Elizabeth A Salazar is Sun Valley based school librarian, zinester, and aging punk. She holds a BA in Communications from California State University Los Angeles and is a proud first-generation Mexican American. She created her webcomic/zine The Worst, a comic that centers on her daily struggle with anxiety. She has volunteered for the L.A. Zine Fest, San Fernando Zine Fest, and the San Fernando Art Fest. When she's not hanging out at a zine fest, she's at a concert, record store, or geeking over Criterion Collection movies. Follow her on Instagram @elizadeth92 and check out her work at @thewrst.
How did you get interested in zines?
I read Maus by Art Spiegelman in high school and was amazed there were comics that weren’t just superhero related. Indie comics opened a new world for me. I started looking up indie cartoonists and a lot of them started off making zines. I was really into Liz Prince and she contributed comics to Razorcake and self-published her own comics. I went to a record store to get a copy (of Razorcake) and I found out it was free. Liz Prince was going to make an appearance at L.A. Zine Fest in Glendale, so I went and was amazed by the variety of zines there were: comics, poetry, photography, short stories, it was limitless. I meet Rachel Dukes (creator of Frankie Comics) at a Liz Prince signing and they told me about Zinemelt, a mini-zine fest Meltdown Comics (RIP) would have a couple of times of year. This was more centered toward comic zines, I would visit Rachel and was able to meet Sam Grinsberg, Nicole Goux, and Dave Baker. I started volunteering at Zine fests like the L.A. Zine Fest and the San Fernando Zine Fest. I made friends with a lot of zinesters, it’s a great community. One time I was telling Rachel I made these really dumb comics and how I wished I could make a comic zine and she said “Why not? Do It!”
What are your zines about?
My zine/webcomic is called The Worst and it is basically comics about my overall anxieties. They’re little stories about my life that centers around my depression, relationships, and overall venting. It was a very cathartic process making these comics. I just wanted to express myself but I didn’t know how to play an instrument or sing, nor do I have the time to do an indie film. I try my best to make these comics universal, so the readers can relate, but also still personal.
What are some of your favorite zines and zine makers?
There are so many fantastic zines and zine makers! Brown Girl Travels by Ashley Garcia, Manslaughter by Simeon Rein. Ahma Burns by Brenda Chi. Vos Cipote by Yeiry Guevara, I Like Making Art With You by Elly Dallas, Shakira Fan Zine by Planta Triste. Breena Nunez makes comic zines about being a queer AfroLatinx woman, her husband Lawrence Lindell makes these great comics on being a queer black man dealing with mental health. These zines touch on a lot of subjects whether it be working in education, being Latinx, or stories from their culture.
Your zines are in our library collection for patrons to borrow. What do you think about that?
I think it’s great! It’s an honor to have my zine so accessible to the public. When I was vending my zines, I sold them for a sliding scale of 1-3 dollars or I was open to trading. Also, I love public libraries! I work at a school library and kids are surprisingly really into reading. I grew up without internet at home, so I relied on the library for researching whether it be online or with an encyclopedia. The fact that someone has access to my zine at no cost is amazing! I like thinking about someone seeing it and maybe inspire to make one themselves, a better one!
What do you think is the future of zines?
I’m optimistic that zines will continue to thrive in the future. I think it's great that more public libraries are open to archiving their own zine collections. Zine making is a great tool for education, it’s academically praised and can even count as a thesis in colleges. It's a great and simple way for artist expression as well. Because zines are so accessible and simple, it gives people of different cultural backgrounds or sexual orientation, a voice.
Why are zines important?
Zines are important for a lot of reasons. It has a great community because everyone is so open and inclusive. Again, it gives a marginalized group a way of expression and a canvas to say what they want. It's a great and low-cost way to express yourself. Kurt Vonnegut once said “practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something. Making a zine is exactly that, so I hope anyone reading this goes for it and creates one!