Today I’m celebrating all the zinesters who have thus far agreed to participate in the “Meet this Zinester” blog series. Thank you all for being a part of this! We are continuing this shindig with the 14th installment of “Meet this Zinester” with Alec Villarreal, creator of the zine Mythos. So stick around, get inspired, and then make zines~
Who are the creators of Mythos Publications?
Mythos is a zine created by myself (Alec Villarreal). Mythos Publications was formed (by both myself and, my friend, Nathan Bell) with the intention of helping local zinesters print their zines at an affordable price. However, in the recent months, Mythos Publications has morphed into a collective of zinesters.
What are zines to you?
Zine-making is a creative outlet for me. I thoroughly enjoy writing literary fiction, and zines provide a perfect medium to share my work with others.
What is your favorite thing about zines?
My favorite thing about zines? ‘Fluidity’ isn’t the right word, but it’s the first word that comes to mind. Zines are boundary-less. You can create a zine about whatever makes you passionate.
Where did you learn about zines?
I first learned about zines from a friend named Elora. She made zines focused on science fiction.
Do you recall the first zine you ever made? What was it about?
The first zine I ever made was Mythos 🙂
When you think about zines what’s the first word that comes to mind?
Insignificant. I say this because, oftentimes, zines can be unassuming. They can have humble beginnings, and, over time, can blossom into positive cultural movement. It amazes me that my insignificant zine has had a hand in forging life-long friendships and professional connections.
When did your zines come to fruition?
Mythos began in May of 2017 as a collaborative zine among friends. I would write fiction, and my friends would add in their various illustrations. I’d leave copies of Mythos (with Mythos’ Gmail information in them) at coffeehouses across Northwest Indiana (where I live, work, & play), which is located about an hour outside Chicago. By mid-summer of 2017, a friend of mine, Nathan Bell, began helping with printing & distribution. We started helping others create/ print zines locally (this is where the ‘Publications’ side of things began to take shape). By October, Mythos’ inbox was filled with artwork from creatives who wished to be featured at some point in the oncoming months. Around that time, a local bookstore began housing copies of Mythos. The owners of the bookstore became so enthralled by zine culture, that they let us host monthly events called Zine Nights. The purpose behind Zine Night was to help educate those unfamiliar with zines, create a space for zine-makers to trade & meet one another, etc.
Where did the idea to make zines come from?
See my answer to questions 4 & 7. Also, the idea to start Mythos came through the encouragement of my friend Michael Mansfield (look him up, he’s an amazing tattoo artist).
What kind of zines do you make?
Aside from Mythos (collaborative zine filled with writing, sketches, etc.), I make a flash fiction zine titled Rabid; writing literary fiction is a passion of mine. So teaming up with local creatives who can put images to my words has led to a handful of ‘one-shot’ zines like RUNJACKRUN, and The Green Line.
What made you guys want to start Mythos Publications?
Nathan and I started Mythos Publications to (1) help NWI become more familiar with zine culture and (2) to help zinesters print their zines at an affordable cost.
Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
Here’s how I tend to make my zines: I take old magazines, cut them up, and paste varying words/ images onto seven or eight folded, white 8.5 X 11 paper. Any copyrighted images I choose to use in a publication are distorted beyond recognition so as to prevent any legal disputes. I ‘distort’ these images by way of drawing on them using markers or pens or (this may sound morbid) cutting their eyes out. Once I have a hard-copy of my zine, I scan them and print copies. This is my creative process for Mythos, except, instead of pasting down old magazine clippings for content-sake, I paste down the submissions sent in by creatives.
What do you hope people get out of your zines?
I want people who pick up a copy of Mythos to be challenged by what they encounter in its pages. The writers who submit monthly are talented, and the motifs associated with their work range from familial brokenness to sexual identity to matters of faith. I’m certainly proud of the Mythos writers. I’m also equally proud of all the sketch artists, collage artists, painters, designers, who submit work on a monthly basis.
Name two of your favorite zinesters. What do you love about their zines?
I’ve met a ton of talented zinesters; I have ample zines from creatives I’ve never met, and probably will never meet. I have to say, my favorite zinesters are actually two people I know. The first is Joshua Alderson (Bearhead). The second is Lori “The Knife”. Look them up on Instagram.
Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
Microcosm has a small book titled, “Make a Zine”. In it, it talks about how difficult it is for zinesters to make it to their sixth issue. For whatever reason, they get distracted, lose interest, or simply get burned out in the process. My recommendation is to let what you love be the driving force behind your zine, because if you’re not passionate (I mean, really passionate) about what you’re Zine is about, you’ll likely give up. I’m passionate about meeting new people and bringing them together. So I created a zine that allows art to rub shoulders with art, I created a collaborative zine. If you’re passionate about politics, then make a zine explaining your political opinions. If you’re passionate about wrestling, then make a zine about wrestlers. If you’re passionate about flash fiction, you know what to do. Zine-making takes time. So don’t rush or force the creative process. Rest while creating.
Interview conducted by Solansh Moya
Pictures provided by Alec Villarreal
Stay tuned for next week’s ‘Meet this Zinester’ with the creators of Pork Belly Comics.