Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Guts Power #3

So yeah, who would have thought that grad school would get in the way of writing more or less anything? Plus I'm dead lazy. Anyway yesterday I scanned a whole bunch of zine covers. I would promise that more reviews or coming, but if you read zines you know that promises of more timely content are a dime a dozen. And I mean, it's only been three months since the last time I posted a review...

This is the third issue of a pretty strange science fiction comic set in Scotland in the "future" of 2003 about unemployed people in a world where time is a mental construct, and even horrible monsters have to deal with bureaucracy. 

In this issue the bizarre possessed sentient Segway thing that exists has become a giant mutant thing, and the thee main characters have to take a train to Deadinburgh in order to get replacement parts. Of course, as most of them are broke this is harder than it first seems. Plus they have to deal with monsters, government agents who follow them, and horrible tourist shop owners with Australian accents who keep trying to sell them novelty swords and kilts. I told you it was weird.

I read the other two issues ages ago, but this one seems more coherent in it's narrative, though perhaps that's just because I now have a better grounding in what type of world this comic is set in. I do wonder what people with no understanding of Scottish slang/accents would make of this, as I'm pretty sure some of the dialogue ("This guy's a richt heid-the-baw...") would be completely impenetrable to them.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Good Food

By Emily
PO Box 74002
Vancouver, BC
V5V 3P0

So much for "every day until I finish all these zines", sigh. School takes up a lot of time you know?

Plus, for this zine I wanted to actually cook some of the recipes. What good is a review of a cooking zine if I don't try the food? (We'll ignore the fact that I'm name dropped in a burrito recipe.) (Why is "burrito" underlined as though it was not a word? Technology...)

Anyway, I made the quesadillas (also not a word apparently), for myself and two friends, and they were considered a great success. Hell, I'd make them again.

We also accidentally doubled a cookie recipe and had so many cookies we're still eating them. This photo makes it look like they're burgers, but they're really chocolate cookies with like four types of chocolate in them. Yum.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Today 3

This cute little zine came inside an envelope with this comic printed on it. Neat! Plus it came with a button of a typewriter which is currently on my bag.

Inside are more of the style of comics from the first two issues: one or two page stories about random things from Stef's life (both recent and long ago). Some of these are specific events (such as the time her dad found a caterpillar in the broccoli he was eating or when she tried to cure her hiccups), while others combine many events into one comic (all of the incredibly complex and involved games that Stef would create as a child).

Stef's art is on the cartoony end of the spectrum, but I really enjoy the way that she uses a lot of lines to draw hair, the drawings of many of her childhood toys (ponies! monsters!), and the ways that she plays with page layout by interesting use of panel borders.

It's a super cute little zine, and my major complaint is that it's so short! It doesn't take very long to read, and I wish there was more of it, either more comics in general, or a longer comic that goes more in depth into something.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

About a Ghost Town Bike Tour

By Celeste
PO Box 226
Irvine, Alberta
T0J 1V0

I love exploring abandoned buildings, though I really don't get many opportunities to do so. I did recently get to check out a weird fake building that is actually a train tunnel ventilation shaft, and that was pretty cool even if the building itself wasn't that interesting.

This zine is primarily photos of abandoned buildings that Celeste discovered while cycling through (I think) rural Manitoba. The black and white photos accurately capture specific moments of the decay of these buildings: rotting staircases, collapsed roofs, debris, remnants, and general signs of nature returning to where humans had "conquered".

Each photo has some typewritten text placed over it. Some of these pieces describe (in a rather poetic manner) the buildings the photos were taken in, and what was found inside them ("honeycombs, the hard work of bees, smashed."). While others just talk about the idea of ghost towns in general, and how civilization can change and move and retreat from where it once was. They also explain some of the various reasons why a rural community might wither and die after being successful.

The text describes the few encounters with actual people that happened on this trip, and how these encounters describe "what a town is like just before it becomes a ghost town". Or, in one case, how a family that doesn't speak English (but rather "something like german") gets annoyed when you visit the cemetery where their goats are grazing.

I liked this zine and its descriptions of crumbling buildings and towns, though I think you can find the same decay and abandonment in cities as well as rural areas. Despite the continued existence of certain buildings throughout human history, we seem to forsake things far more frequently than not.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

What Are You Doing to Participate?

So earlier this year my friend and I went to a zine art show. Or rather, we tried to go. I saw an event listing on Facebok, and thought it was kind of confusing. "INVITE IS FREE BY RSVP", followed by an email address. What did that mean, and why would I have to RSVP for an art show? I asked on the event page, but the only response I received was "RSVP FOR FREE BEER", and since I don't drink, I didn't bother to email them.

So on the night in question my friend and I went to try to find this art show, but outside the bar/club where it was apparently taking place we were confronted by a doorkeeper who was dressed far fancier than I think anyone I have ever seen at a zine event. They wouldn't let us in. After much discussion and waiting, my friend just left, but I eventually got someone (an organizer?) to let me in. I went upstairs to the bar place, and then down another flight of stairs to some bizarre intermediate floor of the building. Inside was not zine art (or not much of it), as you might have expected, but just actual zines hanging from walls and on tables for people to look at.

I still don't really understand why this was an event, or an art show. Perhaps the fact that it seems to have had some connection with LA people should have tipped me off that this was not the sort of zine event I was used to (though I have since met some lovely zine people from LA). But I still don't know why this event happened, or why there was so much free beer available. I did get to see a friend who was leaving town in a few days, so it wasn't a total waste, but still, it was odd.

This zine is made up of photo collages of zines (presumably the ones from the art show, it was six months ago, give me a break!). It could be fine, but just looking at it leaves a bad taste in my mouth from going to this event. I hope other zine events in Vancouver are more fun. (If there actually are any...)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Double-A World-Zine Issue No.1: Break On Through to the Other Side!

By Anthony Atkinson

This comic seems to have been created for a sort of strange (though interesting) reason. In the introduction Atkinson says that he's writing a story about someone travelling to another world, and that this comic zine is all about the development of that world. Neat!

This issue is about different types of alternative worlds, where they could be located, and how it's possible for people to find them. We have nuclear submarines discovering tears in the fabric of space and time, a giant Elvis heads that reveals a mysterious jungle, a tiny world located inside a filing cabinet, and a world found inside the hollow Earth (which is reminiscent of one of my favourite hidden worlds: Skartaris. Located inside the (hollow) DC universe Earth, and discovered because a pilot got confused by the Earth's curvature and flew into a hole at the North pole. Seriously! Comics are awesome!).

They're all pretty neat, and I'm a sucker for lost worlds and hollow Earth stories, so I dug this a bunch. I'd love to read the second issue sometime, as apparently it's about what these mysterious other worlds look like.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Les Carnets de Rastapopoulos #8

By Robert Gauvin
Les Carnets de Rastopopoulos
2-7 Larch Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1R 6W4

This is one of the neatest zines I've seen in a while. It's about Gauvin's attempts to get a penpal in the early 1980s. At first he is content to exchange letters with people from penpal organizations, but soon he has a new goal in mind: a penpal "on the other side of the Iron Curtain". In the early '80s this must have seemed super exotic, and also considerably more difficult than finding someone in Denmark to trade letters with.

Gauvin decides to write to the Czechoslovakian and Yugoslavian embassies and, much to my surprise, actually gets a response! He writes to some youth organizations in those countries and after several months he finally gets a response! Of course it's in Serbian which isn't too helpful to someone who lives in small town New Brunswick.

And then the next day there are 14 more letters, then 12, then 16... In total Gauvin received about 250 letters (mostly in Serbian), which included photos, Yugoslav dollars, lipstick prints, and cut outs of the original article printed in TV Novosti magazine that said he wanted a penpal.
"There was so much mail suddenly flowing from Yugoslavia to the small obscure rural Atlantic Canadian post office of Bouctouche people along the postal supply chain took notice. This one time a letter arrive in a magnificent colour poster elaborately folded to act as an envelope. There was hardly any trade of my address on the surface. Just "Try Bouctouche" scribbled on it by a postal employee along the postal supply chain. Guessing it belonged with the hordes of correspondance heading to that previously unknown destination point."
Soon after the letters from Yugoslavia begin to dry up, a letter from Czechoslovakia arrives. At first Gauvin is afraid that he'll get hundreds more letters in a language he can't understand, but this time the majority of the letters arrived in French and English. This led to a new problem, how to choose which letters from the hundreds received that should receive replies.

This zine reminded me of getting a penpal letter in a class soon after I moved to Canada. I feel bad because I didn't reply to it because it was from some "boring" girl (I was 8!). I'm much better at responding to mail nowadays.

I thought this zine was cute and funny and I'm looking forward to reading more issues. Plus it has some neat maps in the middle that show all the countries in which Gauvin has had penpals. There are a lot of them!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

David Yoder's Awesome Journal #7

By David Yoder

Diary comics are pretty popular nowadays, especially compared to the past (when they didn't exist at all!), but for the most part I don't really get them.

Well, that's not true. I "get them" in the sense that I understand one of the major reasons that people make them: it causes you to draw every day. And if you want to get good at anything, then you really do need to do it every day.

However, for the most part diary comics don't do much for me, and this is because most people's lives are kind of...boring. I mean, we complain about people posting pictures of the food they ate on facebook or twitter or whatever, so why should making a comic where "I went to a restaurant" is a major event (and yet no additional information is supplied)?

Artwise these comics don't do that much for me, but I think that's probably because they're made without any real planning. The borders are all shaky and hand drawn, and some of the panels are just whatever space is left on the page.

Of course, some people really enjoy reading diary comics. I guess they enjoy the view into someone else's day to day life, but I think I mostly find them kind of boring. But hell, it's not like if I made them they'd be any better (Saturday: Ate cake for breakfast, went to a thrift store with a friend, bought a kinda janky chest of drawers for $5, went to another friend's house to play Unexploded Cow and watch Striptease Samurai Squadron).

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Oak & Linden #2

By Pat Barrett

The first comic in this issue of Oak & Linden is a pretty awesome one about people going to war with gods because they are jackasses who eat all of their goats (see below).  It's pretty great, and uses an interesting art style where the characters look more like palaeolithic art than what you would expect to see in a comic.

The other comics use art styles that are more like what you'd expect in a comic. The one I liked the most was a sort of bizarre dream type comic about a guy who steals a wallet and finds a woman inside it. It was pretty strange, but I liked how things happened for seemingly no real reason. Just like in a dream!

The longest story in here is about a jackass space captain who takes advantages of the aliens on the planet he crash lands on. I'm guessing it's supposed to represent how white people treat developing nations, but mostly I just think the space captain is a jerk.

Plus there's a diary comic called "The Trouble with Diary Comics", about how people keep asking to be in your comic once they know you make one. I thought it was pretty funny.

Monday, September 2, 2013


By various

Usually I'm not that big a fan of anthology comics. I mean, sure some of the contents will be good (usually), but I'll also not care for or actively dislike other content. Of course, most anthologies aren't about werewolves, and that creates a completely different set of judging criteria.

Werewolves are a type of monster, and I love monsters, so already I'm in favour of a comic anthology about werewolves. The stories in Werewolf!! range from slice of life comedy to all out nun action, so there are werewolf stories for everyone!

The nun story ("The Bad-Ass Habit" by Laura Terry) is pretty good, though I do have to wonder why the concept of warrior nuns seems to be so ingrained in our culture. I mean, do people even interact with nuns any more? I don't think I've seen one in years. I sort of feel bad for anyone that became one, it seems like such a weird way to live. Anyway, none (hah!) of that is brought up in this story which features a nun choking a werewolf with a rosary.

There's a cute/sad story by Nick Patten that is really more about a vampire than a werewolf, but it _also_ has a mummy in it, so I'll give it a pass. "Fail Wolves" by Betsey Swardlick features vegan werewolves and their attempts to get some fake chicken. Since it involves bicycle chase scenes and characters in dumpsters I thought it was pretty fun.

The other comics in here are pretty good too, though I won't bother going through them all individually. Needless to say, if you're interested in reading some werewolf comics you should check out this one. (And the first issue.)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Polite Fiction 2

So I go travelling for two months and manage to keep to my three times a week schedule despite sleeping on people's floors and couches and not having consistent internet access.

Then I get back to Vancouver, and immediately start missing updates. In my defense I was sick, and had to move house, and blah blah blah. If you're reading a zine review site you know that the combination of zinester with blogger probably produces more excuses than anything else. ; )

Anyway, before I left on my trip I scanned every single zine in my review pile, and now there are only 13 left! (Of course I got _a lot_ on my travels, and also people sent some to me while I was travelling, including my brother who sent me a huge box of old ones, so this site won't be going away any time soon).

This is a pretty strange little comic. It's made up of several stories, all but one of which are in black and white. Some of the "stories" don't really have a narrative, such as the first one "Running Bird". It's about a weird bird headed person that runs a bunch. They just run past abstract backgrounds and some of the pages remind me more of pop art (sorta like Keith Haring). It's kind of interesting to see this style of comic, though I personally don't really care for it that much.

The second comic, "Tree-Island Birds", makes more "sense" in that things happen in reaction to other things and there's a narrative. A person washes up on a desert island, and has to deal with being stuck there with the birds who make it their home. It's actually kind of depressing, though I'm impressed by the amount of emotion Olivares gets out of the artwork considering the person has basically no facial features (see below).

There's also a dream comic, and a diary comic that is actually about diary comics and why some people make them. These use a different style than the other comics, and actually have text and dialogue. I think the diary comic was one of the more interesting of that style that I've read recently, though more on that soon.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Today 2

Today is filled with brief one page comics/illustrations that seem to be about random things from Bradley's life. They cover silverfish infestations (and how they'll EAT YOUR BOOKS), watching horror movies between hands held up to your face (scary!), having shoes thrown at you from a moving car while walking down the street (I once had someone throw a basketball at me from a car), wind and weather, how their grandma had an encounter with an owl that she likened to a Second World War plane flying overhead, bowling, and other weird and random stuff.

I think the story I liked the best was the one about a terrifying plan by "bigwigs" at Bradley's primary school to have kids drink more milk. It involved a lifesize plastic cow that had to be milked everyday by the kids. Apparently it traumatized everyone.

Bradley has an art style that I really enjoy. It's fairly simple, but the people represented always seem to be incredibly emotional. They're always screaming or grinning crazily or crying or feeling something to an extreme level. It makes it seem as though Bradley and their friends and family live in a state of constant emotional overdrive. Tape drive broken so that you can't listen to Van Halen tapes? Clearly the rational response is to fall on your knees, scream, and cry. Plus I like the way that hair is drawn. It's not super complicated, but I think the way lines are used looks pretty neat.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Guts Power 2

It is the futuristic year 2003 and the UK is all messed up due to a time travel incident or something. Nobody really seems to know exactly what happened, other than it was an event called "the Body Riot". At any rate, time no longer really happens, there are weird monster things everywhere, buildings seem to be made of decaying....something, and horrible government agencies generally just try to make people more depressed (just like now!).

In this world are Bebox (human?), LoveLaffs1820 (part ober-dominensional sentio-gas), and Dearth (human?), and they'll overthrow the government and make things right! Well, once they manage to get back on the dole (unemployment) and get some money so they can go clubbing first.

This comic is _weird_. I get the feeling that Milne has a whole history set up that explains all the strange stuff going on, but at the same time they could just be making it all up as they go along. Either is entirely possible.I generally enjoyed the weirdness in this comic and the random asides and injokes that happen. A robot version of Robert Burns called Robot Burns? Genius! Someone who's mom (or one of their moms) is a sentient gas that appears to live in a flower vase? That's great! But at the same time some of the things that appear are kind of gross and grotesque and I'm just left going "What is that?"

While I enjoy some aspects of the art, like the thick lines around the characters, I found other parts to not really be my thing (though that could just be the "ick" factor). I would be really curious to see what this world and these characters look like in colour though.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Docs: The Journal of Microbiography Issue #2

PO Box 26183
Baltimore, MD

The purpose of Docs is kind of strange. It has a very strict format in that each contribution is four pages long: a title/index page that lists who/what is being written about, and three different "documents" that somehow relate to that entity. When I read the first issue of this zine I had absolutely no idea what was going on, as the "documents" can be anything (photos, screenshots, excerpts), don't have to be what was listed on the index, and the people described don't actually have to exist.

And so you get three pages of seemingly random stuff, that is considerably more interesting because you assume there must be some connection to it, that it must mean something, that it somehow describes someone who may or may not exist. You struggle through multiple pages of text with no paragraph breaks, you stare at pictures of leaves, you try to decipher a bad photocopy of a crumpled piece of paper, and all the time you wonder how these three things possibly describe the entirety of a person, or if that's even possible.

Huh, so apparently I am somewhat enamored with the idea behind this zine, even if the content for the most part doesn't totally grab me (even bizarre, mysterious poetry/lyrics don't interest me that much). My favourite section from this issue was about the world squirrel, who's lived from infinity to infinity, and whose documents consisted for an excerpt from a "truly evil" Swedish black metal band's biography, an interview with a restaurateur, and a screenshot of a .WAV audio file. Fantastic! Somehow this does describe a mythical squirrel.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Interview with Delia Jean

Recently I attended the ALA conference in Chicago and helped run the Zine Pavilion. It was loads of fun!

One of the other things I did was interview some of the zinesters who were at the event. Here's the first of them! This is with Delia Jean, a comic artist with LadyDrawers.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Echo Echo 10

The first half of this zine deals with Keet's early exposure to zines. Well not just that, but how it seemed almost inevitable that they would end up making zines. They tell how they wanted a mimeograph machine for their ninth birthday, enjoyed carrying around huge piles of paper, and how they wrote stories on their family's old computer.

These are snippets of reading books in class, not completing assignments "correctly", being blown away by the sort of things that zines can write about that you might not see otherwise (decolonialism, feminism, etc.), trying to be an anime fan, forgetting about zines entirely and then rediscovering them, and more.

It reminded me, in parts, about my own early experiences with zines and self publishing. I remember making my own fake newspaper, drawing (terrible) comics, making an anime fanzine (or really, more of a newsletter), not doing any sort of zine thing for _years_ before starting again, and I wonder how many people have similar stories of wanting to write and create going all the way back to their childhood.

The rest of the zine features comics and illustrations of real life events, and some fiction (I think), plus the awesome page below of "Indispensable Zine Materials".

Friday, August 16, 2013

Peach Melba #39 & #40

By Pearl
PO Box 74
Brighton, UK

After reviewing lots of issues of this zine I think I've kind of run out of things to say (also, I just spent over an hour making buttons at my friend's button shop and my brain kind of feels like mush).

This is a list zine, and there are plenty of lists in them! Lists about "things that people are afraid of" ("spiders", "bears", "being shipwrecked"), "types of soup" ("horrible french cheese soup"), and "the versatilities of a DVD" ("spaghetti measurer", "bird scarer"). Plus lots of others!

It's cute and charming, and I always end up smiling whenever I read an issue.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Interview with Kelly McElroy, Dave Roche, Jami Thompson, and Jaclyn Miller

Recently I attended the ALA conference in Chicago and helped run the Zine Pavilion. It was loads of fun!

One of the other things I did was interview some of the zinesters who were at the event. Here's the last of them! It's with Kelly McElroy, Dave Roche, Jami Thompson, and Jaclyn Miller.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Badaboom Twist Issue #1

By David Libens

Sometimes people act in ways that are surprising to me. Now sure, that in and of itself isn't that strange, I mean people shoot other people and eat meat and do lots of stuff I don't really understand, but then there are the less severe things. You're marriage isn't going so well? Why not start a daily diary comic about your life and write it in a language that is not your own (and not the language spoken where you live), and don't tell anyone (including your wife) about it?

So yeah, these are kind of depressing diary comics that Libens drew while at work. Libens' wife is from America, but she's been living in Europe for a long time. She misses her family and wants to move. Libens also seems to want to move, but doesn't do anything about it. To me it really seems as though they're both depressed and stuck in a rut, unable to start the actions that would lead them towards a better mental place. I can understand this, and I guess things improved to some amount as the back page of the comic indicates that they had another kid (though they still don't live in America), so hopefully things are going better.

The art style is pretty simple and sketchy. I'm pretty sure that Libens just drew these directly with ink and didn't even bother penciling stuff. The art isn't really my favourite style, but I think it works pretty well for this type of comic, and some of the panels look pretty good.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Interview with John Porcellino

Recently I attended the ALA conference in Chicago and helped run the Zine Pavilion. It was loads of fun!

One of the other things I did was interview some of the zinesters who were at the event. Here's the second of them! This one is with John Porcellino who does King-Cat Comics.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Giant Monsters All-Out Destroy All Giant Monsters!!!!!!

By Benjamin Juers Indyk

This is a comic about giant monsters fighting each other. It is great. The end.

Okay fine, be that way. I'll actually write some stuff about what's in this comic. Giant Monsters All-Out Destroy All Giant Monsters!!!!!! is a comic about some kids who play with some toys that they pretend are giant, city destroying monsters. There's a vampire turtle rabbit, a winged tiger man, and a giant elephant eagle (all combinations are approximate). They are all totally boss (ie. great). 

They fight, they team up, they cause large scale property damage, they do all the things giant monsters are supposed to do (fly! Breath radiation circles!). Meanwhile the art switches between kids playing with their toys, and what it would look like if their toy monsters really existed. I thought it was a neat way to show what was "really" going on and what was happening in the kids' imagination.

The comic isn't that long, and I kind of wish it had just been all out monster fighting action, but I did enjoy it, and I'd happily read more comics (preferably about giant monsters...) by Indyk.

One thing that's kind of weird is that the "recommended listening to accompany this comic" on the back page is nine tracks long. The comic is only twelve pages! How slowly am I meant to read this?! : )

Friday, August 9, 2013

Echo-4 Kilo: True Comics About Military Misadventure Volume One

So recently I was waiting for a bus to take me out of America, and I ended up talking to two other guys who were waiting for the same bus (though not out of America). Both, it seemed, were in their early 20s, and in university. One of the things they talked about was going to Las Vegas (and other places) and shooting guns, both were enthusiastic about it, whereas the very idea of this terrified me. I stayed silent during this part of the conversation.

This came back to me while I was reading this comic, as near the beginning (while Kilgore is in bootcamp) there are two quotes that made me kind of weirded out and scared. 

"I read far too many Vietnam books in my youth."
"I wanted to play war too!"

I've read some books about war (though they tend to be about how awful it is), and played many video games where I shoot people, but the idea of "playing" war is terrifying to me. That other people want to do this...well, I guess it makes a lot of sense when we look at the world around us, but it doesn't exactly make me happy.

The comics in Echo-4 Kilo don't exactly glorify war but, as Kilgore says in a text piece at the end, they're not anti-military comics either. They don't paint a (to me) positive experience of the armed forces, but I can't really expect anything to do so. To me (a complete outsider) the comics seem to be about how the army (or I guess it's the marines in this case) is run in an incredibly stupid manner and puts young (18 year old) kids into dangerous situations. Sometimes it combines the two by allowing those kids to get really drunk/stoned/whatever, and have access to weapons. Great! (Thankfully nobody gets shot in this comic.)

The cross hatching used in the art reminded me of Joe Sacco (though I know other artists use that style too), while at times the bendy armed characters seemed kind of reminiscent of Peter Bagge. They style is effective in telling the stories, and is perhaps indicative that Kilgore had been drawing for military publications for several years.

I'm both curious about more war comics by Kilgore, and kind of scared of the idea of reading more. The military is kind of entirely foreign to me, and mentally I'm caught between wanting to find out more about it (and how messed up it is), and just staying away entirely.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Two Fisted Librarians at the Portland Zine Symposium!

I'll be tabling (and helping to run a discussion about zine libraries) this weekend (August 10th and 11th) at the Portland Zine Symposium! I can't wait. I'll see you there!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tear-Stained Makeup #8

So there's lots of things I could write about this comic, and the first is pretty crucial: Despite a recap page I found this comic somewhat hard to follow because it is part 8 of an ongoing story. This is not Pérez's fault. However, there are a lot of characters, and the fact that a flashback starts halfway through the first page doesn't help.

It didn't take me too long to figure out what was going on, but there are a lot of different plot threads moving through this comic, and while I understood most of them with no real problem, others made me wonder more "why is this included?".

Of course, the most important thing about this comic is the following character.

This is Tildy. Can you guess from her outfit and accessories what she does? She's a librarian! Of course! The glasses, the book, the cardigan. I mean, what else can she be?

Librarians care about their public image a lot, and I guess I either never really picked up on it or only interacted with librarians who don't fit into the mold (of course, as I'm the library student who makes this zine it's not really surprising...). And sure, some people don't care, and others are probably happy that she isn't middle aged and doesn't have cats all her over skirt or something (and other people are probably wondering where they can get a skirt like that with cats on it). 

The rest of the story is about doctors and unprofessional behaviour, and bands breaking up Euskaran translation. I'm kind of curious about how the story progressed, and how many issues there were. But not enough to actually go and look.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Call for Submissions: Orgasm Zine 2

I recently received this call for submissions and thought I'd pass it along.
The Orgasm Zine came about through conversations with other women that revealed our experiences with orgasms are much more diverse and complex than is usually represented in porn and pop culture. We all have different bodies, so it makes sense that we would have different orgasms. We collected submissions from 14 women about their various experiences with orgasms, with the intention of focusing on voices that are underrepresented in mainstream media. We were delighted by the submissions and the positive responses we received when the zine was published in the summer of 2012, and we have been asked many times when we were going to put together a second issue.

It's finally time!

For the second issue of The Orgasm Zine, we want more orgasm stories from people who identify as women or have lived as women. We welcome written submissions of 500 words or less, as well as illustrations, photographs, and other pieces of art that can be published in zine form. The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2013. All submissions will be anonymous unless otherwise stated. Send submissions to: orgzines@gmail.com. Check out our website: theorgasmzine.wordpress.com for news and information about ordering the first and subsequent issues.
Submissions can focus on any aspect of orgasms, but here are some questions that might help you get started:

-Do you have orgasms?

-How would you describe your orgasms?

-Do you have different kinds of orgasms?

-Have your orgasms changed over time?

-Do you think your orgasms are normal or abnormal?

-How do you communicate with a partner about your orgasms?

-Have you ever faked an orgasm? Why?

-Do you have difficulty reaching orgasm or did you in the past? What did you do about it?

-Are orgasms important to you? Why?

-Do you experience orgasms differently while masturbating vs. with a partner?

-Do you have multiple orgasms, and if so, under what circumstances?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Three Wishes

By Jonathan Eaton

Three Wishes is about a genie that appears to grant Jonathan wishes after he rubs a "random shitty old lamp". There's a catch (of course there's a catch! Genies are jackasses), and the genie will only grant two of Jonathan's wishes. The third wish is one that the genie decides upon, and Jonathan must live with that decision forever.

Seeing nothing problematic with this deal whatsoever Jonathan wishes that he could play the banjo, then he wishes for a banjo, then the genie brings back three people from the dead and makes Jonathan deal with them. Those three are:
  • "Wickedest man in the world" Aleister Crowley!
  • Sucidial, misunderstood poet Sylvia Plath!
  • Popcorn mastermind Orville Redenbacher! 
What would you do if these people suddenly showed up and you had to deal with them? The clear answer is "go camping", and so they go out to the woods, and to be honest I'm not sure how they're all supposed to fit into that tent that Eaton drew. They make lots of popcorn, get lost, encounter wild animals, deal with a kind of lame and contradictory ghost,  and encounter a popping corn bandit.

Overall it's pretty good, and there are definitely some funny bits but it also reads like something that was created a page at a time with no real plan or goal (though maybe I'm wrong). Things just kind of happen, and characters disappear for pages at a time, only for everything to stop, presumably when Eaton got bored. That's better than it getting dragged out forever if the creator has no interested, and I enjoyed reading what was here.

Friday, August 2, 2013


By Sam Sharpe

Poo is a collection of one page gag comics. Well, I guess I say they're comics, but are they really? In the example below you'll see that there's an image, and text underneath it that is clearly being said by a character, but that's more illustrated prose. Or prosed illustration. Of course, some would argue that words combined with pictures is what makes a comic, but at that point what stops picture books or Dr. Seuss being comics? (Maybe nothing depending on your point of view.)

Anyway, these gag illustrations (wait, some of them have speech/thought balloons, those ones must be comics!) are pretty funny. They run the gamut from cowboys talking about wearing chaps, squirrels loving nuts, and a cubist looking person who is upset that the painting of them looks "normal". There's also a great one about a "whaling wall". (Hey, do you know what's really hard? Describing gag comics!)

 Sharpe's art works well for this type of comic. It's fairly simple and "cartoony" (for lack of a better word), but also manages to be highly expressive. Characters might just have dots for eyes and a line or a circle for a mouth, but we're still able to tell how they're feeling through their body language, which is something I'm always happy to see in comics.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Zine Machine at the University of Iowa Zine Collection

I was recently at the Iowa City Zine Librarian (un)Conference, which was held (partially) at the University of Iowa.

The university has a pretty big collection of zines (including lots of old sci fi fanzines) and, to be honest, I kind of hate how they're organized (in boxes, in the archive, by collection, as opposed to title). They're also barely catalogued, which really bothers me.

(Some of the zines in a display case outside the special collections room.)

One thing that the library did have that was awesome, was the Zine Machine! A vending machine filled with zines that you could get for FREE! So cool! I think vending machines are pretty neat anyway, and I love it when they're used for art things. I didn't get any zines out of this one (I already had several of them), but I really want to get my own now. Someday!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


By Stef Bradley

That's a bow tied around the outside of this zine, and just based on the way this zine was packaged I cannot give it a bad review.

Inside the envelope I received was a brown paper package tied up with string. That's one of my favourite things! (Actually, here's a less depressing Bjӧrk track.)

Inside the package was this bag (it now holds all my pencils and pens).

Which contained zines and buttons/badges. Awesome!

Anyway, this zine is filled with cute little illustrated anecdotes (some sort of poem like): sitting in a bathtub (fully clothed) to read scary books, making an extravagant birthday sandwich for a friend who didn't like cake, working lame jobs, making blanket forts and plastic bag parachutes, and listening to thrift store mix tapes.

I enjoyed this look inside Stef's mind. It seemed as though it showed what sort of person they are, and the kinds of things that matter to them. Okay, so maybe I'm reading far too much into this, and maybe I just want an incredible birthday sandwich (with Monster Munch on it!), but I'm looking forward to reading the other issues of Today that I received. And if you don't know what Monster Munch is you clearly need to track down a copy of my zine Potato Maze.