Bryce Galloway is the creator of New Zealand's longest running zine/comic with his largely auto-bio Incredibly Hot Sex with Hideous People. A regular publication since 2002, recent issue #56 provided an extensive history of the NZ zine scene. Bryce's firsthand account of the development of a scene that has flourished in recent years with zinefests now dotting the calender and happening in major centres all over the country provided a fascinating read. I asked him a few questions about putting it together.
Matt Emery: What was the starting point for writing a history of zines in New Zealand?
Bryce Galloway: I guess I just suddenly realized that my 14 years of zine involvement meant I'd seen some changes in the scene that were unbeknownst to most of the young people making zines: The steady rise of NZ zine production; changes in the platforms supporting zines; and changes in zine content/styles.
Emery: Are there any notable zines that you are aware of that were published outside of the main centres of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and Dunedin? Did you consider having more coverage of these provinces?
Galloway: It was pretty hard knowing where to look for such material. David Merritt is a notable exception, as a resident of Mangamahu (50kms remote of Wanganui) but otherwise it was a case of looking at the communities and connections built up around the five NZ zinefests in the larger urban centers. I'm aware of small rumblings in Palmerston North and Tauranga but I was writing mostly about the mechanisms - like zinefest - that have supported the exceptional rise in NZ zine production. Another reason for not seeking out remote individuals - also alluded to in the recent history - was that I didn't want to start canonising individual zine titles/zine-makers within the narrative.
Emery: Apart from Incredibly Hot Sex with Hideous People, what are some of the important zines that have come out of NZ?
Galloway: Ha ha… that I might be important!?!? The things that could conceivably make my zine important are its longevity (14 years / 57 issues) and the fact that it inspired a young Kylie Buck to get into zines and go on to start Wellington Zinefest. Hopefully its a quality zine, but there are plenty of quality zines out there. David Merritt is also notable for the longevity of his project (poetry in up-cycled book covers and banana boxes) as is Hamish Win's John Dory Report, also in its 57th issue. It's wonderful how different these three titles are. Other titles are often more fleeting but just as good. Look to any of the Best Of Fest competitions for some qualifying clues. The very recent Hamilton Zinefest 2015 was won by Makyla Curtis's wonderfully poetic The Great Goatsby. Matt Black's Objet Da Da - an extended taxonomy of found objects - came in second. Vincent Konrad's The Newest Yorker came in third for its painfully pithy cartoons.
Emery: What were the most difficult parts of documenting the NZ Zine scene?
Galloway: It was easy to start but the quick turn around one hopes for with zines soon became elusive, as I tried to find out the names of all zinefest organizers over the years, or find out about the comics and anarchist scenes I've known comparatively little about.
Emery: Where can folk get a copy of the latest issue of Incredibly Hot Sex with Hideous People?
Galloway: People can check out all my wares at Incredibly Hot Sex with Hideous People and write to me. In Melbourne there's Sticky, Black Star Books - Ōtepoti, Auteur House - Hamilton, Audio Foundation - Auckland, and in my hometown of Wellington I often get them to numerous venues.