200th Zine Review Celebration Awards: I Read a Zine, And I Liked It

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’.

(100th Zine Review Celebration Awards: All You Need is Zine Love)

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.)

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#ZineWriMo Day 20 – Try a New Genre

Hello, zine friends, and happy start to the coming week (if Monday is your Monday, which it’s likely not, so I don’t know where to end this mid-sentence sidenote…). Today for ZineWriMo, we have the challenge of trying out a new genre.

Genres in zinedom are a little looser, a little less defined than in the literary world – but that’s what makes it fun, right? In general, though, there are a few (listed in no particular order):

*Your usual literary genres for fiction writing: fantasy, sci-fi, etc
*Poetry zine
*Comic
*Collab zines – zines containing pieces from multiple people
*Info/Educational zines
*Perzine – a personal, memoir or biography style zine
*Fanzine – a zine all about that thing/person/band/movie/game/etc you love
*Politizine – a politically oriented zine
*Music Scene Zine

So on and so forth. There are heaps of different takes, mixing and matching, and the like.

I was a bit stumped for this one for a while. I make a perzine, and collab zine, and have made info zines. Poetry, any sort of artistry, politics, and music all fall under this hazy veil for me, so I didn’t know what to make that was outside familiar territory.

Then it occurred to me…

Fanzine! I’ve never made a fanzine before, and I just so happened to make the cover for this one just yesterday. Haha. Go figure.

I’m a planner, so I’ve been scribbling down various notes and things for how I want to structure my fanzine and what information I would like to include in it. I’m very excited all over again to tear apart and examine a show I really love.

How did you go with today’s task? Did you try a new genre? Let me know about it in the comments!

Zine Review: Taking Up Space

Taking Up Space
Holly Casio
www.coolschmool.com

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: Scissors & Chainsaws

Scissors & Chainsaws
Zina
https://echopublishing.wordpress.com/
https://drawingsbynina.wordpress.com/

I am now utterly in love with diary comic zines and decree that everyone make them.

Scissors & Chainsaws is a black and white diary comic zine featuring daily entries though International Zine Month (July) 2013. Now you may think I love all zines about zines and, well, this zine keeps on with the trend. So much love.

Zina takes you from June 30th introduction and prep to final July 31st wrap up with future zine plans. For every day there are small drawings and brief descriptions about what’s happened on the day. As much as the focus is IZM, plenty of focus goes to things that don’t have to do with zines (other than being put in a zine). Zina doesn’t do every single daily activity, but honestly, I found myself enjoying everything so much that I didn’t mind at all. I was happy to read about the non-zine things, too. It is a diary comic, after all.

The aesthetics of this zine are so cute and fun – and I’m not just saying that because of the green cover and green string binding. Colour me green for being so envious of Zina ‘cute but not cutesy’ drawing style. I love it when the art and the words work around each other, influencing each others shapes and positions on the page rather than everything being so neatly squared and separated.

The addition of Chainsaw Bunny made me laugh and smile. I was delighted to see “I’ll be back” on the July 31st entry with him/her/bunbun.

All up, Scissors & Chainsaws is a nice, pleasant zine that gives you a glimpse into Zina’s life. Get a copy. Truly. If you love perzines, comics, diary comics, International Zine Month, any combination of any of those… Pick it up. Because I’m not lending mine out. Hehe.

PS. This cover is actually more nice warm green than mint, but I can’t for the life of me make my camera take pictures that match up with what my actual eyes see.

Zine Review: Ground

Ground
Lee Taylor
@thescreeverzine
www.facebook.com/thescreeverzine

Ground is the first zine in a sweet comic series about love, life, and working in a coffee shop. (Spoilers: I love it.)

I couldn’t help but be taken in by the physical qualities of this zine straight away. The cover is made of what looks like recycled paper (I’m pretty sure it is…) and is bound by string wound through triangular-shaped holes in the spine. The square you see on the cover in the picture above isn’t something stuck onto the cover but is actually a square cut into the cover.

I could get into the possible thematic implications of cutting the square into the cover to reveal some of the first page, but then I begin to wonder if I’m getting a little deep into it right from the get to.

With such pleasant expectations set up by the physical side of the zine, I began to wonder what I would find inside…

The humour in Ground is a ‘softer’ humour that I enjoyed. There were little things that made me smile and care about the characters as well as things that felt like ‘inside’ jokes for working in a coffee shop but that I still understood. (‘Can I just have a normal coffee?’ made me smile.)

The art in Ground is lovely with attention to detail and a lot of soft lines involved. You are introduced to the characters involved by getting a peek into the work lockers. I’m a bit of a nosey nelly, and I really liked that choice for introductions. I also enjoyed how Lee used both single panels as well as single pictures over multiple panels.

[Picture shared with permission from Lee Taylor]

(Just looking at that pour makes me want a coffee.)

While it’s definitely a beginning – a chapter one, if you will – I like that it didn’t just cut off in the middle of things. There’s certainly more story implied, but this first zine has a beginning, middle and end. I definitely want to read more, but I’m not left feeling rudely interrupted. At the same time, everything is set up for a series ahead.

All up, this is a lovely zine, and I already know that I want the whole series from start to finish. I recommend checking it out.

PS. I try to regard a zine in and of itself. That being said, this zine did come with a loyalty card on which you can stick letters that you collect by buying the Ground series zines. I really love this idea in and of itself, but the fact that it ties into the coffee shop theme makes it even more fun.

Zine Review: Bluez

Bluez
Fafa Jaepelt, Patricia Breccia, Sandro Andrade, Earl Oldman, Adao de Lima Junior, Michel Garcia Sanches, Henry Jaepelt
IG: @catarinacomixfestival
Catarina Comix Festival Page

And now for something a little different! Like with Catzine, I am not at all familiar with Portuguese but was very curious to find out what translated through images and how it lined up when I translated the text.

Bluez is a collection of comics by various artists, all of which centre around a darker, soulful theme of ‘blues’ than you may be thinking of.

I’ll say straight from the start that there is beautiful, detailed art in this zine. I am in such awe of the talent contained within these pages, and I was stuck on the first page for a long time because the image is so gorgeous that I didn’t want to stop looking at it. So lovely. It’s all also very well suited to black and white.

So it’s with a very heartfelt plea that future issues of this zine have contact details, blog pages, instagram accounts… anything so people can check out more work by these artists because they are so talented!

It was very interesting to see what I could ‘get’ from the comics before translating the words. True to the musical genre they were channeling, the art is deep, a little dark at times, and very soulful. Little did I know!

Google Translate has its faults, but I was able to get a fair gist of the meaning. There was already a sort of darkness to the art, but the words added a new layer of intensity. As the reader, it was a strange experience to get these ‘layers’ separately rather than together. Strange in a very good way, though.

I definitely recommend checking this zine out – even if you have to make use of Google Translate. There’s something about the art that has really captured me.

Mini Zine Review: Strimp

Strimp
Simon Mackie
simonmackie22@yahoo.com

I’m still somewhat new to comics as a whole, so keep that in mind…

Strimp is a mini-zine comic printed in black and white on a single glossy piece of paper containing seven one-page comics. In Strimp, you get a glimpse into creator Simon’s mind as well as his sense of humour.

When you look at a mini-zine, it’s almost natural to make assumptions about what you’ll find inside. Strimp is another min-zine that shoves assumptions aside, however, and gives me more variety than I was expecting.

Structurally, there are single comics that fill the page as well as other multi-panel pages. The variety extends to the humour as well. Some have a bit more of the sarcastic humour that I’m used to, one is more on the punny side of things, while yet another is a bit darker.

I didn’t always understand the humour, but that’s not really here nor there.

As far as contact details go (such a recurring theme for me, isn’t it?), Simon makes it halfway there with a name but no other contact details.

I don’t know if it was Simon’s intention or not, but I feel like this zine is like a “sampler” of comic work. The different structural styles, the slightly different humour within the comics… To that effect, it certainly works, because I am curious and want to see more of his work.