Animal Crossing-Themed Fanzine ‘Share the Warmth’ Supports LGBTQ Youth

I hope Kapp’n shows up somewhere. Love that salty yokai sailor.

Jayme Brodie (@jaymajaym) had never coordinated a fanzine before, but she couldn’t think of a better first project. In October of 2018, she felt the drive to create something. As an artist on Twitter, she frequently saw mutuals and friends contributing to online zines, printed collections of work (poetry, prose, digital art, etc.) that adhere to a theme or subject matter. It was an intriguing idea.

Brodie took bookmaking classes in high school and had since flexed those skills through a number of physical publications, but those projects were always individual efforts done at her own pace. She felt like it was finally time to invite others onto a team.

“I thought, ‘What would be my first dream project that I would want to do and see other people do?’” The theme would be Animal Crossing, Nintendo’s much-loved village simulation series known for its adorable animal residents and crippling mortgage systems.

Thus, the Share the Warmth Fanzine was born. “What are things that I love and don’t see enough of? It was one of the first things that came to mind and just felt right,” Brodie said. “It would be something that would make other people happy and feel a sense of community.”

All proceeds, minus the costs of production, would benefit The Trevor Project, an American non-profit that lends aid and resources to at-risk LGBTQ youth.

Planning for such a project was daunting, at first. Brodie wasn’t sure she would receive enough applicants to fill out even the most meager spread. But anyone plugged into art Twitter knows its capacity to signal boost a good idea. By the time she cut off applicants, she had been petitioned by 357 willing artists. Deciding who to accept was one of the toughest parts of the project.stw cover

 

The contributing artists all shared a love of Animal Crossing but came from different stylistic backgrounds, which Brodie said will lend the zine a unique yet cohesive look. The artists I spoke with loved the idea as soon as they saw it.

“Centering the illustrations around a feeling instead of just a set of characters is really nice and gave me a lot of inspiration when trying to think of where to go with my piece,” said Veronica Agarwal (@anuanew).

Another artist, Glo Wan (@glooblin), agreed. “I think Share the Warmth allowed the artists to explore what was memorable and meaningful to them when they played the Animal Crossing games, making the zine a bundle of good memories.”

They were also pleased to see the zine benefit The Trevor Project. Many of the artists and Brodie herself are part of the LGBTQ community. “In a lot of my work I try to tell stories that show lgbtq characters in a wholesome and soft light because I feel that a lot of media doesn’t allow us to simply exist without some sort of suffering or challenge first,” said Sara Cal (@nonotsara).

“As an LGBT+ person who’s been suicidal in the past and felt like I had no one to reach out to, organizations such as the Trevor Project are greatly appreciated and highly needed,” said Céli Godfried (@pianta_) . Along with providing material meant to educate young people and their family, The Trevor Project combats inordinately high rates of suicide and suicide attempts by LGBTQ youth through intercession and empowerment of individuals and those around them.

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As the zine progressed, Brodie was surprised to find a knack and a passion in the role of editor. In fact, she is a bit abashed at how much she loved planning and preparation. ““There were a lot of spreadsheets. Still are,” she added. “That might honestly be my favorite part of this.”

It came as no surprise that New Leaf and the ever-helpful mayoral secretary, Isabelle, are highly represented within Share the Warmth. As for the shop owner/real estate magnate Tom Nook? Not so much. Each artist brought a personal history with the series into their art submission.

“I wanted the lettering for Share the Warmth to have a wooden feeling to it, both as a slight nod to Animal Crossing’s wooden sign logo and because there is a lot of nature in the game,” said Wan. They started with the Gamecube version and had a hard time grasping the full game at such a young age. Regardless, the atmosphere hooked them.

“I think the game does such a good job at making you invested in the lives of these very flawed, yet delightful villagers,” Wan continued.

Cal never actually owned a copy of New Leaf, instead constantly borrowing it from a friend and hoping they didn’t delete her town from the cartridge. Her submitted work incorporated an interesting physical medium.

“If you look closely at the piece I did for this zine some of the patterns I used are actual doilies and envelopes that I use as stationary. It’s a love letter… for your eyes,” she said.

Saturday, April 20, is the last day to submit an order for the zine. Brodie worked hard to provide different tiers that include postcards, charms, and more. She even established her own independent publishing company, Pink Clover Press, in order to produce full-color prints of the 50+ page artbook. Recently, she has had more time to reflect on the path to realizing Share the Warmth.

“To be able to hold the book in my hand is really weird, but not in a bad way. I’ve been looking at the InDesign file for months now,” she said. “I want to continue doing this kind of work. It’s just me, still, but I want to keep publishing zines and small books under this press.”

Brodie wanted to eke out her own small corner of the internet to allow people to express gratitude for a series that had so often provided a refuge of acceptance and love, along with providing material aid to those who weren’t so fortunate. Everyone involved seems to agree on its success.

“It’s clear that everyone working on it really cares about the zine and Animal Crossing, and that care extends to each other as well,” Agarwal said.

“This zine is beautiful and I’m really proud of everyone’s work,” Godfried said. “As someone who’s been on a downwards spiral, its subject and goal really spoke to me. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or reach out to others when you feel stuck. You can be proud of surviving, and you’re not alone.”

You can read more about the Share the Warmth Fanzine and order your copy on their website. The last day to order is Saturday, April 20.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you are an LGBTQ youth who needs help of any kind, The Trevor Project has resources to help.

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About Chase Carter

Chase is a journalist and media scholar interested in fan communities and how they communicate. He loves reading, cooking and his two cat sons very much.
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