Brighton Zinefest Zinefayre

I had fun last weekend in Brighton!

I travelled down with Shabs (Alternative Press designer, comic-maker and stand-up comic) and Dickon (Zine Picnic chef and Panel Borders interviewer). We entertained a stranger on the train with some zines. Or maybe we just confused her. As it was a rare sunny day, we took a quick detour to the beach before going up to the Zine fair; here’s a sketch I made earlier…

brighton

The fair was part of a four-day zinefest including gigs, films, cabaret and social events organised by a special collective in Brighton. It seems to be a very healthy scene in the city. Unfortunately I didn’t get to any of the other dates, and while at the fair I spent most of my time behind my own table, but such is the way of small-press.

On sale today on two floors of the Hanover Community Centre were self-published comics, personal zines, political pamphlets, a few of the better (more humorous) art books (see Coachwerks anthology from a converted bus garage), and even good old-fashioned music mags (I picked up Shebang on a previous trip). I was sharing a table and candy-striped cloth with Steve ‘Rum Lad’ Larder and Isy Morgenmuffel (unfortunately Herman Peaks Comics, who I was due to share with, couldn’t make it to the fair). Both are well worth looking up – Steve’s output is part travel diary and part sketchbook and wholly attractive to look at, lots of detail in his handwritten articles and ink drawing. Isy too draws accounts of her own life at punk / DIY / protest events but in the form of cute comic strips. They have a shared zine ‘Rum Muffel’ if you want a taste of both.

The fair was busy throughout the day and I sold quite a few comics, with my Music Paper #1 being especially popular – unsurprisingly as it’s all about the life of a zine editor. Brighton was more of a zine fest than comic fest, though I think the distinctions between the two terms are quite blurred: there is more of a political edge to the zine scene than the comics world, but there’s crossover between them (zine publishers Last Hours, for instance, have just put out a few comic anthologies, including Excessive Force which is an anti-Police collection).Comics can be as personal as zines, they just use more pictures; zines can be as silly as some comics. It’s all small-press, it can be whatever its creators want.

After the fair, a large number of our small-press army invaded a neighbouring chip shop then a local pub. Subjects on the table included the most offensive cartoons we’ve ever thought up, and what happens when arts graduates meet boxers.

Later, I visited friends and fell asleep watching a Vincent Gallo film. Next day I bought a bunch of second-hand Tintin books and a Gabrielle Bell comic half about doing comic fairs and half about being kidnapped by a giant. It was raining, so then I went home. But it was a good weekend.

Below is a cartoon based on observations at this and other fairs…

Thanks to the Brighton Zinefest Collective for their work!

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