San Francisco Zine Fest



Welcome back to another trip on this Black Ship of ours. I made my way to the 15th Annual SF Zine Fest last weekend, which I left with plenty to share.

The overall event was great. It was without a doubt understaffed yet still well organized. There was the usual zine library/ reading room, and in addition to that they added a reading space exclusively for current vendors — which I thought was right on since I was vending.

My only problem with the vendors’ reading room was that it was in one of the main halls, making it too loud to really chat while reading (one of my favorite things to do at a fest). I blame this on the overabundance of attendees as opposed to the space itself, a good problem to have.

Fest goers radiated the sense of community that is central to a zine-fest crowd. The talk was alive and well. Most of the time I spoke with folks interested in making comics and discussing current comic reads. It was an amazing time.

There was also a grab-bag giveaway. They were awarded at random, leading to my only problem, being that they were handed out rather unceremoniously. I felt that there was a missed opportunity for a fun game or something of the sort.

The event hosted a workshop on zine making, though it was marketed as a kid-friendly tutorial. I fear many of the attending zinesters seemed to dismissed it because of this emphasis. Declaring it a workshop for “all ages” might’ve inspired more people to sit in on the session.

Sadly I ended up going to the fest solo, leaving me unable to run around and buy zines in my usual way. I did grab a few, however, and wanted to highlight the best of them.

Monsters And Fairy Tales

the illustrated cocktail guide

This little zine, which is one page folded up into a booklet, was a great find. It being distributed for free builds off of the zine notion of sharing. Put together by Keiko Takamura, it serves as a guide to crafting some mixed drinks. I will surely be trying them out! Visit Keiko’s Facebook to link up with the creator.

Off to See the World with Pablo 


Here we have a picture zine, and it is a prime example of how personal the medium can get. The project was started by a son to remember his late father who had always wanted to travel but never was able to, at least not in the capacity in which he had hoped. It is a collection of pictures taken all around the world featuring different people holding a photograph of Pablo, the father. A sense of community oozes out of this heartfelt project. Zines like Pablo are why I love attending fests so much. To see some of the pictures, head to Pablo’s Instagram.

Frankie Comics

1 and 3

I bumped into this comic by happenstance. It is very well crafted, showcasing how zines are typically made by and for the working class. Frankie has a very fun manga style that explores cat-people problems. The art and printing is great, produced by Rachel Dukes. She is a strong artist who has worked on many different projects such as Garfield and Stevens Universe comics. Check out Mixtape Comics for more info 0n her work.

Speculative Relationships 

Volume 2

This was a printed comics anthology. Yes, we get polished books at the Zine Fest too. While I usually gravitate toward the tiny, photocopied, DIY booklets printed at home by some starving artist, I felt compelled to check out this sci-fi/ romance anthology. Each story features a different artist to explore personal relationships in science-fiction settings. Its immersive art and clever ideas make for a very good read. Head to the anthology’s website to learn more, Speculative Relationships.

Well that’s it for me folks. As always, all hands on deck and let’s keep this Black Ship of ours sailing.


Richard Larios
About Richard Larios (43 Articles)
Richard Larios is an anarchist organizer working out of Los Angeles. He is the owner of Feral Publication, which publishes zines. He also contributes regularly, under his pen name “Until Victory or Death”, for the Black Flag Newsletter, which is put out by the Free Association of Anarchists.

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