Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Regular

By Leo Rogers
1 penny

This zine is made by a kid who’s age I am not sure of, but I don’t think he’s very old. I remember when I was a kid I used to make fake newspapers and stories and everything, but as I had no idea what zines were I never even thought of making copies and giving them to others. I love that having a zine scene can encourage kids to create things and make art. Hurray!

For the price of an entire penny you get a test to discover if you are Gordon Brown, David Cameron, or someone else, lots of little doodles, and this amazing random fact: “The Queen still isn’t dead. OMG. She will live 4 Ever!”

I sure hope not!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life Ain't No Pony Farm

By Sarah Burrini

Sometimes I get a comic and I really wonder if I should review it for this site or not. I mean, this is basically only a “mini comic” in size. It’s full colour, features glossy pages throughout, and looks nicer than some comics put out by some professionally publishers. Should I review it? I’m never sure with these things. I didn’t review a John Allison comic I got a while ago for this reason, but I sometimes think about going back and writing about it (what do you think?).

My usual rule is “can it be photocopied and look the same?”. This fails that question, but I quite enjoyed it, so I’ll review it anyway.

This is a collection of the webcomic Sarah’s does a couple of times a week (in two different languages!). She can clearly make comics, and has worked with Steve Lieber and had a series in the German edition of Mad Magazine a few years ago. She knows her stuff, so I was surprised to read in the introduction that a year before she put out this book she didn’t even know what a webcomic was. Oh my goodness!

Still, Sarah jumped to the challenge and has created a strip about a fictional version of herself who lives with an elephant, a mushroom, and some sort of tiny pony. The strips are usually gag a day, but they do have continuity and there are story arcs such as when Sarah gets a new haircut that turns out to be much cooler and more popular than she is.

The last strip is about Sarah’s adventures as a cartoonist teacher, and as a massive comics nerd I thought it was really amusing. She tells her students that she really likes the Franco-Belgian style of cartooning, and they respond by telling her they like hentai. Awesome. (I’d link to it, but I can’t find it on her website! Maybe I’ll change this later.)

My only complaint is that the short character bios at the beginning sort of give more insight into the characters than the comics themselves. Ngumbo (the elephant) wants to be a jazz musician? I knew he played trumpet, but I didn’t pick up on what type of music he played. Still, it’s a minor complaint and the comics are still enjoyable. Go look at the website! I know I will.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Enter::view Enter:view: (stories)

By Zachary:Abstract

I really like how this zine looks. I love the bizarre art, the multicoloured pages, the random photocopies thrown in, the text switching from black on white to white on black, the found objects, the fact that parts of it look like a photocopy of a photocopy. For whatever reason, it all combines into one awesome whole.

The content is completely unintelligible.

Okay, so the found photocopy of a bunch of different keys and what they’re used for is intelligible, but the text in here? I have no idea what’s going on. And I know that’s the point, the cover (and other pages?) is put on upside down, text comes from different directions. It’s all supposed to be confusing, but most of the text doesn’t actually make any sense.

There are parts that seem like dream transcriptions, things ebb and flow like dreams, and everything is told from a first person stream of consciousness style. But at other times I have no fucking clue what the author intended other than “weird for weird’s sake”.

“There were no howler monkey machine guns in my pocket, no lazy paper bags in my purse at all. I had no candle lit creamer packets or dinosaurs falling out of my anus, no velocity raptors formed into plastic underwear. Oh, no.”

I mean what?

It’s not all this unintelligible, but reading it reminded me more of incredibly bizarre spam messages I’ve gotten than anything I’m actually meant to understand. I actually wondered if parts of this were written by a computer program that just spits out random words. Or if you could actually tell the difference between something written in this style and something a computer program could produce.

Still, if you’re into nonsensical, stream of consciousness zines check it out.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Littlest Arsonist

The Littlest Arsonist
By Liam Geraghty & Philip Barrett

From the size of this I automatically assumed it was going to be some sort of Chick tract style parody. It’s not. Instead it’s a collection of three panel newspaper style comic strips about the titular littlest arsonist.

They’re “gag” comics where the joke is that a little kid sets stuff on fire all the time. The kid never talks, he just stares blankly at things, and sets other things on fire. How fun!

Most of the comics are pretty funny, and I really liked the one about him stopping the fire department from putting out fires, but some of them are kind of creepy and scary too. Don’t set fire to that! People will get hurt! What are you doing? No! Aaarrgh.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

DIY or Don’t We #1

A Zine About Community
c/o Nicki
PO Box 743
Olympia, WA
98507, USA

I’m always amused by how small the world (or at least the circles I move in) is. Last weekend I went to a meeting about organizing a zine festival in Birmingham, and one of the people that showed up turned out to be someone who had posted on the same message boards as me a few years ago, and he in turn realized that he read my posts about comic books on The Beat.

I got this zine at the Portland Zine Symposium last year (and yes, it has taken me a million years to actually get around to reading it), and one of the things it includes is a discussion/interview with several women who organized the Bellingham Ladyfest/No Bra Time/Girls Noise Time events. One of whom I stayed with completely at random, after messaging her on the couchsurfing site, on my bicycle trip to Portland for that same zine symposium.

Yeah, the world is tiny.

As the subtitle tells you, this is a zine about community, what it means to different people, and how they help build it up. There are a bunch of different contributions from a number of people. Memories of farming with friends, the creation and continuation of a film society, contributing to punk zines, the aforementioned feminist events, moving to India with a group of Cambodian girls, a recipe for soup; there’s loads of stuff in here!

Overall this is a really nicely put together package, with the printing, layout, and design all really nice, though I kind of wish some of the fonts matched.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Candy or Medicine vol. 3

I meant to review this minicomic a while ago, then managed to lose it completely. I had no idea where it was at all. I looked all over my room, through all my other zines, under cushions, and I couldn’t find it.

But yesterday I was sitting by myself and staring at a wall and a bookshelf (that is not mine and is filled with psychology books), and feeling kind of embarrassed and sad, and I noticed a book on top of the other books that belonged to me. It was the Morgenmuffel collection. I hadn’t even realized I’d lost that. I took it off the shelf and discovered this minicomic inside. Hurray! Now all that work scanning the cover didn’t go to waste.

There’re a bunch of different comics in here, including one I successfully identified as being Greek, as otherwise the letters didn’t make any sense. But my favourite was one by Colin Tedford. In a lot of quite small panels (up to 15 on a page, which is a lot when you’re in a quarter-sized publication), Colin tells the epic journey of a guy going to taste some soup. He fights monsters and what seems to be a Chinese hopping vampire (I love those!), scales mountains, encounters dinosaurs, and al the other normal quest stuff, all for soup! I’m not that big a soup fan, but I’m guessing this was really good soup.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Growing Resistance #1
Nova Farm
2410 E. Cherry St.
Seattle, WA

While this may be the worst folded zine I have ever seen, the contents are far more exciting. Guerrilla gardening! Everybody loves that right? I do at least.

The contents cover information about the Nova Farm, general info on gardening, poetry, and hand drawn maps (I could read a zine entirely about those I think). I will say that I think this zine is more “inspiring” than “useful” (at least to me). The information on composting seems to need some sort of previous knowledge of that sort of thing, and while I love that they list several secret gardens in Seattle, they’re not really places I’ll be checking out any time soon.

Still, some of the general guerrilla gardening stuff is good, and they do give a list of books to check out if you’re interested in gardening, food sourcing, and permaculture. Hopefully some day I’ll have a garden of my own to try some of those things out, or at least the desire to do it in someone else’s garden.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Celso #4

By Celso

Celso has chosen the rather difficult task of adapting a song into comic format in this issue. The song is “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘fuck you’” by Strangers Die Everyday, and the reason the adaptation is so difficult is that the song is purely instrumental, with no lyrics whatsoever.

The band use bass, cello, drums, and violin to create some sort of postrock (or so the internet tells me), parts of the songs kind of remind me of Apocalyptica and Defiance, Ohio, though I’m sure that’s more from lack of knowledge of this type of music than anything else (can you believe I used to write multiple CD reviews every week?). Celso’s introduction said that you could listen to the song on the band’s Myspace, but that is no longer true. However you can go to this site and download a couple of their albums.

Celso has gone pretty crazy with this adaptation. He has tigers attacking a train filled with travelling musicians! That is not what I heard from the song! I like the artwork here quite a lot, it’s got a weird kind of scratchiness to it, but also quite a lot of detail. I do wonder why Celso decided to draw people playing musical instruments not heard in the song, I feel like that kind of detracts from the connections between song and comic.

And while I like tigers a lot, the best part of this zine is the next comic, which seems to be an autobiographic comic about Celso getting stopped by a cop while riding his bike drunk at 4am. It starts out as a kind of poem about the joys of riding your bicycle when nobody else is around, and then becomes a comic as the surprisingly nice police officer stops, berates, threatens, and finally pleads with him. It’s pretty amusing stuff and I guess he got lucky for not running into a total jackass of a cop.

There’s also an essay on Jungism and comic books that I didn’t finish reading. Oh well!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Peach Melba Issue 10

By Pearl
PO Box 74

Hurray! Peach Melba! I really like these zines made by a 13 year old girl. This one features lists of pubs that a bus she takes goes by (pub names are weird, actually pubs in general are weird, but really “Sir Charles Tapir”?), words that she doesn’t know the meaning of (while I do know what “zealot” means, my mind still thinks of this when I see the word, I am a big nerd), places she gets disoriented, and other things.

Sometimes I’m not sure why I like this zine so much, I mean a list of various shades of blue and green? I’m kind of shocked I read that. But at the same time, the lists really give you an insight into how 13 year old girls think, where “sparkly” is a colour, Jesus is a fictional character, and Edinburgh is a confusing place.

Plus! This zine has a thing on artist trading cards I made for Pearl. If you make ATCs you should definitely send some to her, I’m sure she would be really excited.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Candy or Medicine Volume Eight

Published by Josh Blair

This is the newest (I think) of these mini anthologies collecting comics from creators around the world.

One of the comics in here is about dreams and crushing on girls at supermarket checkouts (don’t I know that), but I feel as though it was designed for a larger size. It has tiny, tiny lettering! Good thing I have good vision.

There’re also a few stick-man comics (those are everywhere nowadays) by Jessica Seck Marquis that I thought were pretty good, though I definitely liked the first one about someone with an addiction to buying things off a home shopping network TV channel more. Though thinking back on it it’s kind of depressing. Sigh consumerism.

My favourite comic in here was by Pat Aulisio, even though it kind of fails the test of a comprehendible narrative. An alien thing is walking along on some other planet. He encounters a squiggly thing, he walks on top of it, there is confusion. I mean, I have no idea what is going on at the end of this comic. But it has an alien in it, and aliens are practically monsters, and we all know how I feel about those.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

City Sacker #5

By Ray K

Lists! Everybody loves lists! Bands, comics, events, and a vegan recipe! Hurray! Though I sort of wonder, if you are just recommending random comics do you really need to recommend Alan Moore? Surely anyone vaguely interested in comics knows that his stuff is good. I mean, sure you could recommend stuff he’s done that fewer people have read. ie. 1963 (yes, I know it had a massive print run, but it hasn’t been in print since it first came out, and a collection is apparently never going to happen).

But there are other things in this zine not about Alan Moore, there are tragic tales of lonely hearts, which kind of struck a chord with lonely old me. Ray draws a venn heartagram (which I totally love), then writes about trying to find a “pretty vegan indiepop girl with anarchist tendancies” who “must like comics or tolerate boys who do.” Le sigh. Me too Ray, me too. (Though other musical tastes are also okay.)

(I remember at the Portland Zine Symposium last summer there were some girls who had a sign on their table saying that their zines were good because they contained “No vegan recipes” and no...autobio comics maybe? I didn’t talk to them, which is maybe a bit selfish, but at the same time since all I had were zines with vegan recipes and autobio travel stories did I really want their zines?)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The ‘Oka Crisis’

The Oka Crisis was a fairly major event in modern Canadian history, yet to be honest I never really knew all the details about it and don’t think it was ever taught to me in any of the history courses I took in school.

For those of you who don’t know, it involved a massive, months-long armed stand-off between members of the Mohawk aboriginal nation in Quebec, and lots and lots of police and soldiers.

The stand-off began when a number of Mohawks blocked roads in order to stop the expansion of a golf course into a forested area containing a Mohawk graveyard. They weren’t doing this suddenly either, they’d already spent about a year protesting this development and attempting to get it stopped in other ways. The blockade led to armed police officers attempting to storm the barriers, firing guns and tear gas canisters at the people inside. Things only got worse from there on.

I think this comic does a pretty good job of explaining what happened during this situation. It’s clearly biased in the favour of the Mohawks, but it seems as though, for the most part, those were the people who had been wronged in this situation.

I’m not entirely comfortable supporting the Mohawks (any situation involving guns or violence sort of drives me away, and some of the later protests seemed kind of out of hand), and I wish this comic was longer to give a fuller account of the situation, but it’s definitely still worth reading if you have any interest in aboriginal rights and history or police brutality in Canada.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Beyond Hope

By Derrick Jensen

“It’s hopeless.” “We’re doomed.” “Everything is fucked up.”

While you may not have thought any of these things about the earth’s environments or societies, I definitely have. Pretty much every day in fact. Jensen has too, but he says that hopelessness is no reason to give up on living and doing.

Jensen examines what hope actually is, and decides that it’s not something actually worth having. He claims that hope is what people do when they give up on having any control over a situation; that hope is when we think other people will suddenly change their minds and start doing things that benefit other people and the environment instead of themselves. Decades (centuries?) of people only looking out for themselves, or trying to get the most money for their company isn’t going to suddenly disappear because of your hope.

Jensen instead says that lacking hope means you have to do things yourself and fight for the right thing. You can’t assume that other people will do the right thing, so you have to educate them, and battle with other people over the important things, instead of just living a passive lifestyle.

Yet, Jensen continues, the fact that the world is a terrible place doesn’t mean that life is terrible. Life can still be great, as long as you’re willing to put the effort into it, and maybe you can help make someone else’s life great too.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Now Then

By Steve Larder

Considering how much I enjoy Steve’s Rum Lad comics, I’ve always been a bit disappointed by his other comics. They’re clearly very different beasts, and I wonder if I was reading them just as “comics” and not as “comics by that guy who does autobio comics I really like” if I’d like them more. Hmm...

Anyway, this one features a bird of some sort, a lawn gnome, and a clock and the adventures they have! Flying! Swimming! Smashing! Falling! It’s all there, though possibly not as exciting as I’ve just made it out to you. I think that ultimately my problem with this (and some of Steve’s other comics) is that they’re very light weight stories, there’s no (or at least not much) meaning to them other than what’s on the page and they’re not designed to make you think, just amuse you for a couple of minutes. I guess you could say the same thing about Rum Lad, but I still like it better.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oh for Olives #1

By Emma Jane Falconer

This is a tiny zine of collages that are, according to the inside cover, “not meant to be artistic”. There’s nothing new or incredibly originally about the collages done here, but it’s not like the ones I make are either. Still! I like these quite a lot.

Most pages use recontextualized (ooooh, big word), images with unrelated text over top to create ironic or surreal situations. We discover that to remove potatoes we must pour what seems to be the contents of a milk jug into someone’s ear, that dog yoga and pure Icelandic cod liver oil is what makes your tummy rumble, and that some people have awful beards. How horrid!

I think I need to get Emma to trade artist trading cards with me. I’d really like to have some things like this as originals.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dexter’s Half Dozen Ashcan 2010

Written by Jamie Lambert
Art by David Clifford

Soldiers fight monsters! Who are they? I have no idea! Why are they doing this? Because there are there!

To be honest military groups attacks supernatural beings is practically a genre by itself by now, especially in comics. Still, I like monsters, and I like people fighting monsters, so I’m always up for another comic about this.

Here we have six guys of various military experience, none of whom are given enough dialogue to create personalities, apart from “big dumb guy who likes to shoot people”, but that’s got to be one of the most generic characters possible.

The story seems to be set in the past at some point, as I’m pretty sure pilots don’t dress like that any more, and they go and attack a vampire. Hurray! Fighting! I really like the way the vampire is drawn, but the designs of the other characters don’t appeal to me as much. I think part of it is the heavy use of shadows and blacks for the characters, while the backgrounds more or less don’t exist. It kind of just throws the characters out there with nothing to compare them too.

While this by itself isn’t amazing or whatever, I am curious as to what the creators can do with these characters in a longer story, though, to be honest, I'm probably more likely to catch up on BPRD instead.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Eco Dwellings

By Philippa Rice

When I first looked through Philippa’s drawings of weird little houses in “eco” surroundings, I thought that they looked like buildings that tiny elfs (elves?) or fairies (faeries?) would live in. “How cute!” I thought. “Look at all the gigantic flowers, the houses made in mushrooms, it is so adorable.”

And the houses are adorable! They are something I wish I could find at the bottom of my garden. Entire villages made in the branches of trees, rope ladders leading from one house to the next, plants growing from the rooftops. It’s sort of like somewhere I’d like to live.

However, as I kept looking through the drawings, they became increasingly sinister. While I somewhat doubt this was Philippa’s intention, page after page of drawings of completely empty cities became sort of creepy. Where did all the inhabitants go? Were there always so many plants and flowers growing in these towns, or did they just spring up after months, or years, of neglect?

Some of the later drawings look like they could have buildings that have cracked open and are otherwise falling apart. Are they supposed to look like that or am I just creating additional decay with my mind?

The drawings are still lovely, but I can only wonder what happened, why the towns were seemingly abandoned so that only the occasional snail, bug, or strange bear creature were left to roam them, and where the inhabitants went.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The House of Screaming Flesh

By Mart

It’s a zombie comic about animals coming back to life to attack the person who killed them. It’s a pretty good idea, but the art isn’t the best and the execution falls a bit flat.

It's also not very long (though it was free), so I don't really have very much to talk about.

The weirdest thing about the whole comic is that there are times when it seems like vegetarian propaganda ("Why did you kill me?"). I’m pretty sure that’s not what the creator had in mind!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Using Space Four

Squatting is something I find really neat, and it’s something I’d be interested in experiencing more at some point. Using Space talks about squatting in a bunch of different ways, and is worth checking out if you are interested in the idea.

First up is an interview with squatters in The Netherlands. In this case they’re not squatters in the usual fashion, as they’re just occupying land instead of a building, but it’s still an informative read to see how they deal with people that live in the neighbourhood, police and the law, and every day problems that come from living in a house apparently made of straw.

Next there is an account of a squat meetup in Bristol, and the problems faced in trying to use consensus based decision making to create plans and organize things. This is followed by copies of articles in papers talking about the squat event. Neat.

There’s a report from Sweden about a squatting festival, which mostly seemed to be about going on marches and getting arrested by the police. I wonder if it actually had any affect on how people viewed squatting there.

Finally there are a couple of pieces about squatting reprinted from newspapers. While these are interesting, I don’t really agree with the creator of this zine’s decision to leave off the original writers’ names. I’d be kind of pissed if I was one of the writers.

You can also download a copy from, which seems like a neat resource.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fanzine Miguel #19

Mayo 2010

I have almost no idea what is going on in here. The comics in this zine are written almost entirely in Spanish or Portuguese (my knowledge of those languages basically doesn’t exist) except for occasional words or phrases like “capitalist alienation”.

There are a few comics that are in English, but they seem to contain considerably less text than some of the others, and the English in them isn’t the greatest. However, based on them, and what I can figure out of the other ones, these are autobio comics about travelling around Europe, and talking about zines, punk, and politics.

The art is simplistic to the point where the characters are all armless blobs, but I thought it was cute, even if I wondered how these armless blobs used computers or played guitars. There’s also a comic with some sort of wolf monster that made me laugh out loud despite not having any idea what the characters were saying, and the page below which I really liked.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Corvidologist

Words by Jack Gobsmob
Designed by Shaven Raven Designs

Corvidae is the scientific term for a group of birds that includes ravens, crows, magpies, and a few others, but this zine is mostly bout ravens. Everybody loves ravens! Hurray!

There’s information about ravens from a broad range of areas. We find out where they live, what they eat, how (we think) their brains work, the results of scientific experiments, and other interesting facts.

There’s also a diagram of a raven, some nicer artwork featuring ravens (I wish my zines had covers as nice as this one, click to see it bigger!), and a story about ravens from the mythology of the Chukchi people of north-east Russia. This was totally my favourite part because despite believing that a raven created the world, they hate ravens! They constantly complain that the world is terrible, that there are too many mountains, that the rivers run to fast and other things. That’s amazing!

I’ve also, thanks to the magic of the internet, discovered that the Chukchi people are the butt of many Russian jokes. What a weird world we live in.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ten Foot Rule Winter 2009

By Shawn Granton
PO Box 14185
Portland, Oregon

Was Snakepit the first comic to do the autobio three panels a day thing? Or did it just popularize it to such an extent that everybody (including me, no you can’t see them) has done their own three panels a day journal comic?

Shawn claims that he’s the laziest “daily journal style cartoonist” around, but he’s managed to put out multiple issues of TFR, and some of his comics have more than three panels, so he can’t be that lazy (even if he does miss some days).

Shawn lives in Portland and cycles a lot. In this issue he goes up to Vancouver for a new year’s 2008/9 that was incredibly similar to the one I had in the same city (ie. it is too cold and snowy, where are all my friends?), and then goes down to California to visit San Francisco and LA where he has uncomfortable random encounters with people he hadn’t seen for years.

I always find it kind of weird reading about people who have been to the same places I’ve been to (I was in that shop! I took that same train!), and this is no different. I’ve been to Portland and San Francisco, and I’ve done some of the same things Granton has done (the critical mass bicycle ride in SF). Still, I think it’s nice to read about that stuff, and I fully support anyone who likes bicycles as much as Granton does. Hurray bicycles!

(I wish the co-op in my town sold any type of tofu at all.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

On’t Road #11

By Luke Positive Bastard

This is actually the first issue of this zine, but Luke decided to just continue the numbering from the pervious zine he’d been working on. As someone who gives his zines numbers that don’t really correspond to when they come out I can fully support this.

Luke travels a lot. Or at least that’s what I thought when I first read through this zine, however checking again it seems that his adventures are spread over a couple of years, so he’s not going to other places constantly. Still, he clearly loves to travel and see new places, and his zine is a pretty good view into parts of his life.

The first part of his zine is about a UK tour Luke helped organize for the band Hero Dishonest. Later on there’s an account of the same band’s tour of the USA which Luke also went on. It’s interesting to contrast the two different styles of touring. Touring America mostly seems to involve driving for incredibly long hours, and eating lots of terrible food, while the UK is so small you can go home after shows (woah!). I’ve never gone on tour (or been in a band), or even gone on this type of roadtrip with other people, but they’re both fun reads.

Luke also writes about a trip he took visiting some of his friends in some countries in central and Eastern Europe. Reading it, and about all the European punk bands that tour Europe (including the UK), is kind of insane to me. Everything is so close together! It really drives home the isolation of the place in Canada where I grew up after my family left the UK. (It was over 1000km to the next town with more than 100,000 people).

There’s also an account of some of Luke’s interactions with the police over the years, some stuff about minor league football/soccer matches (Luke really likes football), and a bunch of album reviews I will admit I didn’t finish reading, as they generally go over my head.

Still, despite a few of spelling errors, On’t Road is definitely worth reading if you like reading other people’s travel stories, and I certainly do.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Nu Earth

By Failboat Press

2000ad is kind of a strange beast. Barely known in North America, yet in the UK it is an institution with a devoted following. I’ve probably read more of it than most people who lived in North America, mostly through reprints of Judge Dredd I’ve hauled out of quarter bins, and the collections that 2000ad has been putting out for last few years.

I’ve bought a few issues since I moved to the UK, but there generally wasn’t enough to make me want to come back next week or I had no idea what was going on in the stories (for those that don’t know, it’s an anthology title with rotating characters and creators). Actually, the real reason is because I found a shop in Euston that sold a bunch of the graphic novels for £2 each, and if my choice is one of those or the newest prog I know what I’m going to choose.

But anyway! 2000ad is also notable for having the closest thing to doujinshi that exists in the western comics scene, in that there are a number of fanzines coming out that are at the least accepted if not encouraged. You can buy them in some comic stores, some people have actually produced content for both, and 2000ad doesn’t seem to be suing anyone.

With all that lead in you can probably guess that Nu Earth is a 2000ad fanzine, however it’s extra awesome because it was created by the same people that made the Songbird/Birdsong anthology which is just packed full of awesomeness and features comics by three different people I’ve reviewed on this blog and really enjoyed.

This one doesn’t have exactly the same line up, but it does have a beautiful Rogue Trooper story by Will Kirkby, that I think will be completely unintelligible to anyone who is not already familiar with the characters, a Nikolai Dante strip by Matthew Taylor that seems like it could have been a one off in that universe (and features cyborg warbears!), an ABC Warriors strip where I didn’t really get the joke, but which has really nice art by WJC, a cute 2000 A to Z by Ryan Taylor, and lots of other cool stuff including an appearance by Doctor Who.

This is something fans of 2000ad should definitely pick up, and considering the price is free (to create exponential thrills Earthlet), it’s probably worth getting even if you’ve never heard of the comic before. I mean, check out that swank cover, it's printed on gold paper!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Phonebox Phantasies

By Mark Oliver

I’m always fascinated by the phonesex cards that are put up in public phone booths in some places. I wonder who actually calls the numbers, and I’m always tempted to start collecting them. I wouldn’t actually call any of the numbers, and I’m not sure how other people would feel about my collection of porn cards, but I’m still curious.

I picked up this zine in the hopes it would manage to satisfy me with what I thought was a collection of photographs of telephone booths and the cards they contain. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover this zine is not just that, for Oliver (who I've previously reviewed) has created his own creepy cards and posted them in phone booths and documented them.

While what happens if you call some of the numbers isn’t revealed, in one case we are told that the numbers on the flyers posted in two adjacent phone booths correspond to the phone in the other booth. I wonder if anyone actually tried calling that number, and if anyone answered the phone on the other side.

Did anyone call those numbers? Where did the number go? Can I get some of the fake cards? I don’t know, but I hope Oliver lets us know at some point.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Holes reminds me more of a children’s book than anything else. The full colour artwork inside is accompanied by limited text, to tell a fairly simple story. However, the artwork is very accomplished, and the plain cut and paste cover probably works against the book.

The story is about a young child believing that fairies lived at the bottom of her garden. It’s not very long, and the story is more of an anecdote than anything else, but the artwork is really nice. It combines collage work with painted art and cut and paste lettering, and I think it looks really good. Above all else I love the badgers with wings, but overall this is a really nice looking book.

Friday, June 4, 2010

City Sacker #3: Little things

By Ray K

I am aware that Ray says that the point of this is just to create something and actually make it and have copies to give away, but aaieeeeee. None of the folds match properly! It’s just a single sheet of paper printed on one side, then cut and folded. But you practically have to unfold the whole thing to read parts of it! The text goes around folds, aaaahhhh, I am dying here.

I’m sure actual designers feel like throwing up when they look at my zines, but seeing it in other zines drives me crazy.

The content is random drawings and illustrations with related text, and some band recommendations. One page talks about bourbons, and I have to admit my mind automatically went to the alcohol instead of the biscuit. Though I guess you would die of scurvy if all you consumed was either type.

Actually, Wikipedia currently states that the biscuits are packed full of vitamin C, but it sounds like made up nonsense.

“Shortly after the creation of the bourbon, WW1 broke out. The war limited the importation of fruits to European countries, especially the importation of oranges. Because of the chemical structure of the Bourbon, it was easily redesigned in order to carry large amounts of vitamin c, and was hence used as a substitute for the unattainable orange as a source of vitamin C. To this day one chocolate bourbon still contains more vitamin c than an entire orange[citation needed].”

Citation needed indeed.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


By Kate Ashwin

I feel like it’s been ages since I’ve read a fantasy comic set in some indistinct period in the past/another world that is not as technologically advanced as ours. I’m sure it hasn't been that long, but other than Order of the Stick I can’t think of any.

According to a note from Ashwin at the beginning of this comic, this is an except from a longer story about a group of evildoers who have set out to conquer the world. Here one of them, a thief named Casper, steals a bottle with a djinn in it. The djinn plans on fulfilling the standard wishes someone asks for (wealth and so forth), but doing them in such a way that it would teach the thief a lesson.

Unfortunately for the djinn Casper is unrepentantly terrible. The money he gets turns out to be from nuns (who cares?) and an orphanage (Casper wishes he’d known they had money so that he could have robbed them earlier), and so forth.

While the story was cute, and I liked the art (I enjoyed the djin's design), I didn’t really like the dialogue very much. It seemed sort of stilted and anachronistic. I’m sure that’s the style Ashwin is going for, but Casper sounded more like an Australian (he keeps saying “mate”) than anything else, and for some reason this bothered me.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Somnambulist Number Nine

By Martha Grover
PO Box 148711
Portland, OR

In her introduction Grover talks about how she’d just been rejected from a whole bunch of different grad school programs for writing. Some of them were for fiction, and some of them were for non-fiction. With that as an introduction, and the way the zine is split into different sections with titles and bylines, I started wondering how much of the stories told were true and how much were made up.

The stories (true or not, they’re still stories) are told in the first person, and seem to tell about every day things, but they manner they’re told in, and the way dialogue is presented, seems stylistically more like a piece of fiction.

I would just accept that these are true life stories, and that Grover just spends more time writing and editing the content of her zines so that the writing seems “better”, except for the fact that the stories seem to concentrate on the negative (repetitive jobs, injuries, hanging out and drinking with a guy who’s anti-psychotic drugs stop working when he consumes alcohol) and are all kind of depressing (and, in the last case, scary).

Perhaps this says more about how I consume media than anything else. I always seem to assume comics that feature regular people doing regular stuff are based on real life events, while well written prose that is not straight up journalism (ie. newspapers or pop science books) or written by hand must not be real. This really shouldn’t be the case, as I write loads of zines about real life things that have happened to me. I don’t think I ever put much dialogue in mine though.

So yeah, there are stories about Grover’s meetings with various doctors, some time she spent with an urban primitivist, and a piece that flows surprisingly well considering it kind of jumps around between different people, places, and times. There’s also a piece by Kyle Sundby that seems to be about why lots of people think he’s a jerk? It was kind of weird.

I like the way Grover writes these stories, but I really don’t seem to be able to tell you why. This review isn’t very helpful. I’ve actually just gone and found a review of this issue on Broken Pencil. I don’t normally do this, but I wanted to see what someone else thought of this zine, and if they had perhaps managed to express it better than me. They have not.

That review is not very positive, but makes me wonder why the reviewer bothered to read the zine if they don’t like perzines. The reviewer says the zine is just filled with stories of depression, apathy, and embarrassment, and then asks how it’s art, and if it’s pleasurable. Yet you might as well ask the same question of any thing you don’t enjoy, from opera to comic books to TV shows. I suppose when you come down to it, the idea of art is in the eye of the beholder.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The merry month of may

Is over!

I again managed to update every day (just barely at the end), and did lots of other fun and exciting stuff!

I helped organize a zine meetup in Birmingham near the beginning of the month. We had ten people show up, and it looks like we're planning a bigger zine festival event for some time in September. How exciting!

And, just this past Saturday I tabled at the London Zine Symposium. I've never properly tabled before, so this was pretty nerve racking. Especially as I was supposed to have copies of Stumptown Underground, but I never got them. Oh no!

Anyway, the event went pretty well. Here is a photo of people looking at other people's zines.

And here is my table:

You can click to make bigger. There are also a couple of other photos on my facebook page.

I also was doing some artist trading card stuff at the symposium, lots of people traded with me. Hurray!

I also did a photography project, and went to a lindy hop event, and two different comic events. Woah.

And I finished three zines, but nobody cares about that ; p

The Infinity Cascade

By Nich Angell

The first page of this comic states that it’s “for those who like giant robots and girls”. I think if you were going to put me in a demographic that would be pretty accurate.

Generally I’m a big fan of comic artists who take their inspiration from... well I would say “everywhere”, but what I clearly mean are “video games, European sci fi comics, and manga” which is _almost_ everywhere, but if you’re into the indie comics scene you probably know what I’m talking about. Anyway, it's clear where Nich takes his influences from.

This has robots (a shock to you I know), space bars, weird architecture, questionable hats, and diagrams. What more do you (I) want from your (my) comics?

How about this awesome poster for one of Nich’s newer projects.