Zinefest Houston lived up to its title as the Michelangelo of comic festivals. Cowabunga dudes. This was definitely the first comic festival I’ve ever attended that took place on the roof of a bar–Khon’s was very convenient for obtaining frosty adult beverages.

ArmzRace Comics, my next-table neighbors, were better prepared for the sunny weather than I was. My modest beach umbrella was no match for their incredibly shady double wide camping canopy. They’re a comics collective of super nice people, and let me share the shade with them, instantly making the ten foot radius around us the party zone. Huzzahs all around! Super Buddy Austin Havican helped share the R&B mini books with some zinefesters. I traded a few copies for cool zines from other exhibitors. The barter system is powerful here in ZineFestlandia.

I traded a copy with Lindsay Simard for her 2010 collection of Weak Highlights, an excellent autobiographical zine. She makes a full page comic once a week, which is doubly impressive to me, because I am terrible at nonfiction comics. Lindsey is a great observer.

Later, Francisco Lo from Film Monitor sat with me and distributed FM’s handsomely designed cinema publication. FM produces a wonderful and witty monthly review of choice films. I’m going to be doing some illustrations for their upcoming issue, which I’m very excited about.

I joined Lindsey and Francisco for the discussion panel. I had no expectations since I’ve never spoken on a panel before, but it was really fun!

Lindsey Simard, Jason Poland, Francisco Lo, and Hank HancockThat’s Lindsey, me, and Francisco. Hank Hancock was the moderator. We talked about the nuts and bolts of DIY publishing and promotion, sharing our stories and cautionary tales. Hank was an excellent moderator and had good questions for us. Lindsey had some great experiences to share about the touchy issues of making comics about people you know, and Francisco dropped some tactical F-bombs regarding the freedom in not having to answer to an editor. (I think I sounded like a cartoon grandpa talking about how I get up at the crack of dawn to milk the joke cows everyday.) Lindsey and Francisco were both very eloquent, and I’d love to be on a panel with them again. I was really fortunate to have the opportunity to speak publicly about what I like to do.

ZineFest is a wonderful Houston tradition, and I hope to attend again. I even heard a rumor there might be a fall festival–who knows!