Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Interview: Peril Digest

The zine world is full of small handmade publications catering to specific audiences. The Internet has fostered even more zines since publishers can print to pdf or doc files, and then email to a distribution list. Some zines have turned into websites or blogs.

I had a rare opportunity to chat with the creator of Peril Digest, a zine full of manly adventure. The editor, a friend who shall remain anonymous, draws and distributes Peril Digest on the side.

WARNING: most of the links below will take you to very adult sites.

Steven Damron: How long have you been producing Peril Digest?

Peril Digest: Two years.

SD: What was your inspiration?

PD: The lack of stories to accompany the plethora of exciting male (read: sexy) illustration on the interwebs.

SD: Were there other zines that you followed before you started peril digest?

PD: Only a few: Omeliscosmos web site featuring male transformation stories ... it was more of a website than a zine...guys like Pat Fillion, Bo Otokono, Kalabro, Iceman, Gengoroh Tagame, Juan Carlos Soto ... these guys were also looking for a way to share their creative juices and stories and we all sort of hooked up over the years. A lot of the guys simply creted blogs of sites, but I felt like what I was going for was more of a magazine format which i always found was more appealing in a sort of collectible thing, a sort of artifact stating that "I am here".

SD: Early zines were published, almost like pamphlets. Now most zines look like they are either episodic websites or distributions of pdf files.

PD: Yeah, and in their way they have a sort of low brow appeal! Like the piers had here in the west village in the 70s and 80s. I do think that Bob Mizer had kind of perfected the whole zine thing LONG before anybody with [his] A.M.G. and Physique Pictorial.

SD: You draw on paper and then scan your drawings for distribution?

PD: I draw, scan, write, and share the zine as a word doc.

SD: How do you find your readers?

PD: Mostly folks request my zine through three sites: Y!, the yaoi art site, Eka's portal, a "vore" art site, and Fur Affinity, a furry site with a very open art policy. I have pages at these site with examples of my work, but I choose to share the body of my drawings and stories with folks who go that additional step of emailing me and requesting my work, stating their age for the sake of keeping my largely adult material from falling into the hands of minors. I also put notice on Deviantart.

SD: What was in your latest edition?

PD: My most recent issue contained three stories: one was a sort of jungle piece featuring a recurring character, a botanist who. while defending the forest and nature, has some sexy encounters with plants, wildlife and people. He is a classic nerd-hero with a tan ... you can see the appeal, and I love to use the stories as a way of searching the internet to explore places I have never seen. In the most recent story, the botanist was in Mexico. It involved native peoples, symbols and landscape. Writing in general for me is a sort of vacation of the mind to places I'd like to see for myself (and perhaps sleep with some of the people there.)

SD: Did the botanist get to sleep with anyone?

PD: Well, it is true that he did, but there is quite a lot more going on: I like to spend copious pages describing his arrival at the airport, his journey into the jungle, to develop the character. Someone once said that museums were a sort of "embroidery of the imagination". I like that phrase because I feel that dimensionality even in one's sexual fantasies is key to fulfillment.

SD: I was wondering if he slept with anyone because you said that your zine contained mostly adult material. Does he arrive at the airport naked?

PD: Naked in the biblical sense?

SD: I suppose. I guess what I'm getting at is, what is the nature of the adult content?

PD: Transformation, capture, and redemtion ... it's an old trick ... in fact in American literature, it is the basis of the first pieces written in the new world: "a story of captivity among the natives".

SD: I know in your professional life, you deal with the interpretation of native culture all the time. Does that influence your work on the Peril Digest?

PD: Most correctly so. Certainly when one "goes native" it opens a whole pantheon of opportunistic expierience ... in the aforementioned narratives the sexual aspect of the tales was always referred to in an obscure manner, I am simply taking the next step, removing age old taboos against sexual encounters with the foreign, then alien, the cross species ... in some instances.

SD: We talked about influences already. Are there zines you've seen coming out that you like now?

PD: I'd have to say that Japanese Yaoi and Manga mags seem to be the most daring/edgy as far as exploring sexual variance, political and stereotypical mores and the like. Sunyapei Nakata, Tagame, Sadao Hasegawa, Ebiasu, these guys had and have a real enthusiasm for breaking boundaries and shattering inhibitions.

SD: What's next for Peril Digest?

PD: Well, I am currently working on a rather larger piece that involves a young man caught between his inborn talents and gifts and the whirlygig fates that place him in various situations and sexual circumstances. His openness to the tides of chance seem to be carrying him along on a sort of virtual wave. That wave, be it positive or negative, is one of self-preservation, experience, and pleasure. Not too far from what one might experience, given the absurd and oddly humorous world presented to us every day in the news, on the interweb, or on the bus. Since I am a hobbyist, the unfolding of the story, not yet complete, is also subject to a vast array of personal encounter.

SD: Anything else you'd care to let the readers know about zines and Peril Digest?

PD: Behind every pair of eyes one can find another universe. It is only by discounting that fact that we diminish the true vastness of experience. Although it may be convenient to edit out that which we intuit, it may not be altogether prudent :-)

SD: Do you want to give out an email address for people who want to read Peril Digest?

PD: A caveat: Peril Digest is a work of utter folly, it is FULL of ideas and circumstances that run directly counter to the norms of western society. Peril Digest and its characters are ALL adults.

SD: I think that's true with most zines, isn't it?

PD: My guess is there are many exceptions to that fact.

SD: Thanks for your time!

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