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: 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: 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.

Zine Review: Tessellations

Dystatic – dystatic@gmail.com
Fishspit – fuzzybunnyflatbunny@gmail.com
Big Tight – mm12716@me.com

I’ve never reviewed a zine that has left me so conflicted as to whether I want to look at it or play with it…

Tessellations is a fun collection of photos, collages, and other art in black in on colour paper. I may as well get right into the aesthetics of it, because when you get your hands on this zine, you can’t possibly miss it.

It opens up! Well, of course it opens up, but it opens up in fun and interesting ways because it’s make of individually folded pieces of paper glued together.

I almost feel like this is as much a toy as it is a zine. With the colours and the way the papers are folded, I’ve flipped through it many, many times now. Sometimes to check out the art, other times to check out the folding, and still yet just to have fun with it. Each colour is like its own chapter, its own little world.

Not that I’ve found any story or linear thought process with it overall, but I honestly don’t need it or care. What one square or piece may lack is made up for by the enjoyment of the whole. I enjoy this zine for what it is.

I really like how you open up the last page, and each person who contributed to the whole has a square with their contact details on it. This definitely goes to the top of the list in regards to creative contact details. The only hiccup is that Dystatic does have a website, but part of it got lost in the ink of the print.

This is the kind of zine if you are like me in that you need reminding sometimes that zines are never and will never be just one thing. I want to keep it on my desk, but I feel like it will distract me all the time for want of playing with it. Haha.

Grab a copy, and let it inspire you.

Zine Review: Pieces #13 on being a romantic asexual

Pieces #13 on being a romantic asexual
IG: @corridorgirl

Pieces #13 is a black and white quarter-sized perzine “on being a romantic asexual” that also serves as an introduction to asexuality and the asexuality spectrum.

I hardly know where to start with Pieces #13. It’s one of those zines that I absolutely devoured and that left me with so, so much to think about. I like perzines, and I like learning things. This zine happened to be an intense combination of both.

Aesthetically, Nichole’s zines have always been appealing to me (as mentioned in reviews of previous Pieces reviews). I do so love a thick quarter-sized zine, and I like how the cut and paste style is fun but not overly distracting from the writing.

Oh, the writing.

Nichole manages to be frustrated, informative, vulnerable, and many other things, all within one zine. While the pieces do cut from one to another – the intro being distinctly perzine, the laments being vulnerable, and the FAQ/comments responses being a mixture of many things. Nichole doesn’t need to say the obvious because feelings come through so clearly in the writing.

There is a section in the back where Nichole responds to questions and comments regarding asexuality. I felt so, so frustrated that people could say and ask those things. At the same time, I have to respect Nichole for addressing them anyway.

I found the spectrum of asexuality absolutely fascinating. Like many (I imagine), I was part of the problem in that I only ever saw it as the ‘you don’t’ side of ‘you do or you don’t’ when it comes to sex. I had no idea that there’s not only a spectrum but that there are other names as well. Thanks to this zine, I’ve not only learned things about asexual people but may have clarified a thing or two for myself as well.

I think this is a great resource not only for people who are still figuring out the facets of their asexuality but also for anyone who has even a little open mindedness in learning more about asexuality. It’s a zine I want everyone to know about because I know it’ll be valuable to those who are looking for zines on the subject (and more beyond them).