Slater Wilcox starts off by saying he's turning over a new leaf and endeavoring to not be so negative and depressed. He then proceeds to tell us a bunch of negative and depressing shit. In his defense, what's in the zine was written before the opening editorial, so maybe now he really is in better shape mentally.
Negative and depressed or not, the writing itself is of a very high standard. It's easy to read and it draws you in despite the fact that he bends the language in all manner of bastardization. While Slater Wilcox is a pen name, it is unclear (and this is what I find delightful,) whether the colorful narrative is purely fiction or factually autobiographical. It would be equally brilliant in either case, and even when you realize for sure that this is at the very least exaggerated, you still cannot quite make up you mind about it.
Slater is 30ish, semi-vagrant, punk-vegan, and has a love hate relationship with intoxicants and cigarettes. The stories mostly center around the string of jobs he's had and the places he's drifted. The high point is the section where he describes his stint as a teacher's aid, and especially the portion working with special needs kids.
There is more than a hint of humor and glee in the bleak ranting, and Slater is quite likeable despite his antisocial posturing.
You can download a PDF for free @
or you can email him and beg for a print copy, but he is on the road with his band and you may never hear from him.
PS his band Caves is coming to the U.S. in June. They're touring with the Worriers from NYC. Both bands are on Tumblr and Facebook.
The Daily Compulsion #5 by Nathan Rice is comix mostly about alcohol and its effects. It's also somewhat about relationship pain and AA.
I like the autobiographical-ness and the candor. It's interesting to
learn about Rice's life. It's also sad. There's some humor here, like
with the Alcoholic Anarchists Anonymous poster, but it's mostly sad.
This zine gives me a sense of gratefulness that I don't have the types
of problems the zine displays. I think it would be perfect for other
people who struggle with alcohol addiction to feel like they're not
6 pages, 11.5" x 8.5", by Mark Ritchie & Gary Simmons >>> donbirnam [at] hotmail.com ... $1.00 or friendly email should [might? may?] get you a copy
My favourite line from this issue is from contributor Simon Morris's 'Five Depressing English Seaside Towns':
Saltburn-by-the-Sea - Best approached by train past the most startling
ugly slagheaps the NE can offer, the wind from the North Sea is
especially bracing in winter from the top of the cliff you'll want to
throw yourself off."
Over the past month I’ve found myself in the possession of a scad of
obscure zines and small issues of independent comic series. Knowing I
couldn’t devote an entire article to suggesting them to an audience,
mostly because many of the zines are limited print and not available
nationwide, I decided to review and suggest a bundle of them AT a time.
I’m thinking that I’ll stick to four for each installment of Zine
Stash, but that will depend on how many zines I have at a time.
Considering that some of these won’t be available for print-on-demand
or a delivery, I’ll send readers in the direction of the artists’
website or social media when I can, after the quick summary and review.
There by Hansel Moreno and Claire Connelly
Hansel Moreno wrote this short zine and Claire Connelly drew it.
Over the course of eight pages, a working stiff contemplates the
claustrophobic fear he would experience if he ever went into space.
This external fear becomes internal once he realizes that he feels this
same fear after he hasn’t left his desk or office for quite a long
time. The comic is printed in black and white, and as would be expected
of a comic that has some panels set in space, there is a ton of black
negative space. The big two page spread features smaller panels off to
the side that illustrate the worst of the protagonist’s fears. For
something that only consists of eight pages, a lot of ground is covered
in the visuals.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall by Mittie Paul
This limited print comic features a unique series of panel types,
from long horizontal ones, to basic geometric shapes, to cracked glass
facsimiles, to a cross hatched triangular conclusion. The plot features
a girl wondering what is wrong with her memory, because she can only
recall when she looks at herself in the mirror. She can’t remember any
time when she’s away from the mirror, but deduced that she must have
some kind of life because her hair and clothes are always changing.
When she looks at the text on the book she’s holding, it’s orientation
reveals what she really is. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall is the
best short read from this first Zine Stash, not so much because the
twist is hard to see coming, but because the reveal uses a lot of
creative logic to nail the ending. I’ve covered the creativity of the
panels already, but the shading and cross hatching is also very
Mittie Paul has a webcomic called Timber. Her twitter handle is @MittieArt. You Suck: Volume 1 by Josh Lesnick
You Suck is an erotic webcomic and this first volume is a collection
made for people to get interested in the content while at conventions.
The comic features Anna, a college student who has some troubles with
getting her sexual desires met by her clueless boyfriend. After coming
on too strong while the two are at a theatre, the boyfriend leaves and
Anna later finds him being screwed in the alley by a naked succubus who
disappears into the night. The succubus follows her around after she
dumps her boyfriend and appears to want to make friends with her and
help her along in getting what she needs out of a sexual relationship.
The succubus doesn’t prove to be the best role model, as consent isn’t
exactly something she seems to hold in super high regard, although most
of the guys whose bones she jumps seem fine with it after the fact.
Anna isn’t quite so keen with the succubus’ method once she captures
Anna’s professor and dumps him on Anna’s bed.
The drawing style of You Suck is extremely loose and free. Much like Jess Fink’s work on Chester 5000,
this sort of inking style seems to work very well for the erotic comics
genre. Compared to more anatomically correct images in erotica, such
as Melinda Gebbie’s still stunning and remarkable beautiful work on Lost Girls,
this sort of style adds a lot of room for the imagination and a more
impressionistic reading experience, which I give two thumbs up to.
You Suck can be found here. Josh Lesnick’s twitter is @superhappy. The Box: Issue 1 by Peyton Freeman and Brett Williams
The Box is a story that focuses on the Grecian Olympians losing their
power as the Ills gain power in the mortal world after Pandora opens
that eponymous Box. Right away, the visual style is at odds with the
kind of grand story that the writer is trying to tell. The inking job
isn’t done poorly, but the digital coloring and the backgrounds are far
too simplistic to really communicate the bigger Grecian world that seems
to be set up in the opening of the book. The textures on walls in the
back are done with stone textures from other sites presumably, and
pillars are copy pasted too much to keep consistency with the sunlight
in the scene. Also, the story is too jumbled and all over the place,
too much to give me a sense of who I should care about. I didn’t even
know Pandora was Pandora until the very end of the book, which may be my
fault. While I can’t recommend the series from my first impression, I
will leave the creator’s information below.
Issues of The Box can be purchased online in PDF form through their website.
of Hand Job heralds a new look for the literary zine. All previous
issues have been of a cut 'n' paste, photocopied aesthetic - the
traditional zine look, if you will. But for this issue Sophie Pitchord
(one half of the team behind the zine) has flexed her creative design
muscles and put together a really smart looking zine. It still maintains
a gritty, no nonsense vibe and the content within the pages is up there
with the best stuff they have published to date, but it feels like it
is coming of age with this new look. I really don't know where they are
going to go from here, but I am excited to be taken along for the ride. Review by Martin Appleby http://www.inpursuitofexpression.com/
24 pages, 8.5" x 6", $6.00, by Rachel Ang www.drawbyfour.com and Ace Wagstaff Instagram: @acewagstaff
This is the other comic Rachel sent me [see review of its companion here.]
Rachel's back and this time brought Ace Wagstaff along for the ride.
There is no indication who did what and one of the four strips in here
was not very good at all - in a really standout way - compared with the
other three, and I found myself hoping that it wasn't by Rachel. Ha ha!
Anyway, I emailed Rachel to ask her who did what, and was pleased to
find out that Ace did that awful one. Phew!
Anyway, the first
strip 'Deep Blue' by Ace Wagstaff is about a sentient laptop stuck on
the moon and musing about its predicament, and life itself. It was
pretty good, not bad. The main thing that stood out for me however was a
technical issue - the contrast and brightness wasn't adjusted, so you
could see the texta marks from colouring in the blacks. Although, I
guess it could have been left that way on purpose, so readers could
appreciate the artist's brush stroke patterns...
The second strip
- Rachel's 'Dreams' - notes the lucky/unlucky reality of dreams being
far more interesting and imaginative than the awake brain is capable of.
And finally, the dreamer finds herself upon waking - "Sometimes I have to do a drawing to keep the dream alive ... But it never works."
third 'strip' is the offender! To call it 'the ugly duckling' or 'runt
of the litter' however would be cruel to ugly ducklings and runts of
litters. All it is, this 'Minimal Reserve', is squiggles drawn from a
distance then zoomed in closer and closer and back out again. It's like
somebody smoked a bowl and drew and drew but forgot to re-examine their
'awesome drawing, dude!' the next day, sober, and just sent it in.
fourth strip, 'Alien', is the highlight of the issue for me. An
examination of human activities and behaviours from an alien's
perspective. [The alien crash-landed but managed somehow to perfectly
blend in and go unnoticed, but that's not the point of the strip, ha ha!
... Although now having noted that, I wouldn't mind reading more
stories about this alien and its experiences on Earth...]
Wow and this one is six bucks too! But! [Butt?] Buy this one AND the other one [Rachel's Draw By Four] and you still couldn't buy a packet of bloody smokes in Sydney for that!
Current Music:An Autumn For Crippled Children - 'A New Form of Stillness'
Today I was excited to receive a package from Japan in the mail. It was
very pleasing to see, tied with twine, with its beautiful Japanese
stamps, the SMALL PACKET sticker. And I was excited to know it was
something for review.
I was a little worried about doing this review. I had a problem with
some abstract comix a few months ago. Would this be the same?
Graeme McNee sent a cute note along with the book Minimal Comics Volume One. It has a smiling cloud and a hill with the very clear handwriting.
It's all so beautiful I almost didn't want to touch it. Is there such a thing as too beautiful?
I slipped the book out of its protective plastic sleeve and began to
read. Each comic is a page long, just three panels. Each comic has a
short title at the beginning. The short titles are simple.
The drawings are simple too. The ideas are simple yet funny. Some show
an object as it progresses through time, and some are more complicated.
One that stands out to me is called ray gun. The first panel shows a
ray gun. The second panel shows the ray gun shooting a ray through the
frame. The third panel shows the ray gun just like the first panel,
only there's a hole burned through the frame where the ray went. It's
subtle and funny and fun.
These comics are very cute. But they are not naive or simpleminded. They are charming.
My favorite one is called mt fuji. I actually said, "Aw!" out loud. I had never seen such a cute mountain in my life.
McNee has included some postcards and a DIY comic for the reader to complete and submit for future publication.
I really like this book and hope McNee finds wild success.
"Frisk Flugt is a militant research group based in Denmark."
This looks like a zine, but it's really a literary journal, very slick and artsy, nicely bound. 37 pages of photography including front & back covers, 17 pages of writing.
First thing I did was flip through and look at the pictures, which are pretty cool. Some are gonzo-esque archival stills of decay and destruction, others are gritty staged art photos. Taken as a whole it flows well and is interesting and provocative, if not pretty.
There are five pieces of writing. The first is prose that reads like stream of consciousness poetry. It's over my head and hard to read, intellectual and referencing things I can only guess as to their meaning.
The second and third bits are more interesting but still pretty heady. In one we get a look back at the anti-nuclear movement in Germany circa 1960s and 70s, and how that influences what's happening today. The other piece examines the thoughts of early 20th century feminist and labor militant, Elizabeth Gurley.
Then there's an academic commentary on modern sabotage in letter form, and an artsy prose-then-poetry thing about blowing up your home.
Although I'm not a good target audience for this material, I must say it is nicely done and stays on task with the topic of sabotage. I'm going to try to pass it off to one of my friends who are better suited for it and see what they have to say.
They also have other interesting literary books there.
[sub-subtitled?] 'Short Stories About the Pleasure and Struggle of
Making Things' these comics are hard to review - reading them I found
myself one minute dismissing this stuff as the kind of high-brow,
self-indulgent and humourless work I really don't like, and the next
minute coming to the end of one wordless strip and being shocked at the
implication of suicide; or in the strip about her character being chosen
as the first artist-in-residence in space, the announcement of which
was met with online disapproval, I liked how one commenter fumes "who is
this bitch?" So, not humourless! Ha ha! ... But! It's also got one of
my comics pet peeves - a 'to be continued' story [the aforementioned
'space artist' story]. Do these ever get finished? Does anybody who ever
reads one chapter end up reading the whole thing? I really doubt it...
maybe they do get finished, but nobody ever reads the whole thing. ...
On the plus side, the printing is really nice, on nice paper with
heavier card covers. And the art is fine and alluring. ... I was also
gonna say something about the $6.00 price tag, but fuck it. What the
hell is six bucks nowadays when apacket of smokes can be over twenty
bucks? [Here in bloody Australia, anyway.]
Yesterday I got a packet from England.
It contained two zines, and I read both just now.
The Best Friend I Never Met took my
breath away. I have had friendships so intense and full of poetry.
I've had best friends like that too. I felt very sad about endings
and blown away by the beauty of the writing, all those feelings, and
so much physical distance with emotional intimacy.
It made me think of two best friends I
have now, both who live far away, and one day will they be a memory?
I like the white space. I wouldn't
have done it that way--I would have included tons. I probably would
have overwhelmed the reader. But this is done so I'm left hungry for
more, which is good.
The haiku zine Chorus Lines is
beautiful to behold. I like the pictures of people on the cover,
made in red. I like the poems and their immediacy. My favorite is
about a baby. Always emotional but never overdone.
COVERS: My newest zine is a “covers album,”
where I took some of my favorite stories about musicians (written by
other people) and adapted them into comics. Feauturing a secret Bob
Dylan recording session in Minnesota, Kurt Cobain’s love for macaroni
and cheese, John Lennon recording Plastic Ono Band after
undergoing primal scream therapy, memories of John Coltrane and his acts
of kindness, Mike Watt dressing as a scarecrow for a gig on Halloween,
the Dinosaur Jr chapter of Michael Azerrad’s book Our Band Could Be Your Life,
a teenage Kristin Hersh recording the first Throwing Muses album (while
also pregnant with her first child), and my friend Jason Young’s story
of a surprising house show. All my proceeds from this zine will go to
Doctors Without Borders. Self-published July 2014. 36 digest pages, $3
It's been three years since the last issue of BP. Three years! That's a long time in anybody's language. "Tre ar" if you're Swedish.
what a return. There's so much good, nay, great! stuff packed into this
issue it's hard to know where to start. But it seems smart to begin
with the interview with Aussie pub rockers The Vee Bees. I've never seen
them, an oversight which will be rectified as soon as possible after
reading Dann's interview. These guys are funny! In response to Dann
noting that they wear thongs onstage, Vee Bee Glenno admits "they just look so good" and they even wrote a song called '3 Thongs' "because that's the ultimate - wearing three of 'em" to which Vee Bee Norro adds: "If
you're gonna wear three thongs, make sure you're sober when you get
dressed, but. I once got dressed for a show a little bit tipsy and I got
me things mixed up. I ended up with a G-banger on me foot and a double
plugger in me crack."
Also in this issue: why Dann attended
two Hard Ons gigs twice in the same month; the life and death of
terrifying old-school pro wrestler Bruiser Brody; Dann's belated
discovery and obsession with Elliott Smith [1969-2003]; movies viewed on
YouTube [e.g. Liquid Sky ; the story of the chilling Smiling Man
and a few films inspired by it; a review of The Swimmer  that Dann
tracked down after reading about it in The Kobb Log #5 and which instantly shot into Dann's Top Ten Greatest Movies [Note: and thanks to Dann's review I tracked this movie down too and will watch it this Easter Long Weekend!]; UK TV celebrity Simon Dee whose short-lived career was thanks to his "arrogance, stupidity and refusal to admit that his 15 minutes of fame was over"; and more!
is undoubtedly a love-it-or-hate-it zine, but I love it, and I'm not
alone! ... Or not too alone, ha ha! ... So I strongly recommend it, to
those of you with similar tastes, you lucky devils!
Our friend Stratu publishes theme collections of comics. This most recent issue is on the broad topic of Science. It has a heavy color stock cover, and is meticulously crafted. Stu puts out a nice product.
44 pages by 19 contributors gets you deformed boners, atomic Popeye, laboratory discoveries, childhood memories, scientific jargon in movies and TV, experimenting on human babies, science fiction, Supreme Female conventions, the internal combustion engine, misogyny, Jesus, Obama getting hit in the head by a dud nuke from North Korea, dissecting eyeballs, toxic products, prose fiction, Thomas Edison, and nine pages of comics and zine reviews.
Contributors: Glenno Smith, Michael Em, Michael Amaral, Ross Tesoriero, Chris Mikul, Shaun Craike, Neale Blanden, Leigh Rigozzi, Ryan Vella, SCAR, Bize, Giles Kilham, Brett Weekes, David Puckeridge, Julie, Kapreles, Damian McDonald, Drew Gates, and Stuart Stratu.
Parental guidance suggested
Pay Pal to email@example.com
or cash money to
Stratu, PO Box 35, Marrickville NSW 2204, AUSTRALIA.
From now throughDecember 1, 2015DJ Frederick is offering to send anyone who is interested a sample mailing from the American Amateur Press Association. AAPA sends out monthly bundles to AAPA members including zines, journals and printed ephemera. Postcard requests for the sample mailing are welcomed at: 36 West Main Street Warner NH 03278. E-mail requests will not be responded to. For more information on the AAPA visitaapainfo.org.
36 pages, 11" x 8.5", $?, Daniel Berman, Worldly Film Productions, filmfanatic9966 [at] yahoo [dot] com
This is the third issue Daniel has sent me, but I haven't reviewed them before because they completely short-circuited my brain. This time Daniel emailed me and informed me that he was sending his new issue in a Priority Envelope and it should arrive in 6-10 business days. [It also said "For review" on the front.] Well, it arrived today! So I'm going to review it! ...The other two issues seemed to be a collection of articles Daniel found on the internet, but this time he wrote most of it (except for a piece by Skip Williamson - 'The Birth of Underground Comics'). There's no denying his passion for horror and B-movies, in fact he strongly urges: "Let's trigger our inner devil and conjure up a wealth of sinister ideas for all you filmgoers out there who want to be spooked or rattled." Printed on nice glossy paper with many colour images of movie posters and stills, the very unusual and unorthodox sentence structures certainly jolt the reader, at least this reader. In one short piece, 'Do Not Disturb My Sleep' [subtitled 'Making a Movie in the Most Terrifying Place on Earth'] we are bewitched by this arrangement of words:
I think, what makes a "horror film" and the other cosmic, always willing to avoid, (in so many words) crap that gets made. They're the environments (take for example: a morgue, surgery room at the hospital, or a rundown mental ward out in the middle of nowhere can frighten easily.) The environment can change the complexion of any frightening flick within seconds as soon as the opening scene appears in front of you. So, what makes these unsettling destinations so scary, well, it could be the decayed bodies scattered on the floor, that could have a contributing factor, right?
Many pages include lists of movies, like one page with the title: 'Intended For Mature Audiences Presents Nightmare Worlds'. The short paragraph ends with this warning:
In one gigantic disturbing moment I'm presenting several worlds of haunting tales that are no laughing matter to say the least.
There follows a list of 26 movies, including Atomic Rulers of the World; Evil Brain From Outer Space; and Robot Pilot.
This issue ends with a full page 'Bio-Paragraph about Worldly Film Productions Founder and Editor of At The Movies Daniel Berman'. In a sub-heading titled 'Writing Background' we learn that "Daniel Berman is an up and coming writer for many notable web venues he contributes film reviews to such websites."
An extremely strange and unusual zine.
32 pages, 8.5" x 5.5", $1.00US, $3.00 Elsewhere, The Cultural Aether, 2440 E. Tudor Rd #364, Anchorage AK 99507, USA
Some exquisite cut'n'paste action here with love-lorn, yearning lines inserted. The black & white source images are stunning, really fine work. The sort only found in very ancient books I think. I'd love to know where they came from. The author of this zine must have been going through a heartbreaking end of a relationship. Not bitter, simply pouring out his heart's pain, and rather poetically.
Welcome To The Cultural Aether #5
36 pages, $3.00 for a 3-issue bundle in US, add $2.00 for Elsewhere, The Cultural Aether, 2440 E. Tudor Rd #364, Anchorage AK 99507, USA
More cut'n'paste images from antiquarian books, stunning breathtaking drawings are these; with typewritten lines of prose in word balloons inserted. The author seems lovesick. In my previous review I mentioned an absence of bitterness. Well, that absence is filled here: "Fuck her for driving away. Fuck her for fucking with my mind. Fuck her for not knowing what she wants. Fuck her for being such a fantastic kisser. ...etc." That's more like it! ... The appropriated art is terrific, the accompanying text a mixed bag, ranging from the keenly insightful to the awkwardly light-hearted. But really, bottom line and all that jazz - three bucks is peanuts for so many pages of such awesome art.
44 pages, 12" x 8", $6.00 Aust/$8.00 World, by Chris Mikul, PO Box K546, Haymarket NSW 1240, AUSTRALIA + cathob [at] zip.com.au
This issue features Bizarrism's first colour cover, and does so in punishingly vivid style, depicting one of the Ten Courts of Hell at Singapore's Tiger Balm Gardens. (Chris and Cath visited this wonderful place last year.) Each of the Courts is "...presided over by a stern looking judge who passes sentence. ...enthusiastic devils beat, crush, split, disembowel, dismember and saw in half the unfortunate sinners, all of which are portrayed in mesmerisingly graphic detail with lashings of red paint for blood"
Also in this issue: Jimmy Savile and the Process Church; Guy Warren Ballard; and my personal favourite of each issue - My Favourite Dictators #7 is Muammar Gaddafi [1942-2011], ruler of Libya for 42 years. Gaddafi routinely demanded that the wives of his soldiers and guards have sex with him. Those that objected were executed.
Finally there are the customary book reviews, including the excellent Going Clear by Lawrence Wright , further exposing the sick joke known as the Church of Scientology.
If I'm ever sent off to that fabled Desert Island and offered one zine subscription, Bizarrism would be it.
12 pages, 8.5" x 6", by Ryan Vella, grizzleguts [at] live [dot] com for ordering info
Batman and the Boy Wonder fight The Joker and Poison Ivy (there's been another escape from Arkham Asylum - "the third this week"). It's a Vella production so you know what that means - badass art and hilarious dialogue and trash talk.
The folks at Hand Job Zine sent me a wonderful note along with this
issue of their lit-zine. It reads in part: "We are a UK zine on our
fourth issue, and like to keep the righting very British so there may be
a few dubious slang words in there for you. You seem to share our love
for the printed word though, which is the main reason for sending this.
We need to keep it alive instead of reading on migraine inducing
Amen to that. Hand Job Zine is definitely keeping the tradition of
underground lit zines alive and well. There's poetry, art, short
fiction, and too much cool stuff to mention in this issue - made with
real sweat and tears by real hands and real people. I love the anarchic
feel that is captured in these pages. No gods, no masters. No shit. Hand
Job is the kind of zine that stops talking about freedom and revolution
and actually does something.