#1. Like the immortal golden-age zinefolk, Joe the Stache combines a blunt, obsessive persona with a charming, sloppy execution. When I read his tutorial on growing a handlebar moustache, I got a feeling that I haven't gotten from a zine in a long time: I suddenly took an interest in something I didn't give a shit about before. His enthusiasm infected me. I realized why some women dig the things: craftsmanship. Cool. Our host then swerves into an eerily well-informed rant about Nazis, inspiring more '90s flashbacks in your reporter. When I realized the last half would be filled with band interviews and record reviews, I zoned out. Long live zines. Reviewed by Emerson Dameron. [$?, trades and moustache-related contributions welcome, 38 pp., digest]
1467 Cochiti St., Santa Fe, NM 87505.
Bipedal, By pedal
I had a hard time with this one. Reading Bipedal, By pedal was almost like watching the author attempt to tie down greased hogs, while giving a tutorial on how it ought to be done. While small, a lot of words were used to say that Critical Mass is a controversial and regularly occurring international phenomena, consisting of semi-spontaneous convention building; with reoccurring bicycle themes; and no fixed agenda, meaning, or point (making it a sort of [non]event). I wasn't able to read it in entirety, and (like the Portland Critical Mass) I gave it multiple tries. Eventually I decided to flip to the back pages assuming I'd find a summation of propositions, concluding statements etc. . . . What I found was critical analysis (did you just read 'analysis' as 'mass' in your head?) on what CM is. It was in the back that I found the author's overtly fixing meanings, as well as using and confronting more-stable definitions and biases, redeeming the zine for me. Not that I am all" Hooah!" for structural linguistics, I'm just not a big fan of greased hog-wrestling.
While I would rather be handed a copy of the film Return of the Scorcher by a passing cyclist, this zine wasn't all that bad. Bipedal, By Pedal contains history, anecdotes, interpretation, and analysis of Critical Mass that I think is worth $2 (and I hear it's on sale for $1.50 at Microcosom!). Reviewed by JJ. (40 pages, 1/4 size, offset, 2 oz)
By Matt Furie. Andy, Brett, Landwolf, and Pepe are the four friends in "Boy's Club" — they play video games, drink, take drugs, eat pizza, and wear cool t-shirts. It sounds like it might be monotonous, but instead it's really quite fun. Casual conversations and hang out sessions always seem to turn interestingly gross (like when Andy gets bird flu from not washing a shirt he bought on the street, or when Pepe pops a cheese bubble on his pizza and baby spiders spill out!). Really creative endings and great art make this zine a must have. Reviewed by Kelly Froh. ($? / half-legal / 40 pp.)
#21. How awkward to read a zine detailing the failed relationship of two well-known names in the Northwest zine community. Part of me felt like I was sneaking a look at a tabloid (which makes news-stories out of people's private lives) and I also felt like — oh shit — this is a journal comic minus the punchlines. Wrekk does not seek to slander her former partner, instead this zine is a more personal investigation of her side of the relationship. She writes honestly about the concessions she made in the name of commitment and the guilt and depression that comes along with feeling trapped, and not wanting to be the one to leave. This is a good zine for anyone that has been/is currently in a relationship that is stagnating, and slowly but surely ruining you. The ending will bring you hope that there is life after a bad relationship. Reviewed by Kelly Froh. ($? / digest/ 40 pp.)
Alex Wrekk, 809 N. Shaver St., Portland, OR 97227.
(2007.)Wow. This is the "sample version" of a much larger (60 page) project ...but all by itself it's a pretty amazing artifact. This kind of obsessive attention to detail can't be bought: this cat loves doing music theory for the guitar and has clearly spent thousands of hours at it. There's a particular focus on choosing chords when only the melody line is known. The notations, unfamiliar to me, were designed to be easier to learn than "trad" (standard staff notation) and for all I know it works. The same publisher also produces the long-running zine Dwelling Portably. 12 digest pages; $1. Reviewed by Indy.
Light Living Library, POB 109-cea, Philomath OR 97370.
Crude Dude Comix
(issue 5; August 2005.) The point of each story, beyond simply grossing out the reader with lots of entrails, seems to be that anybody with an opinion about anything is an asshole. Hippies, liberals, libertarians, socialists ... all fodder for Jose Angeles's scorn. Boring as hell. 40 sub-digest pages; $3.50. Reviewed by Indy. No contact info beyond joseangeles(at)muchomail.com and CRUDEDUDE.net
Dirt and Cheese
Issue 3. Carrot Quinn wears a giant back pack. She eats cold cans of beans, huddles freezing in a boxcar, and accepts rides from strangers. She is in love with this life. And so today i bring you Dirt and Cheese, a zine filled with "freight trains, solitude, unrequited love, the far north, the hunt for long lost fathers..." and more.
A good adventure does not always equal a good story. While many people are inclined to write about their adventures, I have found on more than one occasion myself drowning in the brambles of self indulgent prose, losing track of the actual plot and feeling like i'm in the midst of a mid-nineties emo song middle school acid trip. Here is where Dirt and Cheese rises to the top of the heap. A cordial tour guide, Carrot leaves no stone unturned, never forgetting that you, the reader, are along for the voyage. In this issue, she brings us to Alaska to meet her long lost father in an awkward living room with the football on mute. We are also brought along on train rides and fantastical hitch-hiking trips, where we are simultaneously shown the charm of the highway strip, and the sting of being left behind.
A hulking hundred pages of straight text, Dirt and Cheese is laid out in a simple, easy to read way, and features a charming wood stove on the cover. Even if you hate adventure, you will fall victim to the simple charms of Dirt and Cheese. Reviewed by Sharpei Newman. ($5.00, it is digest size, and about a hundred pages, bound with a rubber band — dirt and cheese laughs at staples, it is so thick.)
#14. Cometbus is a genre now, like punk. There are countless Cometbus emulators, paradoxically rugged and tender, wayfaring kids who handwrite their lyrical musings ("lyrical" like punk lyrics are "lyrical") in impeccable block caps as they travel the world, close to the ground, meeting nutty outcasts and take-no-shit laborers, experiencing experiences. There are Cometbus wannabes and there are Cometbus torch-bearers, and they can be judged on the strength of their stories, as the writing never deviates much from the Cometbus template. While it does include a lot of lines such as "[t]he wind has stopped taking its meds again," Dream Whip has the conviction of a long-haul lifestyle, a zine that will run out of material when its creator dies, a zine that's logged 14 issues with no problem, a zine that no longer depends on its influences. Is has the sweep of a first novel, dozens of anecdotes in which I lost myself, and a disarming wit that Cometbus lacks. It's one of my favorite Cometbus replicas I've read, even if it can't escape that comparison. Check the cute World Trade Center séance drawing, and stick around for the index. Reviewed by Emerson Dameron. [$?, 344 pp., paperback book]
Bill Brown, PO Box 53832, Lubbock, TX 79453.
Available via www.microcosmpublishing.com
#8. "I like to think of this as the archetypal Dublin literary thinker's zine" — so writes the author, and he had to, because no one else on earth would categorize this zine as such. This zine is just one long, uninteresting, unoriginal rant against all that annoys the author. At this point you could probably guess, but I'll list these annoyances anyway: bad drivers, tourists, breeders, retail workers, ugly people, people who watch TV, the homeless, etc. . . . The concert review is the only thing worth reading because it's about someone other than this author, who if I overheard him talking in a pub, I'd move to the other side of the room. I at first thought this immature, boring ramble was the work of an intolerant teenager, and then I went to his myspace site and saw that he's in his late thirties! Wah wah waaaaah! Reviewed by Kelly Froh. (free / digest / 12 pp.)
Alan Pearce, 20 Bullfin Rd., Dublin 8, Ireland.
The real title is in Khmer, so I can't even read it, never mind type it. ¶ A girl defeats some violent enemies violently and goes on to have an encounter with a cat in a dreamscape in this long-distance comix collaboration by Celso (images) and Sinoun (words). It's pretty good stuff, too: the unusual tone and style really do evoke a certain otherworldliness. A great deal of (rough) craft has gone into creating some fold-out pages; also you get a plastic envelope for the whole thing and a sticker. Reviewed by Indy. No price listed, but one learns at Sinoun's way-too-tricky anatomicair.com page that they were asking $4.
Celso, 3423 N. Commercial Ave, Portland OR 97227
Sinoun, PO Box 1602,Decatur GA 30031
Here it is
#3. It was originally hard for me to get into this comic, because at first glance, it's all over the place. But I eased into it, and ended up really enjoying it. I don't believe a comic has to have structured panels, but I still balked a bit at how free-flowing this comic is. Imagine sketchbook pages. Cute drawings accompany short stories and lists of "unanswered" questions (i.e. "Did the mouse in the pantry understand my attempts to communicate?"). This zine would benefit overall with the use of better pens; a few pages look like they were done with a crayon or some kind of bulky marker and it is not doing a service to the drawings or the words. A lot of neat details are lost. Still, a nice little comic worth reading. Reviewed by Kelly Froh. ($? / digest / 36 pp.)
Erin Tobey, PO Box 7023, Richmond, VA 23221.
#1. Not quite a comic — more just captioned drawings. The title describes the content pretty well — it's about (and by, presumably) gay men who'd rather stay in with a book than hit the club. Yet, there isn't a lot of "homo" to Homobody. "Homobodies cuddle in bed for a long time, even if their pillows are only balled-up sweaters." Who doesn't? I'm all for making soup, playing with the cat, instead of socializing, no argument there. But in the next issue, let's address more of those gay male stereotypes. Make that the focus. I'm well familiar with sleeping till noon. Reviewed by Marc. [$?, digest, 12 pp., copied]
Move! Dance! Create! Publishing, c/o Rio Safari, 2934 SE Adler #5, Portland, OR 97214.
Issue # 2½. Human Waste is a half sized zine that is stocked with articles that parody various aspects of DIY Culture. It is the kind of zine that would give itself a high five to a bad review because they really felt like they "gotcha" or put a bee in your bonnet. Take that, radical politics! Boo ya! One step closer to voting republican. Cool!
Something surprising to me is that Human Waste's DIY Issue is so big! This person obviously took a really long time writing and laying out a zine all about hating on our community. It seems like a lot of effort, but to what end?
Within the DIY Scene, there is a rich bounty from which to poke fun. We are living in a land of dred mullets, DIY Dentistry, roadkill vegans, and intensely straight dumpster divers whose homo-erotic attraction to Joe Biel and all things Microcosm is immense and ripe for satire. I find it disappointing that within this world of potential hilarity, the best Human Waste can come up with are jokes about Punk Planet readers driving SUVs.
Do you know who, 9 times out of ten, feels comfortable making fun of other people's issues and then throwing up their hands going "Heyyyy, it was a joke! Lighten up!" ?. People who have the privilege to. To joke about Women's Self Defense. And being poor. And about being against a war whose casualties are mainly people of color. Human Waste takes on all these issues, and does a poor job of finding the humor in each.
I will bet you a thousand dollars that the person behind Human Waste is a straight, white, man with a lot of privilege.
A glimpse into the mind of the writer:
"the rain was pissing more than a pregnant lady on free beer night"
"I saw a punk and his girlfriend"
(who's the girlfriend? An accessory? Could she not have been a punk too? )
side note from Marc: Re: the writer's use of the word "your" when the appropriate spelling would be "you're". Is that a joke too? Just to stick it to the reader?
I feel sad that people in the Pacific Northwest feel like life is so progressive that it's now okay to be ironic about feminism, oil, and radical politics. In fact, taking a step outside of our oxygen-rich landscape, one will find that our small community is somewhat insignificant in the face of war and conservatism, so much so that we should be nourishing and supporting each other, not infighting with stupid zines that aren't even clever enough to justify their means.
p.s. in regards to an article on the zine symposium and Portland romanticism:
People need to recognize when they're bringing their own issues into something. If you walk into the zine symposium and are freaked out by a room full of happy, productive zinesters, and feel like there's a hierarchy there, then it's up to you to change it. The hierarchy you feel isn't inherent, it is only perpetuated by your attitude and baggage. I am truly baffled by people who feel insecure, exclude themselves, and then complain about being excluded as if anything we would have done (as symposium attendees or organizers) could have changed that. Reviewed by Sharpei Newman. [$2 / digest / 40 pp. / photocopied]
Brent Moore, PO Box 7182, Bend, OR 97708.
In Between Zine
#3, January 2008. This one, yes, I am reviewing out of guilt. James gave a nice write-up Zinethug in these pages. He offers a couple notes on the layout that I've taken into consideration, and comments:
"I've been sending my own zines to ZT for I'm sure the last 2 or 3 issues, but they haven't reviewed any. I'm a little disappointed, but I've accepted it."
It is true, not everything I receive gets a review. I intend to mention it all, and not to be so selective. But I've been running this site for five years. The stack of unmentioned zines can be daunting, and I feel like I can only unload so much crap on the other reviewers.
Which isn't to say that In Between Zine is crap. Mr. Dawson is a longtime zinester who has honed a distinct style. He uses few images, and abhors computer generated type (although this issue was done on word processor, for reason detailed within). He includes many zine reviews, zine ads, and classifieds from prisoners, seeking free zines. An e-mail is listed among his contact info, but he no doubt prefers paper correspondence, reverently. A Letters section fills a good third of the zine. The rest is the aforementioned "Xeens & Things" (i.e. zine reviews) section, and then reviews of plain stuff that interests the creator — dime bin paperbacks, "creepy" music on cassette. In short, what we have here is a classically ziney affair, sustained by its readership, and built on networking (like I am doing here). Even when I don't publicize an issue of IBZ on this web page, I peruse it. This is not insignificant. Reviewed by Marc. [$3 or trade, standard, 36 pp., copied]
James Dawson, PO Box 613, Redwood Valley, CA 95470.
Invincible summer: an anthology
I wish I had the good fortune to love every zine as much as I love Invincible Summer — an artful journal teaming with love of animals, humorous inner dialogue, depictions of wonky interpersonal experiences, and awkward family life. . . . While I love me a good perzine, I fall into the seemingly large category of reviewers who do not often appreciate the use of comix for narrative. However, Nicole's illustrations are superb and definitely aid in providing that interactive quality which draws readers into the author's world. Besides, don't get me wrong, it's not all comic. If you're familiar with Invincible Summer, you know that each page is crafted uniquely, sometimes just well written/arranged text, sometimes with an illustration, and sometimes a comic, yet there is never a redundant format! For me, reading the first Invincible Summer anthology invoked feelings similair to sitting on the roof with a good friend, excitedly passing notes in class, and wide eyed coffee jittered conversations. I liked, loved it, want some more of it. . . . Did I mention the occasional vegan recipes which showed up in the pages?
This is first I.S. anthology (second run), which contains issues #1 - 8, and includes extra content (mostly wonderful drawings). Reviewed by JJ. [192 pages, 1/2 legal, paperback] Available via Microcosm #76053.
222 S. Rogers St., Bloomington, IN 47404.
The fifth issue of Johnny America is divided into three booklets, not really out of necessity. I might have preferred a thick zine instead — eighty pages, maybe even perfect bound. That would look impressive. The dedication to writing and clean layout are what draws me to Johnny America; the content stands on its own. To have this installment divided like it is does not complement. I am inclined to use the word "overwrought". But as a reviewer, there was an advantage. I sent one volume to Owen, one to Kelly, and kept this for myself. Neither of them were aware they were seeing only 1/3 of the product. So bear this in mind.
What I held onto (the Green Volume) showcases the effort of four gentleman. Editor Jonathan Holley begins the volume with the story "Georgie", a post-apocalyptic tale of heroism which takes time revealing itself. Of Johnny America's regular contributors (with the possible exception of Emily Lawton), I find Holley to be the most skilled, and "Georgie" confirms this opinion. He displays his gifts of colloquialism and leave-the-reader-wanting-more-ism here. Well done.
Mark Brown rates lottery tickets upon the criteria of "Fun", "Graphic design", and "Overall value". OK. G. D. Ward furthers the timeworn genre of "ironic, postmodern take on the superhero", with the longish missive "Hello". It's a imaginative yawner — cute but identical to work being handed into collegiate creative writing classes nationwide. I've come to expect more from Johnny America, which is why I really can't explain the final submission's presence. "Sipping Soda in a Combat Zone", by Timmy Waldron, in a word, blows. Lampooning the foibles of modern Amerika, it seems so easy. A Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speech altered via CGI into a television ad for "Peppie Cola". A corporate sweepstakes that awards civilians a tour of Iraq, in sporty off road vehicles. I might not have finished this one.
What I wrote before, about an eighty-page and perfect bound issue, I world like to amend. Make that sixty, fifty pages. Johnny America is a bang-up zine. I just wish Jonathan would stop including all these other jerks. Reviewed by Marc. [digest / 28 pp. / bound with string]
(Blue Volume.) Easily my favorite of this issue's Thug Grab-bag. Solid production values, first of all: a nice stiff cover (with uncredited art in the style of Jim Woodring) inobtrusively bound with string; a page layout scheme that's creative but easy on the eye (this is particularly rare); the works. But of course,it's really all about the content, right? ¶ Right. So: the first half is Eli S. Evans's dead-on-target academic "Theory" parody "Toward a Sociology of the Sport Spectator: A Rare and Patented Argument"; the much shorter pieces bringing up the rear include a review of (the DVD) AmericanBar, a handful of (literate and entertaining) short-shorts, and the laugh-out-loud Q&A column "Tom Conoboy Knows All The Answers #1". There's more at the website in case you want to try before you buy. Reviewed by Indy. 24 digest pages.
(Red volume.) It literally took me 7 tries before I got through this literary zine. The first paragraph screams annoyance. I thought, "Oh God, I'll never get through it, I'll never make it." In fact, I set it aside and only reviewed it after being politely prodded by Marc. The first and longest piece in this issue is by a Japanese writer, Toshiki Kojo. It's named "A Funny Story of a Sad Story" and it's 22 pages long. It's about a book that contains a sad story, but not really, because it makes people laugh, but not because it's funny, but because it's sad. Or something like that. The first page goes back and forth trying to explain this book's problem. The book goes on a journey to find "the happiest story in the world" in the hopes of balancing the sadness it contains, and making the girl who checked it out from the library happy. On this journey, the book meets and talks with other books and ends up in a different library, and then in the home of a famed "book lover", learning more about itself along the way. Half-way through I thought, "This would be a good children's story", and I pretty much feel the same way after finishing it. The author, Kojo, has a kind-of tedious writing style that was really hard to appreciate, but this story had its moments. The last story in the book, a one-pager entitled, "Flour Moth/Luna Moth" was really well-written and I enjoyed it very much, perhaps because of my memories of a sad box of Maggot Bran that I innocently poured myself a bowl of. I didn't eat Raisin Bran again for years. I believe overall that Johnny America should stick to short, smart stories and essays. This volume was just too daunting for the common reader. Reviewed by Kelly Froh. (digest / 24 pp.)
Available in three volumes for $8.
Johnny America, P.O. BOX 44-2001, Lawrence KS 66044.
(Vol 1; 2006.) I myself am a teacher (of adults, the other end from K'garten, but still ... a teacher). So I'm more than a little bit predisposed to care about the stuff in Mara Siciliano's zine about life on the front lines of Elementary Ed. ¶ OK. So. It disappoints me to report: I mostly didn't care much about the stuff going on in this zine. Most of it's in "comics" format ...but MS is a barely a beginner cartoonist. Which is cool — it's a zine! — but for heck sake don't (if you actually, you know, want an audience) fight the reader with sloppy hand lettering. ¶ But then there's the story that chilled my blood. One has — more or less — grown used to random harrassment by clueless bureaucrats who have long since forgotten that our "land of the free" was once the envy of the world — all in the name of "Homeland Security". And I thought I'd become pretty cynical about it all ("schools are just minimum security prisons", as I remarked in a previous Thug) — until I read KU's "Lock Down". The horror here is that nobody seems to be horrified ... ¶ Watching MS work out her beginner-comix chops (mostly about faces, but also including the odd where-do-you-put-the-camera human-anatomy page-layout stuff) was pretty fun; sure as heck worthwhile. My own taste leans to the looser style displayed in "I Thought I Might Have Nits" (I suppose what I'm getting at here is "don't try too hard"). ¶ No contact info beyond e-mail (somebody doesn't know ... trading is the whole point): handwritten but looks like "smumoni2000(at)yahoo.com". If that fails, maybe the "u" oughta be "o". 40 digest pages; $2. Reviewed by Indy.
(Maybe. The handwriting on the cover art leaves some room for doubt. No price or date.) Vignettes from the sex-life of a gay man with severe enough mental-health issues to've landed him in the psych ward more than once. Frank without being sensational; this reader found it very touching. There's also an interview with novelist Daren Luddand an outside-looking-in piece about gay New York reprinted from a 50's "men's" magazine ("rife with misconception and truth just like real life"). Finally, a handful of zine reviews — alwaysa good thing. 80 sub-digest pages (sideways); no price listed. Reviewed by Indy.
Mike,PO Box 1174,Tallahassee FL 32302
My Fat Irish Ass!
(Issue No. -(Minus)8; no date.) This guy evidently loves paying dues to the post office. I quit making zines several years ago and so've lost track of the rates ... but 5 sheets of paper probably adds well over 30 cents to the mailing cost of every copy. So what else could be the point of ten full size pages of unfunny recaptioned newspaper funnies ("Family Circus" & "Blondie" & "Dennis the Menace" ... oh look: Dagwood's a junkie! There's this enormous hypodermic needle crudely added in to the panel! Haw haw haw!) — didn't this play itself out several generations ago? ¶ "Inappropriate Remarks 101" is more conspicuous consumption: a few lines worth of crude wit spread out over two-to-a-page celebrity photos and huge type. Then there's a sort-of-amusing (but way too long) mostly-text thing about pretending to go along with the "old Nigerian e-mail scam" ... but even here, he admits that it's already been done better (at 419eater.com). ¶ Still. When all's said and done, there's a zining-is-fun-&-fun-is-good vibe at work here that anyway Ifound pretty contagious. The (9 pages of) original comix stuff are sort of inspiring in their crudity (hey! — I could do that!) and "Pundits I Have Loathed" is actually pretty witty and insightful. If I were still making zines, I'd gladly trade with MFIA!. If he went for it,it'd cost him several times my own production and postage costs ... but maybe he can somehow afford it. 44 fullsize pages; "Price: Food! For God's Sake, Food!". Reviewed by Indy.
PO Box 65391,Washington DC 20035
(#22, 2006.) According to a fan letter, it's "all very punk rock". So there's the usual focus on records that nobody outside of some exclusive clique could ever care about ... but then, hey, what's this, Louis Armstrong. Neilzine openly invites anybody to send some stuff; he'll probably publish it. Makes for a pretty fun mix. And the "very special part to me is that it's ALWAYS FREE". By god somebody still gets it after all these years. 16 fullsize pages; free. Reviewed by Indy.
P.O. Box 723,Santa Rosa CA 95402.
#4. The best story in this magazine is entitled, "I Hate Daniel Butler", which is a great piece about hating the most popular boy in school, and it ends in an actual physical altercation that is very surprising. It is a great depiction of high school awkwardness, jealously, hostility, and depression. The rest of the magazine exhibits a guy who can really draw, but has no other stories to tell, so he writes about balls, farts, penises, and boogers. Original, huh? His artwork is reminiscent of Drew Friedman and Basil Wolverton — seriously, this book is fun to look at, it's too bad its content is so base. I wouldn't accuse Johnny Ryan of such a thing, because he works these "things" into weird, unpredictable stories,which are definitely lacking in Dean's magazine. Dean declares in his introduction that all he hopes to offer you is, "...the same kind of sick jokes and smutty humour as before..." So, mission accomplished. Reviewed by Kelly Froh. ($3 / standard / 47 pp.)
Jason Dean, 5 St. Dials Rd., Old Cwmbran, Cwmbran Gwent, NP443AN, United Kingdom.
not my small diary
(issue thirteen, 2006) There are sixty-three pieces here on the theme-of-the-issue ("Lucky/Unlucky"); almost all are in cartoon-memoir form (but a small handful are [one-page] prose pieces [with spot illustrations]). ¶ Now. That's a lot of contributors ... so it's reasonable to expect that the quality will be somewhat uneven. OK, I admit it: very uneven. ¶ A few of the artists have no cartooning skill at all (beyond ... presumably ...a love of the medium); meanwhile, at the other end, we have such long-time favorites (of mine) as Carrie (Asswhine) McNinch, Androo Robinson, and Dan Zettwoch (of USSCatastrophe in St. Louis), along with plenty of other very well-trained hands. ¶ And plenty is the word. If you can get more flat-out comics joy for six bucks anywhere ... go to it! (Heck ... you're probably better at this job than I am... wanna volunteer to take my place?) Delaine's been producing these model high-end comics zines since 1993 (along with — of course! — MySmall Diary itself). ¶ OK. Now. Just a wee quibble to go along with the gush (to justify my self-image as a "critic"). Can we all just kind of get past the whole "(lovingly) tie it together with shoelaces (or paperclips, or trashbag-twisties, or anything in world but the good lord's own staples)" thing? I mean, is it because it's a pain in the neck to read it (since it falls apart in your hands), or because it's a pain in the neck to shelve it, or is it maybe because it's a pain in the neck to produce it &8212; or what? — that makes you think it's such a marvelous bloody idea? ¶ PS. More gushing. I meant everything I just said, but. I suppose I'd better go ahead and admit that the production job is stunning. The (dan moynihan) cover art is printed on playing-card stock (and then glued to the usual cardboard coverstock) ... for all the world like actually playing cards; they artfully invoke the"luck" theme. Tiny parts of the various images (throughout the zine) are easily made out (& this is harder than it sounds ... we've got a pro print job, in a word). ¶ Now for some how-you-get-good technical stuff: of course Delaine included ordering info (it's missing pretty often; are you sure you don't want this job?) along with a back catalogue (pix and prices; brief descriptions ....you know: class). There's a photo of Delaine (looking delectable ... but hold it, guys, she's happily married). There's a webpage and an "e-group". Order already. 160 digest pages (in two volumes); $6. Reviewed by Indy.
Delaine Derry Green, 1204 Cresthill Road, Birmingham AL 15213
(Issue One; 2006.) Every now and again, I'll look at a short-story in a "little" magazine (or a major monthly) in the library; maybe now and then a "literary issue" of some academic periodical will fall into my hands. Kinda thing. And whatt he heck — I'll read pretty much anything — like as not I'll even get a bit of a kick out of it. But has it got any balls? Hell no. Enter SWILL. ¶ Our editor, Rob Pierce, has accomplished something pretty amazing here: all ten pieces have interesting stories to tell (with plenty of weird sex and fantastic mayhem: "stories with an edge").What's maybe even more surprising: they all tell their stories in straight-up well-edited american english ("Fortunate Day", by Delphine Lecompte [probably my least-favorite piece here] has lots of run-ons and flouts capitalization conventions, but these are choices deliberately made, not mistakes). Weirdly, Pierce's own "The Ugliest Whore" is maybe the most carelessly edited story ... there are two comma splices, for example ... a doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient, I suppose ... ¶ This is fiction by people who care about words, but without the stifling conventions of the "literary" genre. The best of the lot? Maybe, for me, Corey Mesler's Scrooge-meets-Dr.-Jeckel lead off story "Ebenezer Redux". The graphics (6 full-page black-&338;-whites) didn't do a thing for me (though the cover's kind of interesting). 68 fullsize pages. No price listed. Reviewed by Indy. No contact info beyond swillmagazine.com
By Heather Maeo and Lisa Rosalie. A dating expedition after a break-up. I made a similar zine myself not long ago, when I went on a slew of Match.com dates. What I like about this one is that the author is not afraid to write about her too-high expectations. She's really excited to meet someone she really clicked with online. She goes to meet him and he's huge, wearing a black trench coat a la the Matrix, and try as she might, she just can't get past this (who could?). She goes on a great date with a great guy, but is disappointed that she doesn't fall in love in 3 hours. Online dating should really promise to help you make connections, not find you a "mate" — I think this screws with too many people. You expect "love at first sight", and when it doesn't happen, you get confused and disappointed, distracting you from what you should be doing — getting to know this stranger in front of you. The author makes online connections, meets a few guys (some good, some huge, some arrogant) and seems to give it her all at every opportunity. There is the occasional daydream (in the form of a nice little piece of erotic fiction) that overcomes her, but for the most part, she gives each guy a good chance. You really do learn a lot about yourself when you craft a personality profile for an online site, and then try to live up to it when on an actual date. You wouldn't think there'd be so much surprise involved — with the 1500 word descriptions of likes, dislikes, opinions, traits, over a million conversational emails exchanged. When you meet face to face, you have to be ready to start from scratch. All those words just get you the date, nothing more. Neat little drawings and totally awful blockprints are scattered throughout, neither are necessary per se, but the colour cover works quite nicely. Reviewed by Kelly Froh. ($? / mini /24 pp.)
maeo(at)bust.com and lisa.rosalie(at)gmail.com
By Mardou. I picked this comic up at Stumptown, where my search for narrative comics under $3 was nearly fruitless. I was happy to find this one, actually priced at $2, and it has a story, and characters, and plot twists! Oh my! Similar in style to that of Gabrielle Bell, this has nice, straight-forward drawings that do well to support the story. "Washing Machine" is about a misstep in judgment that threatens to sabotage something really good, and relationships blossoming in the strangest places. Reviewed by Kelly Froh. ($2 / half-legal / 16 pp.)
(February 2007.) This "Premier Issue" is all about MUNI, the public transportation system in San Francisco. The only thing in it that caught even a little bit of my interest (though I did manage to read the whole thing) was a collection of photos of a cute twenty-ish woman on or near a bus or bus-stop. Ten contributors have joined editor Kathleen Neves ... but none of 'em found anything to say about MUNI that made me care. Or even convinced me that theycare, when you get down to it. If they'd written about stuff they did care about, maybe I'd've found it more interesting. Or maybe not: the center spread collage (about body images) and the "Love and Sex Column" (in "Dear Abby" style) didn't do much for me either. No price or addy listed; here's its MySpacepage. Reviewed by Indy.
#25.5, March 2008. This supplement contains about 150 zine reviews, and is meant to hold the reader over until the publication of #26, which let's hope appears some time this year. Zine World approached something like timeliness with its last couple issues, something like an annual schedule. I am of course overjoyed by the reviews herein — I received this supplement two days ago, and already I've sent off for zines mentioned. I am just antsy for more: the News section, the Letters section, columns, gossip. . . . [$1 / standard / 12 pp. / photocopied, cornerstapled]
#25, Summer 2007. "Free Speech is for Everyone". Zine World is indispensable. Whenever I teach a "Zines 101" workshop, I bring along later copies of Factsheet 5 and the most recent ZW. I go into my history with self publishing, and mention how, in the 1990s, zines flourished. I hold up a copy of F5 and say, "This was the place to be reviewed. Sold at newsstands worldwide, Factsheet 5 came out every few months and featured thousands of zines. The never gave bad reviews." Then, I say, everyone got on the Internet, and the number of zines fell off drastically. F5 ceased publishing, and Zine World became the place to publicize. "Their comments are more appraising and honest", I'll tell a class. "Hundreds of zines are mentioned, and it's only sold by mail. The sense of community is much stronger in these pages. Zine World is for people who can't help but publish zines." Reviewed by Marc. [$4 US / $5 Canada, standard, 48 pp., offset]
Jerianne, PO Box 330156, Murfreesboro, TN 37133.
Marc Parker edits and foots the bill for this site. He makes a zine, a comic, called Big Fucking Deal. For rent, he tutors at-risk high schoolers. For love of self-expression, he teaches zine workshops — to senior citizens, homeless youth, and new members of the IPRC. Also, he's their zine librarian. Marc has a fluffy black and white cat, named Rusty, who is alternately aloof and cuddly. It's a good life.
Kelly Froh has made over 25 mini-comics and zines including, "Slither", "Unlucky with Pets", "The Cheapest S.O.B's" and "Stew Brew" (a collaboration with Max Clotfelter). She has a BFA from Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design and hasn't done much with it (she has failed, in fact, in even putting the thing in a proper frame.) Kelly's work appears in several anthologies including, "I'll Keee you!: An anthology of overheards" (available from Atomic Books) and "Not My Small Diary". She shares a website with some pals, visit it at: www.scubotch.com.
Indy Ana Jones reviewed zines for The Ten Page News (and Indy Unleashed) back around the turn of the century. Indy's enormous zines index was probably the most extensive such project ever available on-line. Hasn't been updated since early last year, though. Want more? Ask Vlorbik.
Emerson Dameron lives in Southern California, America's dream factory. He writes and performs comedy. He co-founded the Chicago Underground Library and used to publish a zine called Wherewithal.
JJ Bjordahl lives in Portland, works in alternative education, and has a substantial ego — which he tempers by producing anonymous and pseudonymous works. . . . He's had writing and photography published in local and international outlets and occasionally volunteers graphic design work for local non-profits.
Sharpei Newman has been making zines for a long time. She resides in the pacific northwest, where she makes drawings, sings songs, and reviews zines for Marc Parker and Zine Thug.