An interview with Olaf – the editor of ¡Qué Suerte! conducted (by post) by Kris Mininger
Q: Name, Nationality, Current Residence, Age & Occupation?
A: Olaf Ladousse. I´m a Belgian born in Paris. I´m currently living in Madrid. I´m 38 years old & work as an illustrator.
Q: When & how did you become interested in fanzines?
A: I began making fanzines when I was a little kid with my cousins & my siblings when we were bored on the weekends. We edited homemade newspapers. I did the drawings. I´m terrible at writing. I´m a fan of rock & roll and so I always bought fanzines to find information about the underground music scene. I don´t make a distinction between fanzines & professional magazines, as long as they provide me with the information I´m looking for.
Q: When & why did you start publishing ¡Qué Suerte!?
A: When I arrived in Madrid in 1992 I looked for work showing agencies my book of industrial design work. I didn´t find work, but I found a lot of good artists & cartoonists. I edited the 1st number of the fanzine ¡Qué Suerte! to take advantage of the contacts I had made & because nobody else was interested in publishing it. I didn´t find work or opportunities so I invented them myself. The first issue was # Zero, it was an egg. If it properly fertilized the next issue would be # Chicken. If not, it would be a “tortilla” (a Spanish omelette-ed.). Shortly afterwards I put out # Chicken.
Q: Would you describe the content of your fanzine?
A: Each issue has a specific theme, is “mute” or without text & is published without any publicity or advertising. There were # Zero, # Pollo (Chicken), # Perro (Dog), # Calle (Street), # Muerte (Death), # Chica (Girl), # Numero (Number), # Carne (Meat), # Petroleo (Oil), # Mágico (Magic), # Enfermo (Sick), # Mecánico (Mechanical), # Accidente (Accident), # Ladrón (Thief), and # En El Bosque (In The Forest).
Q: How many copies do you print of each issue?
A: I put out 500 copies of each issue annually. I recuperate about 1/3 of the money. The post is a
financial disaster. I send a lot of fanzines overseas.
Q: What kind of relationship do you have with your readers?
A: I calculate that about 100 people that I don´t know buy the fanzine in comic book stores in Madrid. The other readers are collaborators & friends. I sell about 20 copies of each issue by post. I don´t have distribution. When I´ve worked with a distributor in the past it has always ended badly. I keep the letters that readers send me & I have fun imagining who they are.
Q: Would you describe the technical aspects of your fanzine?
A: ¡Qué Suerte! is A5 format, photocopied in black & white with the cover cut & printed in linoleum. (In the first issues, up until # Numero, the covers were screen printed.) In ¡Qué Suerte! cartoonists from all over the world participate: Hong Kong, Chicago, New Zealand, Brazil, Belgium, Australia, Italy, Germany, France, Argentina, etc. When I find an artist that I like (whether they are professionals or children) in other fanzines or magazines, I send them a copy of the last issue of ¡Qué Suerte! along with an invitation to draw a comic for the next issue. The comics are without text so that everybody can understand the story without having to understand the language of each particular cartoonist. I make a comparison between comics & the cinema. They are both narrative languages & are very similar. The entire world can understand a silent film. This is the technical aspect that I want to focus on with ¡Qué Suerte!. Above all, it´s a classic fanzine – I fold & staple the whole thing by myself. There is nothing democratic about it.
Q: Do you think fanzines are an important alternative to mainstream publications or just an amusing hobby?
A: I don´t distinguish between fanzines & professional magazines. I´m interested in information, not the format it comes in. In general, professional publications are limited due to the fact that they have to stay profitable. This considerably reduces the objectivity of their information. However, you can also find fanzines that dream about making tons of money through advertising & are ready to become the most disgusting marketing propaganda. Meanwhile, the professional magazines can´t break free of their commerciality, so a lot of information will not be available within their pages. But the fanzines will always be there ready to serve their purpose.
Q: What can you tell us about the history of fanzines in Spain?
A: I always find funny & charming fanzines, but I´m not an expert or an archivist. I don´t know the history of Spanish fanzines. There are books covering the subject, but they never review or talk about the fanzines that I like. They focus on the popular & well known fanzines. I would like to see the fanzine published in the 1970s by Calpurnio (cartoonist of “Cuttlas”) in Zaragoza, it was called “El Sapo”.
Q: Do you have any favorite Spanish fanzines?
A: At the moment I´m a big fan of Blue Yodel & Cosmonauta Electrico.
Q: Any thoughts on the “e-zine” movement?
A: I don´t use the internet very much. I do use the computer as a tool. I don´t enjoy sitting in front of a computer screen. I know nothing about the “e-zine” movement. I suppose it´s probably very similar to the paper zine movement, with the same mental wanks, ego trips, obsessions & other excesses.
Q: What do you imagine is in store for the future of fanzines?
A: Thanks to the globalization of a single set of world values, we are living in an ideal time to be a rebel, with all the subversive information coming from restless minds & their fanzines.
Q: How would you like to see the future of fanzines unfold?
A: Thanks to the big communication companies the future of fanzines is secure. Less liberty = more creativity. The people will continue thinking & being heard.
Ps- Here are the addresses of 2 fanzines I highly recommend:
Cosmonauta Electrico, c/o Oscar, APDO 52097, 28080 Madrid.
Blue Yodel, c/o Jose Luis Carrasco, calle José Bergamín 2, 8A, 28030 Madrid.
Pps- I also publish a “fanzine” called “Cartel” (or “Poster” in English-ed.) with a collective of 4 artists/cartoonists of the press. We hang them up all over the streets of Madrid. It´s political & you can see the previous issues on the internet at this address: http://pagina.de/el_cartel
For a copy of ¡Qué Suerte! send $5/5€ to: Olaf, APDO 18280, 28080 Madrid, Spain.
And if you get a chance check out www.olafladousse.com
(This interview was conducted by post (naturally) and in Spanish. Then your humble editor translated it into his native tongue- English. Unfortunately, some of Olaf´s unique sense of humor was lost in translation. -Ed.)