I’ll be frank with you all: I had a bit of a crappy weekend. I didn’t feel well, and I got downright grumpy about it. But with the sun (kind of) shining, and happy mail in my hands, everything is starting to look up.
Billy da Bunny! I think I’ve mentioned already how much I love these little newsletter-esque zines with a few life updates inside. They’re so fun, and I wish more people would make them. Billy is the generous sort who simply added me to the mailing list as a surprise. ^_^
This one wasn’t a surprise but was still absolutely just as lovely to receive. The newest edition of Make a Zine! Joe Biel asked for thoughts on zine community in one of the zine groups I’m in. Little did I know that contributing to the conversation could mean contributing to the book. Thanks so much for the copy!
Not only that; Joe also included a lovely card of thanks for what I do here at Sea Green Zines that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. It’s all too easy to forget that I’m not plugging away here in complete isolation.
A huge thanks to all the wonderful people who have sent me mail and do send me mail. I keep the mail from the past to go through on my down days, and incoming mail often means more than simple joy to me. I appreciate you all.
**Special Note: I am fully aware that Microcosm Publishing and, specifically, Joe Biel, are subjects of contention amongst some in the zine community. If people want a post on my thoughts about the whole thing, I can do that. If not, I’ll leave it at this: I absolutely adore zines and all they can do for people. I ‘raise my flag’ or ‘throw in my lot’ with no one and nothing but the actual zines. I am a coward in the truest sense when it comes to any sort of conflict, and all I ever want to do is hold zines close and hope the rest sorts itself out. I hope that no one thinks less of me for it, but I understand if you do.
Asperger’s & The Re:Spectrum of Human Emotions / Perfect Mix Tape Segue Number Six
I was excited to receive this zine because I know little about Asperger’s and hoped to learn more (especially because of a loved one). What I found inside was both confronting at times and different to what I expected.
Asperger’s & The Re:Spectrum of Human Emotions starts with an overview of Joe’s story of abuse, loss, and coming to terms with his reality through the scope of an Asperger’s diagnosis. What I expected to be a ‘101’ of sorts was actually a perzine about his thoughts regarding his experiences, the diagnosis, and his thoughts on finding resolution for abusers and the abused.
(I must admit that I am pretty impressed that he clearly states that he emotionally abused people. If only I could have achieved so much from those who abused me.)
This zine became confronting for me when it started to address the topic of abuse. For Joe, these two topics are now and forever linked, so it’s only naturally that his story be told through addressing this subject as well. However, instead of leaving it at only his childhood, he takes it to the next step of sharing thoughts on resolution and why he thinks punishment doesn’t stop the abuse.
As someone who was abused, I found myself needing to stop purely reacting to what he was saying and actually think about it. The reaction to hurt is to punish, so the thought that vengeance and punishment alone can be lacking for both sides wasn’t something I could just take in stride at first read. A lot of what he wrote does make sense, but it did take some breathing through my emotions/immediate reactions to actually understand where he’s coming from.
It was interesting to read about someone who desired to make peace with both sides of himself: someone who had been abused and someone who has been abusive (by his own admission).
To the other side of the split.
Perfect Mix Tape Segue Number Six reveals a little more of the pain while also satisfying my desire for more ‘introduction to Asperger’s’ level information that I was wanting in the first section. It presents a characteristics list as well as Joe’s feelings about it.
What really shook me was the list of things do to in interactions and relationships list. Yes, some of the things seemed natural, but other things like “Do I try to do nice things for my partner without being asked” are things that even the ‘neurotypicals’ forget in their relationships.
I’m someone who is, if anything, toward the opposite side of things as far as empathy goes and am an abuse survivor. I also have someone in my life whom I suspect may be on the Asperger’s range, and I want to know more about their (suspected) experience of the world.
Both of those things added up to a zine read that I carefully took my time with and thought a lot about. Am I still sorting out my thoughts and feelings about the things in this zine? Yes, absolutely. However, I am grateful to someone who is willing to document their experiences, and I’m glad I read this zine.
Doris 15 DIY Anti-depression Guide
Cindy (except for the piss article by my sister)
When you put the words ‘Doris’ and ‘anti-depression guide’ together, you know I’m there.
Doris 15 DIY Antidepression Guide gets off to (what I think is) the best possible start: with a comic and an acknowledgement in the very first panel that a little bit of depression is a natural part of living in this world. No, constant happiness is not a realistic expectation. It’s a small thing, but it’s nice to see that aspect of living acknowledged before we get into the nitty gritty of addressing depression.
It’s also nice to see that I’m not the only person whose handwriting wanders a bit…
Cindy has a truly unique writing style in that I always think I’ve settled down with her writing voice and where I think she’s going with things. Then, all the sudden, COFFEE! (or the like). It’s not always sudden, but this zine (and Doris zines in general) is less of a guide and more of a conversation. It wanders into all sorts of useful spaces, but if you want a 100% serious, step-by-step guide, then this might not be the zine for you.
That being said, it all comes back around to this feeling that Cindy wants you, the reader, to get more/the most out of life and living it.
I really appreciate that Doris got into the physical stuff. (Namely, UTIs and other kidney stuff that can kill you.) Yes, depression needs to be addressed through mental self-care, but being physically unwell can have a huge impact on our mental health as well. I’ve seen a lot of care guides that seem to forget that part.
I haven’t read much of Doris, but I think it’s the kind of zine you have to at least try one of. They do my head in sometimes, but I quite enjoy them.
I think Microcosm Publishing describes this awesome and hilarious zine series best:
One of the best and most promising new comic artists out there today, Box Brown writes and draws the Everything Dies zine series as a hard (and oft times hilarious) look into the religious myths of our world.
Everything Dies 7 takes you into the great flood myth, but not the biblical one. This is the Sumerian version with the crankypants Sumerian god Enlil getting upset at all those vexing humans.
This zine comic is great. I’ll come out and say that right now. TL;DR: Everything Dies 7 is excellent.
Box Brown’s style is very enjoyable and reminds me a little of the Felix the Cat cartoon style that I used to watch as a kid. (Which is meant to be a compliment; I love Felix!) He has a great way of using the images to really enforce the humour found in the writing. I laughed out loud more than once (“It vexed him so hard!”) thanks to Brown’s sense of humour. Especially in the little things like a god saying ‘hullo’ instead of ‘hello’.
What really made it a keeper (though, let’s be real, it was a keeper pretty much from the first time I saw it) was the addition of letters and responses in the back! All still keeping in the style of the overall comic and just giving it that little something extra.
In and of itself, the comic is so enjoyable and definitely one of those zines that I don’t even let people borrow because I don’t want to lose it. Still, I feel like there’s even deeper examinations to be made once I get my hands on 1-6.
PS. By clicking on the Everything Dies link above, you can grab every Everything Dies comic (for a fair price) and start reading right now.
Coping Skills: Because Sometimes Life Is Some Serious Bullshit
Dr Faith G. harper
When Wanderer’s emergency happened, I found that I couldn’t tolerate TV, videos, or anything I’d usually do to distract myself. However, I did have this zine, and bit by bit, it did help…
This zine is one of a series called ‘Dr Faith’s Five Minute Therapy’ and just goes to show how effective a catchy title is. I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into when I ordered this zine, but I couldn’t resist getting it with a title like that.
Lucky me, it was a bet that paid off.
Dr Harper has created a list (love a list) zine all about things you can do to cope with what’s happening in your life. There aren’t really specifics applied to this like ‘coping with a car crash’ or ‘coping with the fact someone ate the last doughnut’. It’s like the title says – because sometimes life is some serious bullshit.
Coping Skills is written in the voice of a friend rather than a doctor (or parent or ruling force in your universe). Coping Skills is all about coping, but it reads as something closer to a conversation you’d have while out for coffee rather than one you’d have in a psychologist’s office. When it comes to stuff like this, it’s so important to hit that point of telling someone what they can do rather than just telling them what to do.
I must say that I have to admire that Dr Harper was so ‘meh’ about prayer and meditation one one page but then turned the perspective to a whole new light (that I hadn’t thought of before) on the next page.
I really love that there are suggestions for things to do that you actually can do. I’ve read too many lists and articles that suggest things that require money or other means when ‘money’ or ‘other means’ can be things that add to the stress of the situations in the first place. The suggestions in this zines are general enough that you know what she means but can apply them as you please.
I read this zine during a time when I was incredibly stressed and not sure how to function, let alone cope. It wasn’t a miracle, but it did help. That being said, I think this zine is a great zine to read for any kind of coping, be it more or less stressful.
It’s been a big week for happy mail! I am so excited and so happy to receive such great mail from people outside Australia. I know postage stinks, so that makes it doubly heartfelt.
First up is a trade from PunkRawkDude on Tumblr.
I haven’t read the zine yet, but on glance through, I am impressed. There is some serious cut and paste goodness happening in here. Definitely check it out.
Next comes from my regular zine trade friend, Fishspit. He once again wins all things when it comes to envelope art.
There is all kinds of mail goodness happening in here. Zine, letter, tape, etc. Fishspit is awesome because, when he doesn’t have a zine of his own ready to go, he sends me zines made by his friends.
Tiny hamster! In a previous envelope, Fishspit sent me an adorable tiny (sea)green zine cat. And now he has a friend in the tiny hamster. So cute. They’re on my desk next to my tiny TARDIS.
As he so nicely put it, I’m a bit lost when it comes to music, so he’s taken it upon himself to educate me. This is the second mix tape he’s sent along for my education.
Last up comes a huge care package from none other than my sister-from-another-mister in the States, Black Wolf. She really outdid herself AND was kind enough to play courier so I could save on postage with some zines from Microcosm Publishing.
There’s not a lot out there that I love more than this moment when I start to see what goodies are in store…
Stuuuuff. Black Wolf definitely knows how to send a care package. She made this one a special birthday edition care package with some of my favourites – M&Ms! (Crispy forever.) There is a huge stack of zines as well as books courtesy of Microcosm Publishing being very generous to me as well as the John Truby book from Amazon. The little princess bags on the right are from my niece’s birthday. I can’t be there in person, but they make it so it’s like I was. <3
This pin! Oh, this pin. I cannot clearly express how much I love this pin.
As always with happy mail, I am feeling so grateful to everyone who is willing to trade with me, send me zines, send me other happy mail stuff. Postage costs are not easy to deal with, even inside Australia, so I hope you know how happy it makes me to see anything in my post box.
Is it weird to review a review zine? Am I going to poke a hole in the universe if I post this?
Last year, I was thinking about bundling up all my reviews into a zine review zine. Rather than jump right in, I decided to have a look around and see what, if anything, other people were doing with the idea. Let’s just say that when I came across ‘Xerography Debt’, I thought: Well, they have it covered.
Xerography Debt is amazing. I’ll put it right here toward the beginning of the review because that pretty much sums it up.
Aesthetically, I love this issue. The art is fantastic, the colours, and even the font of the words on the cover drew me in. They use great paper, a clear and readable font, and it’s one of those nice, thick zines that you know you’ll get to spend a lot of time with.
I usually don’t mention layouts, but this one bears mentioning. The inside cover has not only contact details but also lists out the whole Xerography Debt team, the table of contents, and breaks down the reviews into individual reviewer sections. Have I mentioned that they have 15 reviews on the team? Wowza. And an index in the back.
Even more, they have a “Basic stuff you should know” in the back in case this is your first issue of Xerography Debt.
This is where I start doodling ‘Nyx loves XD’ in my zine notebook.
As you would expect to see inside Xerography Debt, there are zine reviews. They tend to be on the shorter and sweeter side of things – at least, compared to my prattling on, they certainly are. Having a team of reviewers makes things even more interesting with the differing tastes and reviewing styles.
What gives the content that ‘frosting on top’ is that there are columns in there as well! There’s a perzine quality inserted into this review zine with columns that range from an interview to PO Box Withdrawal. I absolutely dug right in and loved the columns so much. I learned so much! For instance, I was reading one column that talked about amateur press associations. I lost hours researching APAs.
Backtracking a little to the first piece – the introduction – Davida beautifully states why it can still be a zine even if it has an ISBN:
[Zinesters] all try and stretch the boundaries of what can be done with photocopies and staples, but if what we have to say can’t be stapled, moving to book format makes perfect sense.
Boom. Done. Drop mic. There you go.
I must admit that letting myself loose with a zine that gave me even more zines to try to get my hands on might not have been the best idea, but I’m still glad I did it. Because zines. (Of course, now I have to get my hands on all the copies of this series…)
Do yourself a favour and grab an issue of Xerography Debt.