Well, it's that time of year again -- time for cartoonists and zine-publishers to start hustling around the country to attend the myriad specialty festivals and fairs that have sprung up over the last decade. From March through November it seems like there's a zine or comix fest somewhere every weekend!
My first of 2014 was last Saturday's Chicago Zine Fest, now in it's fifth year. After a long period with no zine-based festival in Chicago (hard to believe, considering the presence of the legendary Quimby's and the huge amount of self-publishing going on in the city) it's been great to have the CZF every spring, getting bigger and better with each passing year and showing no signs of slowing down.
Jake's pal Ratso interviews the writers from the Grooves 'N Jams blog
This year my table, which I shared with Chicago zine impresario Jake Austen, was located on the first floor, and after a slow start there was a steady stream of people coming through all day. I'm pretty sure this was the first year in which there were so many exhibitors everyone was limited to one half-table spot. This made for a slightly claustrophobic feel behind the tables, but I got used to it pretty quick. Sales were the best I've ever had at this show, and it was fun to see everybody. You do enough of these shows and it all becomes family-- not only your fellow exhibitors, but the people in the crowd stopping by.
OG Chicago zine legend Karen Wehrle dropped by to hang out with Jake and go over their plans for the Chicago Music Zine Symposium being held next month.
Ye Olde Spit and a Half Half-Table
One minor problem was that this year's CZF was held the same day, in the same general locale, as the St. Patrick's Day Parade. It took me 2.5 hours to travel the 90 miles from Beloit to the Loop, and ten minutes to fit into the only tiny parking spot I could find once I got there. Afterwards was almost worse, having to traverse the city with lurching drunks stepping out in front of your vehicle every fifteen feet. But all in all an enjoyable day.
Post-show I went up to Thai Spoon for dinner with my old pal Ray. We stopped at Quimby's to drop off their latest Spit and a Half order in person, and then I headed back out into the darkness to make my way home.
Drove under the O'Hare Oasis on its last day in existence (sigh) and made it to Beloit in time to hear "Ace of Spades" come on the radio at midnight.
Next up, SPACE, in Columbus April 12-13.