Monday, August 26, 2013

Today 2

Today is filled with brief one page comics/illustrations that seem to be about random things from Bradley's life. They cover silverfish infestations (and how they'll EAT YOUR BOOKS), watching horror movies between hands held up to your face (scary!), having shoes thrown at you from a moving car while walking down the street (I once had someone throw a basketball at me from a car), wind and weather, how their grandma had an encounter with an owl that she likened to a Second World War plane flying overhead, bowling, and other weird and random stuff.

I think the story I liked the best was the one about a terrifying plan by "bigwigs" at Bradley's primary school to have kids drink more milk. It involved a lifesize plastic cow that had to be milked everyday by the kids. Apparently it traumatized everyone.

Bradley has an art style that I really enjoy. It's fairly simple, but the people represented always seem to be incredibly emotional. They're always screaming or grinning crazily or crying or feeling something to an extreme level. It makes it seem as though Bradley and their friends and family live in a state of constant emotional overdrive. Tape drive broken so that you can't listen to Van Halen tapes? Clearly the rational response is to fall on your knees, scream, and cry. Plus I like the way that hair is drawn. It's not super complicated, but I think the way lines are used looks pretty neat.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Guts Power 2

It is the futuristic year 2003 and the UK is all messed up due to a time travel incident or something. Nobody really seems to know exactly what happened, other than it was an event called "the Body Riot". At any rate, time no longer really happens, there are weird monster things everywhere, buildings seem to be made of decaying....something, and horrible government agencies generally just try to make people more depressed (just like now!).

In this world are Bebox (human?), LoveLaffs1820 (part ober-dominensional sentio-gas), and Dearth (human?), and they'll overthrow the government and make things right! Well, once they manage to get back on the dole (unemployment) and get some money so they can go clubbing first.

This comic is _weird_. I get the feeling that Milne has a whole history set up that explains all the strange stuff going on, but at the same time they could just be making it all up as they go along. Either is entirely possible.I generally enjoyed the weirdness in this comic and the random asides and injokes that happen. A robot version of Robert Burns called Robot Burns? Genius! Someone who's mom (or one of their moms) is a sentient gas that appears to live in a flower vase? That's great! But at the same time some of the things that appear are kind of gross and grotesque and I'm just left going "What is that?"

While I enjoy some aspects of the art, like the thick lines around the characters, I found other parts to not really be my thing (though that could just be the "ick" factor). I would be really curious to see what this world and these characters look like in colour though.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Docs: The Journal of Microbiography Issue #2

PO Box 26183
Baltimore, MD

The purpose of Docs is kind of strange. It has a very strict format in that each contribution is four pages long: a title/index page that lists who/what is being written about, and three different "documents" that somehow relate to that entity. When I read the first issue of this zine I had absolutely no idea what was going on, as the "documents" can be anything (photos, screenshots, excerpts), don't have to be what was listed on the index, and the people described don't actually have to exist.

And so you get three pages of seemingly random stuff, that is considerably more interesting because you assume there must be some connection to it, that it must mean something, that it somehow describes someone who may or may not exist. You struggle through multiple pages of text with no paragraph breaks, you stare at pictures of leaves, you try to decipher a bad photocopy of a crumpled piece of paper, and all the time you wonder how these three things possibly describe the entirety of a person, or if that's even possible.

Huh, so apparently I am somewhat enamored with the idea behind this zine, even if the content for the most part doesn't totally grab me (even bizarre, mysterious poetry/lyrics don't interest me that much). My favourite section from this issue was about the world squirrel, who's lived from infinity to infinity, and whose documents consisted for an excerpt from a "truly evil" Swedish black metal band's biography, an interview with a restaurateur, and a screenshot of a .WAV audio file. Fantastic! Somehow this does describe a mythical squirrel.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Interview with Delia Jean

Recently I attended the ALA conference in Chicago and helped run the Zine Pavilion. It was loads of fun!

One of the other things I did was interview some of the zinesters who were at the event. Here's the first of them! This is with Delia Jean, a comic artist with LadyDrawers.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Echo Echo 10

The first half of this zine deals with Keet's early exposure to zines. Well not just that, but how it seemed almost inevitable that they would end up making zines. They tell how they wanted a mimeograph machine for their ninth birthday, enjoyed carrying around huge piles of paper, and how they wrote stories on their family's old computer.

These are snippets of reading books in class, not completing assignments "correctly", being blown away by the sort of things that zines can write about that you might not see otherwise (decolonialism, feminism, etc.), trying to be an anime fan, forgetting about zines entirely and then rediscovering them, and more.

It reminded me, in parts, about my own early experiences with zines and self publishing. I remember making my own fake newspaper, drawing (terrible) comics, making an anime fanzine (or really, more of a newsletter), not doing any sort of zine thing for _years_ before starting again, and I wonder how many people have similar stories of wanting to write and create going all the way back to their childhood.

The rest of the zine features comics and illustrations of real life events, and some fiction (I think), plus the awesome page below of "Indispensable Zine Materials".

Friday, August 16, 2013

Peach Melba #39 & #40

By Pearl
PO Box 74
Brighton, UK

After reviewing lots of issues of this zine I think I've kind of run out of things to say (also, I just spent over an hour making buttons at my friend's button shop and my brain kind of feels like mush).

This is a list zine, and there are plenty of lists in them! Lists about "things that people are afraid of" ("spiders", "bears", "being shipwrecked"), "types of soup" ("horrible french cheese soup"), and "the versatilities of a DVD" ("spaghetti measurer", "bird scarer"). Plus lots of others!

It's cute and charming, and I always end up smiling whenever I read an issue.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Interview with Kelly McElroy, Dave Roche, Jami Thompson, and Jaclyn Miller

Recently I attended the ALA conference in Chicago and helped run the Zine Pavilion. It was loads of fun!

One of the other things I did was interview some of the zinesters who were at the event. Here's the last of them! It's with Kelly McElroy, Dave Roche, Jami Thompson, and Jaclyn Miller.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Badaboom Twist Issue #1

By David Libens

Sometimes people act in ways that are surprising to me. Now sure, that in and of itself isn't that strange, I mean people shoot other people and eat meat and do lots of stuff I don't really understand, but then there are the less severe things. You're marriage isn't going so well? Why not start a daily diary comic about your life and write it in a language that is not your own (and not the language spoken where you live), and don't tell anyone (including your wife) about it?

So yeah, these are kind of depressing diary comics that Libens drew while at work. Libens' wife is from America, but she's been living in Europe for a long time. She misses her family and wants to move. Libens also seems to want to move, but doesn't do anything about it. To me it really seems as though they're both depressed and stuck in a rut, unable to start the actions that would lead them towards a better mental place. I can understand this, and I guess things improved to some amount as the back page of the comic indicates that they had another kid (though they still don't live in America), so hopefully things are going better.

The art style is pretty simple and sketchy. I'm pretty sure that Libens just drew these directly with ink and didn't even bother penciling stuff. The art isn't really my favourite style, but I think it works pretty well for this type of comic, and some of the panels look pretty good.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Interview with John Porcellino

Recently I attended the ALA conference in Chicago and helped run the Zine Pavilion. It was loads of fun!

One of the other things I did was interview some of the zinesters who were at the event. Here's the second of them! This one is with John Porcellino who does King-Cat Comics.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Giant Monsters All-Out Destroy All Giant Monsters!!!!!!

By Benjamin Juers Indyk

This is a comic about giant monsters fighting each other. It is great. The end.

Okay fine, be that way. I'll actually write some stuff about what's in this comic. Giant Monsters All-Out Destroy All Giant Monsters!!!!!! is a comic about some kids who play with some toys that they pretend are giant, city destroying monsters. There's a vampire turtle rabbit, a winged tiger man, and a giant elephant eagle (all combinations are approximate). They are all totally boss (ie. great). 

They fight, they team up, they cause large scale property damage, they do all the things giant monsters are supposed to do (fly! Breath radiation circles!). Meanwhile the art switches between kids playing with their toys, and what it would look like if their toy monsters really existed. I thought it was a neat way to show what was "really" going on and what was happening in the kids' imagination.

The comic isn't that long, and I kind of wish it had just been all out monster fighting action, but I did enjoy it, and I'd happily read more comics (preferably about giant monsters...) by Indyk.

One thing that's kind of weird is that the "recommended listening to accompany this comic" on the back page is nine tracks long. The comic is only twelve pages! How slowly am I meant to read this?! : )

Friday, August 9, 2013

Echo-4 Kilo: True Comics About Military Misadventure Volume One

So recently I was waiting for a bus to take me out of America, and I ended up talking to two other guys who were waiting for the same bus (though not out of America). Both, it seemed, were in their early 20s, and in university. One of the things they talked about was going to Las Vegas (and other places) and shooting guns, both were enthusiastic about it, whereas the very idea of this terrified me. I stayed silent during this part of the conversation.

This came back to me while I was reading this comic, as near the beginning (while Kilgore is in bootcamp) there are two quotes that made me kind of weirded out and scared. 

"I read far too many Vietnam books in my youth."
"I wanted to play war too!"

I've read some books about war (though they tend to be about how awful it is), and played many video games where I shoot people, but the idea of "playing" war is terrifying to me. That other people want to do this...well, I guess it makes a lot of sense when we look at the world around us, but it doesn't exactly make me happy.

The comics in Echo-4 Kilo don't exactly glorify war but, as Kilgore says in a text piece at the end, they're not anti-military comics either. They don't paint a (to me) positive experience of the armed forces, but I can't really expect anything to do so. To me (a complete outsider) the comics seem to be about how the army (or I guess it's the marines in this case) is run in an incredibly stupid manner and puts young (18 year old) kids into dangerous situations. Sometimes it combines the two by allowing those kids to get really drunk/stoned/whatever, and have access to weapons. Great! (Thankfully nobody gets shot in this comic.)

The cross hatching used in the art reminded me of Joe Sacco (though I know other artists use that style too), while at times the bendy armed characters seemed kind of reminiscent of Peter Bagge. They style is effective in telling the stories, and is perhaps indicative that Kilgore had been drawing for military publications for several years.

I'm both curious about more war comics by Kilgore, and kind of scared of the idea of reading more. The military is kind of entirely foreign to me, and mentally I'm caught between wanting to find out more about it (and how messed up it is), and just staying away entirely.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Two Fisted Librarians at the Portland Zine Symposium!

I'll be tabling (and helping to run a discussion about zine libraries) this weekend (August 10th and 11th) at the Portland Zine Symposium! I can't wait. I'll see you there!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tear-Stained Makeup #8

So there's lots of things I could write about this comic, and the first is pretty crucial: Despite a recap page I found this comic somewhat hard to follow because it is part 8 of an ongoing story. This is not Pérez's fault. However, there are a lot of characters, and the fact that a flashback starts halfway through the first page doesn't help.

It didn't take me too long to figure out what was going on, but there are a lot of different plot threads moving through this comic, and while I understood most of them with no real problem, others made me wonder more "why is this included?".

Of course, the most important thing about this comic is the following character.

This is Tildy. Can you guess from her outfit and accessories what she does? She's a librarian! Of course! The glasses, the book, the cardigan. I mean, what else can she be?

Librarians care about their public image a lot, and I guess I either never really picked up on it or only interacted with librarians who don't fit into the mold (of course, as I'm the library student who makes this zine it's not really surprising...). And sure, some people don't care, and others are probably happy that she isn't middle aged and doesn't have cats all her over skirt or something (and other people are probably wondering where they can get a skirt like that with cats on it). 

The rest of the story is about doctors and unprofessional behaviour, and bands breaking up Euskaran translation. I'm kind of curious about how the story progressed, and how many issues there were. But not enough to actually go and look.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Call for Submissions: Orgasm Zine 2

I recently received this call for submissions and thought I'd pass it along.
The Orgasm Zine came about through conversations with other women that revealed our experiences with orgasms are much more diverse and complex than is usually represented in porn and pop culture. We all have different bodies, so it makes sense that we would have different orgasms. We collected submissions from 14 women about their various experiences with orgasms, with the intention of focusing on voices that are underrepresented in mainstream media. We were delighted by the submissions and the positive responses we received when the zine was published in the summer of 2012, and we have been asked many times when we were going to put together a second issue.

It's finally time!

For the second issue of The Orgasm Zine, we want more orgasm stories from people who identify as women or have lived as women. We welcome written submissions of 500 words or less, as well as illustrations, photographs, and other pieces of art that can be published in zine form. The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2013. All submissions will be anonymous unless otherwise stated. Send submissions to: Check out our website: for news and information about ordering the first and subsequent issues.
Submissions can focus on any aspect of orgasms, but here are some questions that might help you get started:

-Do you have orgasms?

-How would you describe your orgasms?

-Do you have different kinds of orgasms?

-Have your orgasms changed over time?

-Do you think your orgasms are normal or abnormal?

-How do you communicate with a partner about your orgasms?

-Have you ever faked an orgasm? Why?

-Do you have difficulty reaching orgasm or did you in the past? What did you do about it?

-Are orgasms important to you? Why?

-Do you experience orgasms differently while masturbating vs. with a partner?

-Do you have multiple orgasms, and if so, under what circumstances?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Three Wishes

By Jonathan Eaton

Three Wishes is about a genie that appears to grant Jonathan wishes after he rubs a "random shitty old lamp". There's a catch (of course there's a catch! Genies are jackasses), and the genie will only grant two of Jonathan's wishes. The third wish is one that the genie decides upon, and Jonathan must live with that decision forever.

Seeing nothing problematic with this deal whatsoever Jonathan wishes that he could play the banjo, then he wishes for a banjo, then the genie brings back three people from the dead and makes Jonathan deal with them. Those three are:
  • "Wickedest man in the world" Aleister Crowley!
  • Sucidial, misunderstood poet Sylvia Plath!
  • Popcorn mastermind Orville Redenbacher! 
What would you do if these people suddenly showed up and you had to deal with them? The clear answer is "go camping", and so they go out to the woods, and to be honest I'm not sure how they're all supposed to fit into that tent that Eaton drew. They make lots of popcorn, get lost, encounter wild animals, deal with a kind of lame and contradictory ghost,  and encounter a popping corn bandit.

Overall it's pretty good, and there are definitely some funny bits but it also reads like something that was created a page at a time with no real plan or goal (though maybe I'm wrong). Things just kind of happen, and characters disappear for pages at a time, only for everything to stop, presumably when Eaton got bored. That's better than it getting dragged out forever if the creator has no interested, and I enjoyed reading what was here.

Friday, August 2, 2013


By Sam Sharpe

Poo is a collection of one page gag comics. Well, I guess I say they're comics, but are they really? In the example below you'll see that there's an image, and text underneath it that is clearly being said by a character, but that's more illustrated prose. Or prosed illustration. Of course, some would argue that words combined with pictures is what makes a comic, but at that point what stops picture books or Dr. Seuss being comics? (Maybe nothing depending on your point of view.)

Anyway, these gag illustrations (wait, some of them have speech/thought balloons, those ones must be comics!) are pretty funny. They run the gamut from cowboys talking about wearing chaps, squirrels loving nuts, and a cubist looking person who is upset that the painting of them looks "normal". There's also a great one about a "whaling wall". (Hey, do you know what's really hard? Describing gag comics!)

 Sharpe's art works well for this type of comic. It's fairly simple and "cartoony" (for lack of a better word), but also manages to be highly expressive. Characters might just have dots for eyes and a line or a circle for a mouth, but we're still able to tell how they're feeling through their body language, which is something I'm always happy to see in comics.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Zine Machine at the University of Iowa Zine Collection

I was recently at the Iowa City Zine Librarian (un)Conference, which was held (partially) at the University of Iowa.

The university has a pretty big collection of zines (including lots of old sci fi fanzines) and, to be honest, I kind of hate how they're organized (in boxes, in the archive, by collection, as opposed to title). They're also barely catalogued, which really bothers me.

(Some of the zines in a display case outside the special collections room.)

One thing that the library did have that was awesome, was the Zine Machine! A vending machine filled with zines that you could get for FREE! So cool! I think vending machines are pretty neat anyway, and I love it when they're used for art things. I didn't get any zines out of this one (I already had several of them), but I really want to get my own now. Someday!