If you never fully believed Montreal is a cultural hub for writers and artists, then let Expozine convince you! The two day zine culture exhibit can excite the kid inside you, as well as the smutty flesh seeking adult. With amazing comics from local French and English artists from all walks of life, Montreal’s various underground artists collectives, bookstores, etc were well represented at this year’s bazaar of underground zine and arts culture. Where else could you buy a zombie apocalypse separatist comic from a crusty punk?
Montreal’s small press, comic and zine fair is also Canada’s largest zine fair! In one weekend each fall, some 15,000 visitors see 300 different vendors and creators of all kinds of printed material.
There is great representation from art galleries like Headquarters boutique and gallery to the Concordia Co-Op Bookstore. Other exhibitors included numerous other Montreal artists and collectives such as: Drawn & Quarterly, Distroboto, Broken Pencil, Papir Masse, Chic Moustache, and numerous other big and small names.
Unfortunately, I got so carried away that by the time I got to the back of the room I completely ran out of all my money! Lucky my compatriot bought everything in sight. The one thing you witness at these conventions more than anything else is how happy artists are to sell their art at a reasonable price.
Expozine began in 2002 with the goal of helping the public find “local publications that fall outside the mainstream.” It has really taken off in the past couple years, growing year after year in the amount of vendors. I mean, if you’re into something under the radar then this is the place to go. Most of these vendors have no website and no other place to get their comics out aside from Expozine.
There are the standard tables like Lickety Split and Drawn & Quarterly, but it’s also the little collectives and the lesser known collectives that really make Expozine shine!
Expozine was at the St-Dominique Ã‰glise Saint-Enfant Jésus or as I like to anglicize it: “baby Jesus church”. It’s a beautiful place on the outside, but inside it is pretty hot, sweaty and humid.
Is there really a problem with having too much fun? Well, sometime yes.
When inundated with thousands of comics, magazines, t-shirts and other miscellaneous artistic items moving the down the isle was tight. And at times felt like a sweaty high school gym changing room. As it was a small church basement. Some of my claustrophobia set in, along with my asthma/breathing problems. Luckily I had time to go out for a few cigarette breaks and got to look at the outside architecture of this marvelous church.
The convention center can be a little overwhelming if not completely, downright intimidating for people like meâ€”artistically inept.
Still after it was all said and done, I had a fantastic time.
Top that off with a cafeteria serving beer, cold pizza and hot coffee. It turns out I am extremely addicted to reading books while holding a filter coffee. Although, trying to avoid getting brown drips on vendors books was extremely difficult; the church was packed tighter then a Billionaire sardines can!
As my Saturday winded down looking at books (heaven for nerds!), my highlight was definitely getting a quarterly subscription for my pay-what-you-can purchase from Paula Belina, she promised to have 4 issues delivered to my door and getting mail that is not a bill or a hateful letter from an ex-lover, seems very appealing.
And yes! I bough a zombie apocalypse separatist comic from a crusty punk who had a great selection of underground comics.
Whether or not you are an old man, a hipster or a tweed dweeb, Expozine is the place to check out. If you missed this year, no worries, it’s an annual event, so look out for it next year in November.