Eclectic ICE CREAM at Mission Creek

As part of the Mission Creek Festival, the ICE CREAM—Iowa City Expo for Comics and Real Eclectic Media—Comics and Zine Fair hosted its fourth annual expo in celebration of unique comics and media.


Katie Goodale

Patrons visit the Ice Cream Comics event in Public Space One on April 6, 2019. ICE CREAM, or Iowa City Expo for Comics and real Eclectic Media, was hosted in as a part of Mission Creek. Local artist sold their cartoons, stickers, shirts, and books.

Haley Triem, Arts Reporter

Around the room, individuals can spot a demo printing press, a type-writer, and an older man wearing a bright red shirt that reads ‘I am The Stan Lee of Gay.’

People crowd booths and tables filled with hand-stapled booklets, pins, prints, and other knick-knacks. The entire basement is filled with colors and comics and voices of all varieties, in a collection that can only be described as eclectic.

On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the ICE CREAM and Zine Fair opened in Public Space One as a part of Mission Creek Festival.

“This is ICE CREAM, or the ‘Iowa City Expo for Comics and Real Eclectic Media,’” John Engelbrecht, who helped organize the event, said. “It’s otherwise known as a comic and zine fair. It’s our fourth year doing it, we’ve done it in conjunction with the Mission Creek Festival since we started.”

The word ‘zine’ is a common reference to indie, underground, and often hand-made, miniature magazines. They’re less formal and less polished than the standard magazine, but have found a niche in the literary and artistic world.

“Zine is a more do-it-yourself version of a magazine,” Engelbrecht said. “So, they’re self-published, often very low-edition and cheaply printed, though sometimes not. Editions will range from personal things to research to topics outside of mainstream society.”

The ‘ICE CREAM’ part of the fair’s title was designed to encompass all of the other media associated with the zine community. The title leaves breathing room for any genres of artists who want to participate.

“Real eclectic media is everything that goes along with zine,” Engelbrecht said. “There’s people here with DVD’s, enamel pins, buttons, prints. There’s a typewriter here, paintings on film slides. It’s kind of the catch-all for everything that goes with this culture, but doesn’t fit the title of zine.”

This catch-all included home-printed cards, LGBT comics, embroidered pins, a ‘junk drawer,’ a stapled zine guidebook to memes, and home-made baked goods among many other things. One booth showcased brightly-colored comic posters, but arranged in a way that left the viewer feeling as if something is slightly ‘off’ in the universe.

“My work right now is prints and collages,” Shane O’Shaughnessy, who ran the booth, said. “One aspect is taking Batman and DC stuff from anywhere in the 40’s up until the 70’s, and just cutting and re-arranging it as if we’re viewing comics in a slightly different universe. Things kind of make sense, but are just off a little.”

Another booth contained press-worthy vintage-style comics that at first glance were based in realistic fiction, yet seemed to contain uncanny twists.

“My comic is called Goiter,” Josh Pettinger said. “Usually the stories are autobiographical, but they sometimes turn into sci-fi. I just draw in ink on paper, and try to print it in a way that makes it seem as old as possible.”

Creators of the ICE CREAM and Zine fair sought to keep the strangely-eclectic atmosphere alive by making the booths financially accessible to all venders.

“I think it’s a real interesting event for Iowa City because it showcases a lot of local talent, and there’s a really low access point for people,” Engelbrecht said. “It only costs ten bucks to sign up for a table. It’s overwhelming because you see a lot of work that people put a lot of time into.”

This surfacing of local talent and art-extraordinaire fit in well with the celebration of up and coming music and literature that hallmarks Mission Creek.

“It’s like the underground coming out for a day or two,” Engelbrecht said. “It’s a fun little survey of this side of Iowa City that often you don’t see.”


Facebook Comments