Friday, April 30, 2010

The Roar #3

This is a weird/neat little comic zine thing that uses some ingenious folding. There’s not much of a story here, more just pictures of monsters! Monsters oppressing other monsters. Monsters giving other monsters additional eyes (“Extra eyes for the faithful”).

The zine is made on a single piece of normal paper. When you first unfold it you’re presented with a scene featuring several monsters and text about them. When you unfold it more the picture expands and both the image and the text change. It’s sort of like one of those old Mad fold-ins, except in reverse. Neat! Oh I would love a zine that had fold-ins like that...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Urban Adventure League Cycle Touring Primer

By Shawn Granton and others
PO Box 14185
Portland, OR

Last summer I went on a pretty big bicycle trip from Vancouver in Canada down to Portland in Oregon for the zine symposium there (plus a side trip to Victoria). I made a zine about it.

If you read my zine you will discover that I was one of the least prepared cyclists ever and really shouldn’t have gone on such a trip. Like incredibly so. But I survived, had a good time, and met some awesome people. Part of the reason it went alright was thanks to Shawn emailing me some information on the best route I could take. I never actually met Shawn in Portland (or if I did neither of us realized), which I now regret.

Anyway, this is a zine packed full of all the information you need to go on a bicycle trip: what to bring, where to go, how to put a bicycle on a train (I wish I’d had more info on this), and how to go winter camping while on a bicycle (I hope I will never use this). Well worth checking out. I’m sure the Urban Adventure League is too! I wish I’d gotten to go on one of the midnight bike rides in Vancouver, or any of the bicycle events in Portland, but I always forgot about them until too late. Drat.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


By Daniel Locke

The cover of this comic is just beautiful and I really like the way it uses colour (no black ink!), however the insides are considerably less interesting.

The interior art is still good, but, I feel it fails one of the major aspects of comics (show, don’t tell). It’s split into four parts, each two pages long. The first page of each section features four close ups of a character who neither talks at all nor moves very much. Underneath each is a narration that that tells about the person in question. Not what they are doing or thinking at that moment, but what will happen to them in the future.

The text is very awkwardly presented as sentences continuing from panel to panel, leading to odd pauses in the reading experience. There doesn’t seem to be much thought put into the text placement, and I wonder why the artist just didn’t to do a full page picture with all the text at the bottom, I feel the effect would have been the same, but the reading experience would have been smoother.

The second page in each section is a full page image, with no text, leaving me to wonder even more.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sins of Machines

By Cryptstine Maria
PO Box 893
Salem, MA
01970, USA

Steampunky stuff seems to be everywhere right now. In fact I was at a big steam punk event in London recently and had a pretty good time.

However, considering I was listening to a band that have a track called “OMG Techno Chicks” when I read this I was even less likely to really absorb the poetry that opens this zine. (Shush, no comments about my questionable taste in music.)

However, I did like one that I thought was the beginning of a piece of prose called “Chapter 3 Describes the Morsel of Flesh”. I enjoyed the word choice used in the piece, especially calling someone a “standard deviation” as an insult. That’s really great!

The zine is rounded out by an account of a fairly grisly Victorian murder that seems utterly ridiculous nowadays, though similar things are probably happening all the time. Humans!

The zine itself is held together with thread (something I can never be bothered to do), features a cover that was apparently coloured in with rose petals (!!!), and is filled with rose petals, and cut out rats and hearts that fell out of the envelope as I opened it. Confetti!

Monday, April 26, 2010


A Rumlad/Morgenmuffel collaboration
By Isy and Steve Larder

Morgenmuffel and Rumlad are both zines I like a lot, so the idea of them doing a collaborative zine of some sort was exciting! Also a little worrying, what if the aspects of both zines that I liked combined into something terrible? Like combining dinosaurs and bicycles (in this instance it would lead to a crushed bicycle and an injured and angry dinosaur, not something awesome).

However, I didn’t need to worry, as Rum-Muffel is a really good zine, albeit a bit different from its parents. Isy and Steve go on an adventure in the wilds somewhere “up north”, I think it’s Scotland as they also go to Edinburgh but I’m not sure. Anyway, they go up to some mountains and are woefully unprepared for snow and cold and I, as a hardy Canadian, can only laugh at their misfortune. Ha ha ha ha.

Steve and Isy took the neat method of alternating pages while telling the story of a trip. I’m not sure how they worked this out as each page seems to lead on pretty well from the previous one. Perhaps one person did one page, than passed it on to the other person to continue. That seems like a time consuming way to make a zine!

However they did it, it works really well, and it’s interesting to see how their styles influence one another as artists, and how they focus on different aspects of the trip. Also the size is awesome.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cat Week: The Ailurophile

A few years ago I was walking around Vancouver with some friends. We saw a bunch of people standing outside a shop that had a sign saying “Klack Klack Empire” (or something similar). We walked over to investigate and discovered a lolcat art show.

We were kind of blown away by this. Paintings of lolcats. Wow. How had nobody thought of this? How had this not made it onto the internet yet? The paintings themselves were pretty much just copies of lolcat pictures from the internet. They weren’t inventing new poses or hilarious catspeak quotes.

So what do cats have to do with this zine (which features a fancy sewn binding!) Well, it’s drawings of cats. Some of them are fairly realistic normal cats. Some of them are ridiculous (though awesome, check out the pirate cat!). Some of them are cute, but none of them are hilarious or anything like that. Still, cats are pretty rad. I mean, I did just devote a week to zines (vaguely) about them.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cat Week: Unicorns + Werewolves/Tubetastic

By Lizz Lunney

Catweek! It continues despite the fact that this comic features absolutely no cats whatsoever. It’s even a flip zine (which I love) and so I have failed twicely in order to find a comic with a cat in it (I mean, I just went to a comic event and failed to get any, I am clearly incompetent). Why not stop cat week? Because I still have more non-comic zines featuring cats to talk about. It will never end.

Unicorns + Werewolves is the reason I picked this up, and it deals with what happens when a unicorn and a werewolf fall in love. Oh no! Opposites attract, rival families, babies of some new and unexplained species.

Though really, a cat is sort of a cross between a unicorn and a werewolf when you think about it (which is really all I have done this week). They’re both furry and like running around outside, unicorns care about their appearance, like indie music, and are adored by girls, while werewolves have claws, bite and pee on things, and are adored by girls. That pretty much spells out “cat” doesn’t it? I bet werewolves even sleep all the time. I guess the only major problems are that cats don’t transform into humans or have giant horns growing out of their foreheads. Theory ruined!

Um, anyway, on to how amazing tubes are. They have great fashion sense, they are very agreeable to other shapes (even if the shapes are a bit jealous of the tubes’ dancing abilities), and they sleep all the time. Hold on a second, I think that’s the missing element from earlier...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cat Week: Sinead: Back to the Start

A Collaboration LitZine

The idea here isn’t a new one, one person starts a story then others continue it. However, as with most projects like this the result is incredibly uneven, with wide variations in quality and style, before it careens wildly out of control into nonsense.

The first two chapters involve characters who are broken, and I’m not at all interested in reading about a guy who repeatedly stalks girls (or the girl being stalked for that matter). Apparently the person writing the third chapter thought along similar lines as their piece ignores what had gone on before hand and instead features a house infested with cats. Now I do wonder if hundreds (!!!) of cats would even want to live together in an abandoned house, even if they were plotting to take over a town.

One of the later chapters doesn’t even try to tie in to what had gone on beforehand, and I sort of wondered if the person who wrote that chapter really understood what the whole project was about. However, by that point the story had degenerated into something rather lacking in a coherent plot and the remaining chapters degenerate even further.

I did like the idea that each chapter would be told from the point of view of a different person, but without a central idea to keep everyone on the same page, the result is inconsistent.

Also, staple your damn zines. I had to staple this myself to stop it falling apart while reading.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cat Week: Cat Chops

By Steve Larder

Steve gives us another comic-like-object. This one features a cat being rather rude to the narrator. My word!

To avoid this being the shortest review ever, I’ll mention that the cover seems to have been screen printed in some way. Rad.

Also here is a drawing of Rocket Cat that Steve drew.

I want that comic.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cat Week: Krazy Katlady Cookbook Volume 2

A Vegan Cookbook (of food for humans)
By Heather

The introduction to this cooking zine says that it’s made up of recipes created after forgetting to go to the grocery store. As someone who has cooked a lot of food using limited supplies, I can totally understand this. However, it’s also pretty clear that this person lives somewhere that you can actually buy ingredients.

Like last time, I struggled to find a recipe from this that I could cook using what was available to me in the shops near my house. Tofu? Only silken. Nutritional yeast? No chance. At least this time it explains what Tony’s sauce is.

Sure there were a couple of things I could have made (corn bread! I even made it earlier this week), but generally they seemed to be things I wouldn’t like that much, or which I already had an awesome recipe for (peanut sauce nom nom nom).

However, there is content here other than recipes I cannot make. There are pictures of cats. Lots of pictures of cats. In fact I have to wonder if the creator of this cookbook really just wanted to showcase her cats. There are 22 photos of cats in this zine, plus two pages of bios! Apparently the owner has eight cats! That is a lot.

I generally prefer cookbooks that are filled with stories, so that even if you aren’t that interested in the recipes it’s worth reading. I’d have loved it if this zine interspaced the recipes with funny cat stories. As much as I like cooking, I sometimes want a funny cat story more than a recipe.

Portion of the profits are donated to no-kill animal shelters and animal rights organizations.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cat Week: Cat Socks

By Steve Larder

Despite Steve warning me that this comic wasn’t as good as Rum Lad I was definitely looking forward to it. However, he was right to warn me as it’s really nothing like Rum Lad at all.

It’s really more like a children’s story book. Each page has a picture of a cat and a simple sentence describing what’s going on. The drawings are cute and everything, but there’s a reason why I don’t read many children’s books.

I’m still looking forward to the Rum Lad/Morganmuffel split zine. That one better not disappoint!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cat Week: Independent Kitten

By Shelly

IK is a perzine filled with the seemingly completely haphazard content you often expect from such projects: book reviews, collages, musings, and pictures of cats.

However, I do generally like those things, and, despite the randomness, there is some stuff in there I enjoyed.

Shelly lists her four favourite places in Portland, one of which is a Mexican place that I repeatedly failed to go to both times I was in the city. It will haunt me forever. Damn you taco truck and your delicious, ghostly, vegan food.

There’s also a brief essay on Shelly’s relationship with her grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s. The last line is really sad: “I also wonder if it makes things hard on her, if it would be easier to leave her routine and not have these strangers appearing and occasionally crying.”

I don’t know how I could deal with that, from either end.

Cat Week!

Aaaaaaah Cat Week!

Because I read three zines in a row that were about cats.

Because I knew that I had other zines about cats.

Because otherwise I wouldn't have gotten to put last year's Portland Zine Symposium program on the site and I already scanned it.

Because you love cats (I know you do, otherwise you wouldn't make zines about them).

Because I just bought a (£2) box of cat postcards and need to send them. And you want one don't you? Send me your address!

Because when you write six reviews in a day you start getting wierd ideas in your head.

Because they are so cute and furry.

Because it is cat week.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Candy or Medicine Volume 7

This anthology costs one space buck! Where do you even get space bucks?

My favourite comic in here was by Adam Wilson. It used a very photo referenced style to tell a (more than likely) true life story about ice cream and broken cars. I liked it.

The other comics vary in quality, some of them have pretty good line work, while others seem completely incomprehensible to me (the one about German grammar just left me confused).

I also dug the back page image by Alex Chiu.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


By Corina Fastwolf
PO Box 66835
Portland, OR
97290, USA

Parce que cet zine est en francais, j'ecrit en francais. “Mais,” tu dit, “ton francais sont tres, tres, tres, terrible.” Et oui, c’est vrai. Je ne parle pas francais.

Le zine c’est tres petite, avec les images des animaux qui mange l’autre animaux. “Je te mange. Je Te Mange. JE TE MANGE.”

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Sea

By Will Kirkby

The two things this comic immediately reminds me of are Fleep by Jason Shiga and the Tales of the Black Freighter comic by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons from Watchmen. Okay, so those are less “things” than “other comics”, but the point holds true.

Fleep (which is brilliant) features a guy trapped in a telephone booth who uses what’s available to him to figure out where he is and what’s going on. It was presented so that each page gave the reader some new plot point (it was originally serialized a page at a time). The Black Freighter is about the sole survivor of a ship wreck who slowly goes insane through loneliness and fear.

The Sea features a guy trapped on a life raft trying to figure out how he got there and how to survive. Each page is split into four panels and represents a day. Kirkby uses the interesting idea of making most panels close ups of the main character’s head. Not every panel is of this, but most of them are. It works fairly well, as we’re able to see how the character changes physically as the days go by. The panels that don’t feature him help show that there really isn’t much else there: the empty boat, and an empty sea.

The story is mostly told through internal narration, for our main character has nobody to talk to. At night he is haunted by dreams, while during the day he tries to figure out how he got where he is, and how he will survive. He seems to be living the idea that hell is yourself, as he must figure out his past, and then face it. The narrative flows well, and I got a good feeling of the type of person the main character thinks he is, though maybe not of his true self.

There are a couple of times where the art is a little hard to understand (when we focus on things not happening in the boat), and I wonder if this comic was originally created in colour and only reduced to black and white for this print version. However, despite the occasional problem, I did enjoy both the style and storytelling of the art.

Unlike some other comics The Sea definitely requires rereading to more fully experience and understand the story. Definitely recommended.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Futuristic Dwellings

By Philippa Rice

Robots. Spaceships. The future.

This zine is pretty much aimed directly at me. It’s just page after page of beautifully drawn futuristic cityscapes. They’re completely ridiculous and unrealistic, but the intricacy in the art is just incredible.

The details on some of the pages are kind of insane, and there’s lots of little hidden easter eggs in the pictures (the zine even comes with a “things to find” insert). However it’s not just the details that are impressive. After looking at the pictures close up I went through it again and looked at everything at arm’s length, allowing myself to take in the full picture all at once. I wish I had bigger versions of these images.

Here’s a video of Philippa drawing one of the pictures! Amazing!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Music Paper #2


My problem with the last comic I read by AM was that it was more just a series of comments and asides in comic form, a sort of commentary on modern life. This one suffers from the same problem in that there isn’t really any narrative. Instead we’re presented with a number of characters who just talk about music in its various forms.

Okay, yes, that is what it says on the cover, and the fake band names (“Pacifist Cheese Hostel”) are pretty amusing, but I do like AM’s art quite a lot, and I really am interested to see him actually develop the characters in his comics instead of having them act as one dimensional mouth pieces about one particular thing. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Train Lines

By Ellen Lindner

I think public transportation is really amazing. A way to get somewhere (somewhat) far away when it is cold or wet out for a couple of dollars and I don’t have to own a car? Sign me up! Sure it’s sometimes a bit expensive and some cities have better systems than others, but in general it’s a great idea, and it’s often great in practice too.

In Train Lines Linder has collected a number of sketches and drawings she’s done of other passengers on trains. Okay, so not all of the drawings are on public transport (unless Lindner rides on the glitziest public transport I have ever seen), but they are all on trains which are really rad ways to get around anyway.

Inside the brown paper covers the artwork is printed full colour on accordion style paper that must have taken Lindner ages to fold. The illustrations catch people in positions in which they don’t really expect to be seen: sleeping, reading, or just thinking. It’s interesting to realize how when we are packed into a place with almost no personal space we can become intensely private and exist solely in our own worlds.

Perhaps next time I’m on a train I’ll pay more attention to those around me, at least to see if someone’s drawing me.

Monday, April 12, 2010


By Steve Larder

So this is a zine about Rick Ta Life, who I at first assumed was just someone Steve made up, but actually turns out to be a real person in a hardcore band.

The whole thing seems like a big in joke, as the real Rick seems kinda messed up and not at all likely to do what Larder illustrates him doing here Alhough, while I sincerely doubt the real Rick has ever ridden a penny farthing, he has presumably washed dishes and gone shopping at some point in his life.

A weird zine that is more enjoyable when you get the joke. I mean, I thought he was just some hippy or something (He has dreads and is smiling all the time, what was I supposed to think?).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bonuscupped! Issue 3

This zine kicks off with the best possible type of interview you can have with a band you are not too familiar with (in this case Propaghandhi): one that isn’t about music at all! Instead there’s several pages delving into the politics of the band, the weather in Winnipeg in winter (brrrrr), the tar sands (booooo), and how the Canadian political system is pretty crap. It’s good reading.

Then there’s a rant about how Elbow sucks, and how getting old doesn’t mean you have to make boring “adult” albums. It’s an interesting look at how many people stop inventing as they age, but that you don’t have to and can keep being innovative.

This is followed by part two of an account of a trip to India that was really interesting. I’ve never been to India, but I’ve read a number of books about the country, and spent quite a long time travelling through other Asian countries, so found this a good read. The poverty that exists there is just incredibly brutal, and despite India becoming a “world superpower” or whatever, the poverty doesn’t seem to be going away. It’s quite depressing really. Huh, this zine seems to just be depressing stuff so far.

However, by this point we’re only half way through the zine!

The rest of the zine is made up of an interview with a band I’d never heard of, an account of travelling through Spain, reviews, and an incredibly bizarre piece of fiction called “The Socialist Adventures of Giggsy”, which recasts the soccer/football player Ryan Giggs as a radical activist.

This is a proper little magazine, with lots of interesting stuff. I really need to start making group zines (because that way I don’t have to create all the content!).

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pissing in the Wind

By Joe Decie

Created to clear up a misunderstanding between someone from the UK and someone from North America, this handy guide will educate you in the myriad of ways the word “piss” can be used.

There are eighteen different definitions here, ranging from “Take the Piss” (“Taking liberties or making fun of.”) to “Piss Poor” (“Not very good.”), with each one illustrated with a picture. It’s kind of insane to think that this word can be used in so many ways. The art is pretty good, and there are usually extra little jokes in the background of each one (“Superyes party wow”).

I wouldn’t mind reading some of the other parts of the Indispensible Pocket Sized Guide to Modern English of Decie made them.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pink Mince #2

"For the confirmed bachelor of exceptional taste."

If you’re not into photos of toy soldiers simulating sex with each other you might as well stop reading this review right now.

Not that I’m as into it as some people (the FAQ asks “Is it wrong that I’m so turned on by these pictures?”), but I do think these photos are really amusing.

One of the reasons I love zines is because I end up being exposed to things like this that I would never see otherwise. Gay porn made with action figures isn’t something I’d ever seek out on the internet (though I know it exists, even if only because this zine started as a website), but as something I can pick up at a zine fair I am totally there.

Technically none of the photos actually show any sex as the figures aren’t anatomically correct. Not that all the photos are of simulated gay sex, some of them are just the toys hanging out or posing. However, no matter what the toys are doing, they’re all carefully posed and lit, and a few of them could actually be mistaken for photographs of real people if you don’t look too closely.

One of the most amusing things about this zine is that all the photos were made with products you can buy. The creator actually says how surprised he was that he could find so many tiny handcuffs and leather trousers, as though someone was encouraging him to put the figures in these poses and take their photos.

My favourite photo is probably the one on the back cover. It’s a purposefully out of focus shot featuring one toy taking photos of two other figures. Meta!

Pink Mince is worth checking out even if you’re not a confirmed bachelor, into buff, semi-naked guys, or lack exception taste. But as even my mom wants copies to give to her friends, most people will probably find it worthwhile.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Cardboard Life Vol. 6

By Philippa Rice

Sometimes I think “Yeah, I totally made something awesome today”, and then I read a comic like this and all my faith in my collage ability is shattered.

This is a collection of comic strips that are done almost entirely in collage. Can’t draw? Well you can certainly cut out a piece of cardboard and then draw simplistic eyes and a mouth on it. Oh. Em. Gee. The two characters here are the cardboard thing, and a girl made of paper that requires slightly more artistic talent to create. Or at least slightly better cutting ability.

The strips themselves are just short humorous one or two pagers, but, as you can probably tell by now, I am completely blown away by the art and the style. It’s an incredibly simple idea, but Rice uses it really well. Sometimes she utilizes the fact that the characters are just pieces of paper really well.

Really, the only negative about this comic is that it’s not a ghost on the cover (it’s a girl’s head). I can’t wait to get more.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Free Doodles II

Presented by Super Duper

To some extent reviewing zines like this is kind of pointless. For one it’s free (that’s even in the title!), and for another it’s incredibly short (one piece of paper).

There’re six different illustrations, five get an eighth of a page each, and one gets a full page. While the drawings are fine technically, and some feature nice linework, none of them really inspired me to go and check out the websites of any of the artists involved. I’ll just have to pass the zine onto someone else who hopefully will.

(Just checking now to see if the url above worked I discovered that their blog is pretty rad. I'll have to bookmark it for later.)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Angry Bird and Oliphant

By Big Ted’s Bad Menagerie

I really have to wonder why this comic was made. Well I say comic, but it’s in that group of things that don’t really fit anywhere. Is it illustrated prose? But the prose is just one sentence per picture. The pictures don’t tell a story by themselves either. It’s pretty much just image after image of characters standing there doing nothing.

It’s not very good.

It is incredibly scatological, but fountains of shit isn’t something I want to read about, even if the comic also features an elephant being fired out of a cannon.

(Also, it’s just badly put together, no staple, pages repeated. It’s just kind of terrible in general really.)

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Rag Issue 2

How do you actually review art zines? (You’d think I’d know by now.) In the same manner as you’d review art shows I suppose. But even then it basically comes down to “I liked it” unless you can talk to the artist about their intentions*.

If the artist even has intentions that is. I make art (I guess), but my intentions generally don’t go beyond “I thought it looked cool”. If the creator(s?) of The Rag have intentions beyond that I really don’t know.

So what’s actually in here? There’s some collages, found objects, a rather filthy word picture (smut!), some drawings. It’s all rather random really. I did generally like it though. The smut was rather good. I probably would have enjoyed this reception.

* Or something really awesome happens at the reception.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Shed – An Unexplained Mystery

One of the problems with this site is that I’m left looking at things like this and wondering if I should even review it. I mean it’s only one (double sided) piece of paper. Is that a zine? But if it was cut and folded smaller it would, of course, be a zine. Double standards!

Perhaps an even greater unexplained mystery is where I got this comic and who made it. I have no idea to either question. I sort of wonder if it’s even finished, I mean, there’s that big blank space on the cover. Surely something must fit into that space? It really seems like it, as the second page begins with “Then one day I...”. I don’t think you’d start a comic with that, there has to be something happening beforehand for the “then” to make any sense.

So what’s the comic actually about? Well a shed. A mysterious one that appears on an allotment. It is mysterious, and the (true) story is built up around it in a fairly effective way, but this really seems like it belongs in a longer collection than by itself. Perhaps that was the original/eventual plan, but it’s not how it ended up in my hands.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Larry #1

By Lee

This is the other zine I got at the recent Midlands zinester meetup in Nottingham, and it totally helped me pass the time on my train ride home. I was a little worried when I first opened it, as it stated that it was made to fulfil the ideas of “anti-perfect” and that spelling and grammar mistakes had been intentionally retained. This kind of drove my inner editor insane, and I worried that it’d be almost unreadable.

Thankfully, Lee seems to be able to spell and put together a sentence, so any errors that existed were ones I didn’t notice. Larry is sort of like a personal magazine, filled with loads of different content. There are little essays about his social anxiety (which I can totally relate to, having gone through pretty much the exact same things, though I’m sure he won’t believe me based on how I acted in Nottingham), why he’s straight edge, a piece on his university, and a completely valid complaint about the bus system near where he lives (“We’ve subcontracted the buses on that route, so your bus pass is no longer valid.”).

There’s also instructions on how to emulsion transfer (which were a little hard to read as they were hand written, but which I think I might try), a piece on single player rpg books (like choose your own adventure I think?), photographs (which generally didn’t reproduce that well), reviews, an activity page (!!!), a picture of dinosaur (!!!), and a piece on why you should turn your cellphone off at night if you’re not in the habit of getting emergency phone calls in the middle of the night. Holy shit, that’s right! I will be saving electricity by turning off my phone. Thank you Lee! I feel really dumb now. I hope issue two will have similarly life changing information.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Matter Presents #7: Weird Face

By Philip Barrett

Barrett seems to keep coming back to the idea of obsessions in his comics. Perhaps he’s even obsessed with them. The first of his comics that I ever read was about a record that a character became obsessed with. He couldn’t get it out of his head, he listened to it all the time, but he couldn’t really decide what he thought of it. Eventually he gave it away, only to have finding it again become the new obsession.

This comic deals with visual obsessions instead of aural ones, with an artist who keeps creating the same face over and over again. Who is it? What does it mean? The obsession begins to affect his relationship with others. The gallery curator feels that while they “encapsulate [...] the mindless banality of modern culture” he needs more variation before his next show can be started. His lover abandons him, thinking that he cares more about the face than about her.

He moves onto other forms and styles of art, like sculpture, to try to get rid of the face he now sees everywhere. He turns to drink and despair. And then there’s a twist ending that I think I’ve seen in an old science fiction comic somewhere.

I didn’t enjoy this as much as some of Barrett’s other comics, possibly as I feel it’s covering ground he’s gone over before (“But Matthew,” you ask, “you read superhero comics all the time, all they do is go over the same ground all the time.”). Still I think Barrett’s art work is really good. The different styles the artist uses in his work are pretty fun to look at, and I generally enjoy his line and all the cross hatching he does. Plus the way he manages to use expressions to mirror the feelings between different characters is pretty cool.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Three months! New Zine!

Three months! Updating every day! And with the reviews I've written but which haven't gone live yet this is already my most updated blog ever. Well excluding my deadjournal I suppose, but I haven't even looked at that in years.

So what else did I accomplish this month? A brand new zine!

Check that out! Just in time for youtube to change their website style! Amazing! Plus you can't even see the border in the image above. Outstanding.

Here's the back:

Plus! There's my new blog Every Item of Clothing I Own, which is kind of ridiculous and boring, but I'm sure it'll be more successful than this one.

Okay, so what else did I do? I helped organize a meetup in Nottingham for the Midlands Zine Group, which was super fun. I got to meet some other people, trade zines, go to an art show about/inspired by the Soviet space program, and dress up. The day was pretty much everything I love doing except making out with girls. We're currently planning another one for Birmingham, if you're interested in coming let us know!

I wrote a submission for the robot issue of Stumptown Underground (I don't think it'll get in, as it wasn't that good, but at least I wrote something).

I went to the UK Web and Mini Comix Thing, which was lots and lots of fun. I saw some of my friends, met loads of new people, and got a big stack of comics. Hurray.

I wrote my indie sales column for The Beat (my new one should go up tomorrow, and maybe some other content I did too).


By Ray

Recently I helped organize a Midlands zine meetup on the wemakezines ning A few of us got together in Nottingham, and despite fewer people coming than expected, a good time seemed to be had by all. We talked about and traded zines, went to an art gallery that was having an exhibition about/inspired by the Soviet space program ( like oh em gee totally awesome <3 <3 <3), had dinner, and made vague plans to meet again.

One of the zines I got was this one about Ray’s “irrational fear of horses”. Now to be honest, he may claim his fear is irrational, but it is far, far more rational than my greatest fear (or at least one of them), which is flying jellyfish. Eurgh. Even thinking of it gives me shivers. Floating around in the sky with their electric tentacles going every which way, preventing me from ever leaving the house again. I am eternally gratefully these monstrosities do not exist in real life.

But horses do exist! And Ray is afraid of them. In his zine he goes through the reasons why people usually have a fear of horses, explains his previous exposures to horses, and tells about instances when his fears have caused him inconvenience. Plus he explains the, far more sensible, reason why he’s afraid of birds. I could tell you about my hate/fear relationship with swans, but I’ll leave that for my own zines.