Illustrator Amanda and writer Frank, the Dublin-based duo that calls themselves Exploding Comics, have been active on and offline since early 2012. While she creates, illustrates and decorates, he cooks, provides entertainment and writes. Apart from the comics about their daily life, gaming, cats, and beer, which are weekly published in their website and yearly in special print editions, the couple also produces plushies and commissioned artwork.
1.What are zines to you?
A vehicle to publishing your own vision without the restraints that would be placed by corporate publishing and free from having to have the kind of money that makes that scale of publishing possible.
2. What’s your first memory of zines?
I remember when I was a kid and my cousin Davi, who actually went on to recently starting to publish his own magazine back in Brazil, showed me a rock’n’roll zine. It took him a while for him to explain why the format was so cool and accessible for people to wanted their voice out there but didn’t have the contacts or funds needed to get into the publishing business.
3. What was your first publication? Please describe.
My first one was actually sold at Zine Fair two years ago. It was a small ensemble of comics from my website, plus some extras, plus a short story by Frank.
4. Why did you start making zines/self publishing?
Mostly inspired by other web-comics who publish some of their stuff, including some exclusive content. In comics, publishing is the way you get recognized. But the comics market is also not a very easy one to break into, so self-publishing appears to me a way to get some of that recognition while doing your own thing.
5. What/who are your influences?
My closest influence is certainly Pablo Mayer, who is somewhat of a tutor to me in comics. On the far end of that spectrum I’d put web-comics like Questionable Content and Girls with Slingshots, although when Frank writes he usually tries to take more from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal and Dork Tower. Apart from that, Bill Waterson and Laerte Coutinho would be what I consider unattainable heights of talent.
6. What is your favourite material or method (in making your publications)?
Right now we end up trying to keep ourselves grounded in that front and focus on content first, so the small comic book format suits us just fine. Frank is crazy about typographic presses and hand-binding, so that may come to be part of the stuff he plans on publishing, but that’s a whole other thing.
7. Do you have a favourite zine?
I guess Poddle would be my favourite Irish zine, and not only because the people who make it are amazing. There’s also a Brazilian one called Zine XXX, which I supported in collective funding (a kickstarter of sorts).
8. What’s the best & worst things about making a zine?
The amount of work is certainly both the best and the worst. It eats up a relevant amount of time, during which you develop and open yourself to so many new ideas and techniques and things that you wish you had twice as much time to spend on it.