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


Monday, March 31, 2008

the imagination of ladysnail


via the imagination of ladysnail by ladysnail on 3/12/08

the first zine...

...sounds like there be a zine number two...aye well i am off to hunt and gather some research material today from town when my hair is dry and presentable. i did and didn't do a lot of phaffing with this zine. it was a one week project and i knew that i would have to work quick with things i already had which were loads of print outs from the Amelia project i was fixated on. so i just doodles all over them like i do in my sketchbook with various drawing materials. in order to create an affordable zine, i photocopied the pages onto A3 and cut them down to make an A6 zine when it is all folded up. i was unsure what to do for the cover but i had the eco-robotington pattern on a screen so photocopied a simple outline design first onto card, pastel paper both of white and mint colours and then screen-printed over the top with a splash of green to add texture and colour as on the white card you can feel the raised print. i think it is nice to be able to feel artwork. makes it feel more real. i once got told off for touching a Lowery painting. i made about sixteen copies in total and spent forever and a day marking, measuring out and trimming/cutting the pages. it was worth it though. i think i may see if i can get work as a phaffer as i am always phaffing around. there are sixteen pages in total and an outer cover. i am going to put a couple up on etsy and see how they do.


Review: Black Static Issue #1


via HorrorScope by Brenton Tomlinson... on 3/9/08
Black Static would have been the 43rd issue of “The Third Alternative” (TTA) and released two years ago but the inclusion of Interzone into this stable of magazines required a restructure. No point in competing against yourself. Part of the restructure became allowing TTA to fully embrace its darker side. {Insert evil laugh here} Hence the birth of Black Static.

It’s amazing the magazine actually made it into the light of day, let alone into the hands of subscribers or reviewers. The copy I have is a third reprint of the first issue. Printing issues requiring changes that required further changes may have been enough to derail less determined editors. Thankfully not so in this case and Black Static has been officially delivered to its anxiously waiting public.

I had heard only good things about this British magazine and was not disappointed by my initial experiences.

Stephen Volk’s column “Electric Darkness” discusses the current state of Dark Fiction on the small screen. His insights are amusing but highlight a growing mentality of “playing it safe” by those that control the purse strings. He expands his theories to include Dark Fiction in all its forms. It is a well written column with some interesting thoughts.

“Bury The Carnival” by Simon Avery is simply brilliant. This is short Dark Fiction of the highest calibre. A tale of a magician/puppeteer in a small town and a local reporter who hunts down his secret, only to discover a secret of her own she never knew she had. The prose is excellent with descriptive passages of outstanding quality and the characters are beautifully crafted (in more ways than one) allowing a strong buy in by the reader.

After such a strong opening for issue #1, I was a little disappointed by the remaining content.

“Nights Plutonian Shore” by Mike O’Driscoll seems to begin as a commentary on the media in general. As this is a Dark Fiction magazine I patiently continued to read, expecting the discussion to turn to specific dark offerings in media not covered in other columns. Unfortunately it turned into a diatribe against the media in general over the handling of the Madeleine McCann abduction case in Portugal. Due to the delays in releasing the issue, the comments are unfortunately those of someone not fully informed and are easily interpreted as simply “having a go” at a ferocious European media, in particular the British press.

“Pale Saints & Dark Madonnas” by Jamie Barras is a tale based on true events in South America. It involves an age old religion based on West African Voodoo, transported/transplanted along with slaves in the early 1800’s and continued by the poorer classes in the slums of Rio to this day. The story is well written but skims across the surface of what could have been a much deeper and more disturbing sequence of events.

“Interference” is another column within the issue. By Christopher Fowler it descends quickly into a social commentary slanging off the lack of morals and increasing apathy in England. That maybe so but I’m not sure what it has to do with Dark Fiction.

“Acton Undream” by Daniel Bennett is an interesting premise for a dark tale. If we could dream things into reality, could we then undream real things into oblivion? Unfortunately the possibilities were not endless for the author and seemed to take a relatively mundane trek to a telegraphed ending.

Yet another column then separates the fictional offerings. “Blood Spectrum” by Tony Lee reviews Dark Fiction on the big screen. Unlike his two previous columnists, Tony discusses Dark Fiction on the big screen! This was surprising after the complete lack of pertinent content in the earlier commentaries. Tony gives the reader lots of useful information on films and everyone involved in the making of them. He provides more than enough detail for any movie goer to make an informed choice on their next cinematic experience.

“Votary” by Mary K. Hobson is, as the title suggests, a story of devotion - between a daughter and her father. But because this is a tale of Dark Fiction, there is a twist. The story has well defined three dimensional characters (some much larger than others) that allow the reader to gain an empathy with two rather nasty pieces of work. The second shortest of the offered works, it easily deserves its place in this first issue.

“Japan’s Dark Lanterns” is a column by John Paul Catton, told in a satirical manner, regarding the current (May 2007) state of affairs in Japan. Offered as a transcript of an interview between a teacher and one of his students, it is a light hearted look at one man’s opinion of modern Japan. Although amusing to read it touches on some serious political and social issues. Not sure what this has to do with Dark Fiction though....

“My Stone Desire” by Joel Lane is a dark tale of reminiscence by a police officer. During his last year at the academy, he meets a young woman and begins a journey of self awakening. Filled with metaphors, the shortest piece in this issue makes for interesting reading.

“Case Notes” by Peter Tennant is a comprehensive section of the magazine with “Bury The Carnival” being the only section to take up more pages. The first section covers a review of Michael Marshall-Smith’s (or his other by-line Michael Marshall’s) latest two published titles. Peter gives a good overview of the artist and the two books: The Servants and The Intruders.
A transcript of an interview between Peter and the author is then offered although this is very short with only six questions answered.

Peter moves onto reviews of three novellas although this takes a second to differentiate from his involvement with Michael Marshall-Smith as it’s tacked onto the bottom of a page with no heading of its own. Still his reviews are straight forward and pull no punches. He calls a spade a spade and a lack of innovation, “just solid storytelling”.

Again without fanfare or title, “Case Notes” moves on to cover stories involving vampires. After offering up reviews on six titles and interesting side facts, he continues to review other Dark Fiction/Horror books without letting the reader know that, what looked like a special section on vampires, is now over.

“Case Notes” is filled with good stuff but it is not well laid out.

“Lady Of The Crows” by Tim Casson is an interesting tale that is filled with tension building, well built characters and great descriptive phrases that – fizzles into nothing. I thought it was a column on dark theatrical offerings to begin with (which I thought was a cool idea), but turned out to be an interesting opening to what quickly built into a well paced and well written piece of short fiction. The last twelve paragraphs were rushed through leaving me wondering why the author had gone to such lengths to rush it to an unsatisfactory ending. Did the editors need to cut it off right there and then to fit it into the issue at the cost of a better ending? I hope not.

In the end, Black Static didn’t quite reach the heights I was hoping it would. Three of the “features” weren’t relevant to turning TTA to its darker side as mentioned in the editorial “White Noise” first up.

They have had a huge amount of teething problems getting the first issue of this magazine out to the public. Feedback through their readership and from reviews such as this will shape future issues for the better – I hope.

For any writers of Dark Fiction out there, I would suggest you buy the first issue, if for no other reason than to read Simon Avery’s “Bury The Carnival”. To the editors of Black Static I would suggest they ensure their features/columns are relevant to the magazine’s overall aim otherwise cut them and spend the extra money on some additional fictional offerings.

I look forward to Issue #2 with the new format that they had so many issues with on the release of Issue #1.


This Is Not A Graphic Novel...Oh wait a minute, actually it is


via Every Day Is Like Wednesday by Caleb on 3/29/08

You know the one about judging a book by its cover, right? Well, here’s a good example. From the outside, artist Regis Faller’s The Adventures of Polo (Roaring Brook Press; 2006) doesn’t much look like a graphic novel. It’s a big, colorful, 11-by-10 inch (or thereabouts), hardcover rectangle that looks like your average children’s picture book.

But inside? It’s totally what we think of when we hear or use the term “graphic novel.” The story is completely wordless, with no dialogue or narration of any kind. And while many pages are devoted to a single image,
many more are broken into panels; borderless images stacked side by side and on top of one another in comic book-format grids, with the white spaces between them forming naturally occurring gutters.

Faller’s art is great, and his designs top-notch (although something about dog-star Polo’s nose bugs the hell out of me…I don’t like the cylindrical shape of it, and the way it stands erect), and the colors are brilliant and well-chosen. There are plenty of neat little moments in the book, the plot of which is essentially simply Polo wandering around until Faller runs out of pages.

Polo lives on an island dominated by a tree house (that is, a house that is actually a tree; the page above is the first page of the book). On the second page, he puts on a back pack (which we soon find is filled with all kinds of crazy things) and an umbrella and than walks on a tightrope over the ocean. This rope becomes a line that forms stairs, than a slide and after a very circuitous route to a boat, he’s off on his adventures.

The book reminded me a lot of a side-scrolling videogame, particularly something from the old Nintendo Super Mario Bros variety, I think in part because it seems to be a cute little 2-D figure exploring locales at random, and in part because of the specific settings and objects encountered (clouds, underwater, the backs of whales, the moon, mushrooms, stars, etc).

I kind of found myself despising Polo throughout too, and it goes beyond my not liking the looks of his nose. There’s a certain irresponsibility about the character that irks me. He just goes off and gets in some pretty serious scrapes, but something always happens at the last minute to save him a justified death. Like, when he rides an asteroid into the ocean and is about to drown, for example, a pelican swoops in and picks him up in its bill. The universe seems to love Polo a little too much, and bends probability to the point of breaking to save his ass. I suppose if I were a little kid, I might not mind, but as a grown-up, I found myself getting really stressed out by Polo’s reckless actions, and angry that he never suffered for them.

Once he gets to his boat, which, in the first sign of Polo's incredible vanity, is named after Polo, the little dog sails until night time. Then he puts on his diving suit (complete with bubble helmet), and drops the ocean floor. He finds a treasure chest with a glowing star in it (above), and this he takes to a large fish wearing a crown and holding a stick. He puts the star on the fish's stick, and the fish magics him back up to his boat.

The S.S. Polo is then beached atop a whale, and Polo converts his boat into a plane, which the whale then throws up into the sky. He visits an island with a volcano, and ten an island with a monkey band, which Polo rocks out with in their tree house (which is a series of platforms on a tree). Then, in an incedible act of irresponsibility, Polo and the monkeys tie helium ballons all over the platform, causing it to rise high into the air above the island. How are you going to get down guys? You'll fall to your deaths when the helium runs out!

Heedless to this danger, Polo rides a baloon on ou of their, cheerfully waving to the doomed monkeys, who cheerfully wave back to the doomed Polo, who drifts out over the ocean on a single baloon.

But wait, Polo's got a propeller in his backpack, which he somehow attaches to his pack and propels himself with. But a huge mosquito pops his baloon, and Polo falls to his death...

But, in one of many instances of Polo's incredible luck, he lands on the water but doesn't sink. He just stands on the surface. Is Polo Jesus? No, he's just standing atop a submarine.

Even though the vessel is capained by a cat, the natural enemy of Polo's people, the cat welcomes our hero into the sube with open arms.

This leads to a pretty funny sight gag:

Well, I laughed.

Then things get really weird.

Dog and cat pool their efforts, each manning one of the two sets of pedals that power the sub. Soon they crash into an iceberg, and surface to investigate. At the top of it they find an igloo.

Who could live here, I wonder? Perhaps it's an eskimo or-

Oh shit, it's a bear!

When the bear rushes out of its igloo to defend itself and its home from the two intruders, it slips on the ice and falls into the ocean below.

Polo and his cat friend sensitively laugh at him and then Polo's all like, "Hey, let's look in his house!"

And what an odd house it is. There's nothing in it but a huge...hole in the floor?

There's barely room for the bear to sleep in the corner without falling into the hole. Tiny little Polo can barely kneel next to it and lean to look in without falling in.

And what's in the pit?

Okay now, I don't want to overthink a kids' book here or anything, but indulge me for a paragraph or so. The bear's igloo houses nothing bug a pit...in which he keeps a snowman. And that snowman does not look happy to be there. He's just sitting there staring worriedly down at his stack of ice cubes, making the same face I do when I sit down to pay bills or do my taxes. Did the bear capture him and put him down there? Did he build him down there, bring him to life, and leave him there? What's the bear planning on doing with him? Eating him? Is this like that scene from Silence of the Lambs? I really can't make heads or tails out of this situation.

Anyway, the snowman's happy to meet Polo (He puts his tophat on special just to tip it at Polo). Polo whips a chisel and hammer out of his backpack, and then quickly tunnels his way out of the iceberg. From there, he jumps to a smaller nearby iceberg, and chisels the hell out of it until its suddenly transformed into a working boat made out of ice. The cat, snowman and Polo ride on until they encounter a rope ladder. The cat and Polo scramble up it, leaving the Snowman and the ice boat. He doesn't seem to mind, and whips out a newspaper to read. (This is the third sea-going vessel Polo's abandoned in 60 pages).

The ladder leads to the moon, where they find an orb-shaped spaceship in which a little moon creature lives. It leads Polo into a crater, while the cat just, like, stays in the ship.

In the tunnel, Polo encounters a magic mushroom.

Mushrooms are awesome, kids.

The tunnel opens into a cavern full of huge glowing mushrooms and lots of little glowing moon people. They point out another magical mushroom to Polo, and, after a few adjustments, he blasts off in it, headed back towards earth.

See, mushrooms are totally awesome!

The trip was cut short by a collision with an asteroid, which sent Polo plummeting into the sea (this is where the previously mentioned pelican saves his ass).

The bird deposits Polo safely back on his island , and he promptly pulls out a book to read. What's he reading?

Why, that vain bastard...

Many of the creatures Polo encountered on his adventures return in this last panel. It looks like a happy ending. For everyone except for the polar bear, who doesn't show up. Perhaps he hit his head on an ice chunk and drowned.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Review: Albedo One, Issue #34


via HorrorScope by Brenton Tomlinson... on 3/6/08
Albedo One is Ireland’s Magazine of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. It is also home of the Aeon Award . They claim under their guidelines, their definition of what constitutes SF, horror and fantasy is extremely broad and they love to see material which pushes at the boundaries – I think they have easily achieved that goal within this issue and still remained within the chosen theme of “Things Change”.

Once I moved on from the beautiful cover art, the first item I came across was an Interview with Raymond E Feist by Bob Neilson titled “Hey I think I forgot Uncle Tom Cobley”.

I found this to be a down to earth and open look at Raymond’s career from Magician through to Wrath of a Mad God, and the processes he, as a writer, has gone through to make that journey. He is very candid and gives some interesting insights, not only into the world of Epic Fantasy but into writing in general - with some interesting thoughts on other genres. Detailed discussion into the titles he believes will make writers into authors would be worth the price of the mag alone for new scribes among us.

But Albedo One prides itself on distinctive fiction and as previously stated, in this department it delivers.

“LOOB: Love Only Oily Bodies” by William R. Eakin’s is a dark tale that encompasses a man who is finally forced to find himself - his inner self. This is a complex tale told with an underlying force that pushes the reader on to an unexpected ending.

The White Knight by Devon Code placed third in the Aeon Award 2006-2007 contest. After reading this, you’ll never look at chess, Casablanca or research assistants the same.

Boneless by Rebecca Sian Pyne is based on an Oxfordshire legend about a gelatinous monster that roams the leafy English countryside engulfing unlucky travellers. This is a delightfully twisted tale of a man receiving justice from an unlikely source. Rich in its descriptions and almost tangible in its flavours, Boneless is an excellent example that cheating wives can sometimes be called on to pay their dues.

Angelus by Nina Allan was the winning entrant for the Aeon Award for 2007. It is an in-depth characterization of two men whose lives are irrevocably changed by a single woman and the different relationships they have with her. The tale is rich in detail and highly charged with emotional minefields as two men meet up again years after they’d last seen each other and the thread that ties them together.

Alice & Bob, by Phil Raines and Harvey Welles, is very different. I’ve never been a fan of stories told disjointedly through the exchange of letters, but here it works. In a world where your very location isn’t guaranteed we follow a love story as it unfolds via letters left by Alice and Bob. Through their missives we learn how the world has gone to ruin through unnatural forces acting on the flesh of mankind to pick them up without warning (and without their clothing) and transport them to a random point somewhere else on the globe: hardly the type of situation conducive to finding a soul-mate.

Isle of Beauty by Larry Taylor came second place in the Aeon Award 2006-2007 contest. This apocalyptic tale focuses on one small community and how they come together to cope with the change that is about to be thrust upon them. Told with fantastic descriptiveness, the changes this college based community go through is amazing and thought provoking. It is the least abstract of all the pieces presented and yet easily holds its head up among its surrounding award winners.

Siren by Nassau Hedron takes yet another road to illuminating how things change with a story depicting the relationship of a man and a woman through different incarnations, as they progress through time. The change is not the incarnations but the equilibrium of their relationship – it is a change that is unexpected and all the more powerful because it should have happened a long time ago. Love between a man and a woman can be strong; love between a mother and child is something else entirely.

The Supplanter by James Steimle is a strange little tale of ghosts, child birth and the passage of spirits from one generation to the next.

In the back of the magazine is more reviews than you’ll need to decide on your next month’s fictional purchases but hidden within them was Australia's own David Conyers. Of particular note is an excellent review by David of Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror 2006. I imagine Albedo may be happy to take a follow up review for the just released 2007 edition.

Also among the reviews I found an excellent review for Aurealis #36 (Issue #38/39 out now) from a self confessed “not the biggest fan” of Sci-Fi, Andrew McKenna, a regular reviewer for the magazine for the past three issues. It is proof positive that Australian fiction is being taken ever more seriously around the world.

Albedo One, Issue 34 is out now.

Review: Cthulhu Australias


via HorrorScope by Robert Black on 3/5/08
Cthulhu Australis
Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos
David Conyers
Edited: John B.Ford
Rainfall Publications
Reviewer: Robert Black

Cthulhu Australis is a nicely produced limited edition chapbook. It has been released in 100 signed and numbered copies only and has a laminated cover with a suitably “Lovecraftian” image. It is well edited and typeset in an easy to read manner. It includes three impressive tales, each which offers a different facet of the Mythos. One is unique to this publication, two have been previously published.

The background to such a work is complex. H.P Lovecraft August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American horror writer who only achieved a minimal level of success during his life, primarily publishing in pulp magazines. His stories were anti-rational and focused on the experience of a terrifying “unknown” which generally destroyed those who perceived it. His work was marked by this perception of an “unknown” quality which intruded into the world of rational thought. His model of the world was that of a skeptic, even cynic and indeed sometimes even bordered on paranoia. It was only after his death and with the tireless work of August Derleth that his work started to reach a larger audience. In the Sixties Colin Wilson wrote of Lovecraft as the ultimate outsider and this brought his work to a much wider audience and it is from there it has continued to develop.

Lovecraft’s Cthulhu and Necronomicon Mythos is the central defining aspect of his work and I think it illustrates the paradox at the heart of Lovecraft’s fiction and indeed of the man. In his personal life he was a rationalist even an atheist and yet he used occult and esoteric themes to incredible advantage throughout his tales. Indeed, he was so adept at manipulating occult themes such as the Old Ones and Elder Gods that some pagans and magicians today still claim that he was really secretly one of their own. Kenneth Grant, for example, the idiosyncratic follower of the infamous Aliester Crowley, regularly writes of the work of Lovecraft as fact rather than fiction. In my mind this simply shows the true genius of the author rather than its factual basis.

The mythos that Lovecraft created of course outlived his death; it has taken a myriad of forms from B Grade horror films (who can forget the Dunwich Horror) to all manner of novels and tales. Cthulhu Australis explores how these tales can be expressed in terms of the world as we know it and more significantly, within the Australian environment. The tales are intrinsically Australian using Australian locations, characters and cultural idioms to create a unique expression of the mythos in a form not seen before.

The tales offered are also modern, while Lovecraft was writing a long time in the past and was somewhat coy about sex (if not a little misogynist according to many biographers), here we have a more “2008” Cthulhu mythos with all the sex, neurosis and psychological trauma that modern living entails.

I highly recommend this chapbook and believe it is imperative that we support small press efforts such as this one, especially when they are of such high quality and offer such a unique approach to one of the more intriguing strands of horror fiction.


We got a review



Sent to you by Jack via Google Reader:


via Skank Zine by admin on 3/21/08

We got a review :). http://psycobillyco.webs.com posted a review and some information about us. here is what it said.

“The Skank Zine started out as a local Denver Zine. They put stuff from art, shows, articles, etc. The Skank Zine do not edit anything in the Zine. Their goal is to preserve the individuality of the author. Meaning, you can curse all you want, you can have a million spelling mistakes. They will do the right thing, Nothing. They never deny any work. Only reason a piece of work may not end up in the zine is because they do not have enough room. They print 200 copies of each issue. Depending on how many they sell, they print more. As of recently, they merged with SkaCore Records. They have changed their name to Skank Records. SkaCore did wonders in Florida and Nick moved up to Colorado to help it spread. They are hoping to put on more shows as they sign bands rather than the usual zine kick off (which happens every 4 months.) Their next will be on April 5 at The Falcon. The Potato Pirates, The Repercussions, 3 Grams Over an Oz and The Dendrites will be playing. Be there to see a good show! Try buying a Zine! They are only $3.50!”

You can also read the whole thing by going here http://psycobillyco.webs.com/skankzine.htm


Things you can do from here:


biodieselSMARTER: a 'zine for brewers.


Sent to you by Jack via Google Reader:


via Arctic Vegwerks by vegwerks on 3/20/08

biodieselSMARTEROne of the hardest things about backyard biodiesel is wading through all the crap on the internet and finding the good information. To make things harder, backyard brewing techniques are constantly evolving. What was cutting edge two years ago may have been put aside as too problematic (like the Magnesol dry-wash - it's difficult to filter out), and today's new techniques still have kinks (like the Purolite dry-wash - preventing resin compaction). There is the solid peer-reviewed biodiesel community website that will give you everything you need to get started for free, but when entering more advanced homebrew issues (acid pre-treatment, methanol recovery, GL 1-day drywash) we're at the mercy of the mob at the infopop forums.

Enter biodieselSMARTER, a DIY full-color 'zine "for biodiesel homebrewers by biodiesel homebrewers." Now in its second year, it's only $10 for a subscription and it's jam-packed with real stories about real folks doing real homebrew. Issue #5 is a full 40 pages, and its homebrew roots show with the 100% recycled paper, 100% wind-power, folded 8.5 by 11″ format.

It's based around case-studies, and the only fault I find with it is that a couple of times it shares cool things that folks are doing, but doesn't give enough detail to reproduce what is happening (the living filter for wash water.) Most of the time however, the information is great (ethanol treatment for methanol exposure, sizing a purolite resin column, and Dr. Dan's TDI death row analysis.) I especially like Spanking Ester, the question and answers column from Leif at Piedmont Biofuels: 5% prewash chemistry, efforts to scale up the GL 1-day method, anti-gels for biodiesel, etc. etc.

But don't take my word for it, check out what Kumar and Lyle have written, and then send in your $10!


Things you can do from here:


Hanging Like a Hex #17


via NeuFutur Magazine by admin on 3/1/08

Hanging Like a Hex #17 ($3.95, 201 Maple Ln., N. Syracuse, NY 13212) First off, this zine is absolutely packed with all sorts of information, whether it be interviews with bloodlet, ted leo, milemaker (isn’t this like the third zine this issue to interview them?), the timeline about the 9-11 events, or the absolutely crazy amount of reviews that Ryan puts in this issue. Looking at the cover of this issue, a piece by Chris Mascotti, and then looking at the title, I was imagining a large-market emo magazine. However, Hanging Like a Hex is much more based into hardcore music, specifically hardcore bands from Syracuse, New York. Syracuse is a recurring topic in this issue, whether it be the editor’s opening reflection on why exactly he stays in Syracuse, or the large interview from local act Bloodlet, and it provides a sense of continuity to the issue, a continuity that often is lacking in many a larger-market magazine. Ryan (the editor) has innovated in the placement of reviews in this zine; instead of having thirty or forty pages in a row just dealing with reviews, he has split them up so that a few pieces and advertisements can take off the tedium confronted by reading page after page of reviews. Other strongly-written pieces in this issue include “Dumpster Diving”, which is a tad low-level but does provide very detailed commentary for those looking for it and Jacob David’s “CIA Go Away”, which is much different stylistically (although not topically) from the other pieces of David’s I have read in the past. A strong magazine, and one that I would have to recommend for any individual, regardless of whether or not they like hardcore music.


Lazy Boy


Sent to you by Jack via Google Reader:


via NeuFutur Magazine by admin on 2/29/08

Lazy Boy / $2.00 / 36S / :20 / gomek@comcast.net /

I reviewed Dorothea #1 a few months back. Luckily Mike, the author of Dorothea, found the review and sent me “Lazy Boy”, a zine about Mike’s experience with sex, masturbation, and self-doubt. The original aim of Lazy Boy, as described in the one-sheet stapled to the back cover, was to “be a gay men’s magazine”. I personally like the current iteration of “Lazy Boy” more than I think I would have liked the alternate bent of the publication. Mike’s method of storytelling is engrossing and plays upon feelings common to anyone that has been through the oddness of teenage years. There is little more to the layout than Times New Roman text and handwritten titles; Mike’s style is what makes “Lazy Boy” so damn interesting. I think a parallel to the gay story magazines that are mentioned throughout “Lazy Boy” are in order; while not only about sex and sexual encounters, the emotions and rawness of the writings here are more than enough to titillate and excite. However, Mike straddles the line between a pornography-heavy magazine and one in which sex and sexuality is a major part. This careful balance ensures that “Lazy Boy” will be able to be read by a larger contingent than the 18+ crowd. While this seems to be a one-shot at this current time, I would really like to read more of this type of writing. I liked this more than Dorothea, which was a solid ‘zine in its own right. Kudos to Mike.

Rating: 9.0/10


Things you can do from here:


Guff #2


via NeuFutur Magazine by admin on 2/29/08

Guff #2 / $2.99 / :25 / 28M / weja5@yahoo.com

The style in which Jeff draws eir comics is interesting, to say the least. For me, I think that it seems that Jeff’s pages are too small for the amount of material that ey put in the issue. Everything is very detailed, and as a result, individuals have to strain their eyes to pick up all the nuances of each panel. The stories are interesting, especially “Europe Travel Diary 1999”, but there are also weak spots to the comic (Oh, Shun The Ocean). In a sense, Jeff’s style really tends to scream seventies out to me; the only current tie that Jeff has with other cartoonists is with Fry (Zero Content)The price of the comic is great for the amount of material that is contained, and what makes the case for Guff even stronger is the fact that the stories are actually well written. What really sinks many independent magazines is the fact that they have poor or non-existent story lines; Jeff’s stories, while short actually have some material behind them. The comic, done in black and white works fine; color might actually decrease from the true focus of this comic; interesting stories and (for the most part) actions taken by the characters that could conceivably happen. Here’s to hoping that Jeff continues coming out with Guff and that future issues will be even longer and more interesting than this one. Make sure to send Jeff a few dollars and pick up these comics; they may just be the berst thing that the independent scene has to offer.

Rating: 6.9/10


Sunday, March 23, 2008


The NewPages Zine Rack

Number 36 (Posted Feb 7, 2007)

Zines reviewed by Sean Stewart

This will be my final NewPages Zine Rack column. After five straight years (with the exception of a little break a couple of years ago), I now find myself with much less time to devote to this project. My policy has always been to only review a zine after reading it carefully cover to cover, and I just can’t maintain that level of commitment anymore. I’m somewhat regrettably reading a lot less in general these days.

I’m grateful to Casey Hill for inviting me to start this project back while I was still in library school. I should also probably thank Chris Dodge and Sandy Berman, because it was their passions to share and make connections that first put Casey in touch with me. Getting this gig was my initial introduction to the vast underground library networking system. I learned quickly that librarians sure know how to network!

It’s my hope that someone will step up and take over the Zine Rack. I would very much like to see it continue on as a part of the amazing resource that NewPages has become. So if you’re interested, please get in touch with Casey or me. Also, if you’ve been sending zines directly to me for review, please now send them instead to the NewPages address (listed on the sidebar to your right). Now, on with the reviews!

cover22 Nights and 23 Days:
Diary of #1J, Drug Study Subject

Inspired by Guinea Pig Zero, #1J fills this zine with journal documentation of a 3-week long drug study that she participated in. A seasoned drug study subject, #1J confidently takes the reader through the entire process, from finding out about the study and being screened to her days and nights staying at the lab. For anyone who has wondered about those drug study ads in the paper, this should answer most, if not all, questions that may have arisen in your head. It’s interesting reading, if a bit tedious in some parts. But I suppose it was the attention to detail that ultimately convinced me that drug studies are likely not for me. [5.5” x 8.5”, $1 US/$2 CAN/$3 World or SASE w/39 cents postage or a super cool trade, c/o Lawrence ABC, PO Box 1483, Lawrence, KS 66044]


By Androo Robinson

Sometimes I feel like the zine book market has reached its saturation point. Publishing their zine in book form has rapidly become what zinesters do to take it to the next level. I’m somewhat ambivalent about this trend. Some of these books I have been happy to see, but others seem marginal. This, however, is not the case with Androo’s collection of single panel stories. Undoubtedly most of Androo’s little photocopied zines and comics have long since disappeared from print, and that’s a shame. Except that now you can find them in this no-nonsense utilitarian collection published by SevenTen Bishop. Androo’s art and writing is strange, whimsical, thought provoking, and often humorous. He’s a true original, and this book is just further proof. [5.25” x 8”, $14.95 + $3 S/H, ISBN 0971213267, mail@seventenbishop.com or 312-243-7338, www.seventenbishop.com]

coverDream Whip

No. 14

Having been a fan of this zine for a while, I knew it would not disappoint, despite it also having graduated to a perfect-bound paperback form. Bill’s words are like fibrous lengths of jute, and he threads them around and through your mind until you’re all bound up in his sprawling travel tales. He’s quietly opinionated, and although he never divulges too much of himself, by the end of his stories he’s dropped enough strategic hints that you get some kind of picture of who he is. Maybe it’s not always the same portrait, but I think it’s probably pretty close. Straightforward, calming yet wistful prose that reads well under a big cottonwood tree in the waning afternoon light, or anywhere, really. The tales are interspersed with Bill’s little descriptive drawings. Highly recommended! [4.25” x 5.5”, $8 + S/H, ISBN 0977055787, joe@microcosmpublishing.com, www.microcosmpublishing.com]



“Summer/Baltimore.” This one was well worth the wait. As the title implies, Ramsey’s zine is comprised of a series of lists. It’s an interesting way to approach a personal zine. Maybe there is a little more control over what information gets shared, but we still learn a lot about Ramsey from her lists. There are lists about her dog, her new living quarters in Baltimore, things she’d like to change, plans for the future, memories, and a lot more. And there are even some guest lists from readers! Definitely an entertaining read. [5.5” x 8.5”, $2, ramseybeyer@gmail.com]


#1: Stitches

I think this is the first craft zine I’ve ever reviewed. I know I’ve reviewed some zines that had craft ideas in them, but this one is literally jam-packed with craft projects! What’s cool about this is that Niku starts out by showing some helpful stitches and giving her thoughts on machine versus hand sewing. Then there are sections on closures and embellishments to sweaters; how to make a simple A-line skirt; pillowcases; curtains; pillows; craft aprons; Christmas stockings, and lots more. Definitely recommended for anyone who is into DIY crafting, or who wants to find out more about the many projects that are possible. [5.5” x 8.5”, $4 US/4.50 CAN/4.70 MEX/6 World, Niku Arbabi, msfilms@hotmail.com]



“The Protest Issue.” The Underground Literary Alliance (ULA) is a group of writers and literary activists who are interested in shaking up the mainstream literary world and exposing it for the exclusive club that the ULA perceives it to be. This zine collects documentation of all of the ULA’s essential actions to date. One can’t help but be impressed by the passion of the Alliance. They seem to have their hearts in the right place, although their fight may well be endless and is certainly of a monumental scale. Included in this zine are accounts of the ULA press conference at CBGB’s rock club in NYC, protests of the 2001 Firecracker Alternative Book Awards for their awarding of McSweeney’s as Best Zine of 2001, selections from the ULA website’s Monday Report, and tales of various drunken disruptions of NYC literary readings. ULA gadfly King Wenclas figures large in these reports. Check this out for a good introduction to what the ULA is all about. [5.5” x 8.5”, $5, www.literaryrevolution.com]

coverSybil’s Garage

No. 3

Speculative fiction is one of those terms that has been muddied in meaning over the years that it’s been in use. As I am not well versed in the current nuances of science fiction and related genres, I’m not going to attempt to define it. Let’s just say there’s some connection to science fiction here. This zine is a well-produced litzine featuring fiction, poetry, and art. The poetry did the least for me, but I am not much of a poetry fan, so that’s not saying anything about the quality of these particular poems. Some of the fiction appealed to me, and I found the two interviews, with Hoboken artist Jim Hans and writer Kelly Link to be interesting. The artwork and photography was intriguing and effectively complemented the text. If you are a fan of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, you might enjoy this, so definitely give it a try. [7” x 8.5”, $7, 307 Madison St., #3L, Hoboken, NJ 07030, info@sensesfive.com, www.sensesfive.com]

coverTales of Mere Existence


“The 7 Habits of Highly Negative People.” This is an entertaining collection of self-deprecating and mildly sardonic comics featuring commentary on relationships, social ineptitude, and a healthy touch of pop culture mockery. The real treat here, though, is the included DVD of 10 uniquely hand-animated humorous cartoons narrated by Lev. Really funny stuff!! [8.5” x 11”, $12 + $1.50 S/H, Lev/Ingredient X, 430 15th Ave. No. 6, San Francisco, CA 94118, illeverent@yahoo.com, www.ingredientx.com]

coverThis Is Still America

Book One

“It’s the Same Every Time.” From what I can understand of this, the entire comic relates a single dream. It’s somewhat esoteric, but that just serves to skillfully represent the dream in print and illustration. A boy of 9 takes a trip on an airplane by himself that merges with childhood scenes relating social problems at school and ill feelings toward an absentee father. The scenes all tie vaguely together in some way with the airplane flight. I liked George’s unique drawing style and the front and back covers are some of the most striking I’ve seen on a mini-comic. Recommended. [7” x 7”, $2, George c/o Barry Matthews, 35-30 73rd St., Apt. 1H, Jackson Heights, NY 11372, george@secretacres.com,]

coverYou Don’t Get There From Here

It’s good to see Carrie back with a new comic after the demise of Assassin and the Whiner. In this new comic, Carrie takes a page from Ben Snake Pit’s approach to comics and creates 3-panel daily comics for a period of a few months. With Carrie’s skills, she easily pulls this off to great success. It’s interesting to read this and think about how different it is from Snake Pit. It will be nice if Carrie sticks with this format, but even if she doesn’t there’s no doubt in my mind that whatever she chooses to publish next will be an awesome read. Definitely check this one out, as well as Carrie’s new book available from Tugboat Press! [4.25” x 5.5”, $2, Carrie McNinch, PO Box 49403, Los Angeles, CA 90049, cmcninch@gmail.com]

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Heartattack #39


via NeuFutur Magazine by admin on 2/22/08

Heartattack #39 / 80 Pages / Full Sized / PO Box 848, Goleta, CA 93116 / heartattack@ebullition.com / 805-964-6111 / 

Heartattack was one of the first zines that I got my hands on, after Jersey Beat and before Muddle . Slightly thicker than I remember, this issue is literally packed with columns. A very few interviews fill the rest of the pages that aren’t jammed with reviews. This time, we have interviews with End on End, Del Cielo, and Umlout, as well as the crux piece with the editor from Evasion. I hadn’t heard of Evasion before this issue, but I think I’ve actually found a scumbag that’s bigger than I am! No lie! Some of the columns run a little too long, and some of the letters that Heartattack receives seem to be written when the authors wore tore up or completely baked. However, the columns mainly have a political slant to them, more of a note on the country and the time we are living in than about the magazine – 5 years ago, there just weren’t as many people writing about the illegal things we, as a country, were doing. Sure, there were a few individuals who have always liked to keep our eyes open about atrocities, but now it seems like an individual can’t write a column without some mention of the U.S. action in Iraq or buddies that they know that have gotten busted. For your fifty cents, I really have no clue where you can buy something as immersing and deep as Heartattack. Individuals might be thrown off by their hardcore focus, mainly in the reviews, but there is really too much in the way of good stuff to pass up this zine.

Rating : 7.3/10


Slug #230


via NeuFutur Magazine by admin on 2/21/08

Slug #230 / Free / 1:15 / 84M / http://www.slugmag.com /

This issue marks the 19th anniversary for Slug Magazine. Congrats are in order. I’ve been receiving their zine for about a  year now, and they have continually found ways to make enough money to keep publishing while still providing a great deal of information to anyone that wishes to read their magazine. As one has learned to expect, there is a good mix of advertisements and written articles.  Instead of being for super high-price products, the advertisements are for (typically) local endeavors that match quite well the demographic that sit down to read this magazine every two months or so. Also as per usual, there is a heavy focus on extreme sports, with the most heavy of foci coming with their coverage of snowboarding. For those more sedentary individuals, their music reviews are top notch; aside from providing information about the disc, the inclusion of a RIYL (recommended if you like) tag by each review gives individuals more of an assurance that they will like the act. Couple that with exhaustive coverage of the art scene in Salt Lake City, and individuals have a great sense of what all SLC has to offer. Finally, the “best article” award has to go to Oom’s “Inversion Trawler”, which discusses two cars jockeying for position and a removal of one of the car’s inhabitants’ face. Absurdist, funny, and a great read – which can also describe Slug well. Happy 19th and here’s to another 19 more!

Rating: 7.0/10


Glendale Boulevard-Issue 5


via NeuFutur Magazine by admin on 2/21/08

Glendale Boulevard-Issue 5.

Wow, five issues in, from the former writer for my old rag, Amish Drive By. As the years pass, the friendship that we once shared has become a chilly acquaintanceship, not enough to deter my review. Like many of the better zines out in the world today, Glendale Boulevard heavily uses pictures to break up the tedium of an all-text magazine. The half-size format condenses the magazine to a point that while it is small, it still is an awesome read. The poetry in the magazine is near top-rate, without the juvenile scene bashing found in many of the High School Age zines that for the most part degrade the whole zine scene. However, as few odd layout styles straddle the line between great and mediocre, such as the scan job of a page obviously from someone’s notebook. The article, a certain “Do You Ever Wonder” , by Zach Wendell, brings up some interesting points. An catchy diary-style piece written by the editor, entitled “I am Punk Rock” is the typical excellent level of Nina’s writing. “The Wonders of Stereotyping” is a great cartoon, but one wonders if it shouldn’t be longer. The 5 page opus that is “Self”, a story by Kimberly Jacobsen, is definitely a piece one should read if they are ever lucky enough to pick up this humdinger. Send $1? To Nina Goldsmith, 67 Cinnamon Cir, Fairport, NY 14450-8952.


Get the Strap #3


via NeuFutur Magazine by admin on 2/20/08

Get the Strap #3
A5/16 pages-$1/trade. The third issue in a zine that always maintains to crack me the fuck-up, Get the Strap #3 is in actuality a stronger issue then the 2nd one. From the cover picture being that of Kris Kross, to the end article detailing the entirety of the Rocky movies, Mike and Jay shit out another amazing issue. I must admit, I actually learned something of great importance from this issue, that being that DMX and Marilyn Manson did a collaboration. Don’t worry about downloading it, as it sucks hardcore, but I had no clue about it prior to GTS #3. As always, the When’s Lunch piece blows the rest of the zine out of the fucking water, if not for the ease one can imagine the original Saved By The Bell crew in the When’s Lunch situations. In the recurring piece on shitty jobs, the telemarketing piece actually holds it own to the topically funnier jizzmopper piece from the prior issue. Finally, the shining beacon, the most amazing piece in the magazine is no more then a half page, and begins describing the dildo-like design of the He-Man action figures, but quickly derivates from that course, going into the question about when the Lawrence brothers are going into gay porn. Simply brilliant.Get this magazine, as it is one of the best new ones out there. Contact them at GTS, 243 Sedgewick Ave, Stratford, CT 06615, or email numbtooth@cs.com (Mike) or WSTVandal@cd.com (Jay)

Rating 8.5/10


Get the Strap #2


via NeuFutur Magazine by admin on 2/19/08

A5/16 pages-$1/trade. Another hard hitting installment from Mike and Jay. Various improvements have been made since the first issue, including a hell of a lot more use of a computer from the first. The cover art is simply great, and these guys are as arrogant as they ever have been, and they also don’t let musical articles stifle their creativity . Most interesting in the magazine is the inclusion of the Road Warriors as the thematic high point of the magazine. The choice of articles in the magazine is a little bit better then in the first issue, showing a progression in this publication. Unfortunately, they seem to be trying to squeeze too much shit into these sixteen pages, in what should be a 20 page magazine. The pictures that livened up the first issue are cut down in the second issue. “When’s Lunch Part II” is a weaker sequel, but all other articles totally blow the content of the first issue out of the water. The piece de resistance of the issue would have to be the “Shitty Jobs” article, which details Mike’s experiences as a Jizzmopper, a position he was only paid $7/hour for. The interview with Carson Daly, written by Jay Pud, catches the humour that the original “When’s Lunch” had. The “response” to what was Lil Bow Wow Like which was “A little sloppy but he served his purpose” is destined to gain some popularity, even if just in zine-markers circles. Another reason why the second issue completely dominates the first one is that the explanation for why they named the zine thusly is finally explained. A very valid viewpoint is explained in “Ben Affleck is not a War Hero” which fights all of the fucks that would change history just for a quick buck, like on “Pearl Harbor” and “Titanic”. Get this magazine, as it is one of the best new ones out there. Contact them at GTS< 243 Sedgewick Ave, Stratford, CT 06615, or email numbtooth@cs.com (Mike) or WSTVandal@cd.com (Jay)

Rating 9.0/10


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Clip Tart #5

Clip Tart #5
48 Page; 8.5 x 11
Saddle Stapled
Published Yearly
Suggested Donation $3 - $5

More than just eye candy; this issue is packed with great art and interesting stuff; features eight pages of outstanding, full color collage art. Though it embodies the spitit of a manic collagophile, it is meticulously, professionally edited, and includes obsessive footnoting. Pulls from many sources; has psycho-spiritual, political and mystical underpinnings. "Clip Tart is an activist publication dedicated to exposing the unconscious foundations of reality through individual revelation..." Awaken the Psychic You. Frank Zappa, William S. Burroughs, dreams, comix, old record reviews, lots of contributors, and stuff; lots and lots of stuff.

Clip Tart
PO Box 66512
Austin TX 78766

Friday, March 14, 2008

Get Off My Lawn! #18


via NeuFutur Magazine by admin on 2/17/08

Get Off My Lawn! #18 36 pages/half-size. This is of the picture,text school of zine making, and as a result, maintains the clarity of text, since they don’t embed their text in a picture. This magazine is great, and after going to their site, I come to this review with a heavy heart. Yes, I would think I should report that this awesome magazine is coming to an end the issue after this one. Right off the bat, there is a true innovation in the inclusion of a choose your own adventure game, which is great, except for the shortness. GOML is another zine that doesn’t usually properly mark the articles with the writers, but again, it isn’t a major deal, as all of the pieces are top-notch. “Laugh At Metallica”, the most misnomed article I’ve ever read, is one of the most shocking pieces I’ve ever read, in which the well-connected, comfortable idea of zinemakers that I’ve grown used to in the last group of zines I’ve review is shattered. Real life is injected in the piece, moving out of the little biodome that surrounds much of the show-hopping, school-attending life of the archetypal zinester. I fit in with this group of zinesters, so the idea of a sixteen-year old moving out of her parents’ house shocked the hell out of me. In the most extreme 180 ever, a light piece, by the same person, talks about a family vacation that is mainly about her being shut out of places for only being 20. On the opposite end of the spectra from the extremely gritty piece mentioned earlier, is the quick-witted and quick-read piece about (and I assume this) Jesska’s issues with her mouth. Much like one of my earliest issues, a black page is included for ones enjoyment. The last forth of the zine moves from the style of perzine to a more conventional style, including an interview, reviews, and a very simple, but funny comic. Please go out and buy a copy of this zine before it goes the way of the buffalo. Their website is at http://www.angelfire.com/zine/getoffmylawn. , or you can send them $1 and 3 stamps at:
PMB 141,
7107 S. Yale,
Tulsa, OK 74136.

Rating 8.8/10


The Ghost of Silver Cliff : The Malay Mysteries 2


Sent to you by Jack via Google Reader:


via NeuFutur Magazine by admin on 2/16/08

The Ghost of Silver Cliff : The Malay Mysteries 2 / 96 Pages / $6.95 / Shoto Press, P.O. Box 331, Delhi, NY 13753 / 

This is probably the most professional bit of anything that I’ve ever had the pleasure to review, coming from an Obscurity Unlimited Chat session. The Ghost of Silver Cliff is pretty much an manga-style comic book, but perfect-bound and put into a smaller format. The style of the animation itself is slightly less sharp than I would expect from the hyper-realistic school of manga but much more defined than a large deal of Viz-published comics. The story is pretty solid, detailing a grandmother that is focused in the arts of Jamu and eir’s son. The obvious parallel that can be shown in this story is the polemics encountered: the son is obviously the modernizing influence, while the grandmother is the traditional beliefs. Each continues to fight for dominance, and while the journey goes through some of the less urban places, the grandmother seems to have much more in the way of power, calling on the traditional beliefs and fears of the villagers. While I don’t intend to give away the ending during the review, lets just say that there are very important uses of both a technological and a traditional source in this story, which is expertly woven by Jai Sen and Eric Bryden. The use of silver ink to illustrate some of the more important pieces of the story is a visionary aspect of the story, and really doesn’t do much to put the price of this volume close to the $25 volumes put out by major publishing houses.

Rating: 7.3/10


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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Midnight Fiction presents: Bug Infested Comics

via Small Press Newsroom by -AF on 2/12/08

Midnight Fiction presents: Bug Infested Comics #5. $2.00, all color! 8 page mini-comic (counting covers, which are comics actually.) Well I just read this and it seems to be a bug infested humor comic by the likes of Bob Vojtko and Richard Krause. (I lost the letter if there was one with this, sorry, I think.)
A great little mini-comic made that much funnier and betterer (not a real word) by the likes of color! Great job guys! Makes me wish you'd sent issues 1-5 instead of just this tasty tid-bit. Though some will feel that $2 is way too much for a mini-comic, I say thee nay! I know color costs real bucks and think of all the extra time it took to color these fine pages.....so I say it is worth every penny!
Get yours at: http://www.midnightfiction.com/ or send some cash or coin to: Richard Krauss #293, 6327C SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97239. (And I'm not giving this 4 stars just because one of these guys has been in one of my anthologies! No! Or because one of them reviewed one of my books once. No! Stricktly based on the humor, art, production, and coloring.)

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