Philly Zine Fest: A study in black clothes,vegan food and fun.

Steve and I participated in the Philly Zine fest, which is held at the same location as PACC, in the Rotunda. The setting itself screams “Philly Arts”, and is a very cool venue that I enjoyed both times I was there. Although this time it wasn’t hot, humid, and pouring rain, which was very nice indeed. We got there super early to help set up and get a table discount, along with Chris Grillo (and his bearded friend Alex), who finally got his own table for Ninjas Don’t Knit. The organizers of the show, Sarah Rose and Casey Grabowski, were super nice and thanked us many times for the help. I have to say they were very chill and together for everything they needed to organize and think about!

All four of us got to sit next to one another, and we got some sweet tables in the main room, which was awesome. There was a DJ who played a nice variety of music, and not too loud either. There was also a food table with vegan choices that smelled great. The people who made the food were super-nice and explained to me how they wrapped some sweet and savory ingredients in steamed corn husks. I didn’t get to eat any ’cause Steve and I bought some snacks to get change, and ended up eating those instead. Things got busy quickly with an endless sea of hipsters, zinesters, bike enthusiasts. It was just as exciting to watch from behind the table as it must have been to browse the show.

Everyone who stopped by the table took time to read what we had (even if they didn’t buy something), and made a lot of positive comments about my zine and my crafts. They also loved Steve’s comics and were interested in The Comicverse, and our prints as well. I had some really nice conversations with several people, including a guy who dug my Jake Sisko ornament and said, “We DS9 people should band together and take our message to the streets! Haha!”

One customer and vendor, Justin Duerr, bought our print which was an honor, since his artwork is so amazing! He had an 8 foot-long print for sale that I could see from across the room. I bought a zine from him that included prints of his art which, you can see at the link below. His bio is pretty interesting, too!

Some Philly Comics Jam people were there too, including Kelly Phillips, Cary Peitsch, Claire Folkman, Dre Grigoropol, Brady Russell, Doug Slack and Brett Hopkins.

Chris and Alex were having fun too, eating superhero candy, selling some Ninjas Don’t Knit zines and trying to understand the experimental films that played towards the end of the day.  Alex was noticing the lack of bearded people and lamenting that he only saw mustaches and felt under-represented.

I walked around a bit myself and saw what there was to see, including: gender-fluid zines, feminist zines, a few independent comics, mini-comics, art prints, cupcakes, moustaches, side-shaves (remember those from the ’90’s?), lots and lots of black and plaid shirts, short-shorts with tights, tattoos, worn-out hoodies, jeans vests with hipster patches on the back, glasses, and tank tops. Whew. Oh, and also a really cool-looking bulldog.

All in all, a blast! I am already thinking of the next time, and dusting off my old chunky leather-free black boots and black clothes…..Now, where did I put all of those plaid shirts I used to have?

[Justin Duerr]

[Ninjas Don’t Knit]

[Photos from the show]

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About thecomicverse

Steve Peters received a Xeric Grant in 1996, which he used to self-publish Awakening Comics. In 2006, he won the Gene Day Memorial Prize for a magical realist comic called Chemistry. He met Bianca Alu-Marr at an open mic in 2003 (Steve was playing music and doing the sound, Bianca was reading her poetry). The Comicverse is one of many projects they have collaborated on, and their most popular. Bianca is the writer and and Steve is the artist. Sometimes Bianca writes and plots the stories; many stories are co-plotted by Bianca and Steve.
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