I Against I Interviews: St. Paco
St. Paco is the editor of Kung Fu Grip! zine, as well as author of In His Image zine and other photocopied classics. Before the release of his newest zine Octopussy, I Against I took some time to chop it up with zinedom's one and only 'kung fu pimp.'
IAI: Your new zine is called Octopussy. What's that about?
SP: Octopussy is a special edition issue of Kung Fu Grip! zine. It's something that gave me a chance to explore subject matter that was much too sexy for a regular issue of KFG.
IAI: Like what?
SP: Like pussy.
IAI: Okay. What else?
IAI: Okay. What else?
SP: Some good stuff actually. There's some porno-graffiti and an article on a street art collective from Belgium called Cum*. There's a series of 18 haiku poems I wrote which are dedicated to strippers in Arizona and Mexico. There's a short feature on the 18th century manga artist Katushika Hokusai, and a color center-fold by him that pretty much guarantees Octopussy will live up to its name.
IAI: Octopussy almost sounds like it could be a porn zine.
SP: In many respects, Octopussy is an erotica zine.
IAI: Hmmm...why make erotica zine?
SP: Because I was too chickenshit to make a porn zine.
Seriously, I just needed something to push me beyond the limits of my comfort zone. Even with my limited portfolio I've somehow still managed to write about subjects ranging from the mundane to the sacred. Octopussy was a chance for me, through my writing, to embrace the profane.
IAI: Embrace the profane. I like the sound of that.
SP: I bet you say that to all the guys.
IAI: How long did it take to put this issue together?
SP: Amazingly, it was slapped together in just over a month. Image selections, page layouts, writing and editing were all pretty much done in a 30-day period. That is a first for me, probably never to be duplicated.
IAI: Why not?
SP: Octopussy, like my other zines, is 56-pages long. It usually takes a while to generate enough content to fill up a publication this size. Some really cool zines out there have 16 to 24 pages of content. Some even fewer. Comic books, which have a noticeable influence on my stuff, are usually 36 pages long. From the very beginning, though, 56-pages seemed like the right target I should aim for with my zines. More bang for the buck, nah mean?
IAI: Speaking of comics, let's talk about this cover. It's clearly a nod to 1970s Marvel Comics.
SP: Sez' who?
IAI: Sez' us.
SP: Yeah, the cover of KFG! always carried the price blurb that I proudly bit from old school Marvels. As a design element, it has always had deep sentimental significance. When I started working on cover treatments for Octopussy, I had originally planned to drop the price blurb and go in a completely different direction. In fact, the first cover featured an image by an artist named Jonny Doomsday that's now on the back.
IAI: What inspired the change?
SP: I'm a hack with no original ideas of my own -- fuck you think?
Well, I'd had the previous cover done for about two weeks and I was 90% happy with it. But one of my homeboys came down from Phoenix and I was showin' him a box of '70s comics I have stashed in the closet. Around midnight, when I was working on this issue again, the style of those books came back to haunt me. Less than an hour later I had designed a whole new cover with an image by my Flickr-friend Dres13 that felt 100% right.
IAI: "Wise decision, Mr. Roper."
SP: Aw...you're droppin' the "Enter The Dragon" quotes? Me love you LONG time.
IAI: What's next for you?
SP: Hmmm... Good question. The fourth issue of Kung Fu Grip! is kinda' on the drawing board, as well as another article for Giant Robot magazine that I need to finish. I've had a zine called Love Letters to the KKK in mind for some time now. Who knows when I'll actually get around to it....but it will be good times when I do.
IAI: And who knows, you may just wake up one day with a hard-on to do a second issue of Octopussy.
SP: Oohhh...I have a hard-on for some more Octopussy right now.
*Interview taken from the forthcoming (but still very much a work-in-progress) desert culture zine I Against I.