Seven more zines

 Write Your Own Words #3

What's a zine? Instead of answering, I'll quote from Zine World: 

"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."  

TL/DR? None of these suck, and some are quite good, but the "best of show" is a tie, between Behind the Zines and Zisk.  

All images can be enlarged by clicking.

Behind the Zines #10 — I didn’t know I wanted and needed this zine until it came. It’s all about creating zines, with all the nitty-gritty, written by the publishers of several zines, and stuffed chubby with info that’s needed if you’re thinking about publishing a zine on paper. Truth be told, I’m thinking about it, and it’s been a long time so I appreciate the primer.

There’s a review of EcoTank print cartridges, advice from a guy who bought a photocopier, a thoughtful piece on the hard work of doing a punk zine and what the pandemic did to that zine’s finances, an article by an old-timer remembering his introduction to zines in the 1990s, and more more more.

There’s also a comic on zine etiquette that includes “Don’t digitize their shit,” which caused me to stop and ponder — am I doing a naughty no-no by including page scans alongside these zine reviews? I think it’s OK to give folks a glimpse of the zine, long as it’s not more than a page or two, but if anyone’s offended, well, contact my lawyer or kiss my ass or just let me know, and I’ll take the image down. 

• 40 half-size pages, stapled, no ads
• prose, b/w illustrations (2 hours)
• $3 postpaid from iknowbilly at gmail.com


Earth Day Special — There are five comics here, all solid, all by M D Liller. The first ponders Elon Musk’s privateered space flights while the Earth goes to hell; another has a truck driver plowing full-speed into a deer, yet finds a happy ending that made me smile and raise my fist.

My favorite was the last comic, in which we are warned repeatedly, and truthfully, that monsters await us — and for that one, no happy ending. 

• 30 almost half-size pages, stapled, no ads
• b/w comics, some with a splash of color (25 minutes)
• $3 from Feral Publications


Feral Comics #12 — An anthology of comics where every contributor seems to be given space to breathe. Some of the strips are long, some are short, all are works of art, but the star of the show (and half the zine) is “Gobliterated” by Orange Zeppelin, with the infinite benevolence of Goblin Jesus and an angel with titties (note: all angels should have titties).

At no extra change, my copy came with an 8-page mini-zine called DIY Wisdom Tooth Extraction, with brief advice — and photos — on that topic, which starts responsibly with a warning not to do it.

• 20 half-size pages, stapled, no ads
• b/w comics, color cover (20 minutes)
• $3 from Orange Zeppelin

Taddle Creek #47A — A mostly-color collection of this, that, and the other thing — two comics, a short story, a recipe for 7-Up salad, and a think piece that starts with Boccaccio’s The Decameron and ends with instructions for making embroidered napkins.

Sorry, no picture, because their small print forbids it.

• 20 full-size pages, stapled, 5% ads
• prose, color illustrations, color and b/w comics (40 minutes)
Subscriptions only, apparently. $9 Canadian or $19 US for two issues, but this one seems to count as only ⅓ of an issue. It's complicated.


Touring America: Fall in New England — Two people take a driving vacation across the American northeast, taking notes along the way. Sounds idyllic to me, and reading about it is pretty cool, too, and ignited my imagination.

My only quibble is that they ate at Applebee’s once — ick — but maybe it was a meal emergency so I’ll forgive it.

• 12 half-size pages, stapled, no ads
• b/w prose, illustrations (40 minutes)
• $2 + $1 postage from TheWordDistribution 

With Intention: A zine about a person with narcolepsy — Ming has narcolepsy (recurring daytime drowsiness), and attended two conferences on the subject, one in Las Vegas and the other in Cleveland. From that description, it sounds like it should be boring enough to put anyone to sleep, but it’s honestly interesting.

Lots of information and good advice on how to deal with narcolepsy, and how his wife handles being married to a narcoleptic, with matter-of-fact reports on the conference seminars, and it's excellent that Ming found time to attend a protest while he was in Vegas.

• 20 half-size pages, sewn binding, no ads
• prose, with b/w illustrations (30 minutes)
• price unsure; I’d guess $3, but ask Ming — rkmlai at gmail

Zisk #32 — If you don’t like baseball, you won’t like this zine. It’s about baseball and nothing else except tangentially, from 18 authors and illustrators. I like baseball, or have in the past, and I went through it like a cat goes through tuna.

Knew I’d love it from the opening article, about everything leading up to unfurling a trans rights banner at a World Series game. Remembering the great pitcher Bob Gibson, there’s a quote about his quick-pitch style: “Bob Gibson pitches like he’s double-parked.” Heck, I even liked the poems!

My favorite article is about the lack of baseball early in the pandemic, which the author dealt with by taking an online tour of cemeteries where greats from the past are buried. This becomes a brief but fascinating game of stats — which cemetery has the most and best players?

• 48 half-size pages, stapled, a few ads for other zines
• b/w prose, illustrations, poetry (2 hours)
• $3 postpaid from policymaker.bandcamp.com

♦ ♦ ♦

I'll review any zine anyone sends, provided I can find ordering info somewhere in the zine. Might take a while, though. Don't rush me.

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 you 9½ ounces of zines from the pile that I've read. No, you can't specify which titles, and zines might have my scribbles or coffee stains.


Write your own words

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