• Zine Reviews

    Zine Review: This Asian American Life

    This Asian American Life
    Katie Quan
    www.facebook.com/thisasianamlife

    This Asian American Life is a ½ fold full colour comic about Katie’s life and being an Asian American.

    I know I usually don’t open with the aesthetic side of things, but hello smooth paper and great use of colour.

    This Asian American life opens with a prologue about the zine and a bit, one-panel comic full of Katie’s comic self sitting in the middle of a lot of speech bubbles. Each speech bubble was filled with something Katie has no doubt heard more than once. Things that made me very sad knowing that people could say things like “Too rich to have a ‘real’ POC experience”. It did snap me awake to the fact that this zine wasn’t going to be all fuzzy lala. As Katie writes:

    “…hopes to provide one perspective as a way of inviting dialogue about race/ethnicity, gender, and a coming of age experience.”

    That being said, all lives are multi-faceted. This comic has funny moments as well as sad and politically charged moments. Katie’s comics cover things like being a new(ish) driver, tired days, toxic relationships, and feeling ‘between race’.

    As I mentioned at the beginning, this zine has very nice paper that really serves the art. I like Katie’s use of colour – keeping things mostly to a certain range like reds, greens, or blues. There are smaller details in different colours, but I think this is the first time in a long time I’ve noticed something like that.

    I don’t want to call Katie’s art style minimalist because I didn’t take nearly enough art classes to know if that’s an accurate description. The comics are, for the most part, one-page comics with some of them only made up of one or two panels. The details included are the necessary ones and no more, really. (It’s amazing how much can be expressed with eyes and eyebrows alone.) It’s sweet and inviting and doesn’t leave me feeling overwhelmed that I may miss something.

    Overall, I highly enjoyed this zine. I feel like it was the beginning, though, and I want more! Haha. I look forward to checking out more of Katie’s work.

  • Zine Reviews

    Zine Review: ADL -> MEL

    ADL -> MEL
    George Rex Comics
    http://www.georgerexcomics.com

    “Once a year a pilgrimage is made by zinesters across Australia to Melbourne…”

    ADL -> MEL is an A5 comic in pink about travelling from Adelaide to Melbourne for Festival of the Photocopier in Melbourne. If the title sounds familiar, that’s because I reviewed a zine by the same name by Rebecca Sheedy: (https://seagreenzines.com/2017/03/15/zine-review-adl-mel/) Let’s just say I was even more excited about finding this zine because not only is it another comic diary perspective about FotP and things surrounding it – Rebecca and George are mentioned in each other’s comics!

    George takes us through the whole FotP experience – from the flight to Melbourne on the Thursday before to fun in the city before the flight home on the Tuesday after. While the reason for the trip may be Festival of the Photocopier, this zine documents all sorts of things that happened around the event as well – including a quiet night in after heaps of zine activities.

    The aesthetic of this zine is so fun in that George designed three zines for a zine launch in Adelaide, and each zine was assigned a Neapolitan ice cream flavour. The reason why this zine is all pink because this one is strawberry! Being the completionist that I am, now I want to grab the other ‘flavours’. I also like the added touch that my zine is #27/100 of the second printing.

    George’s art style is fun and on the more cartoon side of drawing. There are so many little things that made me smile – small details like the Daiso haul (Daiso is an odds and ends shop – most are $2.80), and George mentioning the panic that starts only after you set up your table at a zine event.

    This is the sort of zine I would read before a zine fest to get a feel for zine events. It’s not a guide, but it’s sweet, and I really love the whole vibe. Definitely check it out.

  • Zine Reviews

    Mini Zine Review: SlowQuest II: Meet the Wizard

    SlowQuest II: Meet the Wizard
    Bodie
    http://www.slowquest.com
    https://www.instagram.com/bodieh/

    SlowQuest II: Meet the Wizard is a 9.5×8.5cm fantasy choose your own adventure comic zine(!).

    This is one of those times when no one will have sympathy for me, but I will still say it’s so hard to stick to my reviewing system. I was so excited to read this zine, but I had to wait because I’m a ‘responsible adult’ and ‘shouldn’t immediately drop everything I’m doing to read a zine’. Sigh.

    SlowQuest I is a beloved zine in my collection, so I was incredibly excited to see not only that there is a second one but that it has more pages (more choices!) as well.

    As I mentioned, SlowQuest II is a choose your own adventure zine, which means that there are many possible outcomes to the choices you make in this fantasy realm. You have received an invitation to work for the wizard, but actually getting to the wizard isn’t as simple as it sounds.

    I was proud as punch that I didn’t die on my first combination of choices, as that’s definitely a possibility in this zine. Of course, there are so many possible paths – drink potions, get lost, punch a bear – that I happily spent time going through every possible combination of steps.

    As I have no doubt mentioned a number of times at this point, Bodie’s art style is fantastic. He creates art with such intricate detail, and it really shows through in this zine with two-page spreads of certain settings that I greatly enjoyed looking at up close.

    Bodie’s attention to detail carries into the zine itself as well with rounded corners, trimmed edges, and borderless illustrations on cream-coloured paper.

    I certainly don’t want to give anything away, but I found the ending of this zine quite curious and hope it means more SlowQuest adventures in the future.

    I imagine at this point you know what I’m going to write… Grab a copy!

  • Zine Reviews

    Zine Review: Catzine 2

    Catzine 2
    Fafa Jaepelt & Others
    https://www.instagram.com/fafapelts/
    https://www.instagram.com/catarinacomixfestival/

    Catzine 2 is an A5 black and white comic zine featuring cats!

    Also, it’s in Portuguese.

    Despite me not knowing a word of Portuguese, Henry and Fafa were kind enough to send me Catzine 1, and I absolutely loved it. Lo and behold, here is Catzine 2, and I am loving it even more! (Though if there is a Catzine 3, I think I should start learning Portuguese, yes?)

    I’ve enjoyed making a little game of ‘what does it actually mean’ in which I look at a comic, guess what it’s about, and then translate the words to see if I’m right. I did pause once, though, and laughed at the whole delay involved in getting to the punchline when you have to type each bit into Google translate.

    The comic wasn’t all laughs, however. There is one comic about being in the moment with those you love while they are around that really broke my heart. The art was so good that I didn’t need translate all that much to understand the story.

    Like with Catzine 1, the art is fantastic. I love the variety, but I also noticed more of Fafa’s art involved, which is absolutely good by me. I also liked the little touches like printing on cream paper instead of white and vellum acting as an inner cover.

    When you love something, you love something, and I love cats. I hope Catzine 3 exists or is on its way. If you love cats, check out this zine.

  • Announcements,  Zine Reviews

    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.)

  • Uncategorized

    #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 Reviews

    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 Reviews

    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 Reviews

    Zine Review: The Life and Times of Cashed Up Bogans

    Terrible Comics Presents: The Life and Times of Cashed Up Bogans
    Sober Bob Monthly
    IG: @soberbobmonthly

    There’s a saying in Australia – “not happy, Jan” – that sums of feelings of extreme annoyance. That saying came to mind when I read this comic zine. Sober Bob isn’t happy, Jan, and she’s not about to hold back on what she thinks.

    Cashed Up Bogans is a full colour comic of cynical musings about modern so-called ‘middle class’ life and the dredges of suburban humanity. Each page has its own multi-panel comic featuring the hypocrises and shallowness that turn people into full-time cynics.

    ‘Draw Your Favourite Bogan*’ – a spot on the inside front cover – made me laugh out loud. But when it came to the comic about real estate… Well, after spending the past two years or so learning about the annoyances, discrimination, and outright BS in that system, I felt annoyed all over again.

    Even though I’m a ‘why can’t we all just be a bit nicer to each other’ kind of woman, I fell right into this zine. I totally understood why Sober Bob made this zine, and I know a fair few friends of mine who would enjoy it as much as I have.

    I feel like Cashed Up Bogans is a combination of rant, dark humour, and completely taking the piss out of common culture. Because, in the end, they are jokes (even if they have teeth). I definitely want to see more of the terrible comics series.

    If you like to take a dark poke at humanity – more specifically the suburban class – then this zine is one to check out.

    *Bogan is more or less the Australian equivalent of the US redneck mixed with the stereotypical trailer trash.

  • Zine Reviews

    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.

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