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


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Entropy no. 4: Good Neighbours

By Aaron Costain

This short comic is an adaptation of one of Aesop’s fables and after reading it I realized that I know nothing about Aesop whatsoever. Well, that’s not true, I’ll list the things I do know.

1. Liked telling stories about animals.
2. Is dead.
3. From ancient Greece (?).
4. Male (?).

So I looked this person up on Wikipedia and discovered that “his existence remains uncertain”. Aha! That explains why I don’t know anything about him. Hell, people apparently can’t even decide what continent he was from (he’s been depicted as a black Ethiopian). The page also discusses how many of the fables attributed to Aesop were from other sources, and if Aesop did exist he certainly didn’t create all the stories credited to him. So in truth there are only two things we know about Aesop.

1. May have existed.
2. May have created stories.

But, we know that this specific comic does exist! It tells the story of the eagle, the cat, and the sow (pig). It’s a kind of weird story, and I can’t figure out a moral for the story other than “cats are lying jackasses, only out for themselves, and not to be trusted” or maybe “lie to other people, and play them against each other to provide for yourself and your family”. Either way, I don’t think I’m learning the correct moral from this story.

The comic is pretty cute though, tells the story pretty well, and overall is successful. Plus: drawings of cats doing cat stuff! Everyone loves that.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Meet Me In the Middle

By Gordon B. Isnor & Christopher C. Yorke

While reading this small zine of poetry two thoughts entered my head.

First: Poetry is weird, and usually it doesn’t really appeal to me very much (at least in written form, I have more time for it as spoken word).

Second: The repetition and word choice throughout these poems made me think that a computer wrote them.

To my surprise, I discovered on the last page of this zine that a computer did write these poems!

You can check out the website here It’s a pretty simple thing that takes in words and phrases and spits them out again in a random order. I think if someone spent time inputting a lot of different phrases they could probably create some neat stuff, but I didn’t do that.

Instead I quickly plugged in most of the words of this review in small chunks, and managed to make some poems of my own, which I think are better (or at least less obscene) than the ones in this zine.

on the last page
that a computer did
I discovered
entered my head
The repetition

To my surprise
and word choice
and usually
of poetry
I discovered

time for it as spoken word
throughout these poems
in the middle
and usually

And finally, the especially poignant:

write these poems
While reading this
it doesn’t really appeal


(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monster Mash

By Dan Dunlap

It doesn’t really matter how much I write about politics or cooking on this blog, all it takes is one small comic and I realize that what I really love are monsters. Because they are awesome. Monsters for everyone!

This (far too) short comic is pretty simple. It just features pictures of monsters fighting each other. But all your favourite monsters are included! I would love to read a longer comic version of this, as long it was done in the same style and humour. I do not need to know the gritty origin of the ninja Frankensteins or the werewolf mummies.

I was recently talking to a zinester friend about zines we liked, and I wondered why I love monsters so much. I really have no answer for this, I cannot quantify my love. They are just fantastic! Which isn’t an argument that will convince someone that doesn’t already enjoy monsters, but if you do like monsters you should check out this comic. It made me really happy.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Feeding the Masses: A Guide to Mass Vegan Catering

By The Anarchist Teapot Mobile Kitchen

The Anarchist Mobile Teapot are a pretty rad group of people that cook loads of food at protests throughout the UK. If you've ever read Morgenmuffel you're probably at least somewhat familiar with them as Isy is a member.

This zine is a guide on how to start a group that cooks food for lots of people. Not like twenty or thirty lots, but hundreds and hundreds lots. At the protests the Teapot attended they'd feed several hundred people multiple times a day, often while cooking in a field!

The zine breaks down large scale cooking into several sections, covering laws concerning cooking for others in the UK, transport, equipment needed, bulk food ordering, hygiene, and other things. While some of this may seem obvious at first, most of the information given is useful, in-depth, and probably not available in other cooking books.

The style the whole thing is written in is quite casual, and filled with UK slang which can be amusing/confusing at times ("leccy" means electricity). The information is generally well presented and easy to understand, though occasionally there are bits that are like "we didn't do this, but maybe it will work!", which are less useful.

Throughout the zine are anecdotes, stories, and examples about large scale cooking that the Teapot have done. Also included is a several page long account of a protest they cooked at in Scotland. It seemed pretty intense, but these stories are useful in that they show that yes, it is possible to cook for this many people, but you will have to plan for it.

There's also a large section on recipes, which admittedly I didn't look too hard at, as I don't think I'll be planning meals for several hundred any time soon. But if you are, then this is an incredibly useful guide, and you should probably get it.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Samizdat Enthusiast

Did I mention that last year I was linked from a Russian blog that called me a Samizdat Enthusiast (энтузиаста самиздательства)?

As this combines my love of both zines and Russian stuff, it is clearly the high point of my blogging career.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ai Ferri Corti - At Daggers Drawn

Political zines are an interesting beast.

There are a lot of them, just go to your local anarchist bookfair and you’ll see loads, but if you go to a zine fair there are considerably fewer (maybe none at all!). I’m not saying that zinesters that go to zine fairs don’t have politics, or that their zines do not involve and discuss politics, just that, in my experience, there are considerably fewer overtly political zines at these events.

Why is this? Do the people producing and distributing these zines think that they will not find an audience at these events? Perhaps; There is frequently a dismissive opinion used in regards to people with radical politics. But I would think that going to these events and talking about your politics with different types of people would be more beneficial to your movement than going to political events and preaching to the converted.

But I digress.

I think one of the reasons political zines are less commonly seen at zine events is that they are hard reads. You might pick up a zine just because it has a cool cover, but you’re unlikely to delve into page after page of small type written in a fairly dry (if well translated) style.

If you’re reading this zine you probably already have many sympathies with the creators. This is not to paint all political zines with the same brush (I mean, people have to learn about politics somewhere), but that this particular zine is written in an academic manner and uses many terms and references that would be lost on someone unfamiliar with the ideas of anarchism. Or rather, if you’re able to understand a zine like this you probably agree with most of what it says (or are busy writing a term paper on the fallacies of anarchic political thought).

This isn’t to say that there aren’t any good ideas in here (I especially liked “The most useful thing one can do with arms is to rend them useless as quickly as possible.”), and some of what was discussed made me think (how can you convince someone of alternatives to capitalism when they have no reference point for a world without money), just that it seems to use a utopian style of overthrowing the current society and doesn’t really have any real, concrete ideas (which admittedly is noted in the translator’s introduction).

Of course, if this had a perfect guide to convincing the general population of your ideals and overthrowing the current social structure then, well, it'd have already happened and we'd be living in a radically different world.

If you’re heavily involved and interested in reading about different forms and theories of anarchism, I’d say this is worth reading. But if you’re new to the idea in general I’d advise you find something more introductory to read first.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Olyollyoxenfree! A DIY Game Zine #1 and #2

Edited by Cheyenne Neckmonster and someone else

The zine world is small. A few months back I met a guy at Food Not Bombs. It turned out he'd lived on the West coast for a while and during this time (I think) he found a copy of Sugar and Snails/Slugs and Spice, an FNB cookbook I'd made while I lived in Vancouver. He'd liked some of the recipes so much he'd copied them down. Awesome!

(We'll get to the actual zine review soon, but first...)

A few years ago I picked up a zine called Best Zine Ever while at the Sticky Institute in Australia. I read all the reviews (of course!) and ended up ordering two different zines.

One of them was Sugar Needle, one of the creators of which ended up sitting at the table next to mine when I went to the Portland Zine Symposium in 2009.

The other was this one, and while I didn't stay in touch with either of its creators initially I later met, and became friends with, Cheyenne when she came to Halifax to do a residency at the Roberts Street Social Centre. Of course we didn't even realize this until she sent me copies in the mail after she left, and she realized that I was that boy from Canada who'd ordered a copy.

These two zines are filled with the rules to various games. Very few of them require any actual pieces of equipment, which is rad! However, at the same time most of them aren't really things that I'm that into. I guess I'd rather sit around a table and role dice instead of running around and hugging people. I'm not saying I'll never play any of these games, but apart from the Mafia/Werewolf/Batman one (invented in the Soviet Union!) I doubt I'd ever try to initiate any of them.

I do think they're neat and worth checking out, because even if you don't like any of the games included, maybe they'll inspire you to create your own.

I also seem to recall some sort of moose antler in the subway game, which doesn't seem to be included in either of these. Maybe it's from another issue?

(If you're in Halifax, check out my gaming group!)

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Breveteur: Cycling in and Around Halifax, Nova Scotia (Second Edition)

By Sarah Evans

This is a zine about possible bicycle trips you can take in the Halifax area. There are directions (that make no sense to me, as I haven’t lived here that long), blurry photocopied photos, hard to read hand writing and….

Wait, all of that makes it seem as though this zine is terrible! But it’s actually pretty neat. There are awesome fold out maps showing the routes you can take, brief snippets about historical sites of interest, anecdotes and stories about bicycle trips along these routes, and recommendations on various restaurants to go to.

Admittedly it doesn’t cover the sort of bicycle trips I’d be interested in, as most of these are all about just going for a ride in all that lovely nature (bleh) and most of the goals for people to cycle to are things like beaches (double bleh) and places to go swimming (blurgh).

As much as I love cycling, I love using it as a mode of transportation. I want to go from point A to point B, and whether Point B is five minutes away or hundreds of kilometres doesn’t really matter to me, but the idea of cycling a 100 km loop just to look at trees or whatever is entirely unappealing to me. (I’m not that big on “going for walks” either, although I enjoy walking and walk pretty much every I go.) I’d much rather have a guide to urban bicycle trips that could be planned. I know Halifax isn’t that big, but there must be some neat hidden things in the city that I haven’t seen!

So yeah, if you live in (or are planning to visit) Halifax, and want to go on some bicycle rides through the surrounding area you should check this out. I think I'm missing the second edition addition though. I'm not sure what's in that, or if it's just updates so owners of the first edition don't have to buy the whole thing again.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

When You Can't Stand Yourself Walk Outside: Ten Foot Rule Journal Comix Spring 2007

By Shawn Granton
PO Box 14185
Portland, Oregon

I’m pretty sure I’ve read this issue of Ten Foot Rule before, but if I did I didn’t review it for this site (or at least I can’t find it). So here we go!

Granton’s diary comics are about cycling, travelling, travelling to cycle, writing about cycling, and going to lots of zine and small press events. He seems to do a lot of things, and makes me feel kind of lame for spending too much time playing Mario Kart (that is part of why I haven’t been writing reviews of late…).

I really miss cycling. I haven’t owned a bicycle since I left Vancouver a few years ago, and the last time I remember spending any significant time (ie. more than an hour) on a bicycle was getting lost while trying to find an art gallery outside Copenhagen in 2010. Reading Granton’s comics make me miss cycling even more. Okay, so maybe I don’t want to be cycling at exactly this minute (it’s cold! And it is raining or snowing frequently), but the general idea of cycling appeals to me. Hopefully in the spring time.

I like how enthusiastic Granton is about cycling, and how he makes it a major part of his life. I also liked the comics about tabling at comic and zine events. That’s something I generally don’t like doing, but it’s interesting to read another person’s thoughts on the process.

One neat thing Granton does while traveling is write postcards to himself. These are included here and are nice little snapshots of what he was doing on the day he sent them. Plus it’s interesting to see what postcards he chooses to send. (Gosh, can you tell I’m a mail nerd?)

Daily diary comics are interesting in that you are able to see what is going on with someone’s life over a long period of time. However, there are lots of limitations with the format. The short nature (most that I’ve read are only three panels) mean that they give a skewed view of what’s going on in the person’s life. They can focus on the macro (“I went to work.”) or the micro (“I ate an orange.”) and it’s only by reading lots of them that you start getting into the head of the person creating them. When a major life event can take up the same amount of space as a day when you stayed in bed and played video games you start to see the limitations of the form. Yet, I still enjoy reading them and getting a peek into other people’s lives, no matter how limited it may be.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Salford Zine Library


I was recently contacted by someone from the Salford Zine Library in the UK. They're looking for zine donations, and I figured I'd post their appeal here.

We are looking for new contributions all the time and If you would like your self-published work be to be part of the project then please post your contributions to:

Salford Zine Library
48 Landos Court
Gunson St
M40 7WT

Of you can check out their blog. It looks like they've made a film about zinesters!

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mostly Paintings

By Sarah Scope

This tiny zine is filled with full colour photos of various pieces of art that Sarah has (presumably) created. The paintings are generally graffiti inspired and a bit hippie-ish, with swirling designs.

The standout pieces are the ones created on bits of food. Genius! Crackers that are art and not just what you eat at the opening. I wish I went to more gallery openings, free wine is awesome.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How I Fell in Breakdancing

By Aimee

This super tiny zine is the smallest I've ever reviewed on this site! It's a short comic about how Aimee started breakdancing and fell in love with it.

The art's pretty basic (at least partially due to the very small size she had to deal with), but the story is told in an amusing manner so it doesn't matter that much.

It's cute (though really too short for an actual review), and I hope it encouraged someone to start breakdancing (or doing something fun at any rate).

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Suspended Like a Star

I was attracted to this zine by the plastic cover, and the way the words were printed on it.

Inside I found a poem. Or a series of poems. About a boy. And the author's relationship with him. And how it seemed to have been terrible, but at the time they might not have known this. And how they wanted to get out, but that was harder than they thought.

The text is typewritten, and placed on top of black and white images and photographs.

Apparently some combination of all these things meant that the poetry actually registered in my mind (perhaps it was those references to the postal service), and that I enjoyed this zine. Hurray!

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Monday, February 13, 2012

The G20 Saga or How I Learned to Love the Club


The G20 protests in Toronto in 2010 were pretty horrible. The police abused their power (surprise, surprise) to assault, arrest, inconvenience, and infringe upon the rights of protesters and random people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It led to the largest mass arrests in Canadian history.

This zine doesn't really go into much detail about the events, the protests, the terrible conditions detainees were kept in, or anything else. It assumes you know what the G20 is, what the protests were about, and a number of other things.

But I found it worth reading because it gave me an idea that I'd never thought of before. It claims that the police abandoned police cars at strategic places because they knew they'd get vandalized/burnt. This had a three-fold effect. It concentrated the protesters efforts on something that didn't do anything, it captured the media's attention (and influenced how they reported the events), and then when the media did cover these things in a negative way it turns the viewer away from the causes the protesters supported.

Yeah, it's a conspiracy theory, but it sounds entirely plausible to me.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Peach Melba #22, #23, #24

By Pearl
PO Box 74

It's been so long since I reviewed Peach Melba (a rad list zine made by a 14 year old), that not only do I have three issues here, but apparently there are more issues waiting for me in the mailbox of my previous residence (I'm trying to get them!).

Each issue of this zine is folded in a crazy and neat way using only one piece of paper. It's hard to explain, but if you ever see it you'll also think it's neat. Within the carefully folded pages you'll find lots of typewritten lists about whatever Pearl is thinking about in a given month.

Some of my favourite lists in here are "rooms in a house" from issue 22 ("secret passageway" is the first listed room, awesome!), "Things that I've been hating recently" from issue 23 ("capitalism"!!!), and "Animals that I'd never even heard of until I wrote them in this list" from issue 24 ("zorilla").

I also love that Pearl is so political at a young age, being involved with critical mass bicycle rides (the dates of which are listed here), the UK Green Party (while acknowledging that "they are the lesser of many evils"), and generally hating the royal family!

Reading an issue of Peach Melba always leaves me smiling, and I hopefully they'll make you smile too.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012


By Elliot Baggott

So this is by far the most delayed review ever. I've had the images uploaded for months. Sigh.

This comic opens with two awesome pages that combine words written by Charlotte Bronte about the Crystal Palace, with drawings of Westfield shopping centre in London. It's a pretty neat juxtaposition of ideas, and I like how it compares things that were incredibly amazing with things that we now consider just common place. One hundred years ago people couldn't imagine wearing clothes made in another continent.

After this, we move into the main story, which is a short piece about the daydreams of a guy who works in a teeth whitening place in a mall. The whole piece has expository narration boxes that mirror the style that Bronte uses at the beginning of the piece. These help to make the idea of teeth whitening seem amazing and terrifying at the same time.

In addition to traditional panel based art work, we're also exposed to diagrams, anecdotes presented as asides, maps, and some pretty rad lettering. The story itself isn't that amazing or anything (dude works in a job he doesn't like, thinks about what he'd rather do), but the way it's put together is pretty fun and uses some innovative techniques.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Conversational History: Roberts Street Social Centre

By Caleb, Nicole, Jyelle, and a whole bunch of other people

The major reason as to why this site hasn't been that updated over the summer is that I moved to Halifax and developed a social life. I've also spent a lot of time volunteering at the Roberts Street Social Centre and the Anchor Archive Zine Library contained within it.

This isn't to say I haven't been writing things. I continued writing my column for The Beat until this month, I've made a couple of zines (mostly at a 24 hour zine challenge, more info soon!), and have also spent a lot of time updating the website, facebook page, and email announcements list for Roberts Street.

So it is with a fair amount of bias that I approach this zine.

The Roberts Street Social Centre is a space in a former house that houses a zine library, the People's Photocopier, a screen printing co-operative, a meeting space, and more! It's been around for about six years, and this zine (which was about a year in the making it seems) is mostly a transcript of a dinner conversation (from 2009?) between eleven (I think) people involved in the space, and their memories of how the space began, and how it's grown and evolved since then.

There's also an interview with the people that set up the website and online zine catalogue (really interesting to me, but possibly boring to everyone else), an interview with the owner of the house who we rent from (more interesting than it might seem), and flyers and posters advertising events from the beginning of the space.

As someone (heavily?) involved in the space, I find this all really interesting, but I'm not sure how interesting it would be to someone who has never visited. There are some problems (all of the pieces just seem to stop, with no real ending or conclusion), and there's some information that I would have liked to have seen included (why start a zine library at all?), but overall I think it's a really awesome zine, and the style of it (while a nightmare to transcribe I'm sure), is one that allows a lot of different people to tell their memories and opinions in an organic way.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oblast #13 - Ten More Videos I Watched On YouTube

This is the other zine I made at the Roberts Street Social Centre. Collect them all!

Unlike the last YouTube zine I made, this time I bothered to make a playlist, so you can watch along!

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


By Stathis Tsemberlidis

Reviewing this silent, dream-like comic is pretty hard. There are no words or dialogue anywhere inside, and the plot is one where events flow into each other with no explanation of what's going on or why anything's happening. My friend thought they might be stuck in Hell. I wondered if the comic was all about how circular life is and how nothing truly changes. One side wins and they become who they were fighting against. Maybe that is Hell.

The comic opens up with a groups of protesters facing off against police officers in riot gear. Part of me really thinks that this is inspired by the riots that happen in Greece fairly frequently. Tsemberlidis is (I'm pretty sure) from Greece, and he is presumably more aware of the events going on there than most people.

After that the comic becomes more metaphysical and mystical, and there are panels that wouldn't feel that out of place in some of Alan Moore's weirder comics. (Actually there are a couple of panels that wouldn't look out of place in a more popular Alan Moore comic either.)

However the story (however strange it may be, and ignoring the three paragraphs I've written about it) is not the reason to check out this story. The real reason is Tsemberlidis' amazing, though hard to describe, artwork. Each image is filled with incredibly amounts of detail and texture, and while there aren't that many backgrounds I feel that this is done on purpose, and adds to the mystery of the story. What backgrounds are there also look amazing, so it's not like he's avoiding drawing something he's not good at.

Mostly though, we're left with unanswered questions: Where did that crocodile come from? Is it actually an alligator? (I can't tell the difference.) Is that a vagina? Is Tsemberlidis ever going to draw a zombie comic? Cause I bet he would draw amazing zombies (I don't even really care about zombies!).

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Oblast #11 - Places I have Slept January 1st - August 28th, 2011

By Matthew Murray

Last month the Roberts Street Social Centre held their 6th annual 24 Hour Zine Challenge. I participated, and this is one of the two zines I made during that time. (I've actually worked on it a bit since then, and changed the cover slightly, but this is the version that physically exists at the moment).

It features manipulated photos, and stories and information about the the 25 places where I slept between January 1st and August 28th this year. Check it out!

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

DIY Zine Libraries

By Cheyenne Neckmonster
cheyenne's tumblr

I really love zine libraries, which if you know me you would already be aware, as I spend a lot of my time nowadays hanging out at the Anchor Archive Zine Library (you should come by!). One of the awesome things the Roberts Street Social Centre (where the aforementioned zine libray is located) is a summer zine residency program. This is where various zinesters and artists come and live in our shed for two weeks and work on art and zine projects.

So far this year we've had some pretty rad people come by, one of whom was Cheyenne Neckmonster, who finished her zine a few weeks months ago. It's kind of strange reviewing this zine as not only do I know Cheyenne (and hung out with her a bunch while she was here), but I helped her a bit in this zine by giving her the contact info of some zine library people I know (I'm even thanked on the back page!).

This zine combines general info about zine libraries with quotes from people involved with some libraries. The general info didn't interest me that much, but that's probably because I already know about zine libraries! I was interested by the quotes from various librarians and wish there was more information about them. In fact, I'd rather read profiles on each individual library, but that's me asking for a different type of zine than this is.

This zine is cool though, and I know Cheyenne is already planning a second edition (or a second issue), with information from more libraries. If you're interested in the idea of zine libraries and want to start your own this zine is totally worth checking out, though you don't have to take it as your bible. As Cheyenne says "Every zine library is unique.", and I wouldn't have it any other way.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Melon Farmer

Melon Farmer 3
By Orson and Zeel

[Yeah! It's my birthday! So to celebrate that (and the fact that someone just asked that I remove the review of their zine that I posted six months ago) here's a review I wrote weeks ago but was unable to post due to internet problems and traveling. More soon.]

When I went to the Brighton Zine Fest earlier this year one of the really neat things they had was a zine scavenger hunt. This was a list of different types of zines that you had to try to collect in order to get a prize. The list included things like "a blue zine", "a tiny zine", "a zine about tea", and other things. However, the organizers wanted to give out the loot bag prizes and would allow pretty much anyone to get one if they made up some decent reasons.

Part of my lootbag was this zine created by a little kid and (I assume) his dad. This is reminiscent of Axe Cop and also a project I was involved in recently that involved redrawing children's characters. I really love the ideas of these projects, as it encourages creativity at a young age.

From what I can tell Zeel drew the panel borders, did toning and lettering, and maybe drew other background background elements. Everything else seems to be by Orson. The art is mostly the type you'd expect from a little kid, with little consistency, and the story frequently doesn't make a lot of sense.

Despite this there is definitely a lot of charm in this comic, and there are some panels (like below) that I really like the look of, as they have a style and energy I really enjoy. There's a lot of charm in the work in here: characters powers being based upon their names (as opposed to vice-versa), diagrams showing the powers and equipment people have. This reminds of what I used to do as a kid, and I think it's awesome that kids are still doing this.

Plus the lootbag also had one of those party noisemakers (with a pirate!), a glow stick thing (which I've broken), a temporary tattoo, and a rad stamp/marker thing.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

You're the Best.....Around!!! #1

By dumbbunnynz@hotmail.com

Honestly, when someone emailed me asking if I wanted to review their "kids in sports films" zine I was a bit wary. I mean, what the hell type of topic is that? But ultimately that's one of the things I love about zines: they can be about anything. And by having people send or trade me their zines I end up reading some weird stuff that I would never seek out.

So this zine pleasantly surprised me. It begins with a discussion of the ideas behind "kids in sports films" and how they generally follow identical plot maps, feature the same type of characters, have the same messages, and are pretty damn predictable. Now after reading this you might wonder why someone would even bother watching them, but I think if you know anything about any type of genre fiction you know that they have the same tropes that they follow pretty frequently. I mean, I watch terrible science fiction action films and read a lot of super hero comics, and you can describe those in such a way that they sound incredibly awful (and to many people they are!). Yet I enjoy them anyway, even if they are bad a lot of the time.

Next there's a description of all the different character types that appear in these films (from "The Coach" to "The Ethnic Minority"), which was informative but probably could have used a few more examples from films. Then we have an indepth discussion of the Will Ferrell film "Kicking and Screaming". In fact, I think this might be the most ever written about this film as it doesn't sound very good, even by the conventions of the genre.

The plot is discussed, the actors are discussed, the director is discussed, hell, even the uniforms are discussed! It's kind of insane really. But it's all written in a fairly informative and entertaining style, by someone who seems to love this genre, but hates this film in particular. It sort of reminded me of something like the Zero Punctuation video game reviews, which find every flaw and problem in a game and scream "why why why was this decision made?". (Well, it's not as good as Zero Punctuation, but this is only the first issue.)

There's also an interview with the band My Dad Is Dead (about "kids in sports films" of course), and a recipe for a baked chocolate banana thing. So all in all this zine was a pleasant surprise, and now I'm actually kind of looking forward to reading the next issue.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Crazed Mazes Issue #1

By Myron Smith
PO Box 354
Ridgeway, VA

When I made my last zine (Potato Maze) I was super stoked with the maze I made for the cover. I thought it was incredibly cool and I was really proud of it. After reading the first issue of Crazed Mazes I'm incredibly glad that I waited so long until I read it, because now all sense of pride has disappeared.

The mazes in here really are crazed! No basic rectangles here, rather the mazes form faces, symbols, trees, and pictures that I didn't even understand were mazes until I looked at them. The difficulty of the mazes differs from ones that looked too hard for me to even try to ones that are pretty simple (because all of the borders are cats or fish, adorable!), so there should be some for everyone to try.

If mazes aren't your thing there are also find the object drawings set at a circus and on the street, and a crossword! The answers to everything are also in the back, so if you're really not sure how to finish one of the activities you can always cheat (or "check your answers").

The only problems with this zine are some less than stellar reproduction on the cover, and that it's just on 8.5 x 11 paper and stapled in the upper left hand corner. Still, this was a preview issue and I hope that in the future Smith will be able to use 11 x 17 paper and make some awesome activity books.

(Originally written for 365 Zines a Year.)

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