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.
Photocopy Press / Issue Two / Fall 2010
US Half-fold (?)
Usually I would want to space these out (delay this since I reviewed the first one yesterday) but I can’t find a third one! Wah. Not happy about that. Things happen, so I’m not wandering around with a dark cloud over my head, but I was really hoping to see more of these.
Mind you, I’m not sure it was the best idea to mention that at the beginning of the review. Moving on!
I do love to review a series (or a first and a sequel) because I love to see how things evolve and progress. From PCP 1 to PCP 2, you see the zine get bigger (yay!) and even more. The extra white space I talked about in the first zine? Gone in favour of squishing in more content. She kept the things I loved: easy to find contact details, zine reviews, zine excerpts, and expanded them in the best ways. The zine reviews now (when possible) have more ways to contact the zine makers. She’s added in book, DVD and web reviews but keeps them zine-related.
I was very impressed with her zinester interview section, in which she managed to get in contact with zine makers from around the world. The US, UK and Australia are obvious ones (to me), but she also connected with people from Japan, Singapore, Israel and more. Well done, Elizabeth.
This is definitely a good expansion on the first zine. While I know it’s a bit dated (how is 2010 so far away already?) it’s still relevant and fun. Plus, it’s interesting to see which people are still making zines, what websites are still up and so on. I do hope to track down a Photocopy Press 3 someday.
Photocopy Press / Issue One / Spring 2010
US Half-fold (?)
Photocopy Press is one of the first zines I bought from Etsy back when I was just diving into the zine world. At least, I’m nearly certain that’s how it came to be in my collection.
PP is one of the kinds of zines that I love to get my hands on *cough*hint*cough*. It’s a zine with variety, but, more than that, it’s a zine about zines! You might think that would be a touch redundant, but I love it. Zines about zines are a fantastic way to find out about zines that you might not otherwise find.
Right on page one, Elizabeth has an introduction, contact details (though her Etsy shop is currently empty), and plans for the next issue (next issue!) including pen pal ads to give people even more opportunity to connect. What’s not to love there? The fonts are clear but varied enough to add interest, the art is small but tasteful, and everything is neat. I’ve seen plenty of beautiful hot messes, but I do also appreciate the beauty that comes in neatly organised things.
There is quite a bit of white space that I wish would have been used up, BUT that is only because I want mooooore. More reviews, zine excerpts, pictures… All of the things. That being said, the white space isn’t a glaring thing. It’s more me wanting every ounce of goodness possible.
I know I have a habit of prattling on endlessly about these things, but I’ll wrap this one up (kind of) short. There’s not much more to say than it has reviews, excerpts and bigger plans for the next issue. If you don’t like this sort of zine, then there’s nothing here that is going to make you suddenly change your mind. If you do like this sort of zine, grab it up!