BY Leah Watson
Last weekend marked the fourth annual Zine and Indie Comics Symposium at The Edge in South Bank.
ZICS is a free two-day celebration of the zine and comic mediums where fans and creators, both local and interstate, gather to re-discover and enjoy Australian creations.
According to co-founder Jeremy Staples, the event is a chance for the community to learn and grow.
“ZICS is much more than just zines and comics,” Jeremy said.
“There are panels and workshops where you can learn about the industry and what others are doing, there is so much opportunity to talk to creators and network, and now there are even poetry slams.”
What started as twenty-three creators and fans responding to a community callout has grown into a centrepiece of the Australian zine and comic scenes.
ZICS 2016 #theedge #20ZICSTEEN – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
Zine creator and ZICS co-founder Andy Paine believes ZICS’ rapid growth is indicative of the community and culture’s inclusiveness.
“At this stage, after a few years, we expect that we can fill venues like The Edge,” Andy said.
“At first it was an unknown because when you make things like zines and comics you make them in isolation and it feels like nobody else doing it. But when you put the word out and everyone gets together, it turns out there are a lot of people out there doing it.
“It’s amazing. People come one year, get inspired and then the next year they have a table!”
For digital comic creator and facilitator Milan Ilich, community and creativity go hand in hand.
“I moved schools a lot when I was younger and drawing is how I made friends,” Milan said.
“Comics are not just for entertainment, they facilitate a sense of community and culture.
“When I first started publishing, we used to meet during afternoons and nights at The Edge just to come up with ideas.”
As is the nature of self-publishing, zines and indie comics are able to tackle topics that are rare or sometimes completely absent in mainstream publications.
Such topics featured at ZICS include politics, gender identity, sexuality and mental health.
Outside of the original zines and comics displayed over the two-day event, various panels also attempted to shine a light on a few sensitive topics, including ‘Health, Creating and Me’ and ‘Gender Trouble’.
These panels and ZICS as a whole, provide a space for the community to openly discuss important issues in a safe, inclusive environment.
“It’s great to have events, like ZICS, that bring everyone together to share ideas and thoughts honestly,” Milan concluded.