I own a grand collection of public library cards, even if they are not all kept or displayed in one place. They are scattered throughout varied sock drawers and suitcases, new and old wallets, on my person, in my car, and in my old bedroom at my parents' house back in West Virginia. In my many temporary residences, in Texas, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, etc etc, I have made my sojourn to the local temple of worldly knowledge. My public library card for Klamath Falls, Oregon, is the one of which I am proudest. Because NO ONE ELSE whom I worked with at Crater Lake National Park knew we had borrowing privileges at said bibliotheca. We were 75 minutes drive away from the town of Klamath Falls (off in the mountain woods), but still had residences with a Klamath County zip code, and so I went to the library and affirmed that the delights on the shelves were mine to take home for a while. I check out books and comic books of many types, as well as audiobooks, music CDs, sometimes DVDs. As I have said many times before, and will say many times again, FREE and LEGAL is an awesome combination. My father has joked that I am the biggest supporter of the public library system since Ray Bradbury. I contend that that honor rightfully belongs to Neil Gaiman. Read his impassioned speech about the vital importance of libraries, fantasy, and imagination, and then go support a public library near you!
With my bibliophilic inclinations, I was honored to find the opportunity to exhibit and sell my creative works at Alt Press Fest—an annual convention of self-publishers of comics, books, zines, letterpress cards, and all else—hosted by the The City Library (of Salt Lake City)! There are many expos and symposia for self-publishers today. Normally, if an American city is large enough to have professional sports teams, then it has some sort of annual zine or comics fest, or multiple ones in hotbed areas like Portland, Oregon. However, this was the first such fest I have yet heard of to be hosted by a public library. It seems like a grand union. Two of America's greatest purveyors of free speech and free thought (libraries and self-publishing) have at last teamed up. Apart from the festival, The SLC library also has a large and permanent collection of small-press comic books and zines. I'll admit that I am impressed. A shout goes out to Brooke Young for organizing the event!
And so I sold my varied comic books, with their frogs and monsters, guinea pigs and robots. I tabled right next to the front door, and so had the incidental honor of introducing the whole fair to many a perplexed passerby, who had planned a quiet visit to the library, only to enounter a big splash of ponies and superheroes and typewriters and rainbows. I had some nice discussions with my assigned table-mate, Steve Anderson. He and I had both worked in recycling centers—and he created a zine based upon the experience, including found objects from within the bins. Evidently, one person's recycling really is another's treasure. I recommend buying Steve's zines someplace on etsy (which I haven't yet found.)
For the Alt Press event, I debuted a new zine called Wood for the World. I call this one a zine because it contains more prose than comics. It contains stories which are pro-environment and anti-imperialist. I must note that its contents have previously appeared online, either in the archives of this blog or on cartoonstudies.org/studlar/. Nonetheless, if you are like me and my new comrade Steve, and have a unique attachment to the wonders of print, then head over to my etsy site, and buy your copy of Wood for the World!
Contents of Wood for the World: Gag cartoons on war and global warming, comic "The Supreme Law," prose narratives "United Against the Midgard Pipeline" and "The Quest for Mountain Justice", illustrations including "The Unlucky Pika" and "The Midgard Serpent."
And thanks to Steve for the photo of me at my table.