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Meet Your Zine Maker #14: Tugboat Press // Greg Means

January 3, 2012

Tugboat Press is a longtime zine and minicomics publisher from Portland, Oregon. They put out several recurring titles, including Clutch, Invincible Summer, and the underground comics anthology Papercutter.

Tugboat Press largely focuses on its three flagship series. How do you keep those titles fresh after dozens of issues apiece?

The main reason I make zines these days is to stay in touch with friends and to simply have fun. I feel very little need to remain consistent with past issues or past manifestos. Life is about trying new things and having new experiences. My hope is that if I’m enjoying myself, the reader will too.


Tugboat just put out its first kids’ book (Yes, Let’s). What brought you into the children’s publishing realm, and what has been your experience so far?

Though my main zines aren’t dirty or anything, they’re still not for kids. What do kids care about job hunting and breaking up with your girlfriend? Boring! But I see a lot of kids at zine shows and felt bad for not having anything for them. I knew that my friend and co-editor was a big fan of picture books, so we just went for it. It turned out great and people of all ages seem to be responding to it. The downside, is that children’s book publishing is a world unto its own and it’s been hard to sell to that market.

What do you like about the zine community in Portland?

I like how friendly it is. How willing everyone is to pitch in and try to help each other out. There are a lot of cool DIY non-profits in Portland and it’s nice to see zinesters chipping in to be a part of them. If you were a kid growing up in Portland these days, zines would be in your blood.


What would you say to a writer or artist who has never put their work into zine form?

The first thing I’d say is, go for it. It’s not hard and it’s a lot of fun. If you stick with it and put a lot of passion into it, cool opportunities will open up. Much as everything in life.

Tell us about some new projects or special guests you’ll have at the Brooklyn Zine Fest.

I’m a fan of Free Comic Book Day (which is May 5th in 2012). I’m putting together a wacky zinester-centric issue for it this year. It should be out in time for the BZF. I’ll bring as many as I can stuff into my bags. They’re free! As for special guests, I’m hoping to entice some of my east coast collaborators to come join me, but I won’t know for sure until the show is closer who will be able to make it. Fingers crossed, they all will!

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