Zine Reviews Announcement

The world will forgive you for taking care of yourself. Or the world that matters.

A friend wrote that to me recently. They were helping me to relax about feeling bad. Why was I feeling bad? I was planning on completing a zine project and releasing it on the 17th. It didn’t matter that Wanderer had an MRI scheduled that day (he’s okay) and that I had to travel to Melbourne to see a neurologist the next day (I’m not awesome, but I can get better).

I hold myself to task for these things and get very disappointed when I don’t live up to my expectations.

The thing is that I am stressed. I am a little overwhelmed right now, and even though I certainly have the time to sit down with a zine and review it, I’m concerned that my exhaustion, my mood, and my stress may make that review less than that zine – or any zine – deserves from me. I respect that people are paying their hard-earned money to send me their zines, and I never want to give anything other than the best.

So I need to take this week off reviews. Just today and tomorrow. I’ll still be posting International Zine Month stuff. I’ll still have calls for submissions going up this weekend. But I can’t give zines the attention they deserve for a proper review this week. I will be right back to it next week with bells on.

I’m probably making a bigger deal out of this than it needs to be. I mean, what’s two days? Two reviews that will happen later instead of today and tomorrow? It almost feels egotistical to assume people would care to the extent that I need to put up this announcement.

I hope that my stress about it just goes to show how much I care about this blog, about zines, and about every one of you who reads this blog. That I respect and love what I do. Feel fortunate that I can do this and bring people some happiness on occasion.

So I do hope you’ll forgive me. It’s hard to lose my ‘winning’ streak of not missing a review day this year. But I won’t sacrifice quality for quantity. (Or self-competition.) Not in this.

Big hugs and loves of love from Oz,

Nyx

International Zine Month 2017 Day 17: Review a Zine!

Review a zine online or write a review to share

Hello zine friends! Well, anyone who has had a peek around this site knows that reviewing a zine isn’t exactly a new activity for me. 😉 Check out the zine review index if you’d like to see what I’ve been up to for the past few years.

That’s why I figured I would share the love by sharing your reviews! I know, not that exciting, but if you share the link(s) for your review(s) below – regardless of whether it’s your first or your fiftieth – then I will share them in various spaces and places so your thoughts will be amplified.

You never know when a little will go along way, and zines could always use a little more love. 🙂

Put those links in the comments if you have them, and have a wonderful day!

Other Zinesters Joining In (Let me know if you are, and I’ll add you to the list!):

*@eintervital
*@dre
*@queerarcana

Play along with 31 Days of International Zine Month Activities here!

Zine Review: Growing to Become Myself 2017

Growing to Become Myself 2017
Queer Marshmallow
https://www.facebook.com/merfemmedistro/
https://www.etsy.com/shop/MerfemmeDistro

Today when I’m not feeling well on a dreary winter afternoon, I was in the mood to read a zine that would make me feel good. Growing to Become Myself 2017 delivered that.

The first thing that really strikes me when I look at this mini-zine is the colour. With the title in pinks on top of a picture of green grass and purple and white flowers, it’s a very inviting zine. (Especially as I snuggle in my electric blanket and sigh about winter.) I feel like I can’t help but look inside.

This use of colour is carried on inside with photos of flowers used at the backdrop for words and thoughts written on snippets of pastel coloured paper. It is handwritten rather than type, and I thank the zine maker for clear and readable handwriting.

Growing to Become Myself 2017 is like a goals list combined with reminders on how to be more self-caring, gentle, and more positive about your life.

The Focus on Healing page hit home the most with me with words about slow progress still being progress and not pushing oneself into doing more than one can. This is what I struggle with the most in my life (hello, my name is Nyx, and I’m a workaholic).

The one niggle here is no contact details whatsoever. As always, I say this with a grain of salt because you never know if people leave off the details on purpose. However, I’m someone who always wants to know more and thus always notices when they’re not there.

Growing to Become Myself 2017 is a very pretty zine that uses the title and theme of growth along with images of flowers to create a beautiful, gentle mini-zine. I quite enjoyed it and hope you will, too.

International Zine Month 2017 Day 12: Zine Reviewer Appreciation Day

Send your zine out to be reviewed

Okay so I decided on the post title and only later realised how self-serving it is. Oops. I was going to change it, but… I’m in the mood to be a little cheeky. After all, what zine reviewer wouldn’t feel appreciated receiving zines to review?

Funnily enough I sent out my zine – Don’t Call Me Cupcake 3 – to Zine Nation, and they actually reviewed it as part of their International Zine Month celebrations! You can check out the review of Don’t Call Me Cupcake 3 here.

Even reviewers get reviewed. 😉

Are you sending your zine off to get reviewed? Where are you sending it? Let me know in the comments.

Other Zinesters Joining In (Let me know if you are, and I’ll add you to the list!):

*@eintervital
*@dre
*@queerarcana

Play along with 31 Days of International Zine Month Activities here!

Zine Review: The Radical Uprise #005: DIY Culture Cut and Paste

The Radical Uprise #005: DIY Culture Cut and Paste
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https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheRadicalUprise

On the eve of International Zine Month, I thought it was only right to review a zine that is all about the love of DIY.

One thing I truly love about zines is when someone is able to put things I feel so strongly about into word better than I could have ever hoped to. On the very first page of this zine, there is a section about creating things and being in artist that expresses my own feelings so, so well.

Talk about a good start to a zine.

The Radical Uprise #005 is DIY from self to self-sustainable with pieces about making things to supporting creators. There’s plenty to check out above and beyond the zine with interviews with interesting people who have shops and distros.

This zine is a bit Etsy-centric in that it’s the only platform really talked about. I would have liked to hear success stories using other platforms. But I also fully admit that I’m probably only mentioning it because Etsy’s money-grabbing (especially of late) makes me angry.

The Radical Uprise #005: DIY Culture Cut and Paste is not simply an excited yell out into the night about how wonderful it is to DIY in your life. This zine covers why it’s good for you, good for the people who do it, and even why it’s good for the planet. It’s a great way to look at DIY from multiple ways.

Check it out.

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: Side Project #5

Side Project #5
Samantha EE, Teresa Watts, Sabrina Wong, Sophie Raynor, Evelyn Paolino
www.sideprojectmag.com
@sideproject_mag (Twitter/IG/FB/Pinterest)

Side Project is a series about DIY and living creatively. In this issue, there are artist interviews, how-to instructions for a couple crafty projects, and various articles. This zine is the magazine that I always wanted to read growing up.

At $10, Side Project is definitely in the higher price range for a zine. However, for the price, you are getting a full colour, 46 page zine printed on nice paper. Aesthetically, it’s a very pretty zine. Everything is very neat, colourful, nicely laid out, and readable. It’s chock full of information and is a zine you can sit and pour over for hours.

In layout and feel, it’s very much a magazine. Those can be fighting words in the zine arena, but with ‘a zine for creatives’ on the cover but ‘mag’ in the URL, I don’t think the Side Project team is going to take it badly. I think they understand that they walk an interesting line.

Side Project puts me in a very strange space that I’ve never been in before. On one hand, it’s a zine. On the other hand, it’s almost not. It’s so perfectly well put together and perfectly created that it almost throws me a bit. There is often a sort of grit – a misprint here or a wonky staple there – and handmade feel to zines that Side Project doesn’t have because of its production.

That’s by no means at all a bad thing – please don’t take me wrong in that. And I certainly don’t mean to say that all zines have misprints or wonky staples. I only mean to say that Side Project is certainly different to my usual zine read.

In many ways the magazine-like qualities work very much in its favour. The combination of the aesthetic with pieces about creatives who live in Australia and sell on Etsy was really inspiring. It made me feel like homegrown creators can get the real recognition they deserve. I loved reading about talented people I could identify with as a creator and enjoyed articles on subjects I give a damn about.

On that note, my favourite piece of the entire zine was definitely the piece on Imposter Syndrome. I didn’t know that the feelings I hold all the time actually had a name and that other people feel them, too. I like that they didn’t just write about it but also added on some tips for making your imposter feelings work in your favour.

All up, this zine is gorgeous to look at and enjoyable to read. I can think of a few DIY friends I’d like to get copies for. DIY, Etsy sellers, and other creatives will enjoy it.