Seven more zines

 Write Your Own Words #4

Zines on paper are unlike anything else in the world. They're created and sold outside of mainstream publishing and marketing, so zines are hard to find, but most are worth the trouble. Do yourself a favor and send for a zine today. Or maybe create one yourself.

"Walk into virtually any corporate-owned bookstore in America, and you won't find anything on any shelf that wasn't designed, mass-produced, ordered, delivered, and stocked primarily for the purpose of making a profit. At its best, the underground press is the opposite of that. It's not about how much money can be squeezed out of publishing. It's about how much of the writer/artist's soul he or she can squeeze onto the page."
—Zine World

Click any image to see a page from the zine.


Driving Around: A pandemic journal, written and illustrated by Amanda Etches — “I am a librarian by day and by night I draw pictures, write words, and generally fill sketchbooks.” She forgot to say, delightfully.

With her vacation to Greece canceled by the pandemic, Amanda filled her summer and autumn of 2020 with day trips to the outskirts and rural areas around her home in Ontario. The pictures she's drawn and reproduced here are all beautiful and in color, and so’s the handwritten text, in Bic blue ink, which made my copy of the zine seem as handmade as the original. 

Bad news: Her website says Driving Around is sold out, but that’s an injustice against art and humanity. “This aggression will not stand, man.” There’s a ‘contact’ button in the upper-right corner of her site; ask Amanda (nicely please) to print more copies! This is a zine that deserves a wider audience.

• 28 half-size pages, stapled, no ads
• prose with full-color illustrations (45 minutes)
• $10 from etches.ink 


Katabasis — I’m stumped by this one. Admittedly, I am mostly a words guy, so zines with something to say — in words — are my favorites, but I can and do appreciate almost any zine (comics, poetry, collages, whatever) if I can see the point. I’m failing to see the point here.

It’s 12 pages of mostly found imagery and found text, with words added or redacted by the zine’s creator. On pages 3, 4, and 5, things make sense, approximately. The rest seems pointless, and none of the pages have any apparent relation to the other pages, other than the staples. 

• 12 half-size pages, stapled, no ads
• cut-and-paste collage, prose (25 minutes headscratching time)
• $3 from itch.io


Marie and Worrywort, by Jenn Woodall — Marie is a gifted artist on the verge of success in the world of comics, but she carries doubts and insecurities everywhere she goes, personified by a red blotch on her shoulder that tells her, “Your art is garbage. You’re garbage.” The illustrations are very good, no matter what the red blob says, and the story is marvelous. 

I’ve carried a similar red blob on my shoulder all my life, so this comic resonated with me. Sometimes you forget, you’re not the only one carrying those anxieties with you, being badmouthed by the red blob and wanting to strangle it.

• 32 pages, stapled, no ads
• b/w with red comics (1:15)
• $5 and absolutely worth it, from Silver Sprocket


No Romance in Hell, by Hyena Hell — A female demon seeks romance, or at least hanky-panky. That’s hard to come by amidst the eternal torture of hell, though she’s apparently on staff. So she comes up to our ordinary world, looking for love in all the wrong places.

The story is presented in appealing black-and-white artwork on slick paper. There’s nudity, some sex, and an enjoyable superhuman death ray. Sadly, the dearth ray not included.

• 26 half-size pages, stapled, no ads
• b/w comics with color cover (20 minutes)
• $5 from Silver Sprocket


Rebel Art Hoe #1 — Lots of one- or two-paragraph bursts of thought, handwritten and honest. These are adult observations, pasted over cartoony or children’s illustrations, and printed on thick, heavy paper. It’s like spending half an hour with a chatty but interesting stranger at a coffee shop, and by the end of it you might have a new friend. 

• 24 heavy half-size pages, stitched binding, no ads
• prose, b/w illustrations (30 minutes)
• $3.25 from artandzinesbymonnie


These Are All Inadequate #3 — JMaq regrets that this issue has fewer contributors than usual, so it’s mostly JMaq, but his/her stuff is compelling so that’s not a drawback.

There’s a longish piece about creating a new gambling video game, a two-page spread lamenting/taunting Mike Myers’s departure from show business, and a 6-page list of character names made up for Magikarp.

JMaq also complains about photocopying at Staples, which “doesn’t give me the option to use my own paper, and their color paper printing price is super bananas.” That's why this issue (or at least the purple-paper cover) was printed at work. 

• 32 half-size pages, stapled, no ads
• prose, collage, poetry, lists, b/w illustrations (40 minutes)
• $3 from JMaq, giggab at gmail.com


To Love: Abusers in radical spaces — A zine about bad people working in good groups, and what to do about it. You might think you know what a zine like this would say, but like everything Laura-Marie writes, it’s not what you’d expect.

She’s thought about every aspect of the problem, and lived on several sides. When there were accusations against a friend, she stood with the friend, until she had the facts. She thought things over for a couple of months — which brought accusations against Laura-Marie as well. People can be such … *people sometimes. 

Calling for safer spaces, she suggests that something should be “built into the structure of the group, reminding people of their worth and how we deserve to be treated,” and I think that’s the answer, right there. The opening line of every meeting, every event, should be, “If someone or something here makes you uncomfortable, please talk to us about it. If you’re uncomfortable talking about it, send me an email. If you’re uncomfortable emailing me about it, reach out to someone else, but say something to someone.” I’d love to hear that read out loud before every meeting at work, before every ball game, maybe see it on a sign before walking into a grocery store. 

• 28 half-size pages, sewn binding, no ads
• prose, b/w illustrations (1:30)
• I’d guess $5, from robotmad at gmail.com

♦ ♦ ♦

I'll review any zine anyone sends. It might take a while, though. Don't rush me. Please send only one zine, not your all-time library.

just plain DOUG
PO BOX 7413

Want to test-drive some zines? Mail me a large self-addressed envelope (magazine-size) with $4 postage affixed, and I'll send 9½ ounces of zines from the pile that I've read. No, you can't specify which zines, and remember, your copy was my copy so it might have my scribbles or coffee stains.


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