The Phoenix Zine fest is an annual gathering for Do-It-Yourself enthusiasts who enjoy creating and printing their own magazines, comics, photography books, political pamphlets, and art. This year, the Labriola Center participated in the Zine fest, which was held inside The Nile, a small concert and theater venue located in the heart of downtown Mesa, Arizona. Inside, the room was dark and cool. String lights hung from the ceiling, creating a cozy ambience that fit the do-it-yourself mentality of zinesters. Eric Hardy, Senior Program Coordinator for the Labriola Center in Tempe, accompanied me sporting a black graphic tee and our promotion materials. We set up shop, laying out the brightly colored tablecloth designed by Indigenous artist Randy Boogie (Diné). Throughout the festival, several people complimented Randy Boogie’s rug design, saying it was eye-catching and inviting. We decorated Indigenous zines featured in our collection throughout our table, such as “Another 24 Hour Comic” and “Kaiju: Counterattack” by Damon Begay (Diné), Kinsdale Drake’s (Diné) “Hummingbird Heart”, “Queer Indigenous Girl” by Se’mana Thompson (Akimel O’otham, Hopi, Diné), and “Nanaba’s Summer: A Mini Comic Book Day Challenge'' by Tatum Bowie (Diné). In addition, the Labriola’s collection carries “DANG: A Daydreaming Awkward Native Girl” volume one and two, “Angsty Asdzáá: Tales of an Angry Indigenous Woman”, and “Portals of Indigenous Futurism”, by Amber McCrary (Diné), who runs a press called Abalone Mountain Press at Palabras Bookstore. Be sure to check out her website below to learn more.
Additionally, the Labriola Center brought Indigenous graphic novels such as “Trickster: Native American Tales” by Matt Dembicki, art books including “When I Remember I See Red: American Indian Art and Activism in California” by Kristina Perea Gilmore, Mark Dean Johnson, and Frank LaPena (Nomtipom-Wintu) and a beautiful coloring book called “IKWE: Honouring Women, Life Givers, and Water Protectors” by Anishinaabeg illustrator Jackie Traverse. Several children approached our table and looked through the art books and graphic novels, picking up a couple of Labriola buttons and rainbow-colored stress balls along the way. Everyone who approached our table was fascinated by our collection and were interested to learn more about the Labriola Center. We even got to meet an Indigenous zinester, who sat across from us. Her name is Kayla Shaggy (Diné) and has self-published her own comics since 2017. Kayla has created zines called, “Sixth World,” “Monstrous Zines,” “The Lesbian Vampire OC Zine,” and “Godzilla Decolonizes Durango.”
Her most recent zine is “Anathema”, which is her largest sized zine yet, amounting to forty-four pages of glorious illustrations and captivating visuals. Set in a medieval fantasy world, Anathema is about two Diné twin sisters,Violet and Lily, who kill horrific monsters.Throughout this zine, trees with eyes fill the pages and immerse you in a world that feels like you are being watched. Violet and Lily come across a town that needs help. The women in a village are disappearing due to a monster that leaves no trace except the victim’s blood. For me personally, this monster echoes the horrific history and continuance of the disappearance of missing and murdered Indigenous women on this continent. However dark as this volume may be, there is also humor dispersed throughout to create comic relief from the intensity. Kayla was gracious enough to donate her zines to the Labriola Center, so they will be available to view in our collections. Checkout Kayla Shaggy’s work on her website, also listed below with Amber’s!
Amber McCrary, Abalone Mountain Press: https://www.abalonemountainpress.com/store/zine
Kayla Shaggy, Artist Portfolio and Zines: https://www.kaylashaggy.gallery/
By Yitazba Largo-Anderson, Labriola Program Coordinator at ASU West.