Rum Lad Issue 12 is an A5 black and white zine sharing Steve’s memories of his grandparents in words and drawings.
I had a feeling this one was going to pull on my heart strings the moment I saw it. I wasn’t wrong.
Rum Lad opens on the inside front cover with a beautiful dedication of this zine to his grandparents, both of whom have passed away. It is clear from the start that he admired his grandparents and loved them dearly. Other than Steve’s sweet words in regards to his grandparents, something else struck me as beautiful as well. Even in his grief, Steve writes:
“…hopefully anyone reading this will be able to recognise and reflect on the familiar, yet ordinary tenderness that you might share with loved ones of any description.”
It certainly did for me.
Following two text-filled pages about their early lives are an assortment of drawings and comics encompassing some of Steve’s favourite memories. Most are one page long, and all are filled with a lot of love. Little anecdotes along with Steve’s awesome art style give such a rich impression of these memories.
This zine is a heartfelt tribute to two people but also a realistic one with plenty of moments of humour to go along with the moments of sadness. From the footnotes that include ‘do keep up’ as well as the fun little moments with his grandparents, Rum Lad 12 took me through a full range of emotions.
I really love the entirety of this zine and am grateful that Steve chose to share these stories. It feels wrong to ‘rank’ memories in any sort of way, but I do want to mention how Tesco Bag made me smile so much, and I keep smiling whenever I think about it. The memory is lovely in and of itself, but it also reminded me of how important the ‘little’ moments are in our lives.
I think what impressed me the most is that Steve included both good and not as good memories. It’s all too easy to idolise those have passed away, brushing over the bad and focusing on the good. But Steve hasn’t done this, and that speaks to me as him being someone who wants to remember his grandparents for who they were rather than some idealised version.
I also loved that he included stories of them as told by his brother as well.
Steve’s art style is fantastic – a mixture of highly detailed and yet sometimes more simple. No matter what I’m looking at, I love looking at it.
Absolutely pick up this zine. You know where it will end because of where it starts, but it’s beautiful and a zine I highly recommend.
PS. I won’t spoil it, but when you pick this up, don’t forget to look at the page numbers. There’s a little fun something at the end of each memory.