Monday, May 31, 2010

Queenie #2

By Rachel Lindan

I met Rachel through the We Make Zines ning, and we were both super excited to discover another zinester living so close together. We’ve hung out a couple of times (museum trips, parks, scrabble!) and, to be perfectly honest, I feel kind of weird reviewing a zine that I helped photocopy. (Not this exact copy, it was printed on Rachel’s printer, but we had a photocopying “date” and I showed her how to use the copiers and rearrange the flats for this issue so they copied more easily.)

In addition to living in a kind of terrible part of England, Rachel and I share a sense of depression and social anxiety. It’s nice to read or talk about experiences like these, but it's nice to know that you’re not completely alone.

So what’s actually in the zine? Stuff about music Rachel likes (she really likes Manic Street Preachers, you should email her if you like them), the recent UK election, Shaun the Sheep, and her guinea pigs (who she calls “peoplefeets”, which implies they get stepped on a lot).

It’s just too bad the cover couldn’t be in colour, because it looks really nice that way.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Moments of Struggle

An Illustrated Introduction to Some Anarchist History
By Isy Morgenmuffel

I usually really dig Isy’s zines, but this one felt kind of lacking. It’s broken up so that each page talks about one specific event/time period in history and how it ties into anarchism. Except that I felt one page wasn’t enough to even define the terms Isy wanted to use, let alone talk about time periods that sometimes went on for hundreds of years.

So while there is some interesting information here, I also feel there’s some misrepresentation (can a society really be anarchist if it survives solely by preying on other groups?). I guess I really want Isy to just pick one particular era (like the Spanish civil war) and do a zine just about that. I’d definitely want to read it if she did.

(I just finished making another recipe from Isy’s cookbook Another Dinner is Possible. It was a peanut chilli, and turned out really well! Go buy that instead.)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

i live in a fukt up! society three

It’s things photocopied out of newspapers! Headlines, articles, some photos, infographics and stuff.

Some of the pictures are good (there’s clearly a reason why they were cut out and photocopied), but the articles generally fall into the category of “depressing”. Hmm, I guess that’s why this zine is called what it’s called.

I generally “read” the paper every day. This usually means I ignore pretty much anything about politics or politicians because I find them incredibly boring and disheartening. They’re either saying stuff I violently disagree with, or proposing ideas I like but that I don’t think have any chance in hell of actually happening.

The rest of the paper is much the same, horrible things happening to people. Except that they don’t even mention places where real horrible things are happening (ie. Africa) unless it’s super major important, but even that will probably get bumped if there is some sort of local scandal.

Perhaps I am just too cynical and jaded, but I’m honestly not sure if the world can even get better at this point. What do you think?

So what do I read? Headlines, opening paragraphs to stories, “interesting” stories, some of the arts coverage, letters in the sports section that complain every week that there is no coverage of female athletes. I’m honestly sort of drawing a blank on what I do read, which indicates that most of it doesn't leave any sort of mark in my brain at all. Blah.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The 2010 Eurovision Song Contest Finals Are On Tonight

Are you excited? I bet you aren't!

I have made a zine about the event, telling you who I think is terrible (most of them), and who is okay. If you give me an email (tomorrowboy, gmail) I'll send you a PDF of it, but here are some jpgs you can at least look at. Maybe you can print them off and make your own copy? (It's formatted for A4 size.)

(And yes, I wrote most of this drunk.)

London Zine Symposium This weekend!

Do you live in London? Will you be there for the London Zine Symposium on Saturday? I will be! I'll be tabling and also running an artist trading card workshop.

I'm on the schedules/maps/whatever as "Stumptown Underground", but it looks like I haven't actually managed to get copies of that in time. I will have lots of my zines available to trade (and I guess sell), so you should come by and say "hi".

Hurray zines!

(I'm not even finished making half of mine, I better get a table on the train down or I'm screweeeeeddd.)

Sinatra in Space

Sinatra has been kidnapped, and brought forward in time so that some guy can win a contest. Now he’s stuck on the moon, and has to get a job to pay rent. Shitty!

I learnt several things from this zine, including three reasons why I do not want to live on this version of the moon.
1. It’s a monarchy (the moon king is either a giant cat, or has a giant cat with a crown that he likes to watch chase people dressed up as mice).
2. Giant flesh-eating sewer slugs are a major problem for people of all walks of life.
3. You have to pay rent.

It’s amusing, and the art is pretty good (though I definitely prefer the thin lined art style that is used on some of the pages). I have almost no reference point for Sinatra though, he was a singer? And in movies? My knowledge of things that are not giant space lizards is apparently lacking.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Walk So Differently

By Anwyn, Emma, and Louise
PO Box 4
Enmore NSW
2042, Australia

The big idea behind this zine is that it’s a “choose your own adventure”! Well, sort of. A bit. Not really at all.

Okay so it’s really just a collection of memories and glimpses of Sydney, Australia by the authors. Most of the pages do have options on the bottom along the lines of “To read more about leaks – page 7”, but the connections between the pages themselves is usually rather vague or, in some cases, nonexistent.

The content of the pages is typewritten on a number of different typewriters (you can tell by the fonts!), presumably one for each of the contributors. They seem to be working off of each other’s work, being reminded of previous events by what the previous person had written. It’s all very much set in Sydney and can be confusing if, like me, you’ve never been there.

Some of the stuff they write about is interesting, but I feel the zine could have been better executed. Plus I’m not really down with first draft typewriter zines (I mean, I’ve rewritten this sentence like three times). Aieee!

Still, the “choose your own adventure” format is awesome (even if I gave up after my first time through and just read all the pages I’d missed). I think I’m going to have to steal that and make my own zine.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Frankenstein Meets Shirley Temple

By Roger Langridge

I thought it was really neat that Roger Langridge still made zines and showed up to minicomix event when I met him a couple of months ago at the Comics Thing in London. I only bought the one comic off him (though if I had more money I would have bought more), and it’s different from many other comics I read for this site.

Why? Because Langridge (whose name I have just learnt to spell) has been making comics for years, and it’s apparent when you look at this comic. The cover shows that his design sense and drawing ability are both top notch. The detail and cross hatching he puts into the art are excellent. Actually looking through some of the art inside I think he pretty much has to be using zipatone for a bunch of this stuff, but it’s still neat to see.

Anyway, this comic is from 1996 (so old!) and is really weird. But probably not in the weird way you might expect from the guy who writes and draws The Muppet Show and the comic where Fantastic Four enemy and giant space lizard Fin Fang Foom works in a restaurant kitchen. Instead Frankenstein’s monster and Shirley Temple wander through various landscapes; the monster makes pseudo-philosophical almost-monologues like “The building blocks of life owe us no explanation for making us what we are.” While Shirley Temple walks along beside him interjecting remarks designed to belittle what the monster is saying, though he rarely responds directly to her. It’s very odd, but the artwork is really good. Still, if you’re going to buy a Langridge comic I’d probably recommend the Muppet Show ones, even if I haven’t read them yet.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Complete Story of Assassination

Woah, this is a pretty epic group zine with lots of different types of content. There’s loads of different drawings and other pieces of art, 19th century smut (and an essay about it!), other types of smut, and lots of other stuff!

There’s very much a steampunk-y vibe running through the content here, and that can be seen in the opening story, which I kind of feared would fill the entire zine. It features a number of lesbian circus performers who are also engineers, music makers, and just all around amazing people. However, when walking through the woods with someone, listening to the birds and appreciating nature, I think I would run away if they started talking to me like this:

“We are at the end of a cycle of incoming legislation that has removed rights of access and use to commons previously enjoyed by anyone, and enables land to be titled to a single owner. This theft pure and simple results in many people moving to the factory-cities from which you escape, just in time to be exploited by the ‘Industrial Revolution’, and to land being used for cash crops such as cotton. We prefer rather a sufficiency in which people become their surroundings, not alienated figures in a landscape.”

I mean, what?

I felt there was very much an anti-urban/city/modern society feel to much of the content here, which isn’t something I’m really down with. I love cities! I mean, sure in theory I’d be fine living somewhere smaller if everyone there was super awesome, but the likelihood of that happening seems incredibly slim.

There’re instructions on how to make a spinning dream machine using your record player, poetry, weird found objects, tattoos, and an account of a weird encounter with a police officer in Holland. Overall a well put together and interesting group zine.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Train to Shanghai

By Rob Jackson

I spent two years living and travelling around various parts of Asia, so I’m always curious about other people’s experiences in the same countries. Shanghai wasn’t somewhere I ever managed to get to (I only went to Beijing in China), but Jackson’s tale features a lot of things that I grew to know during my time in that part of the world.

This really is a comic solely about a (33 hour) train ride to Shanghai. Jackson was living in Harbin (which appears to be in the ass end of nowhere near North Korea and Russia) in the late ‘90s. He’d lost his job as a teacher and set off for Shanghai because apparently that was where the jobs were. Jackson breaks the next thirty three hours into things that are familiar to me, not being able to communicate with anyone else, being utterly confused/disgusted by things (people spit so much! Partially due to pollution, but still!), the sense of isolation, the paranoia and fear that something will go wrong, not having any idea what to do when you get to a new city. They were all things I had experienced when I lived there.

The art here is not the greatest. Actually, that’s unfair to Jackson. I think his drawings of the train itself, and the cities and buildings he passes are fairly good (and I like the collage elements he occasionally uses), I’m just not a fan of how he draws most people, as they often seem strange and rather simplistic. The style does work well for a large crowd scene when he first arrives in Shanghai, but less well with the fewer people in his train carriage.

(The guy on the right is how Jackson usually draws his people. On the left is how he draws himself after just waking up. I like the juxtaposition.)

I do have one unanswered question: Did Jackson really go on an incredibly long train ride without anything to read as this comic seems to imply? I doubt there was much reading material in Harbin, but there must have been something!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Angry Violist #1

I must first admit that up until I sat down to write this review I thought this zine was called “Angry Violinist”. What a fool I was! Though to be honest, I’m not even really sure what a viola looks like.

But let’s ignore all that (and the existence of Google image search), because this is actually a cool zine that doesn’t require any knowledge of violas, violins, or any other stringed instrument. Sure knowing how to play one might help you gain more knowledge from this zine, but there’re plenty of reasons to read it even if you can’t play any musical instrument.

The first piece here is one I found really interesting, it talks about the rigidity of learning violin (and other traditional instruments), and how many/most teachers of these instruments believe you should play only classical music. I find classical instruments really bizarre in that people who play them frequently seem to only play music written hundreds of years ago.

There’s also info on Transylvanian folk viola playing, how to bow your guitar (amazing, but really went way over my non-musically inclined head), the fact that bows are apparently made from horse hair (the poor horses...), and a list of rebellious string players to inspire you to use your instrument in new and exciting ways.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Plot Thickens

By Gavin Burrows and James Parker

A rich old English adventurer/spy/jackass discovers that the world has moved on, most of the villains he used to face have moved into legitimate business, and he’s in danger of being sued if he tries to rescue someone.

As well crafted as something like this may be, I just hate the main character. Yes, he’s not supposed to be liked, but people like that do exist in real life and I hate them. He deserves everything coming to him because he’s a rich, stuck-up prick. As the waiter in here cries out “class war!”, I can’t help but agree. (Of course, I’ll probably be going up against the wall in the revolution too. Oh well...)

There’s a fun little bit at the beginning where he’s acting out his escape from some deadly peril using salt shakers and other tabletop items. Oh no! Not the egg cups!

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Mini Zine Art Project for the Postally Inclined

By Su Mwamba

This is a mini zine (bet you couldn’t tell that from the title) that features a number of reproductions of artist trading cards. I love ATCs! I have two binders filled with cards other people have traded with me, I’ve run making/trading workshops for them in three different countries, and have even been on TV because of them.

However, I find this zine kind of strange. I like the trading aspect of the cards! Getting a physical object from another person. I guess I can understand the use of a zine like this to spread the word of ATCs or let people know about other people who are interested in trading, but I feel you could just do that by coordinating larger swaps, organizing workshops or events, or just giving people cards.

Also, the Wikipedia article on ATCs is one of the worse I’ve ever seen. There’s a section on “Letterboxing Trading Card” that is terrible, clearly written by someone who does not use Wikipedia very often, and not very informative. I guess I should rewrite it or something.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Man & Troll: An unconventional fable

By David O’Connell

Man and troll! Enemies for as long as time can remember! But now, no more! Their love is true and strong, it can weather the problems that face them, disapproving parents, a society that hates and fears them, TV talk show hosts.

Yes, this is a silly zine (on the back cover O’Connell says that he “draws and writes nonsense”), but I thought it was really cute and funny. I’ve kind of ruined the twist for you, but it’s still worth reading for the way the story is told.

O’Connell’s art is fairly simple here, and the backgrounds aren’t exactly the most exciting things (if they exist at all), but he has a good line and his characters seem to move realistically. O’Connell’s art is influenced by a number of French creators, and maybe I’m just forcing my knowledge of his Tozo comic onto this, but I feel it’s still visible when he’s drawing trolls.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

[No title]

By Emma Thomas

This word and titleless zine is pretty neat, even if the lack of title makes it a little difficult to talk about. Inside we’re presented with a number of different photocopied photos, each with the eyes of every person in the picture cut out. Standard enough stuff I suppose, but the way that holes cut out on each page create random holes on the images on the reverse looks pretty cool.

I’m not sure what the creator meant by creating this zine – a lot of the pictures seem to be from political rallies and events – but she’s created an interested product. Though not, I would think, one that’s going to be produced in large quantities (all that cutting!).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Aarrrrrr Tome Troisième

By Antoine Cossé

When we last left our possibly insane hero, he was falling down a hole after having crawled through a giant burger that was blocking the way in the sewer he was travelling through in an attempt to escape from Super Cloud.

If you were hoping that the comic would start to make sense you’re out of luck. The main character spends quite some time falling through various holes before emerging in a chamber with someone else. They don’t know where they are, and they can’t feel anything. The only way out is to climb up into a tunnel and see where it goes...

There’s some really nice layout and design in the pages here that really helps to show what the characters are feeling (mostly despair and isolation). I’m curious as to what happens next.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Q for Treason #12

By Reece

A few years ago I was interviewing a librarian for an article about zines in the Vancouver library. I asked her what zines she liked and she told me about one called Q for Treason that was written by another librarian in Vancouver and was about visiting ghost towns.

I got a couple of issues out including one about a cross Canada trip that Reece had been on. When I started reading it I was doubtful that he would actually go across all of Canada, as nobody ever went to Newfoundland. Except Reece (and his friends) did. And then they were hanging out with a friend of mine. And then they went on a trip I went on, and I realized that I’d met and hung out with Reece and his friends that summer (we went to an abandoned military base).

I emailed him and we hung out a few times before I left town. Considering I’m someone who loves exploring abandoned buildings I kind of wish we’d hung out more, but instead I will have to live vicariously through his zines.

In this issue Reece has somehow ended up in alone in Syria after crossing the border using seemingly dubious means. Once there Reece sets out to go and visit, you guessed it, ghost towns. This time they’re near the Israeli border. His adventures with Syrian bureaucracy (I cannot spell that word to save my life, hurray spellcheck) provide a strange counterpoint to his time wandering around completely empty and dilapidated buildings.

In between exploring these places that most local people, let alone tourists, never visit Reece hitchhikes, travels with cops, meets local people, learns about their culture, wonders about the differences between Canadians and people in other countries, and is surprised by a horse.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Black Shapes

By Philip Barrett

This one hits kind of close to home. A formally aspiring writer can’t write any more and it’s messing up his life. He can’t sleep. His relationship is going down the tubes. He’s in trouble at work. It seems everything is going wrong for him.

And then it gets worse, he has to move back in with his parents. Only temporarily of course, but how long does that last. (Six months and counting in my case. I wish I had job. Or wrote more.)

Barrett returns to the idea of struggling with an obsession that is taking over someone’s life. In this case the struggle becomes physical, as the “black shapes” from the title are actively attacking and mocking the lead character.

It’s all kind of depressing, and I’d rather not think about it as it reminds me too much of my life at the moment. Boo hoo! Oh woe is me. And so on. Good comic though.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Talking About the Weather November-December 09

Despite my general dislike of zines without staples (it’s not that much effort!) this one’s actually pretty good. I believe it was made by a teenage girl I met at the Brighton Zine Fest.

At first it seems like your average cut and paste perzine thing, listening to music, meeting up with friends, getting really excited about things. And then suddenly she’s interviewing The Specials. Yes, the band. She’s back stage at a gig they did, and they all seem a bit drunk (or very drunk in one case), and I’m jealous. It’s also a pretty good interview.

Ghost Town apparently sold 900,000 copies, and reading about it now (just before the election in the UK) I’m kind of worried. I’m afraid it’s all going to happen again. Is already happening again. And I don’t know what to do.

There’re also instructions on how to make a paper boat, lists of things, a way of portraying the seaside at Brighton Beach that I really like, and some pieces of art.

But still, too much fighting on the dance floor. Sigh.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Giant Rhinos on Tour

Despite being the title characters, the Giant Rhinos (a band) don’t really show up much in this short minicomic. Instead we have one of the band member’s brother and his friend plotting to destroy the band with a stink bomb.

The plan backfires, as you could probably guess it would. I think the art looks pretty good in here, though the story seems like something that would be more enjoyed by little kids.

Mostly though I’m trying to figure out which band I’d actually like to listen to. Based on the clothes they’re wearing on the cover, it’s probably not going to be the Giant Rhinos despite their awesome name.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Your Pretty Face is Going Straight to Hell #9/Telegram Ma’am #18

By Miss Tukru and Maranda Elizabeth

I went to the Brighton Zine Fest earlier this year and on the second night there was a dinner with bands and stuff performing. It was pretty fun. I drank rather a lot because I am terrible at social situations. I had multiple cans of cider, and when I finished those I still didn’t feel drunk enough, so I asked the goth girl sitting next to me if I could have some of her red wine.

Now if sober I would know not to drink red wine, and in fact had said I shouldn’t earlier in the evening, but by this point I was drunk enough to think it was a great idea. Soon my memories turned into a haze. The show ended, everyone went to a nearby pub. I flitted about talking to lots of people I don’t remember. Then I’m outside walking back to the house I’m staying at and I’m cold. Then I’m waking up the next morning hung over, still in my trousers, and lacking my hoodie.

I got up and examined my stuff to see if I’d lost anything. I still had my wallet and ID, but all of my zines were gone. I must have given them to other people while drunk. I also had candy wrappers in one pocket, and a copy of this zine in the other, presumably things people had given me in return for my zines. I stumbled around for the rest of the day terribly hungover and even worse at social situations, but I did at least manage to get my hoodie back by going back to the pub (where the girl tending bar asked if I was okay after the night before, what had I done?).

This is a split/flip perzine, and isn’t really the sort of thing that I usually go for, though I do really like the cover of Your Pretty Face is Going Straight to Hell. It’s full of social anxiety, depression, and other fun things like that (and which I am experiencing right now, drat), but none of it is really written in a style that appeals to me that much. At one point one of the authors writes “i don’t re-read what i’ve written.” (yes, with that capitalization), and I can’t really imagine doing that with any of my zines.

At least I’ve learnt (hopefully for the last time), to stop drinking red wine.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bomblizzard Vol 1

I got this from a girl (Nikki Stu) who’s done some pretty fantastic video game inspired collage art (one of her pieces is in a book of Darkstalkers artwork put out by Udon), but I was surprised to discover that it also has comics by Isy Morgenmuffel and Steve Larder (Rumlad)! I didn’t expect to see comics from some punk rock activisty people in the same book as video game people. (It turns out Steve went to school with Nikki).

The theme of this issue is winter, and there’s some pretty neat stuff in here. Isy’s comic is about a boat trip to the Canary Islands (and then returning home to be lonely in dreary Britain). Isy’s comics are really good, even if her panel to panel story telling is sometimes a bit iffy. (I’m of the belief that if you need arrows to tell the reader what panel to read next you’re not laying out your pages properly. Though since I haven’t made any comics at all, what do I know?)

Nikki’s comic is about a weird owl creature hunting some magical winter spirits. I really liked the way the winter spirits were drawn, but the owl creature has a pretty complicated design that is a bit hard to understand in black and white. I’d love to see a colour version of it though.

Steve’s bit is less a comic and more illustrated text, though admittedly Steve is never really big on drawing things like panel borders to begin with. It’s about him going to Austria to visit a friend and being incredibly cold. And yes Steve, people from actual cold countries do laugh at the UK’s inability to deal with winter.

Nich Angell’s comic was a cute one about people attacking a weather satellite to make proper winter weather actually happen. I think Nich’s art is also very video game influenced, and it’ll be interested to see how his style evolves as he grows as an artist.

There’re a number of other comics and pieces of art in here, and the “worst” one is still pretty good. I can’t wait until the next issue.

(Art from Nikki Stu's comic.)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Culture Slut #20

By Amber Forrester

Sometimes after I read zines I’ve gotten through trades with other people I really wonder what they think of the one I gave to them. Culture Slut is a really good perzine from Montreal that focuses on some queer and feminist issues. But what did I give to Amber? Why a zine filled with fake journalistic articles about Godzilla and a piece of pulp fiction about a dude fighting Nazis who ride pterosaurs. What on earth must she think about me?

I traded with Amber because I met one of the organizers of the Brighton Zine Fest at an alternative press event in London. I told her that I had lived in Canada (though really, everyone in the UK can tell I lived _somewhere_ else because of my accent) and had been to Montreal recently, and she asked me if I knew Amber/had read her zine. I hadn’t.

But I did know of Amber, because she was on the wemakezines ning, so upon getting home I sent her a message and initiated a trade with her. And now, a mere two months later I’m actually getting around to reading her zine (I have piles of zines waiting to be read and keep getting new ones, this is good for the blog, bad for me).

And it’s good.

Amber’s just moved to Montreal, and she’s got a sweet job learning French. Getting paid to learn French! Awesome, if I move to Montreal I totally want to do that. She tells us about what it was like moving to a big city (after living in a small Ontario time for, I believe, all of her life) and how adjusting to a place where you don’t speak the language can make even buying stamps hard (I know how that is...). She tells us about awkward doctor’s visits, her first period and other menstrual stuff (I think I have read more about this than most guys, probably for the best really).

There’s a lot of stuff about being queer in Montreal, and reading about how the gay pride events are being incredibly commercialized with banks paying attractive (presumably) gay people to walk around in not much clothing and give out stickers. Amber’s personal opinions on being queer (but going out with a boy!) reminded me of some of Erika Moen’s comic Dar, and how western culture/society really does try to fit everyone into binary holes.

She talks about her childhood crushes and pets, about going on adventures in Montreal, about being shy and socially awkward, and reviews other zines (I’ve read one of them! How exciting).

Maybe I’ll make my next zine a perzine and Amber will review it too : )

Monday, May 10, 2010

Odd Ends #2

By Rio

This is a collection of comics originally published in a number of different places, plus a new comic that acts as a table of contents (comics can be anything!).

The comic I liked best was the Nasrudin comic. Hurray Nasrudin! I don’t know why but I really like these comics about an old dude and his donkey giving out folk wisdom. They’re cute.

The longest piece in here is an adaptation of Young Goodman Brown, a story I’m not really familiar with. Unfortunately I didn’t really dig this comic as I didn’t really understand what was going on in it. I suppose if I knew the story it would make more sense.

However, there are some pretty good comics about being gay and of Middle Eastern descent, and dinosaurs! I like dinosaurs.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Out of the Ruins

I usually just read zines straight through, but I stopped reading this one several times before I finished it. Not because it’s super long or anything like that, it’s just written in a style that I found difficult to get through.

It seems very rambly and verbose. The first half or so of the zine is about the author having to wait for a court case to go to trial before he could leave Australia. However, despite reading all this I still wasn’t really sure exactly what the author was on trial for. Something to do with protests, something to do with the police, but I couldn’t be positive over what was going on.

I found a lot of the rest of the zine to be sort of similar. A lot of words, but perhaps not that much being said. I did agree with a section that talked about why you should continue fighting the fight when the world overall seems fucked. Every victory, no matter how small, is a victory. It’s true. Changing even one person’s mind can sometimes be enough.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cute Things With Faces

By Bryony Matthewman
PO Box 1116

It is only now that I have sat down to write this review that I suddenly managed to read the cover of this zine. Things! Of course, that actually makes sense, I was wondering what “chengs” were.

This is a collection of poorly drawn comics. But don’t stop reading the review yet! Poorly drawn they may be, but some of these are actually really quite funny. There’s a really good one about sentient Tetris blocks, and another good one about clouds vomiting rainbows.

Okay, so I guess they’re not for everyone, but I enjoyed them. In addition to the comics there are a bunch of random doodles, and a recipe for a kind of horrifying sounding “Delicious Rainbow Cake”. Though that does raise the question of why I’m okay eating food colouring in candy, but not in cake. Hmm....

(Huh, apparently the girl who made this is internet/youtube famous. Crazy.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Skill Shot 12

Seattle’s Pinball Zine
PO Box 20204
Seattle, WA
98192, USA
$5 for a five issue subscription

Sometimes I feel as though I either lived in the lamest city in Cascadia or that there was clearly a super awesome secret city that I just never managed to discover while I was there.

This is because every time I’ve gone to Seattle or Portland I’ve had an awesome time, and even now that I live thousands of kilometres away from those places I am still discovering amazing things going on there. If I was willing to live in the USA* I would move to one of those cities in a second.

Anyway, this is a zine about pinball. It lists a top 12 favourite pinball machines of the moment, pinball news and gossip (tournaments, where new pinball locations are, custom machines people have made), strategies for specific games, challenges, and a list of every (?) pinball machine in Seattle, broken down by region.

It’s so neat to see that there’s still an active fan base for something that I generally think of as a dead form of entertainment. But as long as people keep playing, other people are going to keep making pinball machines (that must be such a weird job).

I’ve never really had any interest in pinball before, and I’ve barely ever played, but now I want to. I want to find the most fun machines. I want to maybe get good at them. I feel like I spent too many of my early years reading books instead of going out and playing in arcades. Drat.

*I’m not. I would get shot. Also: the politics are super fucked.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Flytrap Episode Four

By Sara Ryan and Sarah Burrini

A few years ago I ended up with a copy of Sara Ryan’s comic “Me and Edith Head”, it was good stuff. Flytrap is also good.

It’s the story of a small circus troupe, love, and romance. This issue has several of the girls from the circus going and getting really drunk in a tiki bar (I kind of want to go to one of those) because of boys (boys! You cannot trust them). The story’s not too long (it’s only eight pages), and it’s clearly part of a longer narrative, but it manages to work by itself.

I really like Ryan’s dialogue here; it’s funny and manages to give distinct voices to each of the characters. Burrini’s art is also quite good. I’m not sure how well she’s managed to keep the character designs from the earlier chapters (which were drawn by different artists), and I’m kind of confused by one of the characters smoking (I don’t think you can do that in bars in America anymore), but she draws a dejected girl playing with plastic monkeys pretty well.

The only downside is that it’s taken something like five years for the story to get this far, making me wonder how long it’s going to be until it’s completely finished. Maybe I’ll go and find one of Sara Ryan’s novels and read that instead. Even though they’re aimed at teenage girls I’m sure they’re worth checking out.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lost and Fun

Two covers! How exciting. I guess that makes up for the zine not being stapled. How I hate having to staple other people’s zines. Okay so I don’t have to, but I find it definitely makes for an easier reading experience.

The introduction says that the zine is made up of a combination of things he found in the trash, and things his gave him. I guess I was hoping for a bit more of the found object aspect, as I was a bit disappointed by what was in here.

Of course if I want to look at found objects I can look at various websites all day (though I suppose I could just do that instead of reading any zines), and there is some neat content in here.

There’s a bunch of photos from a photo booth someone claimed to have made in Germany. This raises so many questions. You can make a photo booth? Even if you can, I’m pretty sure it has to be illegal to keep people’s photos and then republish them without their knowledge. I am confused.

There’s also an interview with one of the people in charge of large-scale capture the flag games in London (neat!), a bit of info on nintendocore electronic music (which I’m listening to right now!), a bunch of art (some good, some not so good), and of course, some of the found objects I’d hoped for (which weren’t really that interesting to be honest).

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Necessary Monsters #5

By Daniel Merlin Goodbrey and Sean Azzopardi

The (extra long) final issue! And it delivers. Secrets revealed! Giant monster attacks! A massive body count! People getting stabbed all over the place. I’ve generally enjoyed this series, though this is definitely the best issue so far. No more sitting around in rooms discussing things! The art’s still a bit weak when it comes to people, and I’m pretty sure that the geography in one bit is a bit off, but I did enjoy Azzopardi’s monsters. Raaaarrrraaahhhh.

Overall it’s a pretty good conclusion and some of the reveals definitely made me more interested in reading more about these characters.

Apparently the collection will have a lot of redrawn art, and I’ll take a look at that when it comes out. (It was supposed to be out a while ago, but I was talking to Goodbrey recently and he just said he hoped the collection would be out “soon”.)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Four months!

Amazing. This is now the blog thing that I've updated the most (excluding things like DeadJournal oh those many moons ago).

May has loads of stuff happening for me.

First there's the 2nd Midlands Zine Meetup next Saturday which I helped organize. I'm kind of nervous! Plus, vaguely trying to finish three different zines for it.

Then I'm going to the Oxford Lindy Exchange (and apparently there website isn't currently working), which should be lots of fun! Lindy hop dancing is rad.

Then I'm going to some comics event in Bristol and I'll probably be writing something about that for the internet. Plus I will buy so many comics. Also I need to find somewhere to stay when I go to this, anyone have friends in Bristol?

Finally, there's the London Zine Symposium, where I'm doing an artist trading card workshop, and maybe tabling if I get zines from Stumptown Underground on time.

Also, I'm still rocking my other blog, the one where I post pictures of all of my clothing. Today is some rather fetching underwear.

Other than that, my life is just depression and anxiety. Hurray!

Mild Peril #10

By Dean Peril and Sausage Punk Pete

When I’m reading punk music zines like this I don’t expect to know who the bands being interviewed are, but when I don’t even recognize who the bands people are citing as influences are I really have to accept that I know nothing about punk music. Except that Brutal Knights are awesome.

(Not the video I was looking for, but I dig this fan made claymation.)

However, the enthusiasm here is amazing. Both Pete and Dean are totally into punk music and it’s really great to read this stuff and see their passion coming through. There’re loads of interviews with bands, a comic, reviews of shows (where I wish Pete had mentioned the names of either the digital hardcore of drum and bass people he’d seen), an account of some shows played in Greece, and best of all, recipes!

There’re two recipes in here by Lucy, and I’ve made the sweet and sour vegetable recipe twice already! It was really good! I’d never made a sweet and sour sauce before, so I was a little nervous, but it turned out really well. I am really amused by the different types of measurements used in this recipe. There’re only seven ingredients, but they’re measured by grams, tablespoons, pints, tins, and cans. Amazing.

The zine ends with a bunch of reviews of cds and records. My favourite was “Gah, this is weakening! I’d imagine it would be great if you dug david blunt or coldplay, but I’m guessing anyone reading this review doesn’t.”

I don’t even know who David Blunt is! Violet Violet, who are also reviewed, are pretty good though.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


By Tom England & Christopher Bernard Leahy

This zine is split into comics and prose parts, and I’m not really sure who did which. I’m only going to talk about the comics as I don’t really remember anything about the prose other than it not really being my thing.

The comics are what would be described as “black and white indie filth” (ironically) on a certain message board I post on that cares more about who is going to be in the Green Lantern movie than minicomics. And to some extent this fulfils the criteria for that as it’s just a people walking through a park by themselves, and pigeons being rained on.

However, I will point out that this is not a bad thing, as I did enjoy these comics. I’m sure I’ve totally dissed similar comics in the past, but the second story featuring no narration or speech but just pictures of a guy walking around looking at birds was good. During its four pages I tried to figure out from facial expressions what the main character was thinking about, an interesting challenge.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Peach Melba #6

By Pearl
PO Box 74

The first thing in this issue of Peach Melba is a list of “Things that need wires to work”, and the first thing on that list is “a cat with a robotic leg”. If that doesn’t make you want this zine made by a twelve year old girl (who has informed me she just turned 13) I don’t know what will.

There’re loads more lists in this, including the rather useful “words that go e before i” (I’ve always loved that ‘weird’ is one of those words). Plus you discover that Pearl leaves her zine on the bus for people to find (I wish I found things that neat on public transport, I usually only find terrible newspapers), a centre spread by Isy Morgenmuffel about climate change, and a completely incomprehensible (to me) back page. F U N E M? I F C D M.