes "Will we be welcomed with our slick printed magazines and books?" or "Will people stop by just to slap me in the face and set our table on fire?"

I honestly don't know.

So last Wednesday I went to Flickr and did a search for Portland Zine Symposium photos.

Oh crap.

It's just table after table of handmade books that looks like they were copied at Kinkos and stapled together in somebody's living room.

So now I've gone from being "a little worried" to being "a lot worried." I considered canceling, but I had already bought a non-refundable airline ticket and spent a lot of money printing a book to sell. "Oh well," I thought. "Guess I'll just show up and hope we're 'indy' enough that I don't get slapped and set on fire."

And then realized I don't want to risk getting slapped, so I decided to hand-make a zine instead (which is something Bob had suggested years ago... go figure).

This was easier said than done, as there wasn't time to hand-draw a new zine from scratch. Not knowing what else to do, I figured I'd just assemble some stuff from my blog and see how that went (which is something else Bob had suggested years ago... go figure). Ultimately I decided to make a zine filled with Bad Monkey cartoons. I figured since everybody loves monkeys, this was my best chance of not getting our table set on fire.

Then I spent the next couple nights cobbling together a zine. Then I ordered a booklet stapler and a stack-cutter. Then I printed copies (in color, because I'm That Guy). Then I spent the next couple nights saddle-stitch stapling everything together. My stack-cutter never showed up, so today I had to go bother a print shop to trim my books for me.

And so now I have a hand-made zine for our table...

Bad Monkey Comix

To make them seem more "hand-made," I worked hard to get them looking beat up and aged. All the interior pages are yellowed and textured. The cover has wear and tear marks printed on it. Then I took each copy and rubbed it on a gem cutter's cloth to add a little bit of scuff. They're as hand-made as I can get, given the time constraints I'm under...

Bad Monkey Comix Wear and Tear

Overall, the experience of making this zine sucked. And I'm still not 100% convinced that the DaveToons will even make sense out of the context of my blog. Oh well (again).

But... it definitely has me anxious to try making more zines in the future. With more time and less anxiety, it seems like this kind of thing would actually be something fun to do!

In the meanwhile, everybody cross their fingers that my first zine show doesn't end up with my getting slapped and a visit from the fire department...

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Categories: Books, Travel 2013Click To It: Permalink


  1. Ooo… can those of us who won’t be in attendance purchase a copy of Bad Monkey Comix? Because that would be awesome!

  2. The Chad says:

    At least I’ll get it! Still plan on being there as long as the preggo wife feels up to it.

  3. rebecca says:

    If I didn’t have to go to Taiwan on Saturday, I’d totally come buy your zine, I’ve loved you long time. It doesn’t seem fair that I have to go away. Dave toons rule!

  4. RW says:

    The key is that we’re free, in the main. That’s your in. But why you didn’t do a Bad Monkey book years ago is beyond me.

    • Dave2 says:

      I hope so… and I have flyers pointing to our site that say it’s free… but the Annual costs money, and was the only thing we had to sell. That was my worry, since it’s not a handmade book like what most everything else is.

      And, yes, I remember you telling me years ago to make a chapbook… it just took me a while to get there!

  5. Avitable says:

    Dave, you’re ridiculous and it makes me chuckle! So what if you have it professionally printed – it’s still an independently published zine! Only you would go to so much effort to try to make something that looked amateurish so you would fit in, and still manage to make something that looks awesome at the same time.

  6. Kyra Wilson says:

    I wish I could stop by! That all sounds like fun! And I wouldn’t even set your table on fire. 🙂 I hope it goes great for you!

  7. vahid says:

    I can’t wait to get my hands on some Bad Monkey and some Thrice.

  8. Jim says:

    Having exhibited at things like APE back in the day, you are probably overthinking it. Expect a range of everything from crappily hand-stapled minicomix on up to things verging on “real” magazines, with most somewhere in the middle.

    Expect a lot of people to want anything that is free and to act like anything you want them to pay for is coated in finger-burning acid.

    Expect a percentage of people to turn up their noses at anything with the least bit of professional gloss to it, but also some who will come to you specifically because you’ve got something that doesn’t look like it was crappily put together at 3 am the night before.

    I will be in Portland this weekend for another event. I may pop in to say hi, if the schedule works right.

  9. martymankins says:

    As I posted in another comment on a newer post, I want one of these Bad Monkey Comix.

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