Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Guts Power #3

So yeah, who would have thought that grad school would get in the way of writing more or less anything? Plus I'm dead lazy. Anyway yesterday I scanned a whole bunch of zine covers. I would promise that more reviews or coming, but if you read zines you know that promises of more timely content are a dime a dozen. And I mean, it's only been three months since the last time I posted a review...

This is the third issue of a pretty strange science fiction comic set in Scotland in the "future" of 2003 about unemployed people in a world where time is a mental construct, and even horrible monsters have to deal with bureaucracy. 

In this issue the bizarre possessed sentient Segway thing that exists has become a giant mutant thing, and the thee main characters have to take a train to Deadinburgh in order to get replacement parts. Of course, as most of them are broke this is harder than it first seems. Plus they have to deal with monsters, government agents who follow them, and horrible tourist shop owners with Australian accents who keep trying to sell them novelty swords and kilts. I told you it was weird.

I read the other two issues ages ago, but this one seems more coherent in it's narrative, though perhaps that's just because I now have a better grounding in what type of world this comic is set in. I do wonder what people with no understanding of Scottish slang/accents would make of this, as I'm pretty sure some of the dialogue ("This guy's a richt heid-the-baw...") would be completely impenetrable to them.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Good Food

By Emily
PO Box 74002
Vancouver, BC
V5V 3P0

So much for "every day until I finish all these zines", sigh. School takes up a lot of time you know?

Plus, for this zine I wanted to actually cook some of the recipes. What good is a review of a cooking zine if I don't try the food? (We'll ignore the fact that I'm name dropped in a burrito recipe.) (Why is "burrito" underlined as though it was not a word? Technology...)

Anyway, I made the quesadillas (also not a word apparently), for myself and two friends, and they were considered a great success. Hell, I'd make them again.

We also accidentally doubled a cookie recipe and had so many cookies we're still eating them. This photo makes it look like they're burgers, but they're really chocolate cookies with like four types of chocolate in them. Yum.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Today 3

This cute little zine came inside an envelope with this comic printed on it. Neat! Plus it came with a button of a typewriter which is currently on my bag.

Inside are more of the style of comics from the first two issues: one or two page stories about random things from Stef's life (both recent and long ago). Some of these are specific events (such as the time her dad found a caterpillar in the broccoli he was eating or when she tried to cure her hiccups), while others combine many events into one comic (all of the incredibly complex and involved games that Stef would create as a child).

Stef's art is on the cartoony end of the spectrum, but I really enjoy the way that she uses a lot of lines to draw hair, the drawings of many of her childhood toys (ponies! monsters!), and the ways that she plays with page layout by interesting use of panel borders.

It's a super cute little zine, and my major complaint is that it's so short! It doesn't take very long to read, and I wish there was more of it, either more comics in general, or a longer comic that goes more in depth into something.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

About a Ghost Town Bike Tour

By Celeste
PO Box 226
Irvine, Alberta
T0J 1V0

I love exploring abandoned buildings, though I really don't get many opportunities to do so. I did recently get to check out a weird fake building that is actually a train tunnel ventilation shaft, and that was pretty cool even if the building itself wasn't that interesting.

This zine is primarily photos of abandoned buildings that Celeste discovered while cycling through (I think) rural Manitoba. The black and white photos accurately capture specific moments of the decay of these buildings: rotting staircases, collapsed roofs, debris, remnants, and general signs of nature returning to where humans had "conquered".

Each photo has some typewritten text placed over it. Some of these pieces describe (in a rather poetic manner) the buildings the photos were taken in, and what was found inside them ("honeycombs, the hard work of bees, smashed."). While others just talk about the idea of ghost towns in general, and how civilization can change and move and retreat from where it once was. They also explain some of the various reasons why a rural community might wither and die after being successful.

The text describes the few encounters with actual people that happened on this trip, and how these encounters describe "what a town is like just before it becomes a ghost town". Or, in one case, how a family that doesn't speak English (but rather "something like german") gets annoyed when you visit the cemetery where their goats are grazing.

I liked this zine and its descriptions of crumbling buildings and towns, though I think you can find the same decay and abandonment in cities as well as rural areas. Despite the continued existence of certain buildings throughout human history, we seem to forsake things far more frequently than not.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

What Are You Doing to Participate?

So earlier this year my friend and I went to a zine art show. Or rather, we tried to go. I saw an event listing on Facebok, and thought it was kind of confusing. "INVITE IS FREE BY RSVP", followed by an email address. What did that mean, and why would I have to RSVP for an art show? I asked on the event page, but the only response I received was "RSVP FOR FREE BEER", and since I don't drink, I didn't bother to email them.

So on the night in question my friend and I went to try to find this art show, but outside the bar/club where it was apparently taking place we were confronted by a doorkeeper who was dressed far fancier than I think anyone I have ever seen at a zine event. They wouldn't let us in. After much discussion and waiting, my friend just left, but I eventually got someone (an organizer?) to let me in. I went upstairs to the bar place, and then down another flight of stairs to some bizarre intermediate floor of the building. Inside was not zine art (or not much of it), as you might have expected, but just actual zines hanging from walls and on tables for people to look at.

I still don't really understand why this was an event, or an art show. Perhaps the fact that it seems to have had some connection with LA people should have tipped me off that this was not the sort of zine event I was used to (though I have since met some lovely zine people from LA). But I still don't know why this event happened, or why there was so much free beer available. I did get to see a friend who was leaving town in a few days, so it wasn't a total waste, but still, it was odd.

This zine is made up of photo collages of zines (presumably the ones from the art show, it was six months ago, give me a break!). It could be fine, but just looking at it leaves a bad taste in my mouth from going to this event. I hope other zine events in Vancouver are more fun. (If there actually are any...)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Double-A World-Zine Issue No.1: Break On Through to the Other Side!

By Anthony Atkinson

This comic seems to have been created for a sort of strange (though interesting) reason. In the introduction Atkinson says that he's writing a story about someone travelling to another world, and that this comic zine is all about the development of that world. Neat!

This issue is about different types of alternative worlds, where they could be located, and how it's possible for people to find them. We have nuclear submarines discovering tears in the fabric of space and time, a giant Elvis heads that reveals a mysterious jungle, a tiny world located inside a filing cabinet, and a world found inside the hollow Earth (which is reminiscent of one of my favourite hidden worlds: Skartaris. Located inside the (hollow) DC universe Earth, and discovered because a pilot got confused by the Earth's curvature and flew into a hole at the North pole. Seriously! Comics are awesome!).

They're all pretty neat, and I'm a sucker for lost worlds and hollow Earth stories, so I dug this a bunch. I'd love to read the second issue sometime, as apparently it's about what these mysterious other worlds look like.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Les Carnets de Rastapopoulos #8

By Robert Gauvin
Les Carnets de Rastopopoulos
2-7 Larch Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1R 6W4

This is one of the neatest zines I've seen in a while. It's about Gauvin's attempts to get a penpal in the early 1980s. At first he is content to exchange letters with people from penpal organizations, but soon he has a new goal in mind: a penpal "on the other side of the Iron Curtain". In the early '80s this must have seemed super exotic, and also considerably more difficult than finding someone in Denmark to trade letters with.

Gauvin decides to write to the Czechoslovakian and Yugoslavian embassies and, much to my surprise, actually gets a response! He writes to some youth organizations in those countries and after several months he finally gets a response! Of course it's in Serbian which isn't too helpful to someone who lives in small town New Brunswick.

And then the next day there are 14 more letters, then 12, then 16... In total Gauvin received about 250 letters (mostly in Serbian), which included photos, Yugoslav dollars, lipstick prints, and cut outs of the original article printed in TV Novosti magazine that said he wanted a penpal.
"There was so much mail suddenly flowing from Yugoslavia to the small obscure rural Atlantic Canadian post office of Bouctouche people along the postal supply chain took notice. This one time a letter arrive in a magnificent colour poster elaborately folded to act as an envelope. There was hardly any trade of my address on the surface. Just "Try Bouctouche" scribbled on it by a postal employee along the postal supply chain. Guessing it belonged with the hordes of correspondance heading to that previously unknown destination point."
Soon after the letters from Yugoslavia begin to dry up, a letter from Czechoslovakia arrives. At first Gauvin is afraid that he'll get hundreds more letters in a language he can't understand, but this time the majority of the letters arrived in French and English. This led to a new problem, how to choose which letters from the hundreds received that should receive replies.

This zine reminded me of getting a penpal letter in a class soon after I moved to Canada. I feel bad because I didn't reply to it because it was from some "boring" girl (I was 8!). I'm much better at responding to mail nowadays.

I thought this zine was cute and funny and I'm looking forward to reading more issues. Plus it has some neat maps in the middle that show all the countries in which Gauvin has had penpals. There are a lot of them!