Creator Q+A | François Vigneault

Throughout the month leading up the the SFZF we will be running daily mini-profiles of some of the many zinesters, cartoonists, and other creative types who make the Zine Fest what it is. Today's creator is François Vigneault. Stay tuned for more!

Q. When did you create your first zine or similar project? Can you describe it for us? When you look back, are you proud, embarrassed, both?
A. My first zine was called "The Comics Review," which I published when I was 16. It had started because my first girlfriend had put an ad in the back of "The Maxx," a quirky superhero comic, asking for contributions to a Maxx fanzine that never came together, but did attract a certain amount of attention from the fans. I took the project over, taking it waaaay too seriously! I was trying to make a really "professional" publication, which makes it all the more cringe-worthy when I look at it now! I did manage to interview Paul Pope (THB) and Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo), two of my then-favorite creators, with the intention of featuring them in the second and third issues, but the project folded after just a single issue!

Q. Do you have a favorite memory of the SF Zine Fest?
A. This is my fifth year organizing the Fest (!!!), and at this point I've got too many wonderful memories to narrow it down to one or two anecdotes. The best thing about the Fest has doubtlessly been all the wonderful people whom I have gotten to know over the years through the Fest... It's been such an honor to meet and become friends with so many amazing creators, volunteers, and fans!

Q. What subjects do you wish there were more comics about?
A. I’d like to see more non-fiction and journalism-oriented comics. It seems that there could be some really great work done in that field, either on the web or in print. Also, on the other end of the spectrum, some more indy-oriented fantasy and science fiction comics!

Q. What do you think the general public knows or thinks about small-press? How can the zine/comics community reach a greater segment of the public? Or is it better to keep the small-press scene more tightly knit?
A. Since I am one of the organizers of the SF Zine Fest, I obviously think a lot about ways to expand the audience for small-press. One of the main things I'd like to see is more mini-fests cropping up around the nation; small, single-day regional shows with maybe only a dozen or so creators. If you set up a show that's fun, unique, and free (this last point can't be stressed enough! Don't charge the audience to come to your show!), then I think that the public will come out to it, and that is a tremendous boon to the small-press world in general.

Q. In addition to the kind of work you will be showing at Zine Fest, what other creative pursuits do you have? Hobbies? Passions?
A. In the last year I've gotten into bird-watching, which I have been able to dovetail (no pun intended) with my self-publishing by doing a zine on the subject, Bird Brain.

Q. What are you working on now? What are you gonna do next?
A. I am working on the latest issue of Bird Brain, which will feature lots of stuff from a recent trip to the Gulf Coast. That should hopefully be out for the Zine Fest; a month or so later, at APE, I'll be bringing out the first issue of volume 2 of Elfworld, my alt-fantasy comics anthology! I'm incredibly excited about that, since it has been so long since the first volume came out.