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


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lucida Console #10

Lucida Console #10
36 pages, digest

This is a great example of why I read zines.

Slater Wilcox starts off by saying he's turning over a new leaf and endeavoring to not be so negative and depressed. He then proceeds to tell us a bunch of negative and depressing shit. In his defense, what's in the zine was written before the opening editorial, so maybe now he really is in better shape mentally.

Negative and depressed or not, the writing itself is of a very high standard. It's easy to read and it draws you in despite the fact that he bends the language in all manner of bastardization. While Slater Wilcox is a pen name, it is unclear (and this is what I find delightful,) whether the colorful narrative is purely fiction or factually autobiographical. It would be equally brilliant in either case, and even when you realize for sure that this is at the very least exaggerated, you still cannot quite make up you mind about it.

Slater is 30ish, semi-vagrant, punk-vegan, and has a love hate relationship with intoxicants and cigarettes. The stories mostly center around the string of jobs he's had and the places he's drifted. The high point is the section where he describes his stint as a teacher's aid, and especially the portion working with special needs kids.

There is more than a hint of humor and glee in the bleak ranting, and Slater is quite likeable despite his antisocial posturing.

You can download a PDF for free @

or you can email him and beg for a print copy, but he is on the road with his band and you may never hear from him.

PS his band Caves is coming to the U.S. in June. They're touring with the Worriers from NYC. Both bands are on Tumblr and Facebook.

The Daily Compulsion #5

The Daily Compulsion #5 by Nathan Rice is comix mostly about alcohol and its effects.  It's also somewhat about relationship pain and AA.

I like the autobiographical-ness and the candor.  It's interesting to learn about Rice's life.  It's also sad.  There's some humor here, like with the Alcoholic Anarchists Anonymous poster, but it's mostly sad.

This zine gives me a sense of gratefulness that I don't have the types of problems the zine displays.  I think it would be perfect for other people who struggle with alcohol addiction to feel like they're not alone.

Rice handles these issues with skill, and I wish him all success in both the zine world and the larger world.


Review by Laura-Marie

Hiroshima Yeah! #118 [Dec 2014]

6 pages, 11.5" x 8.5", by Mark Ritchie & Gary Simmons >>> donbirnam [at] hotmail.com ... $1.00 or friendly email should [might? may?] get you a copy

My favourite line from this issue is from contributor Simon Morris's 'Five Depressing English Seaside Towns':

"[4] Saltburn-by-the-Sea - Best approached by train past the most startling ugly slagheaps the NE can offer, the wind from the North Sea is especially bracing in winter from the top of the cliff you'll want to throw yourself off."

Zine Stash #1

from Druid City Comic

Over the past month I’ve found myself in the possession of a scad of obscure zines and small issues of independent comic series.  Knowing I couldn’t devote an entire article to suggesting them to an audience, mostly because many of the zines are limited print and not available nationwide, I decided to review and suggest a bundle of them AT a time.  I’m thinking that I’ll stick to four for each installment of Zine Stash, but that will depend on how many zines I have at a time.  Considering that some of these won’t be available for print-on-demand or a delivery, I’ll send readers in the direction of the artists’ website or social media when I can, after the quick summary and review.

There by Hansel Moreno and Claire Connelly
Hansel Moreno wrote this short zine and Claire Connelly drew it.  Over the course of eight pages, a working stiff contemplates the claustrophobic fear he would experience if he ever went into space.  This external fear becomes internal once he realizes that he feels this same fear after he hasn’t left his desk or office for quite a long time.  The comic is printed in black and white, and as would be expected of a comic that has some panels set in space, there is a ton of black negative space.  The big two page spread features smaller panels off to the side that illustrate the worst of the protagonist’s fears.  For something that only consists of eight pages, a lot of ground is covered in the visuals.  

Hansel Moreno writes short stories.  His twitter handle is @hanselthelost
Claire Connelly’s illustration work can be found on her website.  Her twitter handle is @ckconnellydraws

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall by Mittie Paul
This limited print comic features a unique series of panel types, from long horizontal ones, to basic geometric shapes, to cracked glass facsimiles, to a cross hatched triangular conclusion.  The plot features a girl wondering what is wrong with her memory, because she can only recall when she looks at herself in the mirror. She can’t remember any time when she’s away from the mirror, but deduced that she must have some kind of life because her hair and clothes are always changing.  When she looks at the text on the book she’s holding, it’s orientation reveals what she really is.  Mirror, Mirror on the Wall is the best short read from this first Zine Stash, not so much because the twist is hard to see coming, but because the reveal uses a lot of creative logic to nail the ending. I’ve covered the creativity of the panels already, but the shading and cross hatching is also very impressive.

Mittie Paul has a webcomic called Timber.  Her twitter handle is @MittieArt.
You Suck: Volume 1 by Josh Lesnick

You Suck is an erotic webcomic and this first volume is a collection made for people to get interested in the content while at conventions.  The comic features Anna, a college student who has some troubles with getting her sexual desires met by her clueless boyfriend.  After coming on too strong while the two are at a theatre, the boyfriend leaves and Anna later finds him being screwed in the alley by a naked succubus who disappears into the night.  The succubus follows her around after she dumps her boyfriend and appears to want to make friends with her and help her along in getting what she needs out of a sexual relationship.  The succubus doesn’t prove to be the best role model, as consent isn’t exactly something she seems to hold in super high regard, although most of the guys whose bones she jumps seem fine with it after the fact.  Anna isn’t quite so keen with the succubus’ method once she captures Anna’s professor and dumps him on Anna’s bed.
The drawing style of You Suck is extremely loose and free.  Much like Jess Fink’s work on Chester 5000, this sort of inking style seems to work very well for the erotic comics genre.  Compared to more anatomically correct images in erotica, such as Melinda Gebbie’s still stunning and remarkable beautiful work on Lost Girls, this sort of style adds a lot of room for the imagination and a more impressionistic reading experience, which I give two thumbs up to.
You Suck can be found here. Josh Lesnick’s twitter is @superhappy.
The Box: Issue 1 by Peyton Freeman and Brett Williams

The Box is a story that focuses on the Grecian Olympians losing their power as the Ills gain power in the mortal world after Pandora opens that eponymous Box.  Right away, the visual style is at odds with the kind of grand story that the writer is trying to tell. The inking job isn’t done poorly, but the digital coloring and the backgrounds are far too simplistic to really communicate the bigger Grecian world that seems to be set up in the opening of the book.  The textures on walls in the back are done with stone textures from other sites presumably, and pillars are copy pasted too much to keep consistency with the sunlight in the scene.  Also, the story is too jumbled and all over the place, too much to give me a sense of who I should care about.  I didn’t even know Pandora was Pandora until the very end of the book, which may be my fault.  While I can’t recommend the series from my first impression, I will leave the creator’s information below.

Issues of The Box can be purchased online in PDF form through their website.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hand Job #7

Hand Job #7

Issue #7 of Hand Job heralds a new look for the literary zine. All previous issues have been of a cut 'n' paste, photocopied aesthetic - the traditional zine look, if you will. But for this issue Sophie Pitchord (one half of the team behind the zine) has flexed her creative design muscles and put together a really smart looking zine. It still maintains a gritty, no nonsense vibe and the content within the pages is up there with the best stuff they have published to date, but it feels like it is coming of age with this new look. I really don't know where they are going to go from here, but I am excited to be taken along for the ride.  

Review by Martin Appleby

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Deep Blue : Art and Magic

24 pages, 8.5" x 6", $6.00, by Rachel Ang www.drawbyfour.com and Ace Wagstaff Instagram: @acewagstaff

This is the other comic Rachel sent me [see review of its companion here.] Rachel's back and this time brought Ace Wagstaff along for the ride. There is no indication who did what and one of the four strips in here was not very good at all - in a really standout way - compared with the other three, and I found myself hoping that it wasn't by Rachel. Ha ha! Anyway, I emailed Rachel to ask her who did what, and was pleased to find out that Ace did that awful one. Phew!

Anyway, the first strip 'Deep Blue' by Ace Wagstaff is about a sentient laptop stuck on the moon and musing about its predicament, and life itself. It was pretty good, not bad. The main thing that stood out for me however was a technical issue - the contrast and brightness wasn't adjusted, so you could see the texta marks from colouring in the blacks. Although, I guess it could have been left that way on purpose, so readers could appreciate the artist's brush stroke patterns...

The second strip - Rachel's 'Dreams' - notes the lucky/unlucky reality of dreams being far more interesting and imaginative than the awake brain is capable of. And finally, the dreamer finds herself upon waking - "Sometimes I have to do a drawing to keep the dream alive ... But it never works."

The third 'strip' is the offender! To call it 'the ugly duckling' or 'runt of the litter' however would be cruel to ugly ducklings and runts of litters. All it is, this 'Minimal Reserve', is squiggles drawn from a distance then zoomed in closer and closer and back out again. It's like somebody smoked a bowl and drew and drew but forgot to re-examine their 'awesome drawing, dude!' the next day, sober, and just sent it in.

The fourth strip, 'Alien', is the highlight of the issue for me. An examination of human activities and behaviours from an alien's perspective. [The alien crash-landed but managed somehow to perfectly blend in and go unnoticed, but that's not the point of the strip, ha ha! ... Although now having noted that, I wouldn't mind reading more stories about this alien and its experiences on Earth...]

Wow and this one is six bucks too! But! [Butt?] Buy this one AND the other one [Rachel's Draw By Four] and you still couldn't buy a packet of bloody smokes in Sydney for that!
From Stratu @ Blackguard

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Minimal Comics Volume One

Today I was excited to receive a package from Japan in the mail.  It was very pleasing to see, tied with twine, with its beautiful Japanese stamps, the SMALL PACKET sticker.  And I was excited to know it was something for review.

I was a little worried about doing this review.  I had a problem with some abstract comix a few months ago.  Would this be the same?

Graeme McNee sent a cute note along with the book Minimal Comics Volume One.  It has a smiling cloud and a hill with the very clear handwriting.

It's all so beautiful I almost didn't want to touch it.  Is there such a thing as too beautiful?

I slipped the book out of its protective plastic sleeve and began to read.  Each comic is a page long, just three panels.  Each comic has a short title at the beginning.  The short titles are simple.

The drawings are simple too.  The ideas are simple yet funny.  Some show an object as it progresses through time, and some are more complicated.

One that stands out to me is called ray gun.  The first panel shows a ray gun.  The second panel shows the ray gun shooting a ray through the frame.  The third panel shows the ray gun just like the first panel, only there's a hole burned through the frame where the ray went.  It's subtle and funny and fun.

These comics are very cute.  But they are not naive or simpleminded.  They are charming.

My favorite one is called mt fuji.  I actually said, "Aw!" out loud.  I had never seen such a cute mountain in my life.

McNee has included some postcards and a DIY comic for the reader to complete and submit for future publication.  

I really like this book and hope McNee finds wild success. 


from Laura-Marie

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Frisk Flugt II - Sabotage

Frisk Flugt II - Sabotage
(Frisk Flugt is Danish for "Fresh Escape")
60 pages, professionally bound
65 DKK in Denmark, 105 DKK ($15.20 US) world wide

"Frisk Flugt is a militant research group based in Denmark."

This looks like a zine, but it's really a literary journal, very slick and artsy, nicely bound. 37 pages of photography including front & back covers, 17 pages of writing.

First thing I did was flip through and look at the pictures, which are pretty cool. Some are gonzo-esque archival stills of decay and destruction, others are gritty staged art photos. Taken as a whole it flows well and is interesting and provocative, if not pretty.

There are five pieces of writing. The first is prose that reads like stream of consciousness poetry. It's over my head and hard to read, intellectual and referencing things I can only guess as to their meaning.

The second and third bits are more interesting but still pretty heady. In one we get a look back at the anti-nuclear movement in Germany circa 1960s and 70s, and how that influences what's happening today. The other piece examines the thoughts of early 20th century feminist and labor militant, Elizabeth Gurley.

Then there's an academic commentary on modern sabotage in letter form, and an artsy prose-then-poetry thing about blowing up your home.

Although I'm not a good target audience for this material, I must say it is nicely done and stays on task with the topic of sabotage. I'm going to try to pass it off to one of my friends who are better suited for it and see what they have to say.

Order from:

They also have other interesting literary books there.

Jack Cheiky

Draw By Four #2 : The Craft

24 pages, 8.5" x 6", $6.00, Rachel Ang www.drawbyfour.com

Subtitled [sub-subtitled?] 'Short Stories About the Pleasure and Struggle of Making Things' these comics are hard to review - reading them I found myself one minute dismissing this stuff as the kind of high-brow, self-indulgent and humourless work I really don't like, and the next minute coming to the end of one wordless strip and being shocked at the implication of suicide; or in the strip about her character being chosen as the first artist-in-residence in space, the announcement of which was met with online disapproval, I liked how one commenter fumes "who is this bitch?" So, not humourless! Ha ha! ... But! It's also got one of my comics pet peeves - a 'to be continued' story [the aforementioned 'space artist' story]. Do these ever get finished? Does anybody who ever reads one chapter end up reading the whole thing? I really doubt it... maybe they do get finished, but nobody ever reads the whole thing. ... On the plus side, the printing is really nice, on nice paper with heavier card covers. And the art is fine and alluring. ... I was also gonna say something about the $6.00 price tag, but fuck it. What the hell is six bucks nowadays when  a packet of smokes can be over twenty bucks? [Here in bloody Australia, anyway.]

The Best Friend I Never Met and Chorus Lines

Yesterday I got a packet from England. It contained two zines, and I read both just now.

The Best Friend I Never Met took my breath away. I have had friendships so intense and full of poetry. I've had best friends like that too. I felt very sad about endings and blown away by the beauty of the writing, all those feelings, and so much physical distance with emotional intimacy.

It made me think of two best friends I have now, both who live far away, and one day will they be a memory?

I like the white space. I wouldn't have done it that way--I would have included tons. I probably would have overwhelmed the reader. But this is done so I'm left hungry for more, which is good.
The haiku zine Chorus Lines is beautiful to behold. I like the pictures of people on the cover, made in red. I like the poems and their immediacy. My favorite is about a baby. Always emotional but never overdone.

I love these zines--you should buy them.

Monday, April 6, 2015


Thursday, September 11, 2014

This is a new zine by Jason Martin.  It's about musicians and music.  The comix are sweet, poignant vignettes with simple, beautiful drawings.

I have a soft spot in my heart for the work of Jason Martin.  I collect all his zines and even his book Driftwood City.  I try not to be a hoarder, but his work is that good.  


From ordering page:

COVERS: My newest zine is a “covers album,” where I took some of my favorite stories about musicians (written by other people) and adapted them into comics. Feauturing a secret Bob Dylan recording session in Minnesota, Kurt Cobain’s love for macaroni and cheese, John Lennon recording Plastic Ono Band after undergoing primal scream therapy, memories of John Coltrane and his acts of kindness, Mike Watt dressing as a scarecrow for a gig on Halloween, the Dinosaur Jr chapter of Michael Azerrad’s book Our Band Could Be Your Life, a teenage Kristin Hersh recording the first Throwing Muses album (while also pregnant with her first child), and my friend Jason Young’s story of a surprising house show. All my proceeds from this zine will go to Doctors Without Borders. Self-published July 2014. 36 digest pages, $3 plus shipping.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Betty Paginated #33 [Autumn 2015]

24 pages, 11.5" x 8.5", email for price/trades >>> Dann Lennard, PO Box A1412, Sydney South NSW 1235, AUSTRALIA + danhelen [at] idx.com.au + blog: bettypaginated.blogspot.com + podcasts: kirbyyourenthusiasm.libsyn.com

It's been three years since the last issue of BP. Three years! That's a long time in anybody's language. "Tre ar" if you're Swedish.

But what a return. There's so much good, nay, great! stuff packed into this issue it's hard to know where to start. But it seems smart to begin with the interview with Aussie pub rockers The Vee Bees. I've never seen them, an oversight which will be rectified as soon as possible after reading Dann's interview. These guys are funny! In response to Dann noting that they wear thongs onstage, Vee Bee Glenno admits "they just look so good" and they even wrote a song called '3 Thongs' "because that's the ultimate - wearing three of 'em" to which Vee Bee Norro adds: "If you're gonna wear three thongs, make sure you're sober when you get dressed, but. I once got dressed for a show a little bit tipsy and I got me things mixed up. I ended up with a G-banger on me foot and a double plugger in me crack."

Also in this issue: why Dann attended two Hard Ons gigs twice in the same month; the life and death of terrifying old-school pro wrestler Bruiser Brody; Dann's belated discovery and obsession with Elliott Smith [1969-2003]; movies viewed on YouTube [e.g. Liquid Sky [1982]; the story of the chilling Smiling Man and a few films inspired by it; a review of The Swimmer [1968] that Dann tracked down after reading about it in The Kobb Log #5 and which instantly shot into Dann's Top Ten Greatest Movies [Note: and thanks to Dann's review I tracked this movie down too and will watch it this Easter Long Weekend!]; UK TV celebrity Simon Dee whose short-lived career was thanks to his "arrogance, stupidity and refusal to admit that his 15 minutes of fame was over"; and more!

Betty Paginated is undoubtedly a love-it-or-hate-it zine, but I love it, and I'm not alone! ... Or not too alone, ha ha! ... So I strongly recommend it, to those of you with similar tastes, you lucky devils!

Review by Statu / Blackguard

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