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


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Growing Up In The Post or Raised By Mailartists

Growing Up In The Post or Raised By Mailartists
Mark Pawson

10.5cm x 7.5cm, 12 pages.

Stamped 31st Oct 2015


Mark Pawson is an important figure in the UK zine world. A life long champion of DIY art and print, both a maker and distributor. One of Mark's early zines is an obsessive account of his love of Kinder eggs - where he bought them, how much they cost, and thorough reviews of the toys inside. More significantly perhaps, he kept the zine in print for 20 years, and sold around 10,000 copies. That's a lot of stapling. 

I picked up Growing Up In The Post from Mark at a small press fair in London a few weeks ago. At only 50p, Mark described it as being "part of his pocket money range" (amongst other makers selling their zines at inflated prices, making your work available for a handful of change is almost a provocation in itself). 

The zine describes how, at the age of 13, Mark found himself as part of the International Postal Art Network which at that time was "a tremendously energetic self-created forum for equal exchange  of work and ideas". As Mark goes on to explain this process of exchange and sharing informs the way he chooses to work now. 

Mark has a large and varied amount of work available from his website. Both his collaborative and solo work is here: http://www.mpawson.demon.co.uk/pawone.html 

His range of badges can be found here: http://www.mpawson.demon.co.uk/badges.html

And other people's books and zines can be seen, and bought, here: http://www.mpawson.demon.co.uk/books.html

While you are on Mark's website check out the events pages for some interesting DIY art and zine fairs in the UK. And if you bump into Mark at a fair, tell him we sent you.  

Review by Nathan Penlington

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Holocene Tragedy

The Holocene Tragedy
by JD Howse

Dead Elk publishing 

A5, 66 pages, cardboard covers. 

3rd edition, September 2016. Limited edition of 50.  


The Holocene Tragedy is an utterly compelling account of the mass extinction of animal species created and accelerated by mankind. Within the last century at least one species has become extinct every year, that we know of. 

I think the internet is probably bad for me, & and bad for anyone with a mind as obsessive as mine
because the information acts in spirals & lines & if I followed every weird impulse my mind gives off down the rabbit hole I'd never get anything done
So begins the search for facts among the vast resource of misinformation called the internet. JD Howse grapples with what it means to be informed when you are not a specialist in a given field, how you can comprehend the vastness of something when reduced to a series of webpages, and when - not if - man will face its own extinction. 

Part poetry, part prose - it is a collection of short texts that is very much of our time. Definitely among the best zines I've read this year. Get your hands and mind on a copy before it is too late.

Visit http://www.jdhowse.com/holocene for more information about The Holocene Tragedy, contact information for JD Howse can be found here: http://www.jdhowse.com/about

Review by Nathan Penlington 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Things I Thought But Was Wrong

Things I Thought But Was Wrong - Issue 00
Quarter Duck Publications

A5, 24 pages, full colour.


Things I Thought But Was Wrong is the perfect zine for the mid-teens of the 21st century. It consists of a crowd-sourced series of Twitter length statements, each illustrated by an Instagramable artwork. The concept is immediately explained by the title - those moments in which something you always thought was true is shown to be wrong. 

The combination of absurd mishearings and naive misunderstandings with the resulting illustrations makes for a smart, funny, engaging zine. 

I hope I'm not wrong, but I predict big things for Things I Thought But Was Wrong. 

Buy Issue 00 from Etsy: etsy.com/uk/listing/454573914/things-i-thought-but-was-wrong-zine

To submit your own failings join Things I Thought But Was Wrong on Facebook and Instagram @things_I_thought_but_was_wrong

Review by Nathan Penlington 

****I picked this zine up last weekend at Cultural Traffic - a new publishing arts fair held near London's Brick Lane. They produce regular alternative publishing events in the capital, with a really diverse range of makers and sellers. If you're interested check out culturaltraffic.com for more info****

Friday, December 9, 2016

Bio Auto Graphic #29 - C

Bio Auto Graphic #29: 'C'
Michael C. Nicholson / ensixteen editions

November 2016. A5, 20 pages, including cardboard cover. 


Bio Auto Graphic #29 is a stream of consciousness constrained by the letter C. 
Through an accumulation of TV and film references, names of celebrities and friends, phrases and word association, the text forms a catalogue of a particular sensibility and a personal history. 

The words and names also reveal the political time and place of the zine's creation:
Cox,  J. (R.I.P)

Meanwhile surrounding a drawing of a Trump-a-like:

'Confederacy of dunces, A' -  Campaign - Charade - Circus - Capsize - Capitalism....- Culpability - Creep -...- Coward - Clown

Compared to previous issues C is word heavy. Where the companion issues A and B are visual meditations that use the letter as a jumping off point, t
his issue has more in common with experimental literature and artist books - think oulipo and Walter Abish -  than with narrative driven graphic work. Despite the volume of C words Michael still uses the page to explore the graphic elements of both language and design, space and movement.  

C proves that even after twenty-nine issues Bio Auto Graphic still has the ability to surprise and intrigue. If you are new to this zine the ABC series is a great place to begin, you'll be rewarded with something special.  

To get your copy visit the Ensixteen blog: ensixteeneditions.blogspot.com

Or email Michael directly: ladnicholson(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)uk

Review by Nathan Penlington - 
You can find reviews of previous issues of Bio Auto Grapahic here

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Minor Leagues #2 - Simon Moreton

Minor Leagues #2 – Simon Moreton

published by lydstep lettuce -  October 2016

A5, landscape, 88 pages, cardboard covers. 

£4 / or £18 for a four issue subscription

There are many things I love about my girlfriend, one of them is how much she loves December. She gets excited about New Year's Eve and Christmas of course, but she loves this time of year because it is when people publish their favourite books of the year lists. She LOVES those lists. 

Why am I telling you this? Well, back in April Minor Leagues #1 arrived on my doorstep, and it is definitely on my own list of the top 5 best things I've read this year. And now issue #2 has arrived it's going to nudge something else off that list (unless I can convince my girlfriend that two zines count as one entity).  

I don't want to repeat myself so check out the review of issue #1, and you'll know why I love Simon's work. Issue #2 continues in the same vein. What sets Minor League apart from a lot of zines is that it gives itself space and time (over 80 pages) to linger over fragments and details, an antidote to the textual rush of social media. 

Issue #1 dealt with death and loss, Minor Leagues #2 raises issues of grief and helplessness: grief after death, but also the grief of losing friendships and relationships. It also reflects the grief and despair most of the UK has felt this year. That all makes it sound like a heavy read - it is not. There is a gentle quality to Simon's work, a tenderness, and a reaching out that is hard to express in words. 

For me, I think part of the strength of Minor Leagues is that it also expresses the struggle inherent in making a zine - the difficulty in breaking the inertia that can so easily stop you creating anything, particularly in the current cultural climate. After what 2016 has achieved we need zines like Minor Leagues more than ever. 

Buy issue 2 of Minor Leagues here: http://smoo.bigcartel.com/product/minor-leagues-2

Or visit smoo.bigcartel.com for subscription options. 

Review by Nathan Penlington

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