Cool Dog is the main character in a series of comic zines created by illustrator and comic artist Miquela Davis. Cool Dog, Davis says “is the coolest dog, but he isn’t exactly the smartest dog, and he always tends to end up getting into trouble because of how cool he is.”
Davis, who also takes inspiration from 90’s cartoons, pop culture, and music, hand-writes and draws her staple-bound zines. She’s been making zines since she was very young, but tabled at her first zine fest at OC Zine Fest 2015. LBZF will be her second zine fest.
When did you start making zines … and why?
In 2006, when I was 16. I was going through a bad period of insomnia and all kinds of weird stuff was happening. High school, ya know? My uncle went to college with Mark Todd, who co-wrote/edited the incredible tool of a book called Whatcha Mean What’s a Zine? My uncle gave me a signed copy because he thought I would be interested in turning my art into something else than just personal drawings, and I consider that book to be my bible. It somewhat saved my life, as dramatic as it sounds. I learned about Zines and immediately started making them. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I actually started to distribute and publish them instead of just making single copies for me or my friends though, which I think is silly, I’d love to read my stuff from ten years ago!
What was your first zine called? What was it about?
Looking back, technically I made my first zine when I was 4. It was a handmade and badly stapled book filled with Sesame Street stamps and I made them have speech bubbles with nonsense gibberish inside. I think Cookie Monster died in it. I was an odd child.
But as far as legit Zines, the first one I made was called King 4 a Day. It was Green Day fan fiction comics I distributed to friends and I even turned it into a play we performed in my high school drama class. I was an odd teenager.
How do you create your zine content?
I spend a lot of time listening to music, so I’ll get some kind of weird ideas from that. I also take a lot from people I know. Cool Dog comes a lot from a person I know. My previous comics when I was a teenager came from lots of inside jokes with friends. I like drawing things I find funny and can visualize easily. Sometimes someone will just say something randomly in a conversation and an idea snowballs in my brain from there. I take a lot from the world around me and what I find humorous about it.
Why do you make zines?
They make me happy! They’ve opened so many doors for me, helped me meet so many amazing people, been a way to be in control of my artwork, they’re truly the best. Zines are so versatile and having the creative control over them really is everything, as well as experimenting and seeing where they can go.
What do you like about your local zine community?
It seems like it’s just blossoming, which is really rad to witness and meet all the people who are just getting into it or have been doing it for years and finally have an outlet to get their stuff out there. All the zine fests popping up have been a dream come true.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start making zines?
Do it. Just do it. Nike that ish. If you have something you want to make, you just gotta do it. It doesn’t have to be perfect.