zine, [zeen] noun. 1. abbr. of fanzine; 2. any amateurly-published periodical. Oxford Reference


Saturday, August 19, 2017

A pair of pissotières in Genesis

A pair of pissotières in Genesis

by Lord Bubblegum / Bubblegum Dada Publications #

A5, 36 pages with cardboard cover

£/$: creative exchange/stamps to cover postage

Fans of Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi, the work of Raymond Roussel, and the comic sketches of William Burroughs, are in for a treat. This is the creation myth retold in the style that made Jarry infamous - but arguably A pair of pissotières in Genesis pushes the scathing wit, scatological humour, and well targeted iconoclasm further than Ubi

Subtitled as "a scatological cartoon for the mind", much of the action takes place inside a hole dug by Ovasmus to relieve his bowels. Unfortunately, he becomes stuck in the hole. Luckily for us, his arse is able to speak, more than that, his arse is also endowed with god-like abilities. 

If you are easily offended by swearing, sexual references, and the deconstruction of religious absurdities, then you should probably avoid this.  

The Bubblegum Dada Corporation is a curiously offline enterprise based on the coast of England. But if you'd like a copy of 
A pair of pissotières in Genesis you can now contact them at their newly acquired email address - bubblegumdadacorporation (at) gmail (dot) com - with offers to exchange creative endeavours, or an offer of stamps to cover postage. Please say we sent you. 

Review by Nathan Penlington

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Aspects of Uranus - a queer astrology zine

Aspects of Uranus - a queer astrology zine

Compiled by Jade Mars

A5, 36 pages, colour cover. 


“The stars aren’t astrology until people start telling stories about them”, write syr and an in their piece how to tell stories with our birth charts. The problem is, as Jade Mars outlines in the introduction: 

“binarist, sexist, and heteronormative ideas…plague Western astrology (and y'know, pretty much everything in our society)"

This zine was created as a response to the lack of information and advice around queer astrology. The range of contributions is varied, considered and engaging. It includes poetry from Chani Nicholas, Soof Andry, and Liza Lauper. Features are from Ludovic Foster – Boi Becomes Hare, Astrology as a way to subvert the “Trans Narrative”; Jade Mars writes In Praise of Virgos, a defence of undervalued traits defined as ‘women’s work’ by astrological orthodoxy, and offers a reading of Foucault’s birth chart relating to his work as a left-wing queer theorist. syr and an’s piece, as mentioned above, offers a great set of points to consider when creating an astrological reading with someone, and anna tackles tradition in Queerness, Disability and being a Capricorn

Aspects of Uranus is a thoughtful and thought-provoking zine that opens doors to better ways of engaging with traditionally excluding sets of symbols and practices. To quote from Chani Nicholas’ poem:

“Why do queers love astrology? 
Maybe it’s because we understand that our identities come in as many variations as there are stars in the sky.  
Maybe it’s because we see gender as a vast cosmology of options, not a system with two measly choices”

Buy a copy via Etsy: etsy.com/uk/listing/479023664/aspects-of-uranus-a-queer-astrology-zine

(Shhh....I shouldn't say this on a site devoted to reviewing paper and ink zines, but Aspects of Uranus is also available as a pdf: etsy.com/uk/listing/492567485/aspects-of-uranus-a-queer-astrology-zine)

Review by Nathan Penlington

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Xerography Debt 41 [June 2017]


Davida Gypsy Breier, PO Box 347, Glen Arm MD 21057, USA + davida [at] leekinginc [dot] com + www.leekinginc.com Price: $4.00 Trades? No; Size: 8.5" x 5.5" Page count: 76

[DISCLOSURE! I am one of these XD reviewers!]

Usually I would NEVER scan one of the pages featuring my own reviews. The very idea of it! But today I thought, "Wait a minute... What's wrong with it? Why shouldn't I? Maybe there are even people out there who don't believe I'm one of the reviewers! They think I'm making it up! Well, now would be a good opportunity to prove that I AM!  ... I mean, that is, I AM one of the reviewers! That I am NOT making it up!""

There are eighteen other reviewers: Anne Thalheimer, D. Blake Werts, Carlos Palacios, Carrie Mercer, David LaBounty, Davida Gypsy Breier, DJ Fred, Donny Smith, Eric Lyden, Fred Argoff, Gavin J. Grant, Joe Biel, Josh Medsker, Kathy Moseley, Ken Bausert, Kris Mininger, Liz Mason, and Maynard Welstand.

And there are five columnists - Jeff Somers, Joe Biel, Josh Medsker, Gianni Simone, and Ken Bausert.

[Thirteen days later...] I'm halfway through this issue and have, as is my habit, been busily underlining sentences and making notes in the margins, so with those as a guide, here are some more thoughts on XD41...

That cover is THE UGLIEST XD cover yet. It's more likely to repel a reader than entice them to order a copy. [I admit that since I wasn't here from the beginning, I have not seen them all.]

Jeff Somers writes yet another column about his now-long-in-the-distant-mists-of-time zine career. YAWN. Surely I can't be the only one literally bored to death by these. [Ha ha! Apologies! I know how to use 'literally' correctly.]

On the flipside, Gianni Simone's wonderful column answers the eternal question, "What are artistamps?" I'm pretty sure I received one or two of these 'artistamps' on the front of the envelope recently sent to me by PJM [Node Pajomo zine]!

Fred Argoff leads his reviews this issue with a terrific "NYC vignette" - what happened when he was walking down a crowded Seventh Avenue sidewalk when the woman in front of him stopped dead in her tracks, causing Fred to collide with her, and her subsequent nasty expression as she was about to give him a blast of some venomous fury but was silenced by something Fred said.

These reviewers included reviews that motivated me to send my comic/zine to them for trade: Davida Gypsy Breier, DJ Frederick Moe, and Fred Argoff

Gavin J. Grant's introduction to his reviews. Oh boy! This is a good one! Check this out: "I got a lot of zines from men this time and much as I enjoyed them Id love to review more zines by women and people of colour." And by "men" I think he means 'white men'. Well, perhaps he could take the first point up with editor Davida who sends out the packets of zines for us to review. That is, those of us who request this service - some of us manage to acquire our own zines to review. As for the second point... "ATTENTION COLOURED PEOPLE! If you make a zine, now you know! Gavin J. Grant would LOVE to review it!" Davida, do you receive many zines by coloured folk? Please do Gavin a favour and send them to him for review! [Of course I mainly find this funny because the term "people of colour" is a recent invention, and not actually English, but French - it's how French people would say "coloured people." For another example, the French would see me colouring in my diary comics and say, "Oh! You use markers of colour!"

Joe Biel's introduction to his reviews. Good grief! I had fun with my blue pencil here! For a guy who, in one review, mentions that he would have tightened up the writing if HE was the editor, to also write this sentence: "I still wanted to travel all of the time and end up in these weird places and situations that arguably weren't really helping me or my career, or whatever, but they were interesting." Who would even let this guy within a MILE of editing their work? Haw!

Josh Medsker wrote his reviews in rhyme, and even managed to pull it off! Example: "Many local bands make their voices heard, like Egan's Rats, Bludgeoned Nun, and - these bands all share a sense of drive, passion not found in the rock world at large - scrappy kids getting it together, everyone was in charge." - Out Of The Basement, David Ensminger's history of the Rockford, Illinois punk scene. I couldn't fail to notice the almost wall-to-wall, although somewhat veiled, ill-feeling towards the new US President in this issue, so it was refreshing to read that punk zine Razorcake has featured a pro-Trump article that Josh approved of.

Finally, ["Thank GAHD!!" says you, rolling your eyes], hey Liz Mason! About your review of I'm So Punk: A Comic About Shitty Punk Boys where you wrote "Somehow this feels like a comics companion to Thou Shalt Not Talk About The White Boys Club (reviewed below)..." No, it's not. It's not reviewed below, above or anywhere off to the damn side. Some of us would like to be informed about this [what-sounds-like-a] egregious racist tract!

Null Point - Issue 002

A6, twenty black and white pages, black and white cover.

£0.35 p&p

The second issue of Null Point wastes no time in telling you exactly what it is.

“This is about the ideas, this is not about recognition.”

It’s a bold move for a creator to shun acknowledgement - especially nowadays, when branding is crucial and content is (wrongly) considered secondary. Nevertheless, Null Point doesn’t stray from its ethos. The zine is priced modestly (just enough to cover its printing costs and nothing more) and all its contributors have been given pseudonyms.

Although no theme is stated outright, the zine’s articles and flash fiction pieces tend to focus upon the sense of disconnection that we all feel in an increasingly digital world. The artwork is particularly effective. The drawings are grim, they don’t try too hard, and the result is a gut punch. Perhaps most unsettling of all is the advert for a product that would have been hilariously far-fetched ten years ago, but which nowadays leaves the reader wondering, “Wait – is that real? Can I buy that?” 

If you’re looking for a light read after a long day at work, this probably isn’t the zine for you. Seriously, it’ll bum you out. If, however, you’re a fan of dystopian fiction and you’re feeling introspective, you will love Null Point.

All three issues of Null Point are available for sale at www.nullpoint.org  

Review by JL Corbett

Monday, August 14, 2017

Dr Faith's 5 Minute Therapy - Working

Dr Faith's 5 minute therapy - Working

by Faith G. Harper, PhD, LPC-S, ACS

14cm x 21.5cm, 20 pages, cardboard cover.


The genius idea behind this series of zines is that we often face problems that don't need a whole barrage of self-help books, or a series of expensive sessions with a therapist. That's where this series of situation focused help and advice comes in. They are a practical mix of psychology, life coaching, common sense, and understanding. They are often funny too. In fact, just the kind of advice you'd seek from a grounded friend, a friend who just happens to be a qualified therapist.

This issue tackles the subject of work. 

We've all worked jobs we've hated, when every waking minute is subsumed by either being at work and hating it, dreading working, or being filled with anger because of something to do with that job - often all three.

Having all of your time filled with anger because of work is not a healthy way to live. Yet, often, there doesn't feel like a way out - except walking out of your job one morning and never looking back. But burning bridges is not a sensible approach when jobs are hard to find, and sometimes harder to keep. 
This issue of Dr Faith's Five Minute Therapy is subtitled 'Makin' paper without losing your mind or selling your soul', and will help tackle those issues before you reach breaking point.

Dr Faith offers ten useful points and approaches to managing the anger of being treated badly, disrespected, and feeling undervalued. She also gives advice about dealing with shitty bosses and shittier co-workers, and sound advice regarding planning a way out if that is the only option left.

If any of the above describes your current situation, or you have a friend who is constantly complaining about their job, pick up this zine - it could be the best $4 you've ever spent.

Buy Dr Faith's 5 Minute Therapy on Working direct from Microcosm Publishing

Check out Microcosmpublishing.org for other zines in Dr Faith's series. 

Review by Nathan Penlington

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Lake Erie Ink, Summer Zine Making

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to a group of young people at an ongoing zine making workshop at Lake Erie Ink.

These preteens were well into zine making before I was invited. Over the last several weeks they had made individual zines, and collaborative zines. I talked mostly about zine history, zine culture, and what's happening today, including how the internet has effected zine making and distribution. They were a great audience and asked really smart questions.

I was allowed to take some zines home, and I took four of the collaborative ones: Animals Summer Days, Highway to Learning and New Beginnings. Summer days was my favorite, because of the wonderful art, and there was a funny story about frozen yogurt.

I'll be donating these to the Cleveland Zine Library, so if you want to look at them that's where they'll be. Also, Mac's Backs on Coventry will have some of their other zines available.

It was really wonderful to see the next generation of zinesters in action.

Jack Cheiky

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Make a zine!

Make a Zine! 
by Joe Biel with Bill Brent / Microcosm Publishing

13.5cm x 17cm, 160 pages.


I know, I know, a book about making zines. But wait! Wait! You need to keep that snobbery in check, or you'll miss out on a fantastic handbook of all things zine. (In fact snobbery should be a future topic for one of Microcosm's long running series of zines Dr Faith's Five Minute Therapy - but more on that in future reviews). 

This is an updated and expanded 20th anniversary edition of the Microcosm's original Make a zine! The book guides you through chapters on 'behind the scenes' topics crucial to making zines - creative commons, communities, and contributors - as much as the more fun hands on side. 

There are contributions from other zine makers and shapers, including a great primer on DIY Comix by Fly. The history section reflects the changes in the zine community of the last 20 years, the rise of zine wikis and databases, review sites (*cough*) and forums. There is an interesting discussion of fake zines by Stephen Duncombe (author of the incredible Notes from Underground: Zines and the politics of alternative culture) - and how a shift towards a polished look, letterpress, or artist book style embellishment, is actually a good thing for contemporary zines.

Interleaved with the practical advice is a narrative based on the authors' experience of zines, running a distro, and a being a publisher. But even if you've also been around zines for 20 years, you should buy this book. It will invigorate your passion for reading and making zines. Make a zine! has made me want to read, review, and make more than I do already. And once you've read it, give it to a friend or a stranger who is just starting out, and who would perhaps benefit from basic, practical advice about binding, printing, the legalities of copying, and the giddy heights and lowest lows of collaboration. In doing so, you might just help someone start something special. 

Order Make a zine! here: microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/books/1202 or order a copy from your local bookshop. 


Review by Nathan Penlington

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Bizarrism No. 15 [July 2017]

Chris Mikul, PO Box K546, Haymarket NSW 1240, AUSTRALIA + cathob [at] zip.com.au Price: $8.00 Trades? Maybe. If your zine is very good. Contact first; Size: 11.75" x 8.25" Page count: 44

Some really great stuff in this new issue. Here's my Top 3:

1 - 'The Protests of Sandy Berger' - If you've ever found yourself wondering about those people who walk around town - or even stand in the one spot - wearing hand-written signs about UFOs or religion or THE EVILS OF PSYCHIATRY, then you will love this article. Sandy Berger walked around Sydney in the 1970s and '80s wearing signs warning of the evils of psychiatry, and that's just ONE of his many alternating endearing/infuriating quirks;

2 - 'In the Town of Marwencol' - The story of Mark Hogancamp who, in 2000, was almost beaten to death outside a New York bar, and with his resulting head trauma/memory loss created a WWII-era town populated by Ken and Barbie type dolls and wrote hundreds of pages to tell their stories, and took hundreds of photographs of scenes from their dramatic lives. Absolutely fascinating;

3 - 'My Favourite Dictators No. 9 - Kim Jong-il [with illustrations by Glenn Smith] - I get mixed up about Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un, but the former is the Daddy [now dead] and the latter is the son, now firing rockets all over the Pacific and making a damn nuisance of himself. He's also the star of one of the greatest episodes of South Park! ... Or perhaps I'm thinking of the movie...

If you're alive, you must obtain a copy!

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