Zine Review: Thoughts of a Queer Marshmallow #3

Thoughts of a Queer Marshmallow #3
Queer Marshmallow
Queer Marshmallow

Thoughts of a Queer Marshmallow is a quarter-sized full-colour perzine about processing thoughts on past relationships (both with self and with others) and changing from those childhood dysfunctional behaviours.

Aesthetically, Thoughts of a Queer Marshmallow is a pretty chunky, text-heavy zine. I like how QM used different washi tapes on the bottom of most pages as well as to separate sections. It made the ‘heaviness’ of the text a little lighter – especially because it’s printed in colour.

This zine isn’t a zine to be taken on or read lightly. There is a lot contained within about about abusive relationships – familial and romantic – nightmares, and self harm. I found myself remembering a lot about the abuse I dealt with in my childhood thanks to a number of things that I had in common with QM.

I did admire how QM’s self reflection included the ability to be honest about their own past toxic/bad behaviours and how that impacted others. It’s all too easy to sugarcoat one’s own role in things, but QM doesn’t. It’s all right in there with everything else.

There were a couple things that were confusing for me in this zine. One was a sudden change of tone at the end that felt aggressive and without warning. I was most of the way down the page before I realised that it was a letter to someone.

The other thing I make note of because I think it’s a good point for zinemakers: With acronyms, spell it out at least once before using it full time. Even if you think people know that CW is ‘content warning’ (I figured that out), you can never be sure who your reader is. I had never for the life of me heard QPP before and had to stop reading to look it up. (Queer Platonic Partner) And if your reader has to look it up, you can’t guarantee they’ll find YOUR meaning for the acronym.

Thoughts of a Queer Marshmallow 3 is a relaxed pace zine filled with the inner thoughts of someone processing the ramifications of abuse. If you can take the prodding to your own history, then this zine could be a good example of starting the path of healing.


Zine Review: Connection Edit: Shine

Connection Edit: Shine
Jessica Maybury

Connection Edit: Shine is a black and white zine collection of blackout poetry. If you’re not familiar, blackout poetry is where you take a piece of text and black out words so the words remaining – your poem – reads as something different to the original.

So if you’re thinking ‘so it’s just a bunch of blacked out words’, then this zine may not be the zine for you. Or you could stick around and let me win you over with my review.

It’s been a while since I’ve sung this particular tune, so I’ll mention that poetry is not a strength of mine. I often don’t understand it and miss whatever points were being made. That being said, I have a strange fascination with blackout poetry.

The text for these poems come from a book called ‘Shine’ given as a gag gift and the last magazine Jessica’s nana read before the end. (Sorry for your loss.) I found the juxtaposition of flippant and serious a strange one, but I wonder if it was intentional in showing that you can make serious out of funny and vice versa no matter what the text.

The poems can be a little hit and miss, but when it hits, it does so in ways I love. Phrases like “To My Nobody” and “You have to shine bright” stuck with me and made my mind drift pleasantly from the poem at hand. No big spoilers here, but the poem on page 7 is definitely my favourite.

I found myself rebelling at the thought of ever finding out what the original text read beneath the swathes of black.

Honestly, I missed the aesthetics for the words on the first read through. I was so focused on words and possible meaning, but I don’t see that as a bad thing. I am glad that I went through to check out the visuals because I liked the various washi tapes and pictures used.

If you’re curious about blackout poetry, check out this zine.

Zine Review: Taking Up Space

Taking Up Space
Holly Casio

Taking Up Space is a black and white mini-zine comic about taking up space with your body.

This zine is so sweet and sad at the same time. As someone who takes up a considerable amount of space, I identified a lot with how uncomfortable it can be. It’s not only physically uncomfortable to try to make myself smaller for other people and their perceived expectations, but it’s mentally uncomfortable, too.

I like Holly’s art style. It’s soft and fun – perfectly suited to the zine and its message without taking away from it.

The comic ended on a lovely, fun note that left me feeling good about a subject that it’s all too easy to feel upset about. In few words and fewer panels, I felt empowered to give the world the metaphorical bird and take up whatever space I need to take. Love it.

If you take up space, then pick up this zine.

Zine Review: Burn-out

Burn –out: A Mini-Zine About Burnout and Self Care
Holly Casio

Burn-out is a mini perzine on green paper about burnout and self-care. (Have to love the description right there on the cover!)

There’s a certain irony in falling asleep because you’ve overdone it just as you’re about to read a zine about burnout. As a work-addicted stress bug, I’m always up for reading about things that’ll help me take better care of myself. This zine has the perzine appeal while also offering ideas on self-care.

Holly hits the topic hard straight away with what burnout is like and how it happens. I appreciated how Holly distinguished right on the first page that it’s not about specific activities – it’s about doing too much for you. Full stop.

“Ultimately [all tasks] are all still blocks in the massive Jenga tower of burnout I am building myself.”

I had a lot of empathy for Holly when reading about guilt over how there are difficult things that would be easy or even trivial for other people. At the same time, I was impressed by the recognition that it takes time and energy to be a good friend, to be a good girlfriend, and to socialise – things we often overlook when looking for reasons for burnout.

The action plan at the end of the zine is a good one, and one I plan to start implementing in my life. Though, as Holly says,

“Self-care is dead easy on paper.”

This zine is a short read but a valuable one – and one I appreciate. If you work a lot, too much, or think you may be anywhere near burning out, then pick up this zine.

Zine Review: Someone Stranger #5: The Silent Pen Issue

Someone Stranger #5: The Silent Pen Issue
Zippity Zinedra

Someone Stranger is a black and white perzine that is hard to describe, so I will let Zinedra do it:

The following is my experiment at ‘ghosting’ myself, tongue in cheek style.

Someone Stranger is a zine that seems to be in its own category with strange thought meanderings that encouraged me to stop thinking so much and just enjoy the ride.

Right from the foreword, Zinedra had me thinking of how strange a concept ghostwriting was when put into the context of the zine world only to turn around into Zinedra deciding to ghost themself in this zine.

After ghostwriting came the tumbleweeds.

I know that I have had some very random things in common with the people who write the zines I read, but tumbleweeds have to be the most random. Because, yes, I quite like tumbleweeds. I laughed out loud at:

Tumbleweed is to western movies like chocolate is my mouth: a place to call home.

I quite liked the ‘I am not/I am’ piece that was like stream of consciousness writing but with a solid prompt/direction.

The zine continues on with a collection of interesting – and, honestly, sometimes trippy – pieces that include things like fighting with one’s shadow and an altercation over pancakes. Toward the beginning, I decided to stop thinking about it so hard and, by the end, I had no idea what was going on.

Don’t get me wrong; it was a strange journey but funny as well.

Aesthetically, the pages are mostly white with various pasted images, quotes and the like around the typed words. I may be reading too much into them, but I do like the humour and cheekiness of the images.

I find myself at a little bit of a loss after reading this zine. Not in a bad way but like I’ve just watched a movie, and I’m not quite sure what to make of it. If you’re looking for something different, unexpected, and a bit fantastical, then give this zine a go.

Zine Review: Proof I Exist #20

Proof I Exist #20: “Why I’m in a band.”

Proof I Exist #20 is a black and white mini-zine about the love of music and being in a band.

High school band is as close as I ever got to playing music with other people, so to say I am not familiar with starting a band or band dynamics is an understatement. I was a little unsure as to whether this zine would be for me, but I shouldn’t have worried about a zine by Billy.

Billy throws you right into the story from page one with no intros, no table of contents, nada. He starts straight off with a high energy beginning reminiscent of a movie with the words, “The year was 1996, and I was just on the verge of discovering music.”

That energy is carried through the whole zine, mixing with nostalgia and a bit of regret along the way. Billy’s love of being in bands is practically palpable as you read. I could go on and on, but I really don’t want to spoil what this zine has in store for you if you pick it up.

This line really said it all for me:

“I began to realize that bands are not much different than relationships.”

Billy focuses on the story rather than pictures while still keeping to the cut and paste aesthetic. The words are typed and cut out in white strips that stand out starkly against the black background.

This is a gorgeous little zine full of love both past and present for bands and music. Even if you’re like me and not within that sort of world sphere, check it out anyway just because it’s fun.

Zine Review: Introduction to Gratitude & Self Love

Introduction to Gratitude & Self Love
The School of Life Design

Introduction to Gratitude & Self Love is a black and white education zine designed as a seven-day course on gratitude and self love.

Introduction to Gratitude & Self Love starts off with an intro that flows along the lines of ‘you get back what you put out into the universe’. That may be oversimplifying it a bit, but it basically takes you into the realm of your thinking influencing your reality. If you remember The Secret, this zine reminded me of that.

As you can imagine, a seven-day course should be done over seven days. So I decided that a proper, full review of this zine could only be accomplished if I did it ‘as prescribed’, so I did one exercise a day over the course of a week.

I like that the exercises didn’t require anything but a pen and some time (and the zine, of course). I’ve seen too many of these sorts of things that require money and various other supplies.

I am very familiar with the concept of gratitude and daily gratitude exercises, so the basics weren’t new to me, However, the exercises included were. I won’t list them out, but I will say that the ‘success of another’ exercise was definitely my favourite. The exercise made me think outwardly and about others.

That’s something that this zine does very well. The exercises cover both inward and outward thinking as well as past and future thinking. The course got me to sit down and calm down for a bit once a day, and that’s a lovely thing.

Aesthetically, this zine ties right into its own message. It focuses on the exercises with simple designs that are nice to look at but only serve the task at hand. They aren’t overwhelming and serve to compliment the words rather than take away from them.

The one detail that did give me pause is that the “Introduction to Gratitude & Self Love is a 7-day, intensive course…” is on the back of the zine rather than on the front or in the introduction. I can see someone smashing out all the exercises in one session for missing that detail. I’m not sure that’d actually be a problem, but I imagine the creators of this would prefer it be done over seven days.

While I may not have agreed with all the sentiments and wording, I did find value in the course. I like that this zine exists. I like that there are people making zines that can help people wanting to connect to the spiritual sides of their lives. If that sounds like you, I think this zine could be a good place to start.