Monday, December 24, 2012
digest, color cover, 36 pages, $5
I loved this book. It’s totally worth 5 of your dollars. It consists of a series of short (and mildly related) comic strips – the longest lasting 10 pages. God appears at the beginning of the book and engages in a debate with the artist over who the real creator of the book is. Later, God unburdens himself of all truth, which results in widespread death on earth. In the last strip, God returns to mock the ignorance of the artist and a bird that is on a quest to find enlightenment. There are some intriguing philosophical and existential discussions taking place in these pages, all in a simple manner with very clean, minimalistic, and appealing artwork. Get this, please.
Bowman 2016, Chapter 2
digest, color cover, 36 pages, $5
The second chapter in a story about an earthling astronaut who is lost in space. He finds himself in a “mysterious and strange dimension” and soon discovers the “cruel and emotionless ways of his new alien environment.” For starters, he gets himself thrown in prison. Luckily, he had made an earlier discovery that aids him in his escape. After that, plenty of other wildness ensues. Frankly, I found this comic bizarre, but it is science fiction, so of course. However, I also found it hard to follow. The artwork is so busy and messy (and intentionally so), that figuring out what’s going on in each panel and each page is a bit challenging. But with patience and some effort, the story was more or less clear, and it was entertaining enough. There is a “not for kids” warning on the cover, and I would say that due to the violence and vulgarity contained in these pages, that that’s probably a warning worth heeding.
Yeah Dude Comics
503 Greenwich Street Philadelphia PA 19148
Hic & Hoc Publications
97 N. Mountain Ave.
Montclair NJ 07042
5.5" x 6.75", 40 pages, $?
I suppose I would call this an art zine. It’s filled with sketches and drawings, but there is really no narrative, so it’s not a comic. The drawings are mostly of strange creatures with multiple eyes. Some words occasionally accompany the drawings, and there are photographs on a few of the pages. I enjoyed flipping through this. I prefer something with more of a storyline and a little less weirdness and obscurity, but I would still recommend giving this a look, because who knows? It just might be your sort of thing.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
One of the consequences of our culture in the past twenty years is that music has become a specialist commodity rather than a fact of everyday expression. There has been a commercialization and professionalization that is permeating the culture – music as “competition” ala The X Factor or The Voice, or music as accompaniment to video or spectacle. Living rooms were once graced with pianos, organs, and other instruments. Now living rooms are inhabited by Wiis an ‘Rock Band” – music that is programmed for us.
But some people are still playing for the sheer love of music, having fun playing real instruments with friends, and saying ‘no’ to perfectionism. Angry Violinist is a zine for the rest of us. It features an adventurous array of writing by Emma. This installment discusses Joshua Bell’s experiment with busking. There is an examination of how our preconceived notions and fears keep us stuck and some great suggestions as to how to break free of being “good enough”. Dirty Three violinist Warren Ellis discusses his creative work. And Emma includes an FAQ about violas. Angry Violist is an essential read for anyone who loves or plays music.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
5.5" x 4.25", one-sided postcard, 25 cents
A special issue of Twenty-Four Hours (normally a digest size zine, $1 per issue), this one-sided postcard offers a short interview with Anya Kamenetz, author of the book, DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education. It's a very interesting and informative discussion about the shortfalls of traditional education, and how education is changing with the emergence of things like open-source technology and community learning experiments. Learn more at: www.diyubook.com This is a short read, but worth checking out.
Friday, December 21, 2012
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Digestate: A Food & Eating Themed Anthology
edited by J.T. Yost
288 pages, 8.375″ x 10.875″
b&w interior with full-color covers, $19.95
Food and eating is central to our lives, so when 55 comic artists are asked to make a comic about it, it's pretty much a guarantee that they'll have something to contribute. Digestate: A Food and Eating Themed Anthology, published by Birdcage Bottom Books, is the result of such a request, and the comics included are as diverse as the comic artists themselves. Many of the comics have to do with the eating habits of the artists including whether they are meat eaters or vegetarians and why. Some of them are quite serious, pointing out the harsh realities of meat production and factory farming or discussing the reasons why an artist chooses to eat the way they do. Also included are comics that are humorous, endearing, vulgar, or gruesome...or a combination thereof. Some of the comics are based in fact, while others are pure fiction. With so many artists contributing, not all of the contributions are going to be winners, although everyone will have their own likes and dislikes, and so certainly there is something here for everybody. I enjoyed reading the majority of the comics in this book, but the real standout for me was Marek Bennett's "Successful Slaughter!", in which Marek recounts an experience he had in Slovakia making something called "slaughter" with a local family and being served more vodka than he could handle in the process. Another highlight for me was reading the mini-bios of all the artists which included their feeding habits (carnivore, guilt-laden omnivore, pretzel enthusiast, eater of tacos, etc.) Overall, this is a very interesting and entertaining book, and one that I will certainly read through again due to the numerous comic gems that are included.
at 11:12 PM
Monday, December 17, 2012
Alphabet Soup #1
Every so often the debut issue of a zine shows so much potential and promise that you can’t wait to have the next issue safely in your hands. Alphabet Soup Issue 1 blends art, poetry, and prose seamlessly into a quirky stew of high caliber writing. Dan Hansen’s piece The Red Ball starts the issue off by pondering objects we find in our lives and their unexpected symbolic and creative uses. An excerpt from “reach” left me wanting to read the whole interstitial story. Brian Burnett contributes stunning nature photography to this issue. There are also delicious recipes to whet one’s appetite for Italian Zucchini Boats and chili. Exquisite corpses are scattered throughout the zine with fine surrealist imagery, and if this wasn’t enough … there is also a soundtrack cd included with lo-fi music by Hot the Cat, Katy & Simon, The Peaches & much more – nine generously chosen tracks in all. Who says print is dead? Don’t sleep on this one – contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or send $5 (suggested donation) to Dan Hansen 2601 Quarry Road Missoula MT 59808.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Vol. 8 No. 2 2012/2013
$28 / 4 issues
10531 4S Commons Dr #496
San Diego CA 92127
Here’s a glossy magazine created by a crew of folks who never met a martini they didn’t like. Or maybe that’s a Mai Tai. Tiki Magazine is all about escapism, probably into a faux-Polynesian culture that never was. It is chock full of ads for products and places that you never knew existed unless you are a Tikiphile (is that a word?). Having said that, Tiki Magazine is a fun read. There are music reviews of bands like The Martini Kings and The Tiki Kings. One article examines the mosaic arts of a duo of artists who call themselves “Velvet Glass” and who create stunning tropical themed visuals. Another article introduces readers to Surf Exotica, guitar-centric instrumental music that is heavy on reverb and twang. Kari Hendler recounts the history of Dan Blanding, a poet, author, and artist who adopted Hawaii as his joyful home in the early 20thcentury and illuminated the culture through his work. Tiki Magazine even has a “drive in” section devoted to reviewing B movies featuring island themes. Totems, taboos, and the scent of the exotic whisper from every colorful page. I don’t often sing the praises of glossy publications with ads, etc, but this one is too cool to miss.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Monday, December 10, 2012
52 pages, 8.5" x 6", $5.00, Chris Mikul, PO Box K546, Haymarket NSW 1240, AUSTRALIA + cathob [at] zip.com.au
The Ferocious Fern by C.B. Pulman  was a book Chris discovered while holidaying on the Greek island of Rhodes. It had "...a very small print run, and as I write this there are no copies of it for sale on the internet. It is essentially a book which has disappeared." Swastika Night by Murray Constantine  "...was not an alternative history, but a possible nightmare future." It is set in the year of Lord Hitler 720, over six centuries after Germany and Japan won the 'Twenty Years War'.
Next up a real treat for those of us who loved the Biblio Curiosa #2 piece about F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre - Jeff Goodman, New York publisher of '70s magazine Official UFO, got in touch with Chris and related the story of when he and 'Froggy' were best friends during the 1970s.
There's also a piece on Tod 'Freaks' Robbins.
One-word review: Required.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
16 pages, Dale Speirs, Box 6830, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2E7, CANADA. Available for $3 cash for a one-time sample copy, trade for your zine, or letter of comment.
This issue features mailing comments on FAPA #300. The Fantasy Amateur Press Association's big birthday issue, dated August 2012, contains 35 zines with 433 pages between them. That's a chunky zine anthology!
Dale shares a tip on depression - "I follow Samuel Johnson's advice from two centuries ago and still valid today. Keep busy and don't let your mind dwell on negative thoughts."
There's a couple of monster movie reviews - The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms , based on a Ray Bradbury story and with SFX by Ray Harryhausen; and The Deadly Mantis  with a very funny observation by Dale: "Every expense was spared in making this movie, and about one-third of it is stock shots.".
The issue winds up with a letter column then two book reviews - Fantasia Mathematica , an anthology edited by Clifton Fadiman of short stories relating to mathematics, mostly science fiction; and The Affinity Bridge by George Mann , with airships, clockwork automatons, and zombies.
There's always something interesting to read in Opuntia, but this issue has a higher than usual strike rate. Good one.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
from Laura-Marie's zine reviews by email@example.com (Laura-Marie)
I am sometimes stunned by sudden flashes of great clarity in Ian Kahl's writing. I'll be reading and really enjoying it, completely with the speaker, when suddenly everything comes together in a rich, super-real way. Here's an example of two stanzas at the end of a poem that stand out to me.
even years later
after countless reinventions
the shape and size of the nest has been altered
but these wet sticks are still standing
and make a home within me
It's the analysis of the nest that gets to me, and the mention of wet sticks. It's perfect, a perfect ending. Other times it will be a single line that astounds me, like this one.
ultimately, I found nothing outside myself but levers
It's strange and intriguing. I'm surprised by the way reality is imagined, and I'm delighted by the speaker's mind. "Straightforward yet very confusing" I wrote in the margin on page 32 of anxiety is a rambling dagger, and by confusing I don't mean to criticize--the confusion is enjoyable.
Ian Kahl's poems make me think things I've never thought before. And for this I love them.
Friday, December 7, 2012
The Reluctant Famulus #88
46 pages / full letter
305 Gill Branch Road
Owenton KY 40359
In the not too distant past, “Liberal Arts” was not a dirty word in education. Students navigated courses in literature, fine arts, civics, history and received degrees in subjects like English. Graduates were expected to be well-rounded, able to think critically, and use language in both precise and creative ways.
The Reluctant Famulus seems perfect reading for just such a demographic and includes a wide range of informative articles. Editor Thomas D. Sadler opens this issue with a brief retrospective on Ray Bradbury which morphs into a retrospective on the alleged UFO crash in Roswell 65 years ago. Gene Stewart narrates his road trip adventures. The earliest British commune (c. 1821) is the subject of an essay by Geoff Lardner-Burke titled “Attempts at Utopia: The Cooperative and Economical Society”. Alfred D. Byrd contributes a wonderful article lifting the veil on the mythology surrounding Daniel Boone. Matt Howard recounts a visit by Maurice Sendak to Indianapolisand discusses the progression of the author’s writing & art. The Reluctant Famulus has a generous letters section from many of the contributors and others.
The variety of writing presented in The Reluctant Famulus reminds me of why I love zines. Contributors share both their knowledge and passion for their chosen subjects. The essays are expansive, unencumbered, the antithesis of work-shopped / focus-grouped publications. There is a science fiction undercurrent but it does not dominate threads and themes explored. Thomas D. Sadler states on the frontispiece “TRF may be obtained for The Usual but especially in return for written material and artwork, postage costs, The Meaning of Life and Editorial Whim.” Indeed.
The Reluctant Famulus 89
The Reluctant Famulus 89
Calling all polymaths - I’m happy to report that the quality of this zine continues in Issue 89. Editor Thomas D. Sadler delves further into the realities and fictions of the Roswell UFO incident of 1947. Geoff Lardner-Burke explores more attempts at Utopia from the 1820’s.Eric Barraclough writes about Canadian folk icon Stan Rogers. The letters section is in-depth as the main essays in The Reluctant Famulus. Where have I been for the first 87 issues?!?
Thursday, December 6, 2012
from We Make Zines by Alex Wrekk
New issue of Nobody Cares About Your Stupid Zine Podcast! Issue #7 is about zine trades and was recorded in Sheffield in the UK with the Sinister Zinester tour! With Chella Quint, Marc Parker, Sarah Thomasin, Giz medium and me! There is also a new Copy Scams song at the end of the podcast. Download on itunes or listen here.
at 10:43 AM
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
88 pages / ¼ size / $3
Meticulous, well choreographed document of Megan’s year spent in circus school. She details personal routines, exercises, grueling physical workouts, injuries, highs and lows. Finally toward the end of the zine, Megan discusses what a “career” in circus might look like. The question that kept rolling around in my brain while reading Trabant #5 is why anyone would put themselves through this level of intensity, physical exhaustion and pain unless they were obsessed. On one level there is almost too much information in this zine, and I wonder who it will appeal to beyond the circus / theater / dance community.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Monday, December 3, 2012
from We Make Zines by Sarah Arr!Activism and Social Justice can be as exhausting as they are rewarding. Trying to navigate the choppy waters of mental and physical health conditions, even without the added stressors of stigma, can be brutally overwhelming. Family, jobs, school, even work that we find personally rewarding can be hard to maintain on a long-term level.
Self-care means (often wildly) different things to different people - this zine will attempt to start a dialog within communities about how we can better support ourselves and each other during times of stress and trauma. This compilation is open to stopies, first person narratives, illustrations and photography, poetry, lists, recipies, etc.
Some possible topics might include:
- what is self-care? why is it important?
- self-care on the cheap: free or cheap ways to take good care of yourself
- the role of allies: how can you support friends who are having problems with socialization
- easy recipes for when everything seems impossible and/or exhausting
- experiences of POC/queer/trans/gender non-conforming folks within the scope of feminism, anarchism, activism
- the value of vegging: sometimes shutting off your brain is the most useful thing you can do
- how to ask for help when everything but silence is painful There aren’t any limits to what you can write about, of course, these are just a few ideas that I have been throwing around. I hope to make this into a zine and a PDF that are available for wide distribution, but contributors will be the first people to get copies from me (and will be encouraged to send this project as far into the wide world as possible).
Deadline is Janurary 30, 2013 with a (hopeful and admittedly ambitious) publication date of March 1, 2013. Please email submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org (or email if you need to send them via snail mail)
from We Make Zines by Chris KissHey everybody! The Pride Library is currently building up its exciting new collection of Queer Graphica, a diverse group of zines, manga, comic books, graphic novels, erotic artbooks, comic strip anthologies, and critical studies. Are you a zinester? A budding comic book artist or illustrator? Get in touch to find out how we can promote your work here at the Pride Library and beyond!
And if you are a collector running out of space: we are seeking donations, and, in some cases, we will purchase outright LGBTQ-themed graphica to preserve, display, and make available for browsing.
Contact clandry7 [at] uwo.ca for details or contact the Pride Library via their website: http://www.uwo.ca/pridelib/
About the Pride Library: Our mandate is to acquire and provide public access to materials by and about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer community (LGBTQ). Located in the D.B. Weldon Library at the University of Western Ontario, London ON, Canada. The Pride Library welcomes all.
at 11:11 AM
40 pages / 1/4 legal / $4
PO Box 1665
Southampton PA 19866
In Deafula # 4, Kerri exposes the truth of what it is like to ask for / need a reasonable accommodation for employment. The ADAwas passed over 20 years ago but is a system of laws that essentially have no teeth. The official unemployment rate among people with disabilities hovers around 15% but in reality, if you count every issue that qualified as a “disability” that rate is over 70% as most people with disabilities – especially when one factors in people with developmental disabilities or mental health issues who have never been active in the workforce. Kerri deftly unmasks the horror of applying for work as a deaf person and the incredible barriers and attitudes that she experienced from prospective employers in job searches. She discusses accommodation issues in detail including the ambiguous language in the ADA. Deafula is on my must-read list: an exceptional zine that is very well written and visually appealing. Every issue is an education in itself.