Wonderful, beloved zine friends. I’m so happy to be creating this post.
It’s that time again – a time that probably isn’t familiar to a lot of you. When I reached my 100th review in May 2016, I felt inspired by the Golden Stapler Awards and celebrated by awarding zines with titles like ‘best binding’ and ‘funniest zine’.
I hit my 200th zine reviewed a few months ago, but with everything that was going on, I wasn’t able to get to things until now. I still wasn’t sure whether I would do this, but I do love sharing my zine enthusiasm and celebrating fun and cool zines.
Things to remember:
1. My apologies for any less than stellar photos.
2. This is only meant to be a bit of fun.
3. Zines often fit into more than one category. How they were sorted is all on me.
4. Keep in mind these are limited to the second lot of 100 zines I’ve reviewed – roughly from May 2016 to July 2017. You can find the whole list: Zine Review Index
5. Picking out the ‘best’ stinks. I love them all!
Let’s do this.
(I’m putting everything after a more tag because there are a lot of images.)
Shit Talk was the last zine I reviewed in 2016 and made such a strong impression on me. I am utterly fascinated by things that complete strangers come together to create, and Shit Talk is no exception. I’m still stunned that the original survived well enough to be copied.
I really loved this zine by Lee Taylor of The Screever Zine. Everything from the art style to cover choices seemed to come together into one enjoyable zine. However, it was Ground’s binding with the cut out triangle holes and soft string that made it stand out for best binding.
Chronic Illhouse is one of those collab zines that helped me step outside the bubble of my own existence and learn more about what it is like to experience certain chronic illnesses – both mental and physical. I think it goes straight to the heart of why collab zines have their own beautiful, important place in the zine world.
Forgive me, zine friends, but I simply couldn’t decide between these two.
Henry and Fafa took a chance on me even though I’m only fluent in English, and I am so glad they did. Combining comics and cats translated even without me knowing the words (until Google translate), and I think that’s absolutely fantastic.
Everything Dies is a zine series that I need to get the rest of because I enjoyed this so, so much. Putting the flood myth into a funny comic was a genius move and why it’ll always be a treasured favourite.
There were quite a few in the running for this category, but Kackle Zine’s ‘Skull Water’ horror humour and the addition of 3D glasses to go along with won me over.
I wish the wonders of the universe could always come in the form of the cute and fun zine by Misha and Babs. Let’s Communicate is fun but also has no problem pointing out things we just don’t know yet about how the world works. Love it.
This was a very difficult category to pick because perzines are often mental health related, info zines, so on and so forth. In the end, I chose Coping Skills because not only is it good advice, it got a trial by fire with me in that I read it when I was struggling to cope with Wanderer being in the hospital. I don’t know what better ‘test’ there could have been, and I’m grateful for this zine.
Sober Bob’s Shark Self Help is positive, fun, colourful, and still makes me happy looking at it nearly a year to the day after reviewing it. Sometimes you just can’t beat something that makes you smile.
I promise that I left this one for absolute last in an effort to decide on a single one, but I simply couldn’t pick between the two.
Where do I begin? Alex Wrekk’s Brainscan 21 tangled me up inside and made me take a good, hard look at my behaviour in my own relationships. I’m still a bit gobsmacked by it.
Bastian Fox Phelan’s How To Be Alone 6.1 took me by surprise and danced me through both beauty and heartbreak. It’s simply a fantastic zine.
A friend had the idea to include a ‘best title’ category, and I loved it so much I had to pop it in. There were a few runners up, but none stood out to me quite so much as Emilly’s “promiscuous agriculture”.
You had me at Sudoku. Hahaha. It’s definitely more complicated than that, but the inclusion of sudoku in Lee and Nat’s zine The Screever didn’t hurt this zine chock full of interviews, articles, reviews, and more.
I love a good self-help zine, and Dr Faith’s Five Minute Therapy zines have been absolutely excellent. I’ve collected a few of them (as you can see) over the time they’ve been released. These things always come down to personal taste, of course, but I’ve found Dr Faith’s writing voice to be just the right balance of acknowledging the bullshit of the world while holding the reader to account for their own bullshit.
Do I really need to say anything here or…? Steve Steiner did a spectacular job at creating a simple, funny zine that’s making me smile even as I type this.
Drumroll or otherwise dramatic pause…
At the risk of re-reviewing it, I want to say that SlowQuest 1: A Choose Your Own Adventure zine is a fantastic example of a zine. The art is intricate and detailes, the text is clear and readable, it has been printed on lovely cream paper with a darker cover, it’s a choose your own adventure zine…
There’s so much to love about this zine, and it is easy to see Bodie’s passion for creating these fantasy themed pieces of art. I can hardly wait to see more of Bodie’s work.
And that’s a wrap. Hahaha. Congratulations, friends! I hope this ‘awards’ post has been the fun that I intended it to be.
2017 has been a hell of a year, good and bad, and zines have been an integral part of my life. From being creative to making new friends, zines have given me a lot of what I thought I couldn’t have for various reasons.
I can’t give enough thanks to everyone who has sent me happy mail, sent me zines for review, to everyone who emailed or messaged a lovely note regarding the site and what I’m doing here. You’ve seen me through zine events, surgeries for my furry family, the house move, and more.
On my part, I can only hope that I’ve created something here for zine enthusiasts new and experienced alike. I hope I’ve introduced you to zines you’ve come to love and showed you more spaces and places to explore your own zine feels.
Thank you to everyone who has, in any part, made my little world bubble a better place.
Best wishes always,