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Preview: New Orleans Comics and Zines Fest 

Kate Watson on the inaugural forum for self-published writers and illustrators

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The inaugural New Orleans Comics and Zines Fest (NOCAZ) is a forum for self-publishing writers and illustrators and features readings, performances, networking and parties at various locations. The festival kicks off Thursday at the Mid-City branch of the New Orleans Public Library (NOPL) with zine readings.

  "The type of material that is being made in the DIY publishing world is really lively and exciting and we feel this needs a more dynamic presentation than a typical reading," organizer Matthew Chandelier says.

  Many zine writers, comics, publishers and others will display their work at the daytime media expo Saturday at the main branch of the library. Exhibitors include Anatomic Air Press, local illustrator Chase Chauffe, the zine no gods no mattress, Neutrons Protons, Small Fires Press and more. Other participants include J.S. Makkos, printmaker and curator of the New Orleans Digital Newspaper Archive, and the African American Resource Center, a division of the NOPL.

  "There are many people making zines in New Orleans, but since local alternative bookstore, The Iron Rail Book Collective, is currently without a space there is no central location to buy and sell zines in the city," organizer Erin Wilson says. "People who write or draw often are working very solitarily, and it is important to create real-world platforms for people to publicly share their work so they can be inspired and supported by other people doing the same thing. There is a certain joy in physically holding printed media in your hands and it is amazing when ... you can actually interact with the person who made what you are reading."

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