Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dancing Eye

By Mark Oliver and Peter O’Dowd

There were several places in this zine where I felt decidedly uncomfortable. I doubt the content of Dancing Eye will have the same effect on others, but I found that the creators’ ideas and art styles managed to hit the right (or wrong) buttons of what I find disturbing (hopefully without intending to, for if they did intend to freak me out specifically that’s even worse): amorphous blobs, things growing out of other things (as I write this I am desperately trying not to think of a dream I had several days ago that featured something happening to my bellybutton), tenatacled monsters, and basically anything happening to someone’s eyes. Brrrrrr.

The zine can be split into two pieces which aren’t attributed to either creator. The first is “Comes in Kit Form” a collection of art showing...things, or pieces, that could presumably be put together into something else, and illustrations featuring some sort of horrible long legged insect or betentacled monster. Sure they could just be a collection of wires, but I really see them more as things that will come along and deconstruct me in the night. Taking me apart piece by piece until there is either nothing left or you wish there hadn’t been any when you come across my remains the next day.

The other part of the zine is given over to a couple of short comics that remind me of Marc Bell and that guy who did The Blot. The text on one page states that “yellow ferrets were smoking strange cigars”, while the art shows smoke transforming into various figures and shapes, and some liney faces that seem to be in the process of melting, so you can kind of guess that these aren’t exactly the most linear of stories.

The rest of the comics continue along similar (ie. incredibly weird) lines. The first one is supposed to be a daydream, so I suppose it follows dream logic, thought not a dream I hope to ever have. The other comic features a character acquiring eyes through a vending machine, and somehow manages to be far more creepy and disquieting than that description makes it sound.

I would say I’m never going to open this zine again, but I’m going to have to so that I can scan something for this review. The things I do for you!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Phoenixii Issue 1

I think I’ve mentioned before how poetry and song lyrics don’t really register with me. In university I was about two thirds of the way through the epic poem Ruslan and Lyudmilla by Alexander Pushkin before I realized I’d read it before. This is a poem several hundred pages long that I had studied in class and possible even written an essay about, yet I remembered absolutely nothing about it. Even now I don’t recall very much. There was a witch I think.

As you can probably tell by that intro, this zine features a bunch of poetry and song lyrics that I have completely forgotten. This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy these forms of art, more that I find them hard to absorb in the written form. I’ve enjoyed listening to poets perform their work, and think that the rhythm and cadence in their voice while performing can play a major part in how a work is absorbed.

This zine does feature more than just poetry though, there’s also a rather depressing short story about loneliness, drug abuse, and raves. It’s not the most comforting of reading material, and the stilted way many of the characters talk kind of draws you out of it. Prose writers (including me) should read their dialogue out loud first. People don’t talk in grammatically correct sentences all the time.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Necessary Monsters #4

By Daniel Merlin Goodbrey and Sean Azzopardi

It’s kind of difficult to review part four of an ongoing narrative. Especially without spoiling anything. I’m glad I review zines instead of super hero comics!

We’re coming up to the final confrontation between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” (yeah, one group seems considerably eviler, but you never can tell). People are getting killed, arms are getting cut off (and sewn back on), major dramatic changes are happening to various characters. Lots of stuff is going on!

It’s good, there’re some nice lines of dialogue, and I’m genuinely curious as to where the story is going next. The art’s weak in places, and some of the characters seem really stiff in places, but it didn’t stop me enjoying the story.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Picofarad #17

By Petréa Mitchell

While I quite dug the first issue of this I read, and thought it was an interesting view into a fandom I’m not really involved with, this issue was pretty much just more of the same, and so didn’t interest me as much.

There’s con reports from a gaming con and a scifi con, there’s some reviews, there’s the pages and pages of upcoming cons (this still kind of blows my mind). I guess while last time I was just kind of amazed that something like this existed at all, this time I was perhaps able to examine the flaws more closely. The con reports seem to talk about a lot of negative aspects of the events, seemingly without creating any solutions, and the letters are just so bizarre. They seem more like personal correspondence than anything you’d want published in a fanzine.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sins of the Soil #1

Written by Timothy Gavin
Art by Corban Wilkin

It is the future. The Amazon is an oxygen forest made up of pipes, the Sahara is covered in solar panels, and an angry mob is rioting outside some sort of scientific offices.

This issue screams “set up”, as we’re introduced to a bunch of different characters and...that’s it really. I’m guessing the story will have something to do with genetic engineering (people are trying to save beakers and stuff from the rioters) and making the earth fertile again or something. I mean there is a giant tree on the cover.

The art’s pretty good, and I’m actually going to show two examples because one of them isn’t really representative of the rest of the comic. There’s a one page fable or myth that has super adorable art. Check it out!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mild Peril #8

By Deanperil and Sausage Punk Pete (and others)
£1 half sized.

Despite going to three (!!!) anarchist bookfairs (and yes, I know not all anarchists are punks) last year I have a weird relationship with punks and the punk scene. I’m not a punk, but during high school and university I hung out with a lot of punks, lived in my town’s “famous punk house”, went to punk shows and parties, and was at least tangentially involved in the scene.

Why did I do this if I wasn’t that into punk (or at least not the hardcore that was prevalent at that time and place)? Well, because I didn’t live in that big a town, and there weren’t really that many options for who vegetarians that cared about the arts and sustainability could hang out with. Hell even in cities you’re going to struggle to find many anarchogoths (or whatever it is I am).

Okay, so why am I going on about this? I guess it’s because zines like this about local punk scenes make me nostalgic for an era that it seems unlikely I will ever reclaim.

Mild Peril is all about the Norwich punk scene, and it’s really big! At over forty pages it took me longer to get through this than most zines I’ve reviewed so far. It features loads of interviews with bands, both local to the area and stopping by there on tour, loads of reviews of cds, records, shows, and other zines, a comic, rants, and some other stuff.

I found the show reviews the best part, possibly because they were for bands I knew of and, in one case, had actually seen (Gogol Bordello!). Also they were more diary entries that talked about events surrounding the shows rather than just the show itself. I guess that despite liking punk music (Defiance, Ohio are one of my favourite bands), I don’t know enough about it to find most of the comparisons in the reviews to be useful. Amusingly the one band I did look up turned out to be one who appeared on a mix CD I received last year.

Anyway, this was a pretty good read, and worth checking out if you’re into punk music. I’ll be sending my copies onto friends that are more into the scene than I am.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


By Antoine Cossé

Aha! Now this one actually seems to be the first issue. I suppose I should have been able to tell by the number of Rs in the title

However, while this issue does give the “secret origin” of Supercloud (he “used to be on our side, used to rain as every cloud does,” but then he went bad), it’s still pretty insane. Is the guy who is running away from the cloud just completely paranoid? Or is the cloud really out to get him? Some of the characters don’t believe him, others point out that it _is_ a massive cloud, but well, it could just be a big cloud.

Is the main character actually being chased by the rain? Through his artwork Cossé makes it seem like maybe he is, but then again, maybe it’s just rain. I’ve run away from rain before, and that wasn’t because a malevolent cloud was out to get me. Or was it? I do seem to attract snow wherever I go (see: lots of snow in Vancouver when I lived there, but when I moved to England it got record amounts of snow, while Vancouver was left with none).

In any event there are some nice drawings of rain.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Moon Book

By P. Naylor

The cover of this zine features a slug. Wearing a jester’s hat. Eating a mushroom.

The interior is more of the same really. Okay, not quite as weird, but there’s a number of other pictures (all in colour) and poetry to go along with them. It’s a kind of weird zine. I like how the moon has a monocle on the cover. It doesn’t inside, which is kind of a shame.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Queen Mum Adventures No. 1

By David O’Connell

There are some things about England I clearly just don’t understand. The queen mum is (or was I guess) one of them. Did she actually gamble a lot? Was she drunk all the time? Was she missing all those teeth? I know nothing about this woman (and don’t really care to learn about her).

It’s not that this zine isn’t funny (giant zombie corgie! Corgi? See? I can’t even spell the name of her dogs right), it’s all pretty absurdist. (I sincerely doubt the queen mother ever went to a leather bar).

It’s slight, but amusing. And there’s a character that looks like Tintin! I kind of miss my Tintin haircut. But what if my hat doesn’t fit any more if I cut all my hair off? Decisions...

Monday, March 22, 2010


By Jiraffe

Hooray! An art/design zine inspired by Star Trek somehow! I will be honest, I couldn’t even read the cover until the guy who made it told me what it said. That H is kind of hard to read.

Anyway, inside there are a number of different pieces that combine collage with text in various ways. The zine was apparently thrown together the night before the zine fest I got it at, and while that shows a little in some places (clearly the creator didn’t check to see how well some things lined up once photocopied), it still has some nice stuff in it.

Sure some of the fonts used look a bit “high school metal band” (are there Star Trek influenced metal bands? I bet there are!), but I don’t know how many metal bands tell people they’ll always be their friend. Actually, probably a lot now that I think about it. Or at least, they’ll always be your friend as long as you don’t listen to false metal. \m/

Sunday, March 21, 2010

101 Ways Diana Could have Died

By James Parsons

This zine is kind of unreviewable. I think you’ll know whether you think it’s worth looking at based entirely on the cover.

When I got this zine a girl was talking to the guy who made it, she said that the thought it was offensive or improper to make a zine like this. I will admit that my thoughts were nowhere near that. “Maybe this will be funny,” I thought, closely followed by “Really though, Diana? She died forever ago. Move on England.”

As for the contents, well, they’re exactly what it says on the cover: 101 ways Diana (the princess) could have died. Each death is labelled and illustrated with, I will be honest, generally not so great art. Some of the deaths are amusing, some of them are gross, some of them seem to be in the wrong order. A few of the deaths have art that is somewhat reminiscent of Edward Gorey (see below), but most of them don’t.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Peach Melba #7

By Pearl
PO Box 74

I have to admit, I didn’t like this issue as much as the last one I read. Some of the lists are just utterly incomprehensible to me (bus stop codes on some bus route in Brighton, distances between seemingly random locations), but did remind me of the sort of things that I would make lists of when I was a little kid (I once wrote down the license plate numbers of every car on my street “in case they got stolen”, definitely a productive afternoon).

That isn’t to say there wasn’t stuff to enjoy in this zine! There’s a list of countries that have been involved in violence in the last seventy years that is depressing in both its incompleteness and the footnote stating that Antigua and Barbuda was the only country beginning with a vowel she could find that hadn’t been involved in a war. Humans kind of suck don’t they?

There’re also some short book reviews (The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien is “very very strange”), things needed to make a fire (Vaseline?), and a recipe for an apple crumble photocopied off a match box. I guess match companies have to put something on their labels. Unfortunately the recipe doesn’t tell you how to bake the crumble on a fire you made yourself, which is what I’d hope for from a product such as that.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Robot Zine

By We Are Words and Pictures

Robots? And comics!? These are two of my favourite things! To be brutally honest, I will probably put up with any old crap to be exposed to robots (robots!) because they are so rad and clearly my life goal, however the comics collected here are actually good! Super bonus.

The first comic is done entirely with captioned photos, and clearly I should start using this method to make my own comics. No drawing skills necessary! It’s a first person tale about a robot, and the style and way the dialogue is presented (in narration boxes, but surrounded by quotation marks) makes it seem like it’s adapting a song by some tweei indie band or Looper.

“My robot doesn’t need a vast memory / Nor does it need to be fast / My robot does not need to be the latest model / Just as long as my robot works / But my robot does need to have one thing, above all... / My robot must have a heart.”

(I even googled it and it’s not an actual song. You should clearly record it.)

The second strip is kind of brutal (if you dislike violence against innocent robots) and made me go “oh no!”. Sure it ends with a “hurray”, but I still felt sad at the end.

The final comic is about a robot at a party and kind of feels like every time I’ve ever gone out. Robot sees cute girl, girl is like “yeah, we can dance I guess”, robot goes home with girl, girl hits robot with baseball bat, girl does horrible things to robot. Why must you be so cruel to robots girl? Why?

Despite all the robot sadness and destruction this is totally worth picking up. Robots! Comics! Alcohol!* What is not to love?

*Okay, that might just be that I am currently drinking. Shhhhh.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

An Investigation: Shoplifting

By Badface

I used to shoplift a lot. Well not “a lot” a lot, but I stole several hundred dollars worth of stuff over a couple of years. It adds up pretty quick, especially when you’re stealing text books from your university (expensive!).

Shoplifting becomes addictive, the thrill, the adrenalin, the rush, the sense of accomplishment. Badface says that after shoplifting the “relief and buzz is like a drug running all through my body. Except it’s way better than drugs...”. Even if you start out shoplifting for need, you probably end up shoplifting random crap you don’t even want because it becomes an addictive habit. Something that is both incredibly easy and almost second nature. “Oh,” you think “that looks vaguely interesting, but I can’t be bothered spending money on it” and then you walk out of the store, and later find that no, it wasn’t worth paying for, but it also wasn’t worth stealing.

This small zine is about Badface’s first time shoplifting. The fear, the thrill, the excuses: it’ll all ring true to anyone who’s ever shoplifted before. The only really puzzling thing is that it’s all about shoplifting CDs. I’m kind of shocked anyone would bother to do that in a world where you can download pretty much any song you can imagine in about five minutes. To each their own I suppose.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


By Antoine Cossé

Damn you supercloud, why you gotta be such a jerk? Causing people to jump out of buildings and get into fights with giant sewer rats.

Okay, so I have no idea what is going on in this comic. A guy (with a beard) wakes up, declares it to be D-Day with supercloud (should I be capitalizing that?), jumps into a dumpster, and then climbs down into the sewers so that Supercloud won’t notice him. He wanders around the sewers for a while, but the best part of the comic is when his way through the sewer is blocked by a giant burger.

It’s just sitting there, with all the toppings. So of course he does what anyone would do in that situation: starts to climb through it.

I’m sure I could go into some deeper philosophical meanings of this, but it’s just weird. Good weird yeah, but still just weird. This may be the second issue of a comic (neither has a number on the cover and I pulled this one out of my zine pile first), so maybe there is a reason for all this stuff. I’ll find out at some point.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A to Z Issue One: Sweet Tooth

By Vickeh

In an effort to fight off the bad influence this zine is having on me I am currently eating a salad. After that I will do some sit ups because just reading this zine makes me feel fat.

This zine is filled with an entire alphabet of pictures of tasty desserts! It is very cute. There’re lots of different candies and puddings and stuff. I’ve baked like six of the things in here, which makes me feel super accomplished. I think I’ve also eaten everything in here, which is kind of horrifying. (Are parma violets the same as rockets?) Are xylophone cakes real? Could I make one?

The cover suggests that you can colour the pictures in, but you don’t have to do that, you can just admire them. I just spent way to long colouring in a comic for a friend, so instead I will colour in one of the healthier pages. Kiwis are yum.

Note: I do not condone eating Kit Kats.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Kiahan: A Tale of Migration

By Carrie MacKinnon
Calais Migrant Solidarity

Sometimes I read things that are uplifting and make me feel good about humanity, not often, but sometimes. This is not one of those times. Instead, this is a comic that makes me angry and frustrated with humanity and the life of privilege that I have just by being born a white English speaker.

This zine starts with comics telling the story of the title character, Kiahan. He was born in Afghanistan, but when his father is killed by the Taliban he and his brother flee the country and try to make their way to the UK. Is Kiahan a real person? It doesn’t really matter as the experiences described here are real. People spend all their money to be packed into trucks and smuggled into countries that don’t want them. They are placed in terrible living conditions and must fight not to be sent back to a country most people in the west would never want to visit, let alone live in.

Interspaced between the comic pages are text pieces that range from reports on the Calais shantytowns where Kiahan lived, to more general pieces of information on refugees, detention centre, and the No Borders group.

There are website addresses and contact information for a lot of different support groups involved with refugees, and if nothing else this zine reminded me about issues I care about and inspired me to try and do some good instead of sitting around reading comics all day.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Amber the Arsonist #12

By Rebecca B.
PO Box 1582
Piscataway, NJ

This zine opens rather oddly: with reviews of previous issues from other publications. So before I’ve read more than two pages of the zine I’m incredibly worried. Is it just going to be about soap operas?

Thankfully it’s not, though they are briefly mentioned (along with the superbowl and baseball; these are not the contents I expect from zines!), instead there’s random snippets from Rebecca’s life, passages from emails she’s sent to people, random quotes, and reviews of other zines.

The best part of the zine are the emails she sent to her friends while she was temping for a cult. That seems like the strangest temp experience you could have, and I’m glad I never experienced it. Brrrrr. Crazy people are scary.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Holidarity Part I: Nine Ladies

By Paul Walker
Flimsy Rockets

We’re all going on a summer holiday, to a site protesting the building of a quarry (or a road, or a super market), and it’s not summer. But you go anyway! Or at least Walker does in this comic telling about his experiences visiting the protest camps near Nine Ladies in Derbyshire.

In this case the protest is about the destruction of a forest to create a quarry to mine stone to build fast food restaurants. Isn’t capitalism awesome? Using simplistically drawn cats and some killer collage work Walker illustrates him and a friend going to the camp several times to visit the people that lived there for months. He helped out where he could at the camp, washing dishes and moving stuff, he participates in skill sharing, learns about the other people at the camp and why they’ve decided to live without homes at places like this all over the UK, and what they do to pass the time while living in the woods (alcohol is a welcome gift)

It’s inspiring stuff, and one of the reasons that I think it works so well is because Walker doesn’t try and bludgeon the idea of a certain cause into the reader. Instead he lets them know what’s going on and encourages them to visit camps in solidarity (on a holidarity). He figures that on a scale of one to ten he accomplished about a two on the helpfulness scale, but that was better than not doing anything.

While I enjoyed the story Walker told, I was also really impressed by the art he used. I do loads of collage (mostly artist trading cards), but really, mine is all garbage compared to the stuff Walker does here. His cities, his forests, the way he does music: I’m going to have to steal it all for own projects. Sorry Paul, I’ll let people know I didn’t think it up.

At the end Walker gives some information on how to get involved with groups that are doing protests, and hopes that at least one other person decides to get involved. I’m going to try and be that person. At least that way I won’t feel so bad about stealing Walker’s art techniques.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Baitline June

What is this thing?! What’s going on? I just realized that the cover of this is smut featuring animals? What is that cephalopod doing? What has become of my blog?

This is a zine of classifieds. Mostly classifieds by queer/punk people. Mostly classifieds by queer/punk people looking for other people to have sex with.

Okay, that’s not totally true, there are lots of other classifieds and ads in here. They range for things varying from Indian restaurants, to accordion repair shops, to tape trades, to sport utility wheelchairs for dogs, to roadkill snakeskin gloves, to lots of stuff. It is kind of insane.

And holy shit, the back page advertises a minicomic drawn by Celso that I own! Awesome.

But a lot of it is queer people looking for other people to have sex with. It’s like a print version of craigslist. Was it caused by one too many bad experiences using online equivalents? I hope someone is collecting all of these, because it is a fascinating glimpse into various subcultures in San Francisco, and really interesting and educational I assure you.

But really, with entries like “Tired of Mr. Nice FTM? Ding dongly hung studly cowboy w/strong hands wants to strangle and beat you up till the cows cum home.” is it any wonder I ended up hanging out in a Lesbian bar with several people of uncertain gender while I was in San Francisco? (You should go there by the way.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hey Monkey Riot #3

By Edd
PO Box 382, 456-458
The Strand

I was going to complain about nothing really happening in this comic, but immediately after I finished it I read two issues of Batman and the Outsiders and that is a terrible comic. Yet I keep reading it (almost done the Showcase Presents collection!). What does that say about my standards? About my ability to say anything coherent about comics at all? (Halo and Geoforce making out is creepy! She’s like 14! And has no memory! Katana keeps killing people and Batman doesn’t care! And and and back to Hey Monkey Riot.)

This is a fictionalized (everyone’s an animal!) version of Edd’s trip to a G8 protest in Germany. He meets up with friends. Wanders around. Gets lost. Goes to boring meetings. Nothing much happens. All of the actual protests are just skipped over, though I guess they were just standing around and not much happening? Perhaps it’s telling of their effectiveness and interestingness that he doesn’t cover the actual protests and blockages. He does get chased by the cops at one point, but he escapes in about two panels. I do really like the cover at least.

(And Metamorpho? Who cares! He is stupid. And now you’re travelling back in time to ancient Egypt and everyone speaks the same language as you? This is the second DC superheroes going back to ancient Egypt comic I have read in the last week. Being an archaeologist in the DC universe must be fucked up. “Oh shit, fucking Batman and Mr. Terrific are in this mosaic too. Where there any ancient rulers they didn’t kick in the face?” I would complain more, but that would involve rereading the comics.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Out of Control #4.2

By David Drexler

I was quite looking forward to this zine, as I really enjoyed the last issue that I read. However, I found it disappointing.

The zine is made up of three essays, and unlike last time the language used in them seems far more...normal. The first essay is on the nature of time and a theory on why coincidences happen. Now I myself have spent time thinking about the nature of the universe, and what if everything we know is a lie, etc. (mostly through the “we all live in a computer simulation” idea), but I just couldn’t really get into this. I don’t think of coincidences as something special or important, for every person whose last name seems to reflect on their career, there are thousands we don’t notice who have no connection.

The second essay continues to discuss various aspects about the creation of a reality, and focuses on the idea of “hronir” from a Borges short story (that as I believe I read on the same trip that I got this zine, perhaps fulfilling Drexler’s idea that thought can create imperfect objects). The whole thing sort of reminds me of Philip K. Dick (and Borges), and I’m realizing that I much prefer my discussions on the nature of reality to occur in fiction. A Dickian short story about trying to create thought-ideas in reality sounds pretty good.

The third essay is on the nature of truth, and again discusses something that sounds like a good basis for a story. The concept of “vac siddhi” is “if you never speak anything but the exact truth, eventually, everything you say will become true.”
The essay goes into a bit of territory I find a putting. Namely equating the idea that there are certain cultures/countries that lie more than others and that has led to do their current impoverished state. Surely Americans, and politicians, lie all the time, yet they are amongst the richest people in the world. (Yes, yes, global economic collapse, whatever.)

Overall there are some interesting ideas here, but I guess I’d rather have them conveyed to me through fiction. Maybe I should write them myself. Also, there are no mummies doing strange experiments in this issue. A clear failure!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Paradox 1

By Tsemberlidis

One thing I’ve noticed in the UK minicomics scene is that there seem to be so many sci fi comics produced here. Yeah, there’s your usual pile of autobio and slice of life comics, but I feel that I’m getting far more comics featuring robots and people shooting lasers at things then I did at similar events in North America. (This is not a bad thing.)

Is it the smaller population forcing people to produce minis when in America they’d get a bunch of comics printed at normal comic size and hit all the cons? Is it the influence of 2000ad and similar comics? Am I just making things up?

Anyway, Paradox is a comic that looks like it would be more at home in Heavy Metal, or some European sci fi anthology than a mini comic. The silent story is your fairly typical “guys land on some planet and shoot aliens (with a twist ending!)”, but there’s something about the artwork that makes me really like this.

The actual panel to panel story telling is a bit lacking in some place, and there’s the (to me) quite bizarre idea to not bother with any panel margins: the bottom of one panel is the top of another. But the actual art in each panel is really good. The attention to detail, the linework, the monsters, I enjoyed it all. I didn't really dig the pulpy paper stock used, but I'll still check out some more comics from the guys who put this out.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Art Bureau 12

Art Bureau 12
PO Box 225221 San Francisco, CA
94211 USA

Art Bureau acts as an artist showcase, highlighting the works done by a number of different artists and talking about alternative art spaces.

This issue’s got three different artists, the first Junichi Tsuneoka (who drew the cover) has a neat Japanese graffiti look to his art. However, that’s pretty much all I got out of the work, an “oh, that seems neat.” I’m sure his stuff would look better in colour, but unfortunately in black and white the images seem crowded and nothing seems to pop out from the page.

Feanne, the second artist, is from the Philippines and her work is really rad. It’s all ink pen drawings, with lots of lines. Seemingly a combination of strange plant life and hyper complex spider webs. These I think would look waaaay better in real life on in bigger images on a computer, as I feel the complexity isn’t properly seen in the small size of the images here. However, it’s still cool to actually see her work, and now I can check out her website and show you things like this:

The final artist is Zeptonn, hailing from the Netherlands. His work is very much illustrator style design work, but I think it’s really good. Monsters! Weird robot machines! All he needs is a robot monster and everything (I want) would be complete.

As for the production, while the cover is red ink the interiors are all black and white. I feel the blacks aren’t really dark enough for some of the work here, though that could always just be my copy. Overall though this is a cool little book thing, and it introduced me to some neat artists.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Monk in Ogreland Chapter II

By Celso

Whaaaaaaat is going on here? It starts off awesome, with a monk and his yak giving up on their quest to convert ogres to whatever religion the monk is, and instead get drunk using a bottle of drunkenness acquired from “dubious witches”. That sounds fantastic! I wish my drunkenness was acquired in a similar way.

The comic then continues with the drunken adventures of monk and yak (yes, the yak is drunk too). They debate what they want to come back as in the next life (“But as a duck you can walk and fly and swim...”), run away from lightning, and eventually end up in a cave with a hermit who promises to show them “the happiness of perfect drunkenness” (again, I wish my drunkenness was like that).

And then the comic just...stops. Instead there’s page after page of a bizarre “debate on reality” between the monk and the hermit. They tell each other “projections”, which are stories about various animals that may, or may not, exist (horned rabbits), and how they reflect various ways of viewing/living in the world. This is not what I want! I want drunken monk in ogre land. It is illustrated, but it’s mostly just huge blocks of text I don’t really care about. Even the yak says “this is getting really confusing and random. It gives me a headache” before going outside to watch lightning.

Several more pages of discussion later there is an utterly bizarrrrrre comic section where the yak is assaulted by three women in hooded robes who untie the thing on the yak’s back (wait, that’s a monster?!), strip, lick the yak, make out with each other, then climb inside the mouth of the blob monster. What the fuck!? Then it goes back to more debate (though this time there are some pretty rad pictures of dragons), before the debate ends, and the comic finishes a couple of pages later.

What’s going on?! I do really like the art though. The yak looks so cuddly and friendly! No wonder those naked girls were hugging him. And Celso manages to get so many emotions out of the yak just from his eyes (the only visible part of his face). The other characters look good, they’re weird and kinda scratchy, but I think it works well for the type of story that’s going on (when the story is going on at least).

There’s also a really neat little insert, “The Proverbs of Ogyrland Book II”, which is a tiny little zine taped onto a picture of that book appearing on a bookshelf. So cool!

I want to read more monk and yak adventures, but I’m not so down with page after page of bizarre debate on the nature of reality. I’m at least going to have to check out issue one to find out what the hell is going on in this story though, so stay tuned!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Peach Melba #8

By Pearl
PO Box 74

I recently attended the Brighton Zine Fest, and one of the really rad things I saw there was a little girl (12? I am terrible at ages) who made her own zines and came to my artist trading card workshop (though I just like anyone that comes to my workshops really).

Anyway, her zine, Peach Melba, is super cute. It’s a single, double-sided piece of paper that is cunningly cut and folded to create lots of pages of different sizes. On them are random lists and writings: words she might use in a story about pirates, questions for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (“Can I assume you have read Animal Farm?”), the fact that she likes Philip Pullman novels (aaaah, my friend just met him and I am so jealous), countries that have laws about blasphemy, uses for string, things that are green.

I will stop myself before I list everything in the zine, but yeah it’s super cute, and way more interesting than some zines I've gotten from adults! I can’t wait to read the other issues I have.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Fictional Tale of Young Love ... and Old

By Philip Spence

This story about a guy who has to go off in a hot air balloon for...some reason and leaving his girlfriend behind for years is alright, but it really takes on extra meaning in the afterward section. There Spence explains that he had started to draw this comic for a girl he was going out with to try and make her feel better about their long distance relationship, but before he could finish the comic, she broke up with him. Brutal!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Krazy Katlady Cookbook Volume 1

By Heather Q

Why are there so many vegan/vegetarian cooking zines? (Hell, even I’ve made one!). Is it because there aren’t that many published cook books that cater to vegans? Is it because vegans spend so much time cooking at home because they can’t eat out? Is it because the type of people that are likely to be vegans are also the type of people who make zines? Probably a combination of all three really.

This zine is filled with recipes that, to be honest, I will probably never make. These are, as a note in the back says, “comfort foods”, with a decidedly southern slant. Having lived most of my life in cold northern climes I guess I’m not really that into southern food (rice and potatoes in the same dish? What are you doing!?).

To add to this is the problem of acquiring ingredients for these recipes. Sure, some are easily replaced (frozen broccoli? Why would I ever buy that when I can buy fresh stuff?), but others are things I can’t get where I live (I cannot even buy black beans in this town let alone soysage), or seem like things I will never see in a supermarket outside of wherever the author lives (Tony’s Cajun seasoning is in like every second recipe and I’ve never even heard of it).

However, I did manage to cook one of the dishes (stuffed bell peppers), and even if I did make some additions (must put garlic in everything), substitutions (cayenne is southern right?), and wondered about some of the measurements (how many tomatoes are in half a cup?) it turned out pretty well.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blackout IV

By Phillip Buchan, Jack Fallows, and Phil Marsden

You’d think that by this point I’d be better at reviewing comedic comic anthologies, but I’m really not.

The first story here, written by Phillip Buchan and drawn by Phil Marsden, is a pretty cute one that reminded me of Pizzeria Kamikaze a little. You’re dead? And in somewhere that might be hell? Well time to get a job digging graves for no apparent reason. Now let’s go get drunk! Anyway, it manages to be cute, funny, and rather grim all in the span of just three pages. I wish I had a hoodie with skeleton bones printed on it.

The next two stories are both “true life tales”, or whatever they’re called. The first one, by Jack Fallows, is a tale of teenage awkwardness, which is actually pretty good (“but I only went to the club to use the bouncy castle!”), and the second, again by the two Phil(lip)s, is just kind of surreal. What would I do if I was “kidnapped” by a group of hippie girls? Strange!

The other stories (all entirely done by Phil Marsden I believe) I didn’t really care for that much (sorry Phil!). The one about how long he’s been drawing comics is alright, but I guess I just don’t find comics about fat, naked, drunk people vomiting on each other that hilarious... Still, his art in the stories that Phillip Buchan drew works quite well.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Feral Shrew #6

By Platform

Hey! It’s a neat little newsletter thing! I think it’s made by people related to some arts night (Platform) in Shrewsbury? I guess that’s where I picked this up. Anyway, it’s filled with random pieces of news, show reviews, interviews with artists, completely nonsensical comics, and event information. It is like every artsy piece of junk from my student newspaper combined into one publication with no news/serious people to tell them what to do. Awesome!

There’re several pages of doodles that I thought were kind of lame to be honest, but then I saw that they were acting as a preview for an entire art exhibition on doodles. There was even a call out for toilet stall graffiti. Those are amazing art shows! I want to go see them!

Though really, by far the most amazing part of this zine are the three pages of fashion photography. It’s just photos of students (I assume) and a few words in which they describe their style. This is fantastic. Back when I was in university we would go around taking people’s photos and getting them to answer the question of the week. Half the time the people doing this just went up to talk to people they thought were hot, so just doing a straight up fashion spread is genius. Maybe I should make my own zinester fashion zine (I’m not a creep! Honest!).

Monday, March 1, 2010

Month Two: status achieved!

Wooooaaaaaaah. Two months down! And I still have a billion zines to review, and I keep getting more. I wonder if I will achieve my goal (of reading all these zines)?

Okay, so what else did I do this month?

Made Oblast #3.5, which was supposed to be a quickie zine collecting all the stuff I wrote for group zines over the last six months, but which took foreeeeever to complete because I had to reformat everything for UK paper size. Also, I should really make an actual cover image for it.

I finished one of the two mix cd booklets (and mix cds) I was hoping to finish. The other is on the backburner for now.

I went to an Alternative Press Fair in London and traded lots of zines with people (I have so far read none of them).

I went to the Brighton Zine Fest, volunteered, traded zines with lots of people, sold a couple (boo, I will trade for anything, I even traded one to a nice Norwegian girl for an orange), traded some mix cds, ran an artist trading card workshop (to which people came! That makes it a billion times better than the one I ran at the Portland Zine Symposium last summer), got drunk and gave a bunch of my zines away in a pub, completely failed to tell anyone about this site, and generally managed to be socially awkward and not make any new friends. Go me!

I wrote my incredibly nerdy column on indie comic sale in the direct market. (Almost done the next one!)

I failed to write anything for the new issue of Stumptown Underground (I will claim I didn't receive the theme until "too late", but the story I was writing wasn't really working either). I must complete something for this month.

Anything else? Oh yeah! I've been helping to plan some sort of Midlands zine meetup, that's supposed to happen in a few weeks, but as it is happening in another town I cannot pick a venue! Maybe I will just find one on the internet.

So not that productive really, I need to write more.

Tales of Conception

Tales of Conception
Written by Timothy Gavin
Drawn by Corban Wilkin, Ryan Fawcett, and Emma Chinnery

Despite the price on the cover, this is a free preview of the comics put out by Popcorn Peacock. According to the information in the back their actual comics are of a much higher quality than this, though I didn’t really have a problem with it (the price might have helped…).

There’re three different comics here. The first one, which is totally cute and by far the best, is about robot raising human babies. “I thought they naturally turned to blue in the winter, that’s why I left it in the snow.” I love robots.

The second comic has nice art, but the story isn’t anything new. I’d say that I’d have liked to see a longer version, but I don’t know if length would have added anything to the story, I guess I really just wanted to see more of the artist (Ryan Fawcett)’s work.

The final story is a time story one that is creepy in a bad way. Ew.

I want more comics about robots.