Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sunday of Apples and Blood Oranges

By Beth Hetland

While I'm sure it took a lot of work, the nature of the cover (with the apples and oranges being cut out and stuck onto a white background) made me think that this would be a really boring slice of life style comic.

And the first page and a half inside didn't really disprove me of this thought, but then oh my gods there's a talking snowman and a robot shows up later on in this comic and now I really like it. I mean, if there wasn't a robot here I wouldn't care about this girl's shopping trip, but there is a robot and he has a pet cat and complains that humans can't deal with robot emotions, and I really like robots and don't judge me.

It's not like the robot is just there acting like a human, it's clearly part of society, has it's own feelings and goals in life, and plays a roll in the story. It's the contrast between the normal (going to the grocery store, waiting for a bus) and the abnormal (a robot cashier, fruit yelling at you, a melting snowman trying to bum money) that creates humour in these situations.

Hetland's art is probably what you would expect from indie autobio comics, so it's extra surprising when totally bizarre things happen in the comic. I like the contrast, but I feel as though I'm explaining myself poorly. I had a couple of drinks earlier, and my room is really hot even though my window is open. This is what happens when I try to review something every day. This is a good comic though, I read it when I was sober.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Deadtime Stories

By Emix Regulus and Frater Alarph

This is a collection of short comics and prose pieces by two authors. They frequently have a strange sort of metaphysical bent to them. One of the comics is about cosmic rays from another universe penetrating human minds and causing mutations, so that space aliens can eat us. We are, of course, saved by post-mammalian super genius creatures who seem to communicate entirely in math.

Another comic features a narrator telling about their experiences after waking up as a grain of rice, while the last features some sort of weird thing about shared consciousness or something. While these all could have been interesting, in a Kafkaesque or Gogolian way, none of them really achieve this, in part due to confusing page layouts, and narratives that seem to be more about expressing ideas than telling stories.

The first of the two text pieces is a strange story about attending a psychic phenomena class and encountering a possible spirit (ie. ghost). The story is sort of interesting, though, as I'm not sure if it's supposed to be fictional or based on a real event, it's kind of hard to see what the author was trying to achieve.

The final text piece is the most interesting, though also the most simple. There are two word clouds, one created by each author, using dream journals that they kept over several months. Dreams are pretty cool things, and the best (like the ones I had last night about exploring underground lairs and fighting super-villians) are really awesome. It's interesting to see which terms recur in the people's dreams and wonder if they have any meaning. Why does one person dream about mothers and the police? Why does the other dream about houses and holidays? More than likely no reason at all.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Some of my Best Friends R Strangers

Ooooh, a sealed white envelope. How mysterious! (I love mysteries!) What's inside? Two minicomics!

It's Cold, Up North, This year. / New Year

By Mike

Both of these are diary comics by Mike. Or rather, they are pages from his diary which happen to be in comic form. Is there a difference? I don't really know.

The comics in "It's Cold, Up North" are rather sad and deal with it being cold and dark, Mike feeling uninspired and not knowing what he's doing with his life, and breaking up with his girlfriend of ten years. They're not the happiest of comics, but reading about stuff like this kind of makes me feel better about my life, in that it means I'm not alone in my thoughts and feelings. This isn't to say that there are no moments of humour or joy. At one point Mike states "My travelling companion today is a sousaphone." a line that, in its seemingly normal take on a (to me) absurd situation, brings a smile to my face.

"New Year" is comics from the first few weeks of January and continues the tales of depression, cold, and darkness. Somehow these ones seem more optimistic than "It's Cold", and it could be that with the new year Mike has attempted to concentrate more on the positive things in his life instead of dwelling on the negative. That's something I should really take to heart as well.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


By Laura N-Tamara

The way this minicomic starts I was almost sure it was going to turn into porn. The library is closing, the (sexy) librarian is kicking everyone out, one person hasn't left yet, the librarian starts to take off her clothes and...


And then we start getting bizarre Inception/meta-textual references as the story changes to almost self-referential illustrated text.

The story (and the stories within stories) reminded me somewhat of Jorge Luis Borges and Italo Calvino, both authors who liked to play with telling stories using non-linear styles, and narratives within narratives. I like some of the stuff they've produced a lot. Oh! And Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, it's a really good book that features nested stories.

Getting back to this comic, the art is very clearly influenced by manga (to the extent that several of the books have the covers on what we would consider the back). Some of the weirdness that shows up in here reminded me a bit of Shintaro Kago and other artists that I've seen on the Same Hat blog. The interior art is generally pretty good, and way better than the cover would have you think. (I'll try to scan some tomorrow! See below.) There are a lack of backgrounds, and I think the artist needs to work on their page layouts a bit, but I enjoyed the weirdness and the art and wouldn't mind reading more of their work in the future.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lucid Frenzy Digest 2011

By Gavin Burrows

It's almost...ironic that I reviewed a zine about about mental health issues and then almost immediately didn't update for two days because of my own problems. Haha. Hilarious! (No wait, it's not.)

Um, so, this is a collection of pieces that Burrows has run on his blog, and despite liking what I read in the last issue of this zine, I've never actually gone to his blog to read anything. This is probably because Burrows' pieces are quite long and in-depth and take a while to digest and process. Thus I find it easier/better to read these things in paper form when I'm not being distracted by someone talking to me in another window or funny pictures of cats or something.

In this issue Burrows talks about zines, and reviews concerts, movies, and art shows. I enjoy Burrows' general writing style, which is most evidenced by the fact that I read all of his pieces about music I had almost no familiarity with. Music articles/interviews are probably the bits of zines I skip over with the most frequency, as I find that they generally require you to have knowledge of the artist to really get anything out of them. Here, however, Burrows has managed to weave information about the band/music, history of the genres, and descriptions of the bands that are considerably more informative than "band x meets artist y". So yeah, I enjoyed reading them even if I don't want to seek out what the bands actually sound like. That's what music writing should be like!

Though I must admit that the repeated references to Francis Bacon kind of flew over my head. I guess I should read more about him at some point.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Treasure Hunt issue two

I think the strange collaged cover featuring multiple drawings, photos, text and other elements is possibly the best part of this group zine.

The contents are as random as the cover, and include pieces of art, poetry, a few bars of musical notation, photographs, an incredibly long and dull (to me) interview with a musician (that I just couldn't get into because it was about someone I'd never heard of, and didn't seem to discuss why I should care about him), a recipe, found art, and a prose piece about a breakup that was pretty good and written in an interesting style.

The zine was supposed to be a showcase of ephemera, and to that extent it succeeded. However there really wasn't anything in here that stuck in my mind. I looked at the cover of this zine before writing this, and couldn't remember a single thing featured inside. I'm not in the best of mental states right now, and I do like zines that collect random things and found objects, but this issue didn't do much for me.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pathologize This! A Mental Health Zine

Mental health is an important issue, and one that is frequently ignored by many people and most media. Zines are one area where there are people telling their stories about mental health issues. This allows people to learn that they are not alone, discover how other people live with their mental health issues, and heal through writing about their own lives.

However, it can be hard to read this sort of thing, and even write about it. This zine is filled with brief, anonymous accounts of different mental health issues. Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, physical problems, dealing with rape and sexual assault, and other things are written about in stories, poems, interviews, and essays. They are not all easy reading, and some of them kind of upset me.

It also made writing this review kind of hard, as I didn't know what to mention and what not to mention. However, if you are interested in this area, you might enjoy this zine.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Shabba's Crappy D Stories Part: 1

By Saban Kazim

I have, thankfully, never worked in fast food. However, as I am currently not working anywhere I suppose those working in fast food have one up on me in that they have a paycheck and know where next month's rent is coming from.

The two brief stories in here are good at showing how terrible these sort of jobs are, and how to find humour in them. The horrible customers, the worker/manager relationship (where all the power seems to be with one, but occasionally the other can get the upper hand), the nonsensical rules, the horrible tasks, the trying to do as little as possible. It's kind of impressive that all of that is portrayed in just a few brief pages, but I guess so much of those things are part of popular culture nowadays that it just has to reference them and I understand them far more in depth.

There aren't many backgrounds and Kazim reuses panels and character art, but you don't really notice that on your first read through. I like the character designs of his boss and the customer, both of which remind me of muppets (is it the eyebrows? I think it must be). Kazim's art style isn't the most polished, but it manages to tell the stories that he's set out to tell, and I was a little disappointed that this was so short, as I wouldn't have minded reading some more tales of fastfood life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Before the Law

By A. Moore

My knowledge of Kafka is pretty limited. I've seen The Trial (I think), and I read a graphic novel adaptation of the Metamorphosis (actually, more than one if I think about it), but I don't think I've ever read any of his actual work, or even read much about it.

And so I look at this short adaptation of one of his stories and I think it is something I would appreciate far more if I was more familiar with the source material. It does seem "Kafkaesque" (though perhaps I only use this term because I know it's based on a work by Kafka), is printed nicely on cardstock, and is laid out in an interesting manner, but...

I don't know, is the point of Kafka that life sucks and doesn't make any sense? If that is the case I don't really want to read any more of it. If it isn't the case I'm pretty clearly not getting something.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Man's Zine: 6 Types of Women to Avoid

By Sarah Cai

So I'm discovering that living somewhere where there are things to do means that I do lots of things, and thus have less time to goof off on the internet and write these reviews. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop (not until my review box is empty), but it does mean you're getting another short zine review today. Hopefully soon I will figure out a way to fit everything into my schedule.

The back page of this zine says that it shouldn't be taken "too seriously" by women, but that men should reference it often. Each page inside features a type of woman, and a drawing of the woman with a speech balloon.

Most of the advice seems fairly sensible, but at the same time anyone who reads these things probably isn't going to end up with a girl who wears high heels every day and is a slave to makeup.

However, I must admit that I probably am the "over apologizing" type, and I think getting drunk is pretty cool, or at least fun sometimes. So boys beware! You should clearly stay away from me as I am, to the surprise of nobody, terrible girlfriend material.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Things I Wonder About but Don't Really Want to Know the Answers to

By Nomi Kane

This short zine features a number of drawings representing various things Kane has thought about, but doesn't really want to know the answer to. Just like the title says!

They're all pretty funny, and several of them are things I've thought of myself. (Especially "How long has this been in the fridge?".) There isn't a lot of room for Kane's art to really be seen, but what is there is attractive. I do wonder about the way she draws herself, always with the same sort of worried/sad look on her face. I hope she is more cheerful in real life!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Halifax Urban Maple Sugaring Project

(Apologies for the less than stellar cover scan.)

By Mike and Juele

I'm pretty much guaranteed to give this zine a good review because I got to try some of the maple syrup that they made! Mmmmmmmm. Delicious!

The zine is made by some people who are all about bringing food production to people, through guerrilla gardening, urban farming, and similar projects. In this case they decided to tap a number of maple trees, collect the sap, and make maple syrup out of it! I guess I knew that maple syrup was made from tree sap (or maybe I didn't...), but it's kind of strange to think about it.

It turns out that making maple syrup is considerably easier than I would have expected. You can get up to four litres of sap from one tree in a single day! Of course, once you've gathered enough you have to build a fire and boil it down for hours on end, and the day these guys choose to do that on was pretty horrible weather wise. I guess if you have to be outside when it's raining, snowing, and windy, being gathered around a fire is probably one of the best places to be.

The zine was generally easy to read and follow, with illustrations showing the various tools and objects that they used at each step. I think it could have been a little better organized, but it's not a particularly long zine, so you can easily read it all before you start making maple syrup yourself.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Child of the Atom

By David Blandy and Inko

Just before I left the UK I happened upon an art gallery showing a kind of neat exhibition. It featured action figures, comic books, a video game, and several video pieces all about the creator, David Blandy. Not that Blandy created all the stuff himself, rather he had hired other people to draw the comics (and maybe make the other stuff?) based upon his ideas.

It was a kind of neat idea, and the reverse of the art pieces I've seen that try to take a fictional character and make them real.

This comic is about Hiroshima, and if you'll allow me a brief moment I will tell you about my time there, as at this point I don't think I'm ever going to make a zine about that trip. I visited Japan in 2007 after living and traveling around Asia for most of the previous two years. I did the normal geeky stuff in Japan: went to Harajuku, went to the science museum, went to the Ghibli museum, looked at the homeless people's cardboard dwellings, hitchhiked on buses of old people (okay, so maybe my trip wasn't always normal).

And then I got to Hiroshima, which in many ways was my favourite city in Japan. There was a rad tram system, the food was good, there were art galleries, the people were friendly, and it just seemed nice. Except that you never knew when you would turn the corner and uncover a memorial to the people that died because of the nuclear explosion.

I cried looking at the monuments and museums. I cried reading Barefoot Gen (a really good, if brutal, comic you should read) in a library. I cried because to so many people this was just another tourist attraction to be bussed to. I cried because I don't know how the war could have ended with less loss of life. I cried because I remembered how the Japanese had kept their prisoners of war in Sandakan a few months before. I cried when I saw the paper cranes.

All of this is to say that I don't really know how to review a comic like this. The wordless comic and images of Hiroshima conjure up a lot of memories for me, but I have no idea what someone who hasn't been to these places will take from it.

One thing that is interesting, and the reason Blandy created this comic, is that he and his family sort of feel they owe their lives to the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Blandy's grandfather was in a Japanese POW camp and believed that if the war hadn't ended the way it did, he wouldn't have survived. Which is something to think about at any rate.

Friday, April 15, 2011

l'âge dur

By Max de Radiguès

This is a cute little set of five minicomic bound together with a paper band. The comics focus on small events from teenage life. The characters skateboard, ride bicycles, get into fights, lust after girls, and the like.

As a Belgian de Radiguès's art is clearly influenced by the clear line style popularized Hergé, but there are aspects of other creators in here too. His large eyed females remind me of somebody. The name is on the tip of my brain. I was going to say Hope Larson, but I just looked her up and while her characters do seem to have large eyes, the rest of the art style isn't the same. Dang, this is going to bug me for ages.

Uhm, so anyway, the way de Radiguès draws boys and girls in his comic, combined with the stories he tells, really separates them into two groups. The girls seem knowledgeable, worldly, and sophisticated, while the boys seem little more than children. Even those boys that do manage to achieve any kind of connection with the girls are seen as having skills and knowledge beyond the norm.

These comics have thus captured some of the awkwardness prevalent in being a teenager. Not knowing what to do, not knowing what you're doing right, and not knowing how to get what you want.

Though, I say that's prevalent in teenagers, but I'm pretty sure I still deal with all those problems on a daily basis.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Things That I Have Eaten / Things That I Have Drank

By Devin Renshaw

These are two cute little zines that show everything that Renshaw ate or drank in a one week period of time. Each page features a number of small drawings of food or drink that he consumed in a given day.

It's a neat idea, and I'm wondering if it's something I should do (if only to keep track of what I actually eat), but I'm kind of disgusted by Renshaw's eating habits. He eats fast food stuff like every day! Who goes to IHOP three times in one week? His drinking habits seem somewhat more reasonable, though he still consumes way more sugar than I would be comfortable doing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Carnet D'un Sauvage

By Nye Wright

I love traveling, I love writing about my own trips, and I love reading about other people's trips too. If it's somewhere I've never been to, I get to live vicariously through them; if it's somewhere I have been to, I get to compare what they did to what I did, wonder why they didn't go to that awesome place I found, and feel dumb for not doing that awesome thing I didn't even know about.

This zine takes the form of a sketchbook that Wright made during a trip to Europe. He tries to draw something every day, and in the margins writes about what he's been up to. It's a format that allows him to show the people he met, the different types of architecture that he saw, the food he ate, and other random things.

Wright's art certainly manages to capture snippets of what he experienced, and I enjoyed the drawing of him exhausted from traveling (after only a few weeks, the amateur!). However, the text is considerably weaker. Some of his lettering is really nice, and I enjoyed the titles that he did, but the longer pieces of text are harder to read.

The text also suffers from it not being a complete account of what happened, so the reader isn't sure of everything that's going on in the trip or why certain things occur. There's also some unfortunate xenophobia and general weirdness stemming from Wright being an American. However, he does at least point out these faults in himself, so it's not that distasteful.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Khyber Komix Jam #2

Edited by Kyle

A comics jam is an event where a bunch of people get together and draw collaborative comics. Usually each person draws a panel, and then passes it on to the next person (who in turn passes on the comic they'd been working on). You spend an evening hanging out with other comics artists, and at the end you have a pile of usually bizarre, generally nonsensical comics.

While these are great drawing exercises for the artists, both to get them to actually draw something and to draw within a certain period of time, they results are generally incredibly uneven. You have some participants who try to continue the story started by the previous artists, but others who go for random jokes and non sequiturs.

You also have an incredible variety of art styles, and while a few of the artists here are quite good at drawing something within the allotted time, others are not. My favourite comic had to do with a horrible jelly fish attack, both because jelly fish (or at least the idea of flying ones) terrify me, and because on average I think it has the best art. I guess jelly fish aren't that hard to draw.

Ultimately though, I think the biggest problem is the lettering. I can't even read a bunch of the dialogue! I'd be really interested to hear of any comic jams have used a writer/letterer who would write the dialogue/captions in advance and have the artists draw things to try and match up with that. I don't know if it would work better, but at the least the produced comics would (probably) be more coherent.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Peach Melba Issue 20

By Pearl
PO Box 74

While no longer the youngest zinester I know of, (almost) fourteen-year-old Pearl continues to put out my favourite monthly zine.

Each issue is filled with various typewriter-written lists of seemingly random things that have caught her fancy recently, and they never fail to put a smile on my face.

This issue includes the life cycles of sheep (both male and female), a list of eyewear, "Things you can do because you're wearing a hat" ("signal secretly to a helicopter"), and loads more. What other zine mentions both zlotys and axolotls in the same issue?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Aliens: First Encounter

By G.P. Bonesteel

I really enjoy the format of this zine. It's wide and skinny, and each page is filled with a single panel like the cover (except it's in black and white). It's a neat size, and can be used to tell a story in a suitably "wide screen" style.

The comic itself disappointed me somewhat. There is no plot other than "aliens attack", and honestly, as much as I love that stuff you still need more than that and a few old jokes (yes, yes, everyone hates hippies, but really, X-Files references in a comic released in 2009?) to get me onside.

I think one of my major issues with this comic is that the "wide screen" format isn't used effectively. Instead we get page after page that feature identical panels where very little on the page actually changes. I'm not dissing that style of storytelling, I think it can be very effective, but I think if you're going to use it you need to have a lot of panels and a lot of room. When most (or even half) of an entire page doesn't change for five or six pages I wonder why the creator bothered framing the story that way. Instead, it might have been better if Bonesteel had used a more traditional size and used smaller repetitive panels instead.

The other problem is that isn't even a complete story. The last page tells us that the story is to be continued, but as the "story" so far is an entirely generic space alien invasion with no actual characters, I'm not sure why I'd bother really.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I See the World in Hipstervision

By Elliot Baggott

Hipsters get a bad rap. I mean, there are songs about how they are stupid. This becomes all the more ridiculous when you consider that almost nobody describes themselves as a hipster, and in fact few people can even describe the term (leading to this comic, which I think explains the concept quite well).

So I was a little excited by this, as I thought it might be someone trying to reclaim the term (ironically of course), or some sort of comic poking fun at hipsters.

It's neither, instead it is (as the subtitle says) a collection of sketches. Some of the people look kind of hipstery, others just look like normal people (though I'm not really sure if the elf is based on a real person or just imagination). The art mostly shows people with haircuts and some girls that seem pretty cute, though the ones I liked best where the drawings of buildings. Yay architecture!

Really though, these sketches just have nothing on sketches done by other people. (Yes, that is me.)

Friday, April 8, 2011

WJC Comics No 3

By Warwick Johnson Cadwell

Cadwell's comics shouldn't really work. His artstyle seems to ignore so many things that I think should be present in "good" comic art. The characters' proportions don't make sense, the panel to panel consistency is weak, and characters warp and change.

And yet I love his style. There's something about the way he draws weird looking creatures, robots, and even humans that really appeals to me. His work has energy, dynamism, and an appeal I find hard to pin down.

Of course it's not all perfect, the reproduction on this is kind of terrible. Greys come out so dark it's hard to make out any detail, and I just know we're missing out on certain aspects of the art. Storywise it's just a chase scene, but it's effective at what it does, and as part of a longer narrative it would work really well.

Cadwell has a book coming out from Blank Slate Books later this year, but until then I'll just have to keep looking at his blog so I can discover awesome drawings like this one of Batgirl vs. Killer Croc.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Qwerty Pop

By The Thomas Ferguson Band

Every now and then I get a zine and I have no idea where it came from. This one was made for a typewriter festival (in February) at the Sticky Institute (a rad zine shop in Melbourne Australia). Well, no, that's not exactly true. The creator of this zine was asked to make a mixtape/cd about and inspired by typewriters for this event. What on Earth do you have to do to get a reputation as someone who can make a mix based around typewriters?! (I guess the answer is just "be pretty good at making mixes", and this guy is. I listened to the typewriter one already, and am now listening to another right now. Hurray!)

You can listen to the mix in the link above, and it's actually pretty rad. This zine acts as a companion piece to the mix, and I'm a little disappointed that it's a halfsized zine. I make a fair number of mix CDs (do you want to trade? Let me know!), though none with as weird a theme as typewriters. Quite frequently I make little booklets to slip inside the CD case. This zine works in much the same way my booklets do: there's information about the bands, the individual tracks, and random anecdotes about how the music was discovered. It's all pretty fun.

This zine also had a weird and awesome story as an insert. The story is a first person narrative about someone, who is completely oblivious to society as they don't know what money is, serving Salvador Dali in a super market. It's presumably an attempt at creating a Dali-esque piece in text form. I'm not familiar enough with Dali to really know how successful the author was, but I enjoyed it.

Plus the mix features a Missy Elliot/typewriter mashup, I mean, what's not to love about that?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Carck Presents Menagerie

By Harriet Jones & Vicky Samuel

Oh look at the adorable kitty cat! Awwww. And it's head is on a folded paper spring thing, how clever!

NO! Do not be fooled! This zine is nothing but smut! Once you open it you are exposed to a pop up penis! And that's it, it's kind of funny, but I can't imagine how much work went into cutting, folding, and gluing everything together for this. And the penis even sticks out of the side! How shoddy! (I'm joking.)

It's kind of impossible to review something like this. I do really wonder why there are twenty three different website addresses on the back page. Are they sites related to the creators of this zine? Why am I supposed to go look at them? I have no idea. (Actually looking at them it seems a couple might be related to the creators, but I really can't be bothered looking them up.)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fifty Fearful Faces

By David Mack

From the title and cover of this zine you may be expecting it to be fifty drawings of monstrous faces. Well, you'd be completely wrong if you thought that, because however you count it there are not fifty faces in here (there's either more or less depending on if you count the cover).

Of course Fifty Fearful Faces sounds a lot better than Thirty-Six Sortof Frighting Heads, so it becomes obvious why the cover was chosen.

I'm not sure how much fear the drawings within inspire within me. A fair number are gross or somewhat unsettling, and I'm sure if I saw people that looked like this in real life I'd be terrified, but as drawings they mostly lack in scarification.

That's not to say the art isn't good! I really enjoyed the drawing below, and there's a heavily lined drawing of an alien/monster thing that becomes increasingly scary the longer I look at it. *shudder*

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Zine #6 Christmas Special

By Alyssa

At the Brighton Zine Fest a few months back I saw the youngest zinester ever! Apparently when this was made she wasn't even six! Wow!

I think it's awesome how creative kids are, and how tragic that so often people stop creating by the time them become adults. I don't know what it is about the school system that erases the creativity and enjoyment of learning that kids have, but we should probably fix it...

This full colour (!!!) zine features drawings of Santa Claus, a snowman, some sort of horrible monster (yay!), trees, other Christmasy stuff, and what I think is a giant beetroot (but I might be horribly ). Super awesome. I hope she keeps making these forever.

Halifax Hooligans

So the reason for the recent break in service is that I moved back to Canada. Hurray! Just in time for my tenth anniversary of becoming a Canadian.

I've moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in large part because of the Anchor Archive Zine Library. It's a pretty rad place, and I spent yesterday (Sunday) volunteering. I'm sure I'll be around a bunch, and hopefully doing more shifts. I'll also be there to do Food Not Bombs (Sundays), participate in the craft nights (Tuesdays, come make artist trading cards with me!), and other stuff.

Also, from here on our pretty much all of the zines I review on this site (and make myself) are going to end up in the library. I'll look into linking to the entries in their database.

Apologies for the terrible image quality for the next little while, I was hoping to have access to a scanner, but I couldn't get the one at the Anchor Archive to work.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Zine Interview Part Two

The first part of this interview went online yesterday.

6. You have made a lot of zines yourself, what inspires you? How do you decide on a subject matter?

My recent zine series (Oblast) is pretty scattershot in what each individual zine is about, but if you look at my zine history as a whole the overarching theme is one of travel. I love travelling, and a lot of my zines take the form of rewritten diary entries of my trips to various countries.

More recently (over the last year and a half) I've been doing zines on more random stuff (YouTube, potato crisps/chips, etc.), and I think a reason for this is that I haven't been writing for magazines and newspapers as much as I have in the past. I used to write for magazines and newspapers in university and afterwards when I lived in Asia. This really helped me use up my creative juices (for good or ill), but my crisp review zine is a pretty clear successor to some of the articles I wrote in South Korea where I reviewed types of soju (a Korean alcohol) or weird ice cream flavours.

I just write about what I'm interested in at the time and hope other people will like it too.

7. How would you describe the style of your own publications?

All of my most recent zines have been laid out using a computer design program. I use a free program called Scribus, but I have experience using Adobe InDesign. I guess my style is slightly more "polished" than some creators, but at the same time I'm clearly going for a different aesthetic than people doing cut and paste zines (though I've made those in the past).

(Edit/addition: Also, my handwriting is terrible!)

8. What do you find to be the positives and negatives of publishing your work in this way?

The work gets published and is out there. I mean, I could make a blog, but I'm not sure how well the haphazard and random things I write about would go over.

I like having a mini project to work towards, and when I'm done I can hand it to someone and say "Here, I wrote and made this". That's something I couldn't do with the print articles I've written (where once the issue it's printed in is gone, it's harder to show people).

Since I have a physical object that I created I can also swap/trade/sell it to other people. They can even act as a sort of business card, providing my contact info and an example of what I'm capable of doing.

9. Do you have full control of every step that goes into creating your zines, from concept through to printing?

Yes. Well, you are limited by the amount of money you have to spend (ie. colour printing is expensive), and the quality of the printers/copiers you are using. It's frustrating to photocopy a bunch of stuff and have it all be slightly crooked, but I can't let it bother me too much.

10. What advice would you give to someone who would like to start creating their own zines?

Just get out there and do it! Zines can be photos or drawings or collages or comics or essays or poetry or stories or reviews or any combination of the above or anything that can be printed on paper. You don't have to make hundreds of copies of your first zine if you don't want to, you don't even have to make any! (I have numerous zines in various states of completion that I gave up on.) However, my friends have been excited to see my new zines, and it's nice to get feedback on what you've created from people you know.

And that's the end of the interviews! (Well, I was also interviewed on video recently, but that was for something not zine related. Proper reviews should return on Monday.