During the ladies’ night at my LCS (okay not so local, but local to my work and since the majority of adult life is spent at work it counts right?) someone mentioned the SF Zine Fest. Since I have no life (well this weekend anyway) I decided to check it out!
I’m more familiar with cons than anything else, so going to this zine fest was definitely new and nostalgic. It’s like a con just for the Artist’s Alley section of any convention you’ve been to. It was amazing to see the diverse range of zines. Also I LOVED how gender friendly this organization was. So respectful that they are looking for a new venue for next year’s festival that’s even more gender-neutral friendly!
Besides exploring more of the publishing community, another reason I wanted to check it out was because the special guest was none other than Madeleine Flores of Bee & Puppycat and Help Us! Great Warrior fame!!! She was drawing people’s pets! Since I didn’t have a pet I did the next best thing: looked up my favorite animal in the whole wide world and asked her to draw it and Puppycat doing something amazing together.
I stuck around for her panel. There were slides of 5 drawings that were meaningful to her/her career and in between she discussed diversity issues while she was growing up and how she faced those issues again once she got in the industry and started working for the industry. She states that the industry is trying to address issues on diversity, but now it seems like although there’s a growing support of characters of color and gender affiliation in comic books and related media, there isn’t so much for the creators for them. There are stories that are about diversity, but still more or less written by white cis males. And yes Strange Fruit was definitely mentioned. The panel wasn’t all doom and gloom though (with Maddy how can it be?): we got to see some of her influences (Crayon Shin-chan and Mitsuru Adachi’s Cross Game to name a few) and her early fanart and zines (think 5 years old kind of early).
The Zine Fest was a blast and I saw a flyer for something similar going down in Oakland in October. Can’t wait!