If you're a newcomer to the world of zines and indie comics, the concept of attending an event to showcase exactly that can seem a little daunting. At least, it was to me. Before hitting up this year’s Zine and Indie Comics Symposium in South Brisbane, I couldn't have told you what a zine was, let alone how to pronounce it (I genuinely thought it rhymed with 'vine', it just never clicked for me). Spanning over two days at The Edge, the symposium showcases the work of local and interstate creatives and offers a tempting array of workshops and seminars—perfect to kick start a love affair with the scene forever. But what could possibly be in store for a gal like me? Would I be shunned, cast out or stared down for my lack of comic-related banter? Would my credibility be questioned if I didn't at least pretend to know the circulation politics of zines?
It turns out I was just paranoid as shit, because, walking in to ZICS 2015 as a newbie, the sense of community and creativity was undeniable from the get-go. There was an immediate atmosphere of participation; attendees, volunteers and table-holders alike were mingling and admiring the work around them. I stopped and chatted about this aura with the talent behind Dtime Comics.
“There is a real sense of community. A lot of the artists get together at the event to discuss comics and even do art and zine trades, so it's a really great way to meet other creators. Everyone is really friendly and it's just a great place to be for the weekend!”
As I meandered from table to table, I noticed how varied the work on display really was. From manga-influenced graffiti through to adorable anthropoid pill-people, the vast array of characters and content staring up at you is completely engaging. Events like ZICS provide a useful platform for networking and inspiration, and the participating artists and symposium-goers’ dedication to the comic and zine scene is obvious. Mic from DZY Art n Comics had this to say,
“I definitely find plenty of inspiration from other artists at ZICS. Another event similar to ZICS that I enjoyed earlier in the year was Mini-Comicon, which focuses on small independent comics.”
To kick sluggish Saturday brains into gear, the space upstairs featured an energetic slam poetry session and participatory panels on self-publishing, gender and activism. With so much going on my afternoon was well and truly packed, but I walked out with a newfound appreciation for these mediums and the people who love them. So, if you're a long-lost lover of indie comics and zines, or a newcomer like myself who is looking for a new creative outlet, it would be more than worth your while to follow the good people at ZICS online in preparation for 2016!