The MutantFam is a passionate group of drive-in mutants. Throughout the various marathons, there is usually some sort of craft or art piece sent to Joe Bob, revealed by Darcy. It’s all very neat to see.
One member of the MutantFam who puts in a ton of work is Jennifer Manriquez. Jennifer is the editor and genesis of The Joe Bob Briggs Fanzine, which is approaching its fifth produced issue. The zine, in classic-fashion, collects writing, transcripts, and illustrations about the favorite movie host and the movies covered across the marathons and the first season. Jennifer was kind enough to answer some questions about the zine’s creation and reactions from the community itself.
Haunted MTL: How did the Joe Bob Briggs Fanzine come about?
Jennifer Manriquez: I originally contacted Joe Bob asking permission to start a fan club. My idea was an old school fan club, like the type you’d see in the back of a comic book. Back in the 80s, I joined a Rogue fan club from an ad I found in an Uncanny X-Men comic and that was really fun. I actually stayed friends with the kid who’d started it for a couple of decades after that. So, I thought it would be great to start one for Joe Bob, where a fan would send in five or ten bucks and they’d get back a fan club packet, along with a quarterly newsletter, but I was having a hard time getting that project off the ground. I played around with the idea of a podcast as well, but that was proving equally stubborn. I’m already a writer and have been making zines for the last twenty years, so I thought I’d get back to my roots and just do what I love most, and already know how to do, by creating a fanzine. And the rest is history!
What is the process of assembling a fanzine like from issue to issue?
It can be tedious and time-consuming, but at least the subject matter is never boring!
I start with transcription. I sit, watch, pause, and type until I capture every last word that Joe Bob, Darcy, and their guests have said during whatever episode or marathon that particular issue will be covering. If I’m going it alone, this process can take up to a month. If I have a helper or two, it can get done a little faster. As I go through the transcription process, I also make notes about things Joe Bob says that might warrant further research. Sometimes he will talk about subjects that I’ve never heard of, so I’ll dig around on the internet for more information about them and then add little footnotes in the fanzine. I figure I can’t be the only one who might want to know this stuff. After transcription is done, I start writing and editing. I go through letters, articles, interviews, and photos that are sent to me, and I start weeding through them, deciding what will go where and what needs some extra editing. I get everything just right and then I start the next step.
That’s when the real fun begins. I start laying it all out. This can take up to a month. My favorite part is putting the artwork in. I have the most amazing volunteer artists who do stellar work. Every single time I put a new piece of artwork into the layout I just smile and think, “Everyone’s going to love this.” It’s always mind-blowing. They are just so talented!
After I’m finished with the layout, I shoot it over to my volunteer copy editor for one last look. I always make my husband read through it too, in the hopes that between the two of them they will find any mistakes. By this time, I can’t even look at it objectively anymore. If they both give it the thumbs up, my husband sends it to the printer for me. After a day or two, I get it back and then I list it online, make updates to the website, make posts to social media, and get ready for the storm of orders. The next week is spent packing up and mailing out orders. Then I start transcription for the next issue and the whole process begins again.
How has the reaction to the fanzine been from the MutantFam?
The MutantFam has been the most positive, encouraging, supportive group of people I’ve ever encountered online. Joe Bob has really cultivated this amazing community of creative, loving, and really cool folks. I’m so grateful for them all.
What about from the crew at The Last Drive-In?
I’ve heard through the grapevine that they’ve read the fanzine and that they really like it! Joe Bob messaged me on Twitter with positive feedback (which made me so happy!). And Darcy has been very supportive on Twitter from the beginning. I’m very thankful to have the support of these incredible people!
Are you generally a horror fan, or are you more of a Joe Bob fan?
I’ve been a horror fan since long before I knew about Joe Bob. But I discovered Joe Bob in the early 90s on MonsterVision and I just fell in love with the whole vibe of the show. My grandmother was a very religious woman, and she loved me a lot, but she was keen on the idea that watching horror made you “desensitized” to violence and crime. So, I grew up loving horror, but feeling that I was somehow wrong or bad for watching it. Then along came this hilarious guy, Joe Bob Briggs, who clearly wasn’t a desensitized and violent criminal, but he loved the films. He loved watching them and joking about them. I was also in my early 20s and in an unhappy marriage at the time. Joe Bob just felt like someone who “got me” and he was a friend to me at a time when I had very few. That’s when he became something of a hero to me, and he still is!
In any case, what is your favorite horror film, book, or videogame?
I have too many favorite horror films to list, but my top five are classics. Aliens, Jaws, The Lost Boys (which defined my teen years), Poltergeist, and The Fog.
The book Bird Box is the best horror I’ve read in the last five years, easily. Skip the movie, though.
I don’t play a lot of videogames anymore, just because I don’t have the time. But Resident Evil 4 is, by and large, the best videogame I’ve ever played. Skyrim is an extremely close second.
As a Last Drive-In fan, you surely have a wishlist of movies that you would love to see on the show. What is your absolute, number one choice?
I’d love to see Joe Bob take on some more classics since those are my favorites. Poltergeist has so many great behind-the-scenes stories, I think it would be fabulous fodder for The Last Drive-In. The Exorcist would be great too! There’s so much to talk about with that one. Also, I really wanted him to host The Changeling and Madman, and I got both of those wishes, so that was great!
More Joe Bob, More Zines
We hope you enjoyed this spotlight on the great work Jennifer is doing for the fan community. If you want to learn more about the fanzine please check out the official website and Twitter and Instagram accounts. You can also purchase issues directly from Etsy.
Please keep checking back with Haunted MTL for new interviews with members of the horror community.