We’ve all been there. We all have our tales of dating drama – lonely nights, blind dates, and bad breakups. It’s a theme everyone can relate to, and Delaine Derry Green tapped into this well of woes (and some happy endings) by making it the theme of her latest issue of Not My Small Diary.
NMSD is an anthology of autobiographical comics Delaine has been putting together for 12 years now. Over the years, NMSD has been a meeting place for established and beginning comics artists and zinesters alike. John Porcellino’s contribution this year is proof of that, documenting how he even found love through the pages of NMSD #8. In a field where many zines have come and gone, and when blogs threaten to take the place of small press print, how does Delaine keep up her zine queen momentum, pursuing her passion without much profit?
I asked her a few questions fans will want to see, and if you haven’t yet, check out NMSD #14, a two part issue full of dating angst, despair, dirty deeds, and even Delaine’s own story of dating success, as told by her and her husband, Lee. Who knows, you may find your own love on the pages…
CL: Why did you start My Small Diary comics, and how did it become Not My Small Diary?
DDG: I started doing My Small Diary comics in 1993, after graduating college. After I moved to Birmingham in 1996 I met a few more zinesters in “real life” and I decided to do the anthology format. The idea of gathering artists to do diaries just came to me in a flash and I was excited about it!
CL: What steps did you take to grow it? How did you get so many great contributors to participate?
DDG: I started making contacts the second I started getting into zines. From the beginning I was contributing to other zines and writing to other people appearing in those zines. The biggest help I had from the start was Maximum Traffic (White Buffalo Gazette, Truth Be Known). He was a great resource and knew SO many people in the small press arena. His contacts became my contacts and now vice versa. Max now writes to me and tells me I am the queen of the small press and he uses my comics to find new artists to write to! I forged real friendships during the age of “no internet” and that makes my network even stronger in this day of instant communication. I can’t deny that the internet has helped get more contributors faster. Since NMSD has been around a long time it’s easier to get new and better artists every year. It’s a name people in the small press usually recognize.
CL: What kind of formal training, education or experience do you have in comics/art?
DDG: As a child I was always making comic books so it’s in my blood. I’ve always been a creative person and always liked to produce things like comics & little books and I always liked pen pals and the mail. Those things combined meant that doing zines was a natural transition for me. My college degree was a BFA in Graphic Design so that knowledge helped me design the books effectively. Since graduating, all of my jobs have been in graphic design and I have added “artist” to my list of activites. I do paintings and mixed media pieces and I’m featured in a local gallery here.
CL: Do you have a day job? If so, what is it?
DDG: My current day job is graphic designer at a tradeshow display company. I’ve been here since August, 2001 and I love it! I used to work at Kinko’s which was awesome since I could make free books! I still have dear Kinko’s connections.
CL: What’s the best part of putting together NMSD? The most frustrating or hardest?
DDG: The best part of doing NMSD is finding and getting artists that I want to contribute. I’ve been very happy with the introduction of theme issues, I think it often brings out the best in people. It’s frustrating getting people to meet a deadline, but I’m very laid back about it. It’s not fun to scan and clean up comics, but with the “digital age” I often receive emailed contributions all ready to go – I love that. I really love when the issue is done, gets sent out and I get good feedback.
CL: How do you feel about NMSD #14? Do you have a favorite piece in it?
DDG: NMSD-14 is my favorite issue so far. Maybe I just like the extremely personal nature of dating stories. There are so many pieces to love in 14. It was cool that my husband contributed for the first time. I loved Nicole Georges, Max Clotfelter, John Porcellino, Geoff Vasile, Andrew Goldfarb – that’s off the top of my head.
CL: It’s been 12 years! What keeps you going?
DDG: I guess I’m a “lifer” in the zine world. I’ve never gotten tired of doing NMSD or doing graphic design. I thrive on the creativity and feedback. I feel like people really appreciate NMSD and that helps me continue. Also, over the years I have visited and grown close to quite a few zinesters. It’s almost like I’ve built a little world with friends all over the globe and I would never want to upset that!
CL: Does NMSD support itself, or is it a labor of love?
DDG: I can’t say that NMSD supports itself anymore. My Kinko’s contact does all he can to give me a super deal on copying the books, but it’s not totally free like the old days. It’s definitely a labor of love and scant profit!
CL: Any future plans for NMSD?
DDG: I plan on sending out a call for NMSD-15 this summer. I came up with the theme “15 minutes of fame – brushes with celebrity” and I hope that inspires people. Someday I want to release a “real” book compiling a “best of” NMSD.
Visit Delaine’s website for more information and to find issues of NMSD – www.mysmallwebpage.com.