Thursday, September 16, 2010
By Una Crow
Monstress was one of the first zines I ever bought. I remember exactly where I bought it and the weird double take I did upon walking into a shop in Toronto and recognizing the guy working there. It was also the first zine I ever bought through the mail after I realized I needed all the issues. I kept up to date with new issues for a while, but then I moved to South Korea and while I stayed in touch with Una Crow, I didn't get any more issues until this year, when I realized she'd kept putting them out.
So it was with some amusement that I opened up this issue and discovered a letter I'd written five years (and how many countries) ago was printed inside.
But there are reasons to read this other than that I have a (terrible) letter printed inside. Monstress is one of my favourite zines, and each issue takes one specific type of monster (in this case robots, which isn't technically a monster) and builds an issue around them, using a number of different recurring features. There are random "chapters" (1-2 pages) of weird genre fiction stories (this time it's a noir detective story featuring Mecha-Godzilla), some comic strips, "Ask Wiremother" (which is just depressing and kind of scary, read the graphic novel "Wire Mothers" by Jim Ottaviani and Dylan Meconis if you want to know more), and the "What I remember movie reviews", where Crow writes what she thought about various movies (from the '20s to the present) featuring the title monster, regardless of how well she remembers about them.
This issue also has an account of a trip to Tokyo written by one of Crow's friends, how to count in binary (though for whatever reason I can't use it to understand that the issue number on the cover is 8), a pretty interesting piece on Thea von Harbou (Nazi party member and writer of both the novel and screenplay of Metropolis), drawings of robots reciting poetry, an account of going to the Toronto International Film Festival, and memories of one of Crow's friends (the creator of Infiltration, another zine I really like) who had recently died.
There's lots of good stuff in here, and the idea of taking one specific thing, and building a zine featuring lots of different content about that one thing, is one that I've been meaning to steal for years. I'm working on one now!
All the issues of Monstress that I've read have been good, but if you're looking for one from Crow's Etsy to pick up, I'd go with the Godzilla/kaiju/giant monster issue. It was the first I bought and got me hooked all those years ago.