Stephen Floyd is a comic book collector, publisher and now the owner of Elmwood’s very own new comic book store, Gutter Pop. The store opens June 18th but here’s a sneak preview of the new neighbor on Elmwood.
Rachel: Where are you originally from?
Stephen: Well I moved here from Atlanta in 2010 but I live in Buffalo on the West Side.
R: Yea, the West Side. There’s a lot of refugees over there. Is it close to there? Like, there is-
S: Yea yea defiantly. There’s a very large refugee population in my neighborhood.
R: Have you traveled around the country, world, or just local?
S: Not a lot. I was in a hardcore band that toured Europe for a three-week tour.
R: Oh, that’s cool, yeah.
S: As far as with comics, I do maybe half a dozen to a dozen comic book shows here, but I never gone abroad. I try to do one or two on the West Coast, and most of them are on the East Coast or Mid-West. Like next weekend, I’m going to Cake in Chicago.
R: That’s interesting, so you know a lot about comics. You’re a comic guru.
S: I wouldn’t say that, but I mean I’ve been doing this small press called One Percent a little over ten years; so that is mostly helping my friends do more like slice-of-life, auto bio kind of comics. We’ve also released some records including some Buffalo bands, and we helped release a small comic by local artist, Emily Churco.
S: And there’s this guy, Sean Knickerbocker; we’re doing a book for next year. He’s from Buffalo. He doesn’t live here anymore but he has roots here. He comes back; well, was [coming] for the Small Press Book Fair every year; this was the last year—another ten-year institution. They decided after the ten years, you know, would be a good time to--
S: But I hope someone--
R: Takes it over?
S: Yeah. Or something. I know Sugar City on Niagara did a zine fair last year, and I’m hoping that will become more regular. That was a lot of fun.
R: Yeah. Did you say you published someone from Denmark?
S: Oh, Belgium. Max de Radigues. We translated and did an English language version of his first graphic novel called, Rough Age. Now, he has been published by Conundrum Press in Canada and Oily Comics.
R: That’s great. When I was reading the comics from your press, I noticed that they are very real, and I think in a way they can open the door to talk about important things that are in the community.
S: Yeah. To me there’s a lot of value to see real human experiences. That way it’s more humanized. I think for me, it really helped to make me feel connected to people in a way (I mean everybody is different and they find their own window into that stuff), but for me, like, it just made me feel a lot less alone to see people detailing their experiences on a smaller level. When I look at the world and it’s so big and there’s so many problems, it can be very overwhelming. It can sort of lead to a kind of defeatist attitude. The world’s so big, but when you look at it on a slice of life--
R: Yeah, a slice of life.
S: It’s like you’re able to see what little things you can do in your community or with yourself. I have found it very vital to my life as far as being a person.
R: Yeah. It’s great. In one of your comics, there was this one scene I saw where the one girl kept trying to put this deer head on. I mean the deer skull, then some teenagers come around to kick it, and she seems so intimidated by the teens; so that’s relatable and a human experience.
S: Yeah that’s Dakota. That was awesome!
R: That was showing a different perspective. You know I like that a lot.
S: Well, that’s another thing really inspiring about comics right now is that there’s a lot of diversity and backgrounds as far as the voices. I mean you were asking me before we got started about international stuff; but, you know, there’s just a lot of different people from different backgrounds expressing themselves and that’s one of the things I’m trying to curate. To get a lot of different voices in the stories and perspectives.
R: Do you have anything like poetry?
S: I don’t yet. I especially want to carry local stuff. I love the Buffalo poetry scene.
S: There’s a lot of great stuff going on. I have some zines like some people locally have made some personal zines. There’s this one my friend made called Don’t Touch My Bikini; it’s about sexual assault. People sharing personal stories and advice about what to do in different situations. I think that’s important for me to carry and something I hope to develop. I still got a little ways to go, but I haven’t been able to pick up any poetry zines. There should be something in the next couple months.
R: I definitely can help you out with that. I know a lot of poets.
S: Oh that’s awesome! That would be great! There’s a lot people doing a lot of cool stuff.
Gutter Pop 1028 Elmwood Avenue Buffalo, NY 14222 http://gutterpopcomics.com/
Rachel L. Johnson
Contributor Focus: "Buffalo: Deep Roots Abroad"