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


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Terrible Stories from Kelly McClure

A5, 28 pages (cream and navy).

What qualifies as terrible? Quite a lot of things, I should imagine. The lack of politics taught in Britain’s schools? The internalised gender divide? My colleagues’ insistence on discussing nothing but Love Island for the past two weeks? All are different flavours of terrible.

Kelly McClure’s stories certainly aren’t terrible, which led me to the conclusion that she must be the sort of person whose modesty is so extreme that she would actually take the naming of her anthology as a weird opportunity for self-deprecation. Slightly bemused, I began to read, and then I got it – perhaps it wasn’t the stories that were terrible, but the characters.

A sadistic rancher, an imperfect mother, an extreme introvert. In truth the characters’ personalities are scattered all over the morality spectrum, and it’s difficult to judge whether each of them are good, bad or other.

One of the interesting qualities to McClure’s writing is that her stories feel more like scenes, the reader is placed into the characters’ lives and just as they begin to feel like they know them, they’re whisked into the next story. This anthology seems to be less about providing the reader with entertaining stories, and more about creating a feeling of kinship with the characters (whether that be positive or negative). It’s an interesting read and skilfully written – these six stories will play on your mind for a long, long time.

You can get a copy of Terrible Stories from Kelly McClure via Budget Press here.

Review by J.L. Corbett

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A short, sad story

A short, sad story

by Will Conway

A7 zine fold from A4. B&W print on coloured paper. 


A short, sad story is, well, a short, sad story. 

The zine is similar to Will's other work that I've had the pleasure of reviewing, in that it is made up of witty wordplay with a poetic sensibility. 

Each page contains a line or two, illustrated minimistically, that also work towards the whole. The whole in this instance being a love poem. In my opinion it's worth reading for the last line alone.

Buy a copy on Etsy for only £1.50: etsy.com/uk/listing/579513592/a-short-sad-story-booklet-will-conway

And while you are there check out the rest of Will's zines (some of which are reviewed here) - a pick up a couple of other ones too. 

Review by Nathan Penlington

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Arc 1-4

Arc 1-4

by Will Conway

A7 zine fold from A4. B&W print on coloured paper. 

£5 for four issues. 

A sci-fi saga told through a four part series of linked zines. 

Expect interplanetary warfare, artificial intelligence, hybrid technology, and the ongoing stupidity of humanity. The perfect elements for a juicy, witty epic. 

Each page is illustrated by a combination of collage, pen & ink drawings, and paint.  

Buy the set of four via Etsy: etsy.com/uk/listing/589031460/arc-1-4-bundle-will-conway

And while you are there check out the rest of Will's zines (some of which are reviewed here).

Review by Nathan Penlington

Friday, June 8, 2018

The ship'd sailed - stories about friendship and loss

The ship'd sailed - stories about friendship and loss

by Amy Ng & Weng Pixin

A5, 40 pages, coloured print. Plus contributors sheet. 


Part of being human is experiencing loss of someone at some point in your life. I don't mean through death either, I mean the kind of loss that comes through the withering away of intimacy or through sudden departure. 

While loss is understood to hurt if that loss is of a romantic partner, betrayal by - or loss of - a friend is spoken about less, especially between grown-ups. But the resulting hurt and anger is no less real, and is sometimes no less all consuming, than it is when the same happens as a teenager. 

It is these raw and real experiences that Amy & Weng set about collating for this zine. What results is a set of varied stories from life about adult friendships written and illustrated by seven different artists. 

While all of the pieces overlap in anger and grief, their honesty is intimately personal, yet they reach out. In a way, its like talking with a new set of friends. 

Buy a copy of The Ship'd Sailed here: etsy.com/listing/583969599/the-shipd-sailed-stories-about


Review by Nathan Penlington

Volunteers #1 - Rob Jackson

Volunteers #1 - Rob Jackson 

36 pages, black & white

£4.70 (free UK p&p, see site for rest of world)

Volunteers #1 is the first in a series of comics following a group of volunteers working on a preserved stream railway. It's easy to imagine the setting as the perfect idea for a sitcom, and the storyline unfolds with the tension of the best TV dramas. 

It's charmingly drawn, and the script evokes the tension, burgeoning romance, rivalry and chivalry, between the characters. 

Look beyond the steam railway of yesteryear and you'll find themes centred around investment and 'progress', and treachery inherent in capitalism. Volunteers #1 couldn't be more about now, even if it was focused on electric cars.  

You can buy direct from Rob at his website: robjacksoncomics.ieasysite.com - check out the rest of his work while you're there. 

Other comics by Rob are due for review here soon.

Review by Nathan Penlington

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