Brian Baynes is the creator of Bubbles Fanzine, a comics fanzine out of Richmond Virginia. He's been co-organizing Richmond Zine Fest since 2012.
How did you get interested in zines?
When I was in high school I used to mail a lot of cash to order records through the mail. I remember getting free zines along with the records and immediately being attracted to them. A few years later I was really into the fact you could just make a zine yourself. You didn't have to wait around to be published or for anyone to care, you could just print out anything you were passionate about and go from there. I still get that feeling making Bubbles. I started helping organize Richmond Zine Fest in 2012 and got into the community and made a bunch of friends through zines.
What are your zines about?
My main zine is called Bubbles. It's an old-school fanzine about comics. There are interviews, articles, and reviews all about comics. Mostly contemporary, but I also cover whatever I feel like. That's the beauty of the zine! I have a punk zine too that I've done less often these days called Cool Hiss.
What are some of your favorite zines and zine makers?
Yaknow I feel like this question is going to be so regional. One of my favorite zines, and inspiring zines, is called Cretins of Distortion. It was a punk zine out of Columbus Ohio. I also love Cometbus. And for the interview inspiration, I'm a huge V. Vale fan, of the Re-Search mags. To me, that's as good as it gets when it comes to interviews. Contemporary, I'm obsessed with this DC punk/art zine called Demystification and this publishing company there called Shining Life Press.
Your zines are in our library collection for patrons to borrow. What do you think about that?
I'm all about it. Zines are meant to be borrowed. I think a lot of people in the zine world aren't collectors. It's super common to read a zine and pass it on to a friend who you think might enjoy it. So yeah a library lending it out is rad.
What do you think is the future of zines?
What do I think or what do I want to be the future of zines? Haha. I want more zines with addresses in them. I think every zine needs to have a mailing address on them. To me, mailing letters and connecting through the mail is part of the culture. I get a pretty impressive amount of letters in the mail from Bubbles readers and I try to respond to everyone. Also, don't let any printing method stop you from making a zine, it doesn't have to be risograph or screen printed. Xerox is my favorite, for me, it's all about content.
Why are zines important?
I've always said the difference between a zine and a magazine is that a magazine is made to make money and a zine is made to share ideas. That's it. We need zines full of ideas, all kinds of ideas. Doesn't have to be serious or life-changing, but I think everyone should make a zine. Imagine if your local garbage man made a zine, it'd be awesome.