Busting at the Zines

By Dave Miller

There wasn’t much signage outside of the Église Saint-Enfant Jésus, just a few printed sheets taped onto the basement doors and a throng of smokers huddled together in the frigid cold.

Nothing more was necessary. Entering the 10,000 square foot space that housed Expozine 2007 was like entering the beating heart of a thriving indie-press and zine scene: vendors were crushed together on the long rows of tables, they were crammed into corners, they were setting up on any available floor space. If there was a way to be found in this room, there was certainly a will. Shoulder to shoulder, patrons squeezed and oozed themselves from printmaker, to small press to zine distributor in a slow, arrhythmic shuffle. And though the ferocious pace seemed to go on unabated for two days, spirits never waned and the common emotion was one of overwhelmed bliss in light of such excess of talent.

To say that Montreal’s annual small press, zine and comic fair has become a huge success is an understatement. Launching six years ago with 15 exhibitors set up in a bar for an afternoon, the event has grown almost exponentially since. Co-organiser, novelist and zinester Louis Rastelli, has referred to this event as a conference, and it does have that feel to it as this gathering of all things indie-art related has become a two day selling, networking and schmoozing extravaganza. The last frontier for Expozine was the French language scene and this year’s noticeably increased presence of French language artists and presses seemed to speak to yet another success. French or English, for many of the 250 exhibitors from all over Eastern Canada and the North Eastern US, this single weekend will generate enough sales and interest to keep them going for the year. The growth doesn’t seem to be slowing either as a cursory interview with the patrons reveals a wide range of writers and artists already planning their own parts in this seemingly self-perpetuating event. The only foreseeable problem the organizers face is finding a space big enough to handle any more expansion.

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