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


Monday, December 24, 2012


digest, color cover, 36 pages, $5
I loved this book. It’s totally worth 5 of your dollars. It consists of a series of short (and mildly related) comic strips – the longest lasting 10 pages. God appears at the beginning of the book and engages in a debate with the artist over who the real creator of the book is. Later, God unburdens himself of all truth, which results in widespread death on earth. In the last strip, God returns to mock the ignorance of the artist and a bird that is on a quest to find enlightenment. There are some intriguing philosophical and existential discussions taking place in these pages, all in a simple manner with very clean, minimalistic, and appealing artwork. Get this, please.

Bowman 2016, Chapter 2

Bowman 2016, Chapter 2
digest, color cover, 36 pages, $5
The second chapter in a story about an earthling astronaut who is lost in space. He finds himself in a “mysterious and strange dimension” and soon discovers the “cruel and emotionless ways of his new alien environment.” For starters, he gets himself thrown in prison. Luckily, he had made an earlier discovery that aids him in his escape. After that, plenty of other wildness ensues. Frankly, I found this comic bizarre, but it is science fiction, so of course. However, I also found it hard to follow. The artwork is so busy and messy (and intentionally so), that figuring out what’s going on in each panel and each page is a bit challenging. But with patience and some effort, the story was more or less clear, and it was entertaining enough. There is a “not for kids” warning on the cover, and I would say that due to the violence and vulgarity contained in these pages, that that’s probably a warning worth heeding.

Yeah Dude Comics
503 Greenwich Street Philadelphia PA 19148
Hic & Hoc Publications
97 N. Mountain Ave.
Montclair NJ 07042

Cloudfather #3

Cloudfather #3
5.5" x 6.75", 40 pages, $?
I suppose I would call this an art zine. It’s filled with sketches and drawings, but there is really no narrative, so it’s not a comic. The drawings are mostly of strange creatures with multiple eyes. Some words occasionally accompany the drawings, and there are photographs on a few of the pages. I enjoyed flipping through this. I prefer something with more of a storyline and a little less weirdness and obscurity, but I would still recommend giving this a look, because who knows? It just might be your sort of thing.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Angry Violist#6

Zine Review: Angry Violist #6

Angry Violist#6

One of the consequences of our culture in the past twenty years is that music has become a specialist commodity rather than a fact of everyday expression. There has been a commercialization and professionalization that is permeating the culture – music as “competition” ala The X Factor or The Voice, or music as accompaniment to video or spectacle. Living rooms were once graced with pianos, organs, and other instruments. Now living rooms are inhabited by Wiis an ‘Rock Band” – music that is programmed for us.

But some people are still playing for the sheer love of music, having fun playing real instruments with friends, and saying ‘no’ to perfectionism. Angry Violinist is a zine for the rest of us. It features an adventurous array of writing by Emma. This installment discusses Joshua Bell’s experiment with busking. There is an examination of how our preconceived notions and fears keep us stuck and some great suggestions as to how to break free of being “good enough”. Dirty Three violinist Warren Ellis discusses his creative work. And Emma includes an FAQ about violas. Angry Violist is an essential read for anyone who loves or plays music.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Twenty-Four Hours #8

Twenty-Four Hours #8
5.5" x 4.25", one-sided postcard, 25 cents
A special issue of Twenty-Four Hours (normally a digest size zine, $1 per issue), this one-sided postcard offers a short interview with Anya Kamenetz, author of the book, DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education. It's a very interesting and informative discussion about the shortfalls of traditional education, and how education is changing with the emergence of things like open-source technology and community learning experiments. Learn more at: www.diyubook.com This is a short read, but worth checking out.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Digestate: A Food & Eating Themed Anthology

Digestate: A Food & Eating Themed Anthology
edited by J.T. Yost
288 pages, 8.375″ x 10.875″
b&w interior with full-color covers, $19.95
Food and eating is central to our lives, so when 55 comic artists are asked to make a comic about it, it's pretty much a guarantee that they'll have something to contribute. Digestate: A Food and Eating Themed Anthology, published by Birdcage Bottom Books, is the result of such a request, and the comics included are as diverse as the comic artists themselves. Many of the comics have to do with the eating habits of the artists including whether they are meat eaters or vegetarians and why. Some of them are quite serious, pointing out the harsh realities of meat production and factory farming or discussing the reasons why an artist chooses to eat the way they do. Also included are comics that are humorous, endearing, vulgar, or gruesome...or a combination thereof. Some of the comics are based in fact, while others are pure fiction. With so many artists contributing, not all of the contributions are going to be winners, although everyone will have their own likes and dislikes, and so certainly there is something here for everybody. I enjoyed reading the majority of the comics in this book, but the real standout for me was Marek Bennett's "Successful Slaughter!", in which Marek recounts an experience he had in Slovakia making something called "slaughter" with a local family and being served more vodka than he could handle in the process. Another highlight for me was reading the mini-bios of all the artists which included their feeding habits (carnivore, guilt-laden omnivore, pretzel enthusiast, eater of tacos, etc.) Overall, this is a very interesting and entertaining book, and one that I will certainly read through again due to the numerous comic gems that are included.

When I Think of Cambridge

Audio Review: When I Think of Cambridge

Monday, December 17, 2012

Alphabet Soup #1

Zine Review: Alphabet Soup #1

Alphabet Soup #1

Every so often the debut issue of a zine shows so much potential and promise that you can’t wait to have the next issue safely in your hands. Alphabet Soup Issue 1 blends art, poetry, and prose seamlessly into a quirky stew of high caliber writing. Dan Hansen’s piece The Red Ball starts the issue off by pondering objects we find in our lives and their unexpected symbolic and creative uses. An excerpt from “reach” left me wanting to read the whole interstitial story. Brian Burnett contributes stunning nature photography to this issue. There are also delicious recipes to whet one’s appetite for Italian Zucchini Boats and chili. Exquisite corpses are scattered throughout the zine with fine surrealist imagery, and if this wasn’t enough … there is also a soundtrack cd included with lo-fi music by Hot the Cat, Katy & Simon, The Peaches & much more – nine generously chosen tracks in all. Who says print is dead? Don’t sleep on this one – contact themanwiththearm@gmail.com for more information or send $5 (suggested donation) to Dan Hansen 2601 Quarry Road Missoula MT 59808.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tiki Magazine

Tiki Magazine
Vol. 8  No. 2  2012/2013
$28 / 4 issues
10531 4S Commons Dr #496
San Diego CA 92127

Here’s a glossy magazine created by a crew of folks who never met a martini they didn’t like. Or maybe that’s a Mai Tai. Tiki Magazine is all about escapism, probably into a faux-Polynesian culture that never was. It is chock full of ads for products and places that you never knew existed unless you are a Tikiphile (is that a word?). Having said that, Tiki Magazine is a fun read. There are music reviews of bands like The Martini Kings and The Tiki Kings. One article examines the mosaic arts of a duo of artists who call themselves “Velvet Glass” and who create stunning tropical themed visuals. Another article introduces readers to Surf Exotica, guitar-centric instrumental music that is heavy on reverb and twang. Kari Hendler recounts the history of Dan Blanding, a poet, author, and artist who adopted Hawaii as his joyful home in the early 20thcentury and illuminated the culture through his work. Tiki Magazine even has a “drive in” section devoted to reviewing B movies featuring island themes. Totems, taboos, and the scent of the exotic whisper from every colorful page. I don’t often sing the praises of glossy publications with ads, etc, but this one is too cool to miss.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Biblio Curiosa [Unusual Writers / Strange Books] #3

Biblio Curiosa [Unusual Writers / Strange Books] #3

Biblio Curiosa 3
52 pages, 8.5" x 6", $5.00, Chris Mikul, PO Box K546, Haymarket NSW 1240, AUSTRALIA + cathob [at] zip.com.au
The Ferocious Fern by C.B. Pulman [1943] was a book Chris discovered while holidaying on the Greek island of Rhodes. It had "...a very small print run, and as I write this there are no copies of it for sale on the internet. It is essentially a book which has disappeared." Swastika Night by Murray Constantine [1937] "...was not an alternative history, but a possible nightmare future." It is set in the year of Lord Hitler 720, over six centuries after Germany and Japan won the 'Twenty Years War'.
Next up a real treat for those of us who loved the Biblio Curiosa #2 piece about F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre - Jeff Goodman, New York publisher of '70s magazine Official UFO, got in touch with Chris and related the story of when he and 'Froggy' were best friends during the 1970s.
There's also a piece on Tod 'Freaks' Robbins.
One-word review: Required.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Opuntia 255

Opuntia 255 - October 2012

Opuntia 255 Oct 2012
16 pages, Dale Speirs, Box 6830, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2E7, CANADA. Available for $3 cash for a one-time sample copy, trade for your zine, or letter of comment. 
This issue features mailing comments on FAPA #300. The Fantasy Amateur Press Association's big birthday issue, dated August 2012, contains 35 zines with 433 pages between them. That's a chunky zine anthology!
Dale shares a tip on depression - "I follow Samuel Johnson's advice from two centuries ago and still valid today. Keep busy and don't let your mind dwell on negative thoughts."
There's a couple of monster movie reviews - The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms [1953], based on a Ray Bradbury story and with SFX by Ray Harryhausen; and The Deadly Mantis [1957] with a very funny observation by Dale: "Every expense was spared in making this movie, and about one-third of it is stock shots.".
The issue winds up with a letter column then two book reviews - Fantasia Mathematica [1958], an anthology edited by Clifton Fadiman of short stories relating to mathematics, mostly science fiction; and The Affinity Bridge by George Mann [2009], with airships, clockwork automatons, and zombies.
There's always something interesting to read in Opuntia, but this issue has a higher than usual strike rate. Good one.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

anxiety is a rambling dagger

anxiety is a rambling dagger

Months ago Ian Kahl sent me his book of poems anxiety is a rambling dagger and I have been reading it ever since.  I find the poems a pleasure to read though there is so much pain in them.  I like Ian Kahl's use of italics and the strange combinations of abstract and concrete language.

I am sometimes stunned by sudden flashes of great clarity in Ian Kahl's writing.  I'll be reading and really enjoying it, completely with the speaker, when suddenly everything comes together in a rich, super-real way.  Here's an example of two stanzas at the end of a poem that stand out to me.

     even years later
     after countless reinventions
     the shape and size of the nest has been altered
     but these wet sticks are still standing

     and make a home within me

It's the analysis of the nest that gets to me, and the mention of wet sticks.  It's perfect, a perfect ending.  Other times it will be a single line that astounds me, like this one.

     ultimately, I found nothing outside myself but levers

It's strange and intriguing.  I'm surprised by the way reality is imagined, and I'm delighted by the speaker's mind.  "Straightforward yet very confusing" I wrote in the margin on page 32 of anxiety is a rambling dagger, and by confusing I don't mean to criticize--the confusion is enjoyable.

Ian Kahl's poems make me think things I've never thought before.  And for this I love them.


Friday, December 7, 2012

The Reluctant Famulus #88 & 89

Zine Review: The Reluctant Famulus #88 & 89

The Reluctant Famulus #88
46 pages / full letter
305 Gill Branch Road
Owenton KY 40359

In the not too distant past, “Liberal Arts” was not a dirty word in education. Students navigated courses in literature, fine arts, civics, history and received degrees in subjects like English. Graduates were expected to be well-rounded, able to think critically, and use language in both precise and creative ways.

The Reluctant Famulus seems perfect reading for just such a demographic and includes a wide range of informative articles. Editor Thomas D. Sadler opens this issue with a brief retrospective on Ray Bradbury which morphs into a retrospective on the alleged UFO crash in Roswell 65 years ago. Gene Stewart narrates his road trip adventures. The earliest British commune (c. 1821) is the subject of an essay by Geoff Lardner-Burke titled “Attempts at Utopia: The Cooperative and Economical Society”. Alfred D. Byrd contributes a wonderful article lifting the veil on the mythology surrounding Daniel Boone. Matt Howard recounts a visit by Maurice Sendak to Indianapolisand discusses the progression of the author’s writing & art. The Reluctant Famulus has a generous letters section from many of the contributors and others.

The variety of writing presented in The Reluctant Famulus reminds me of why I love zines. Contributors share both their knowledge and passion for their chosen subjects. The essays are expansive, unencumbered, the antithesis of work-shopped / focus-grouped publications. There is a science fiction undercurrent but it does not dominate threads and themes explored. Thomas D. Sadler states on the frontispiece “TRF may be obtained for The Usual but especially in return for written material and artwork, postage costs, The Meaning of Life and Editorial Whim.” Indeed.

The Reluctant Famulus 89

Calling all polymaths - I’m happy to report that the quality of this zine continues in Issue 89. Editor Thomas D. Sadler delves further into the realities and fictions of the Roswell UFO incident of 1947. Geoff Lardner-Burke explores more attempts at Utopia from the 1820’s.Eric Barraclough writes about Canadian folk icon Stan Rogers. The letters section is in-depth as the main essays in The Reluctant Famulus. Where have I been for the first 87 issues?!?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

issue #7 of Nobody Cares About Your Stupid Zine Podcast!

issue #7 of Nobody Cares About Your Stupid Zine Podcast!

New issue of Nobody Cares About Your Stupid Zine Podcast! Issue #7 is about zine trades and was recorded in Sheffield in the UK with the Sinister Zinester tour! With Chella Quint, Marc Parker, Sarah Thomasin, Giz medium and me! There is also a new Copy Scams song at the end of the podcast. Download on itunes or listen here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Trabant #5

Zine Review: Trabant #5

Trabant #5
88 pages / ¼ size / $3

Meticulous, well choreographed document of Megan’s year spent in circus school. She details personal routines, exercises, grueling physical workouts, injuries, highs and lows. Finally toward the end of the zine, Megan discusses what a “career” in circus might look like. The question that kept rolling around in my brain while reading Trabant #5 is why anyone would put themselves through this level of intensity, physical exhaustion and pain unless they were obsessed. On one level there is almost too much information in this zine, and I wonder who it will appeal to beyond the circus / theater / dance community.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Self Care / Community Support compzine (call for submissions)

Activism and Social Justice can be as exhausting as they are rewarding. Trying to navigate the choppy waters of mental and physical health conditions, even without the added stressors of stigma, can be brutally overwhelming. Family, jobs, school, even work that we find personally rewarding can be hard to maintain on a long-term level.
Self-care means (often wildly) different things to different people - this zine will attempt to start a dialog within communities about how we can better support ourselves and each other during times of stress and trauma. This compilation is open to stopies, first person narratives, illustrations and photography, poetry, lists, recipies, etc.
Some possible topics might include:
- what is self-care? why is it important?
- self-care on the cheap: free or cheap ways to take good care of yourself
- the role of allies: how can you support friends who are having problems with socialization
- easy recipes for when everything seems impossible and/or exhausting
- experiences of POC/queer/trans/gender non-conforming folks within the scope of feminism, anarchism, activism
- the value of vegging: sometimes shutting off your brain is the most useful thing you can do
- how to ask for help when everything but silence is painful There aren’t any limits to what you can write about, of course, these are just a few ideas that I have been throwing around. I hope to make this into a zine and a PDF that are available for wide distribution, but contributors will be the first people to get copies from me (and will be encouraged to send this project as far into the wide world as possible).
Deadline is Janurary 30, 2013 with a (hopeful and admittedly ambitious) publication date of March 1, 2013. Please email submissions to: piratesarah@gmail.com (or email if you need to send them via snail mail)

Pride Library in London, ON seeks Queer Zines and Queer Graphica

Pride Library in London, ON seeks Queer Zines and Queer Graphica

Hey everybody! The Pride Library is currently building up its exciting new collection of Queer Graphica, a diverse group of zines, manga, comic books, graphic novels, erotic artbooks, comic strip anthologies, and critical studies. Are you a zinester? A budding comic book artist or illustrator? Get in touch to find out how we can promote your work here at the Pride Library and beyond!
And if you are a collector running out of space: we are seeking donations, and, in some cases, we will purchase outright LGBTQ-themed graphica to preserve, display, and make available for browsing.
Contact clandry7 [at] uwo.ca for details or contact the Pride Library via their website: http://www.uwo.ca/pridelib/
About the Pride Library: Our mandate is to acquire and provide public access to materials by and about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer community (LGBTQ). Located in the D.B. Weldon Library at the University of Western Ontario, London ON, Canada. The Pride Library welcomes all.

Deafula #4

Zine Review: Deafula #4

Deafula #4
40 pages / 1/4 legal / $4
PO Box 1665
Southampton PA 19866

In Deafula # 4, Kerri exposes the truth of what it is like to ask for / need a reasonable accommodation for employment. The ADAwas passed over 20 years ago but is a system of laws that essentially have no teeth. The official unemployment rate among people with disabilities hovers around 15% but in reality, if you count every issue that qualified as a “disability” that rate is over 70% as most people with disabilities – especially when one factors in people with developmental disabilities or mental health issues who have never been active in the workforce. Kerri deftly unmasks the horror of applying for work as a deaf person and the incredible barriers and attitudes that she experienced from prospective employers in job searches. She discusses accommodation issues in detail including the ambiguous language in the ADA. Deafula is on my must-read list: an exceptional zine that is very well written and visually appealing. Every issue is an education in itself.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Zine News Round-Up: 21.10.12

Zine News Round-Up: 21.10.12

photo by Bettie - thanks!

Hello, Bettie here. I'm doing the round-up this week because Cath is
super busy and I am super not! Take a look at the 'Write for us' page
if you want to help out too.

1. Zine Releases
2. Upcoming Events
3. Submission Calls
4. AOB (Any Other Business)

1. Zine Releases
- Vacant Minds #2 is a mainly art and doodles zines, and it's free (or
trade). Info at their Tumblr: http://vacant-minds.tumblr.com/
- Have we missed anything?  Let us know – spillthezinesukATgmail.com.

2. Upcoming Events
- Documentary Screening 'From the Back of the Room': 28th October at
Shacklewell Arms, London. A documentary about women in DIY punk. More
info at: http://www.facebook.com/events/402884689767379
- Leeds Zine Fair: Sunday 4th November at Wharf Chambers. LZF now has
its own website at: http://leedszinefair.footprinters.co.uk
- South East London Zine Fest: Sunday 11th November at the Amersham
Arms, New Cross. Have a look at their blog:
http://selondonzines.wordpress.com or their Facebook page:
- Queer Zine Fest London: 8th December at Space Station 65,
Kennington. Lots of awesome zinesters and distros have been confirmed,
but there are still spots available to table and other ways to get
involved. More info at: https://www.facebook.com/events/232251613569656/

3. Submission Calls
- Poor Lass Zine is a positive collective zine by working class
grrrls. The theme for the first issue is 'work' and it's gonna be
awesome! Have a look at their facebook page for more info and how to
contribute: http://www.facebook.com/PoorLassZine

4. AOB
- Zinester punx the Copy Scams are playing gigs and holding readings
at zine fests and other events around the UK on their Sinister
Zinester Tour! Check their Facebook page to see where they're heading:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

100,000 Hits

The Opera Glass

Zine Review: The Opera Glass 61

The Opera Glass
Iris I. Arnesen
219 Euclid Avenue
Tucson AZ 85719

Iris Arnesen lifts the veil on operatic topics in her beautifully printed journal The Opera Glass. Issue No. 61 delves into Donizatti’s  Lucia di Lammermoor, a story which takes place in the Lammermore Hills of Scotland in the late 1600’s. Wealth, family strife and tragic love infuse the opera’s storyline that Iris recounts in great detail. She also includes geographical information about the opera’s setting in East Lothian, and some fascinating background on the glass harmonica, an instrument that is used to great effect in the opera’s score. Rounding out this issue is a review of the dvd of Coriolanus which stars and is directed by Ralph Fiennes. The writing in The Opera Glass is both accessible and expository, a joy for opera veterans and novices alike. Send a few dollars (or as many as you can spare) to support this highly educational journal.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Saucer Smear Volume 59 No. 8

Saucer Smear Volume 59 No. 8

8 pages, 11" x 8.5", PO Box 1709, Key West FL 33041, USA + saucer_smear [at] yahoo.com
I drew red felt tip boxes around two items in this issue, the first one is from a book review, 'Stalking the Tricksters - Shapeshifters, Skinwalkers, Dark Adepts, and 2012' by Christopher O'Brien. In the review, Smear editor James Moseley suggests his own definition of a trickster, dismisses the Scientology cult (and its Great Leader, L. Ron Hubbard) then quotes this passage from O'Brien's book:

"If I had to select the most tricksterish and influential hoaxes of all time, I would have a hard time not selecting the Bible, the Koran, and the Torah. These three books - all spawned from one individual, the biblical figure Abraham - have done more to adversely destabilize the world than any other causal element....In today's world, what else can rival the conflict of belief between Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions?"

The second is a "Possible Paranormal Problem At Your Editor's Humble Key West Residence!" involving mysterious and unexplained door-knockings. [Something in this story was unintentionally amusing, yet nothing to do with the strange phenomena... the editor is in the habit of writing "We" when often meaning "I", so in this account it was funny to read, "Our bed is right next to the door of our ground floor studio apartment, so we can open it in a matter of seconds. There is never anyone there." So whose bed is it and how many people sleep in that bed? And we at Blackguard wonder how many people are living in this studio apartment?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ci Vediamo

Ci Vediamo

CiVediamo CiVediamo_guts
32 pages, 6.5" x 5.5", $6.00 by Hazel Newlevant >>> newlevant.com
This came with a very nice letter from Hazel asking me to review it. She kinda did my job for me since also in her note, it explains the title - "Ci Vediamo" is an Italian parting phrase meaning, "We'll see each other." And that the comic is a wordless story of love, loss, and moving on. It also won a Xeric Award! That's pretty cool. I'm really glad for Hazel. Unfortunately this isn't my kinda comic. I'm not a fan of wordless comics, and this one seems so slight. There's a girl, and a guy, they both look sad and thoughtful, then some autumnal trees, then dandelions... I should mention that throughout the comic are opaque pages also with drawings and when these are turned they do create some interesting effects. It's very cleverly done. It's a little gimmicky though. ... Ah, fuck it. This is probably really great, I'm just not sensitive enough to appreciate it. *Blub!*

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kapreles Artmailer #2

Kapreles Artmailer #2

4 pages, 11.5" x 8.5", the usual, Y. Albrechts, Postbus 100, 2000 Antwerpen 1, Groenplaats, BELGIUM + kapreles[at]gmail.com + k8pr3l35.blogspot.com
Here's Kapreles's latest 'newsletter', taking the place of his previous Robots Are People Too. Similar contents however - comics both original and appropriated, taking what appear to be '50s comic strips and inserting new dialogue, for example:
Woman: "Darling, what is the meaning of life?"
Man: "My manhood wriggling on your face like a fish on the dry. Your place or mine?"

I didn't find the dialogue funny, but moving the man's mouth up and replacing his nose with it was very funny! Good look.
There's also a couple of pages of zine, book, and low budget movies reviewed

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cloud Factory #5

Zine Review: Cloud Factory #5

Cloud Factory #5
half letter
Laura Walker
PO Box 8030
Bend OR 97708

Cloud Factory is a zine created by Laura Walker and Ryan Homsley. If you’ve read my previous reviews you know that Ryan is a writer and an artist and currently incarcerated in Oregon. Cloud Factory #5 could be subtitled “Revelations”. Ryan delves into details surrounding his drug use and bank robbery which landed him in jail. Laura talks about her unconventional wedding. They both lift the veil and discuss the collaboration behind the scenes of the creation of Cloud Factory. Plus there are Ryan’s intense essays, Ryan’s vivid artwork, and lots of conversation (on paper) between Ryan and Laura.

This is probably the first issue in which I felt some sadness – not only for Ryan’s situation but for the violence that he grew up around, which would scar and wound the best of us. I also felt some sadness around both Laura and Ryan’s dire attitudes expressed toward spirituality. But then I mentally rewind twenty years and held many of those same beliefs at that point in my life.

I can not recommend Cloud Factory as a zine highly enough. It is on my must read list.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Obsolete #6

Zine Review: Obsolete #6

Obsolete #6
PO Box 72
Victor IA 52347

Newspaper / 22 pages / $5

Four decades ago (pardon me if this is starting off like a history lesson) there were literally thousands of “underground” newspapers and zines being published in Amerika.
Time, energy, funding, the political environment, and the internet have all taken their toll on alternative papers and zines. In the digital age, sadly, Obsolete is an aptly named anomaly.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! Support paper! Obsolete is beautiful in its design and implementation. It is not slick, it is printed on newsprint, in black & white, accentuating substance over style. Childhood and its discontents seems to be the underlying theme of issue number six. Terry Lee Dill recounts growing up as a “Blue Baby”. Amy Bugbee ponders why it’s okay for children to be exposed to endless hours of violence on tv and in video games, yet its not okay in our culture to discuss healthy sexuality with them. There are also articles dealing with children growing up with disabilities. Other essays question the link between psychiatry and authoritarianism, and the pathologization of our culture.

Obsolete also gives us great art and photography, an old-timey serialized graphic story, and powerful poetry like “Why People Live in Desolate Places” by Greta Anderson. It’s 2012 and a joy to find that thought-provoking zines like Obsolete are alive and kicking.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cloudfather #3

Cloudfather #3

Cloudfather3 Cloudfather3 p22-23
40 pages, 6.5" x 5.5", by Kyle Alu >>> cloudfather.tumblr.com
Here's a comic art zine featuring monsters with more than two eyes. Some have three, some have four, one even has five. It's like a collection of sketchbook pages, but with a unifying obsession with these strange creatures. I really like the drawings, and some of these would make cool tattoos. Anyway, I really like it.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Eve Art Tarot

Zine Review: Eve Art Tarot

Eve Art Tarot

The tarot is an invitation to plumb the depths of our psyches and connect with higher wisdom and higher vision. Eve Art Tarot is a collaborative art project between thirteen artists featuring their interpretations of major arcana cards. This zine is quarter sized, bound with thread, printed in black and white. Each image is accompanied by a brief interpretation, and the artist’s contact information. The range of visual styles represented here is surprising & I would have appreciated seeing a full deck emerge from this project. 

I'm not sure if this zine is still available but the link above will bring you to Nicci's website which is a joy to explore.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

What It Was Like to Work In a Nursing Home

Zine Review: What It Was Like to Work In a Nursing Home

What It Was Like to Work In a Nursing Home
by Melissa
half letter / 44 pages

As someone who works in a health care environment very similar to those that Melissa writes about, I was initially discouraged by her attitude taken in this zine. She basically worked in nursing homes to make money. Granted, these nursing homes are in Australia, but in the United States of Amerika, no one except top administrators make a lot of money caring for the elderly. “The elderly” is a class that we will all join, if we are lucky.We should care for elders in the way that we would hope to be taken care of if and when we have serious health issues and can no longer care for ourselves.

Melissa’s zine takes the reader through the variety of places she worked as a per-diem Personal Care Attendant for a staffing agency. She talks about the drudgery of toileting, bathing, changing and feeding dementia patients and other nursing home patients. She paints a fairly realistic portrait of the sadness, depression, and sense of futility that overshadows many care facilities. She shares her insights into what qualities make for good co-workers, and what constitutes quality caregiving. At the end though, I was still disappointed and felt that something was missing from this zine. I had to remind myself – this is one person’s experience and perspective. Overall this zine is a well written but somewhat myopic introduction to what working in a nursing home is really like. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Facebook Sucks! #3

Facebook Sucks! #3 [Nov 2011]

Facebook Sucks 3
12 pages, 11" x 8.5", The Usual from Clark Dissmeyer, 917 E. 25th St. #5, Kearney NE 68847, USA
Thanks to correspondent Cameron T. for recommending I write to Clark and trade zines. He said I would dig Clark's stuff and he was right! Facebook Sucks! is spookily similar to my own cut 'n' paste zine Grunted Warning, which is a good thing if you love strange, morbid, unusual news clippings. News items in this issue include 'Woman accused of cutting out fetus' and 'Man pleads to offering yogurt tainted with semen'. The grim stuff is nicely balanced with humour (Clark loves comics, and makes his own - reviews forthcoming...) and longer 'human interest' clippings like 'Perks of good handwriting'.
Wonderful! Recommended.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Flora's Forum

Weekly Recommendations, Week 41: Flora's Forum

Many months ago on this blog I recommended an up and coming magazine called, Greenwoman. What you may not know is that there is a great little group blog affiliated with this magazine called, Flora's Forum. It's still in it's infancy and has yet to really blossom into what it could become, but there is still plenty of good content already there to be found. It's a blog for those interested in connecting to nature through gardening, in taking care of the planet, in living simply and doing-it-yourself, and in expressing these sentiments through all forms of art. Additionally, this blog is not just for reading but for participating, and so in order to facilitate this, writers, gardeners, and nature lovers the world over are invited to contribute. If, after browsing through the site, you decide that Flora's Forum might be a place for you to express yourself, by all means contact the editor. I intend to contribute eventually, but have been distracted by too many other things. I will join the community eventually. You can count on that.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pishing, Hoodling, Drones & Overtones

Zine Review: Pishing, Hoolding, Drones & Overtones

Pishing, Hoodling, Drones & Overtones

David Tighe
4804 Memorial Drive
NE Calgary Alberta
T2A 2R1 Canada

Via a trio of scholarly zines, David Tighe is amassing a vital body of work.  The third offering in his adventurous music series is “Pishing, Hoodling, Drones & Overtones” complete with a visual pun on the cover – birds arranged along a musical stave. For those who have not read the first two volumes, this issue opens with a summation of “The Story So Far”. Mr. Tighe segues into an update on eefing and hoodling, bizarre vocal techniques associated with country & novelty records. There is a discussion on the life & music of Jimmy Riddle, a master of the harmonica & the eefing vocal treatment, and a wealth of background into the eefing phenomenon & other divergent paths: throat singing, the Mills Brothers, b-movie auteur  Hershell Gordon Lewis (!) and more.  Eventually we’re introduced to the obscure practice of pishing which “is an onomatopoeic term applied to a variety of orally produced noises that, in general, mimic the scolding calls of birds.” Mr. Tighe also traverses into animal sounds & their use in / influence upon sing, nature recordings, yodeling, hurdy gurdy tunes, and onward into an article about flexi discs (one of my favorite record formats) and twins who invented their own language only to be anthologized by “experts” and caregivers.

The substance of Pishing, Hoodling, Drones & Overtones underscores the zeal that is often missing in modern publications. This zine is a labor of love, and it shows. It is also a resource with numerous citations and references. Mr. Tighe has also created a soundtrack – two cds worth – to accompany his zines: 67 tracks of audio intrigue. Every time I read through this zine or listen to the cds, I pick up on a different thread. Musical discovery has rarely been this much fun.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Echo! Echo! #9


Echo! Echo! #9
mini-zine, 48 pages + cardstock cover, $?
A consistently good zine that consistently gets better. This time Keet's prose gets even more personal and vivid. Most of this issue documents a visit to Keet's place of origin: Manila, Philippines. Keet had been away for 5 years, and the anxiety of going back home is palpable in her writing, which is very descriptive as she describes the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and (of course) the emotions of being back home. So much of this zine is quotable: "These are the colours I remember the most: band-aid pink, polished brown, silver. The shape of the doors, the narrow dip in the driveway, the plants on the veranda. The neighbourhood kids peered into the car and I refused to look them in the eye. I stared and stared until my eyes blurred. I told L to drive off before I could remember everything."
If the writing isn't enough to draw you in, Keet's illustrations certainly will. See examples of her work here. I may be biased, having been a fan of Echo! Echo! (and Keet in general) for years now, but I feel certain that you would be remiss if you didn't check this out.
Keet Geniza

Great new zines in distro!

Great new zines in distro!

New Zines in Distro!
Fat-tastic! #2
A great little compilation about body image, with stories about Yoga for Everyone, Fat & Healthy, Scars, Ballance, and a sweet and powerful letter to Beth Ditto, who is a great role model for fat acceptance.
Stunned Lungs #2
another beautiful haunting poetry zine from Tara, with poems about love and bruises, annihilation and jellyfish, the last desperate thing we did. With a beautiful block print cover, each one hand printed and sewn.

Rad Dad #22 Riot Parent
This issue is "focused on ways radical feminism of the 90's and the Riot Grrrl movement have left their mark on many of us, with essays that explore a wide range of topics from punk to boycotting to the conflits that Riot Grrrl (or punk in general) might provoke inside ourselves." Interviews with people from Positive Force, Bratmobilie, and Spitboy, plus a sweet Riot Parent Manifesto.

no better than apples 8
I'm so happy to finally get another issue of this zine! Beautifully done, with lots of different stories and thoughts. Sad family stories, about her mothers illness, their relationship, her grandma passing away, her own illness; I'm not sure how she gets the courage to tell these stories. And then the ways of survival and love, ways of learning to feel safe, drinking maple sap like water, teaching at Girls Rock Camp, cutting hair, writing. 

Ship of Fools #6
comic zine with beatuiful drawings of aimlessness in Greensboro. moving back to Baltimore. friendship

Everybody Moon Jump #11
Sweet rambly little diary type zine about being gay, operation AHAP (As Hot As Possible), why do you have to bang people to prove you're gay, fears, tedious nights, things to do to feel better 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Both By Chance & Circumstance

Both By Chance & Circumstance

BBCAC 091012
20 pages, 6" x 4" by ?, the usual from GPO Box 4201, Melbourne VIC 3001, AUSTRALIA
Hard to get past that awful title. Both by chance and circumstance? Ugh.
But it's the guts of this perzine that make it interesting. The anonymous ziner writes about her troubles getting a job since she has something called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which sounds like fun but is not. If CFS wasn't enough, she also has dyscalculia, a mathematical form of dyslexia. Plus she doesn't have a car, and she admits to having a bad attitude. It's all very entertaining in a grim and awkward sort of way, like my favourite show, Embarrassing Bodies.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Zine News Round-Up: 07.10.12

Zine News Round-Up: 07.10.12

photo by Melanie Maddison - thanks!

We're back!  Sorry for the long silence, life stuff sort of took over for a while.  As an aside, if anyone ever wants to give us a hand with writing for Spill the Zines, do get in touch!  Check out the 'Write for Us' page for more info. 

1. Zine Releases
2. Upcoming Events
3. Submission Calls
4. Distro News
5. AOB (Any Other Business)


1. Zine Releases- ‘Dirty Blyter!’ is a zine all about the sexual innuendo/subtext in Enid Blyton’s novels.  Buy a copy at folksy.
- ‘Lights Go Out’ #18: The 24 Hour Zine Thing Issue, is out now!  Buy your copy at http://www.lightsgoout.co.uk/?wpsc-product=lights-go-out-issue-18.
- Have we missed anything?  Let us know – spillthezinesukATgmail.com.
2. Upcoming Events- REVOLT – DIY Riot Grrrl Ruckus: Saturday 13 October @ Taylor John’s House, Coventry. An evening of riot grrrl, spoken word, and burlesque (and I’m doing a zine reading!).  More details can be found at http://revoltpunk.wordpress.com/.
- Birmingham Zine Festival: 12 – 15 October.  Want to get involved?  More info can be found at http://www.birminghamzinefestival.com/.
- Documentary Screening- ‘From The Back of the Room’: 28 October @ Power Lunches, London.  A documentary on women in DIY punk cultures. More info here.
- Leeds Zine Fair: Sunday 04 November at Wharf Chambers.  If you'd like to get involved in organising the zine fair, or hold a stall at the zine fair then get in touch at footprintATfootprinters.co.uk
- London Queer Zine Fest: Saturday 08 December @ Space Station 65, Kennington.  The organisers are still looking for people to table, and to help out generally – if you want to get involved, there’s lots of info at https://www.facebook.com/events/232251613569656/

3. Submission Calls- To commemorate the film screening ‘From The Back of the Room’ mentioned above, the organiser Charlotte is putting together a zine on women and punk.  Written submissions must be 200 words max, visual submissions must be black and white.  Deadline: 21 October.  Questions and submissions can be sent to charlotte.richardson.andrewsATgmail.com.

4. Distro News
- Marching Stars Distro is still on hiatus, but will be back soon with a new website! Keep your eye on twitter and tumblr for more info about when the distro will reopen.
 - Vampire Sushi has a new website design and new stock!  Take a look at http://shop.vampiresushi.co.uk/.
- Lots of lovely new stuff over at Pushpin Publishing - http://www.pushpinzines.co.uk/collections/new

5. AOB
- Are you on tumblr?  If you want to spread the zine-love with lots of new followers, share your tumblr over at the WMZ forum: http://wemakezines.ning.com/forum/topics/zinesters-on-tumblr

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Paper Radio

Weekly Recommendations, Week 40: Paper Radio

Paper Radio (formerly Signals) is a zine for the radio obsessed, especially for those who pine for radio as it used to be (which is before my time, but I can appreciate the sentiment). Pirate radio, shortwave radio, AM/FM, ham radio, even internet radio, if it has anything at all to do with radio and radio culture, it gets discussed in this zine. Issue #7 includes an interview with pirate radio broadcaster, John Poet, and discusses the controversy behind his recent FCC bust. It also includes thoughts on the vinyl revolution, an interview with DJ Little Danny, Lee Widener's account of an interesting LSD experience, and much more. In issue #8, there is a discussion of telegrams, an interview with Kevin Carey about longwave signals, reviews of select Yoga Records releases, short fiction by William Jackson, and of course much more. DJ Frederick is passionate about the art and science of radio, which is made very clear in the pages of his zine. If you have any interest in radio at all, this zine is definitely worth checking out. It excels at shedding some much needed light on this under-appreciated and declining medium.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Boxwooder #516

Zine Review: The Boxwooder #516

The Great ReginaBlizzard
by Phil Ambrosi
The Boxwooder #516

I enjoy learning about history from people who’ve lived through it. Phil Ambrosi relates this experiences as a child in 1947 when a strong, days-long winter storm closed the city of ReginaSaskatchewan, in the days before highways, cutting the city off from food and medical supplies because the trains could not run. This is an intriguing firsthand narrative about real wind chill and zero visibility, about stringing ropes from barns to houses in order to make it back and forth safely in the wind driven whiteout.

The Boxwooder is published by Jake Warner and is available to members of the National Amateur Press Association. This is an extremely long-running journal, always beautifully printed with fascinating subject matter. You can write to Jake & send him a few bucks for back issues at The Boxwood Press 116 Rosewood Drive Greenbelt MD 20770.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

No More Coffee #4 / Brainscan #29

No More Coffee #4 / Brainscan #29
digest, 44 pages, $3/trades
While I’m not typically a big fan of fiction zines, I found this one to be a good one. Ben of No More Coffee, a strictly fiction zine apparently, initiated this project with Alex Wrekk of Brainscan, challenging her to write a fiction issue of her zine and put it out as a split issue with his zine. Anyone who has ever read an issue of Brainscan (and who in the zine community hasn’t, really?) knows that Brainscan is a deeply personal, non-fiction zine, so producing a fiction issue was indeed a challenge. However, Alex performs famously, writing so much in her personal voice that even though the stories are fiction, they are completely believable and relatable. Alex’s half of this zine alone is reason enough to pick this up. But don’t think for a second that Ben does not also excel. His stories are just as intimate and engrossing. I found myself engaged and interested, despite the fact that it was fiction and that I have a general (and frankly unwarranted) aversion to the genre. The first story – Photographs of the Dead – is especially worth reading. In short, get your hands on a copy of this zine – it’s a rare chance to read Alex’s fiction, but it’s also a great fiction zine overall.

Ben Spies, 2464 W. Berteau Ave., Chicago IL 60618 USA
Alex Wrekk, 5307 N. Minneapolis Ave., Portland OR 97217 USA

All This Is Mine #16

Zine Review: All This Is Mine #16

All This Is Mine #16

Sugene packs her quarter sized zine with a diversity of content. She relates major events from 2010 – the birth of her son, turning 33, and the death of her father. While any one of these events might impact one’s life, all three in a row must have been overwhelming, especially when everything unfolds in ways we don’t expect. Sugene also discusses her move to Portland and ambivalent (at best) feelings about it. She also shares her love for canning and her experience with the mysterious Jejune Institute. As a surprise bonus, there are two mini zines bundled into this issue: Destroy After Finishing, a real life adventure from Portland, and All This Is Mail a collage of stamps, envelopes & ephemera.

Sugene’s writing is straightforward and friendly. She shares feelings that speak to the human condition. Who can’t relate to joy, depression, relationships, and strawberry jam?

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