Meet this Zinester: Henry Jaepelt

Who are you? Where are you based?
Well… my name is Henry Jaepelt. I was born in 1966, and always loved to draw things. I live in Timbó, a small town in Santa Catarina State, Southern part of Brazil. 

What are zines to you?
One of the best things in my life. As I said, I always loved to draw all sorts of things. At about 14 I began to create (or tried to) my own comics. They were really bad and very sketchy stuff. To improve things, I decided to read more comics—many styles of comics. I didn’t know what a zine was until much later. In those early years, I collected my comics in “issues,” a set of 10 stories or so. They were original art only. And I always caught myself wondering if there was a medium to publish that stuff. And many, many years later  while reading some terror/horror anthologies ( “calafrio” and “Mestres do terror,” two Brazilian anthologies with some EC COMICS flavor) I came across the word FANZINE in the mail section. 

What was your first encounter with zines?
I saw some adds of zinesters in these comic books and after wondering what the hell it was, I begun writing letters to them. That was circa 1986. Back then, one letter lead to another, and another, and some more. That’s when I found out about zines. I was convinced that they were the media and the formula I was looking for. A bit later, in a zine called “Aventura” I saw the address of a young lady, who was also an artist and zinester. She made a zine called “Energia” back then. We began as penpals and zinesters. Now she’s my wife, Fafá Jaepelt. 

Tell me about your zines. What kind of zines do you make?
I like to create short comics. So, my zines are mostly anthologies of my own comics or anthologies with a lot of friends contributing with their comics. Besides that, I also like to make some “solo” stuff, illustrating captions, things I write etc. etc etc. Most of the zines I created are anthologies. 

What inspires you to create zines?
Almost anything. Ideas come and go – from a zine just for fun, or with a strict theme. It’s all a matter of mood, I guess. Or what you’re facing, thinking, or feeling while staring at things in the world that surrounds you. You can put almost anything in a story, right?  Some of my latest projects include a zine made only with another Latin American zinesters/artists (“ENCRUCIJADA” 15 people from 8 countries), a kind of quarantine themed zine with lots of people (“ISONÄTION” with 23 contributing artists from many countries around the world) and my favorite so far, a comix zine on RECORDS (vinyl, cd, real or imaginary ones) called “DISCOS”. Comix + music … in any kind of combination— your favorite album, a story on how you got that album, why it is your favorite, a lot of things, you know. I just finished nr. 2, with 40 pages – and I’m already looking out for what I’m going to put into nr. 3. And not only records – you can add some criticism, protests, and all kinds of stuff like that into the mix.

My wife, Fafá, likes to do a comic zine on CATS (CATZINE) or based on seasons (her favorite is FALL – “OUTONO,” in Portuguese). So, I guess anything can inspire a zine. 

What’s your favorite thing about zines?
That would be all the freedom you have while creating your thing – no pressure, no rush, no censorship on the usual themes. You are free to imagine things and put them on the paper sheet the way you want to. And all the zine trades, all the cool zinesters (the coolest people on Earth, for sure) you can meet, talk to, trade art with, “hey, would you like to join this project?” “sure, would you like to join mine as well?” all that sort of things. 

Do you recall your first zine ever, what was it about and what inspired you to create it?
Oh, yes. It was a zine called “CRAU!” some friends and I gathered on this idea of an anthology (always that format), an interview, some pinups, etc. It was in the Spring of 88. Before that, I was only sending my comics to other zinesters and contributing to their projects. This was the first time I worked on a personal project. The first issue was not bad…but not very creative. #2 on the other hand was a huge joy making. 80 pages of weird and bizarre comics. Really cool experience.

Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
It’s not that complex. You have to think about some ideas for the stories, a catchy name, and think about WHO’s art or comics would fit into that idea. You begin to talk to people, ask this, ask that, you know. And get things done. It is different when you try to do something more personal – like a solo zine. Then you have to work harder… all the way, from cover to cover. It will be your own work all over the pages… so, you don’t want to repeat yourself. You want to show diversity, variety – even if it’s your own work on every page. But it is fun either way. It’s gotta be – if there’s no fun it’s not worth it. 

What do you hope people get out of your zines?
Usually, I hope they enjoy what they are reading, seeing, or feeling while going through the pages. Of course, there are some ideas, some messages, jokes and funny bits, and sad feelings about a lot of matters. I can talk about fears people would relate to… or some nostalgia, or make the readers hate racism and prejudice as much as I do. It all depends on which story we are talking about. But, as I said, I really do hope they enjoy what they have in their hands. 

Name two of your favorite zinesters.
Just two? Oh, my!
Carrie McNinch (CA, USA) Just love her zines!
Law Tissot (Rio Grande, Brazil) love to have his comics in my zines.
I really could name a lot more – you know there are plenty of cool/weird zinesters all over!

Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
Try to be real. Your work has to be fun making. You gotta have fun, you gotta enjoy every word you write, every line you draw. 

Is there a zine website or resource you would recommend new zinesters to check out?
Sure – lots! @weirdobrigade, for example. Or check out any hashtags like #zines #zinetrade #zinesters #zinefest… and don’t forget: create stuff, so these folks will have more and more things to review. 

Henry’s Social Media:
@henryjaepelt

Interview conducted by Solansh M.
Photos provided by Henry J.

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