Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lucid Frenzy Digest 2010

By Gavin Burrows

I guess it's not that often that I read zines that are all about stuff I already know about, yet here we have a zine where I am familiar with three of the four things covered. Guess which ones!

Actually, I'll just tell you. If you knew me and were trying to guess which of these I was familiar with the first one you would guess would be the Superman cartoons, and I am a little, though not as much as Burrows is. In his essay he discusses the Superman cartoons made by Fleischer and later Paramount in the 1940s. It's an interesting piece on how fans often want the original version of things (ie. Spider-Man comics instead of the movies), but that in the case of Superman the original comic version (or even the '60s version) isn't what people think of when they think of him, while the version from these cartoons ("faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive") is.

Burrows continues to discuss the way Superman seems to defeat all of his adverseries solely through punching things, and how he shows that man (or at least a man-like humanoid) is the most powerful thing. To be honest I sort of don't want to go too far in depth into what this essay talks about, because I'll just be repeating it. It's interesting, takes information from various sources, and creates new ideas as well. If you're at all interested in the cartoons it's worth reading.

Okay, so what's next? Girl comics right? This essay discusses some of the comics reproductions that came free with the Guardian newspaper last year. And indeed I read most of those and even wrote about a few, though not the ones in question here. The discussion of the girl's comics from the '70s is interesting, focussing on class struggles, the Cinderella theme, and the kind of weird sexual politics evident in a lot of them. It's a good read, but only if you've actually read the comics in question, otherwise I guess there's no frame of reference.

And now the finale: music or art? In this case it's art, as I went to the same exhibit on revolutionary Mexican poster art that was on at the British Museum earlier this year. From what I've written above you can probabaly tell that this is another well researched piece that discusses the art in question in both it's artistic and historic dimensions. I think I got more out of this piece than I did while actually at the art show, and I wish I could have read this while looking at the art on display.

All told this zine features carefully thought out and researched pieces which I guess I don't always expect from zines, but always love discovering when I do find them. I should probably check out his Burrows' blog, but I always find it easier to read things like this in print. So I'll just have to seek out the other occasional issues of this publication.


  1. Thanks for the kind words, Matthew (which I've only just stumbled across!) I can remember giving you my zine thinkingit would seem dull against yours (I've never been to Cambodia or cycled from Vancouver to Portland, just done a couple of art shows and gogs) so I'm glad you liked it!

    I have to confess though, the only "research" I did at the Mexican poster art exhibition was actually at the exhibition!

    A couple of other people have commented about the "frame of reference" thing. I try to do some scene-setting, but I guess it's just not the part of the job that interests me!

    Incidentally, very little of the blog makes it into zine form. Last couple of years I've printed up some at the London Zine Symposium as tasters, but even tho' I've found a cheap place to copy 'em I give 'em away for free so I can't do it all the time!

  2. If anyone's wondering what "gogs" are they're gigs mis-spelt!


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