Seven more zines

 Write Your Own Words #5

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. Send for a zine that sounds interesting, and you're (probably) going to be happy you did. 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.

Friday Night in West Ealing #321 — A quick and interesting personal zine from England. In this issue, there are three book reviews that don’t pull any punches, and COVID testing and other hassles of living in a shared house during the pandemic. Literate, smart, and light orange.

• 2 pages, folded, no ads
• typed and handwritten prose (8 minutes)
• Inquire with fridaynightinwestealing @ gmail.com. I’d guess $3, because postage from England isn’t cheap, but there’s a helpful note nudging readers toward Small Zine Volcano, where you can get back issues in their bulk order deals.


Items from My Childhood — As promised by the title, this is a short list of items from the author’s childhood. There’s not much to say about it, except that I smiled the whole way through, laughed once, and then it was over. 

• 1 page, folded into 8, no ads
• b/w illustrations and prose (2 minutes)
• $1.50 from YoshusPrints 


Lazy Sundays, The One-Eyed Wolf, and Over the Fence: A Field Guide, all by Saul Lewis — With self-published stuff, you never know what you’re gonna get next, and here’s a great example. These are three single-page zines, so intricately drawn and lettered they're inarguably little tiny works of art. Mine were gift-wrapped inside the envelope. Exquisite.

• each zine is 1 page, folded into 8, no ads
• b/w drawings and text (5 minutes)
• my guess is a few dollars, from Saul Lewis


Montana Diary, by Whit Taylor — A black artist and her white husband vacation in very white Montana, and have quite a nice time.

It's a personal zine in comic form, and it’s interesting, occasionally funny, always thoughtful, and also educational (but in a good way), with factoids about the state and the complexities of its history.

How did I never know about York, Clark's slave on the Lewis & Clark expedition? He was screwed over by slavery (of course), but also by Clark, and then by history.

There's a lot going on between the covers here, and after reading it I felt oddly like I'd just watched a movie ... quite a good movie.

• 32 mostly b/w pages with a few in full color, stapled, 1 page of ads for the author’s other works
• comics (an hour & ten minutes)
• $5 from Silver Sprocket


No Gods, No Mattress #32 — Casual and breezy writing, but with passion, and there’s a lot of it here. The bits that stayed with me afterwards include the author not knowing what to say or do when someone’s hassling a guy in a wheelchair; saving money by liberating soap and t.p. from public restrooms; and after a few pages about tricks for dealing with the Post Office’s picayune rules, there’s this wisdom: “All mail rules are subject to change if the postal worker feels like it.” Yeah, I can vouch for that. Also, reading about NGNM’s anxiety definitely made me feel better about my own anxieties.

Here's something so wise I’m just going to quote it: After being rejected for no good reason by dim-bulb gatekeepers at two different zine fests, NGNM says, “I think zine fests actually should be for people like me, people whose voices are not so easy to hear, people lacking resources and access, people in the margins. The zine community is full of these people, and I want to see them at the fest.” Absolutely. This zine understands zines way better than the Dear Diary Zine Fest does, apparently. 

• 52 half-size pages, stapled, no ads
• prose, b/w drawings, collage (an hour & 45 minutes)
• $5.50 from No Gods No Mattress


The-Sales-Men — This is a mini-micro comic, appealingly drawn, telling just one joke with a stale punchline. I’m unable to find the author/artist’s name, there’s no contact information, and an internet search on the title yields no pertinent results. 

• 1 page, folded into 8, no ads
• b/w comic (1 minute)
• price and contact not listed, not found


What I Did in Lockdown — I laughed out loud as soon as I flipped the first page.

This is a collage-style zine that’s simply a long list of the things Hannah did during the pandemic. Some of it's sweet, some is amusing, some is funny. Maybe it'll be a series, as the pandemic rolls on and on.

My copy came with an unexpected freebie, Sometimes People Don’t Suck #1, It's one page, folded into 8, that tells a warm and fuzzy story of an encounter between Hannah and a stranger. Two good zines for two bucks? That's a dang good deal.

• 16 quarter-size pages, stapled, no ads
• b/w collage, prose (ten minutes)
• $2 from HRW Zines


♦ ♦ ♦

I'll review any zine anyone sends. It might take a while, though — don't rush me, and 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 (that's the maximum weight USPS will allow me to mail without standing in line). No, you can't specify which zines, and remember, your copy was my copy so it might have my scribbles or coffee stains.


Write your own words

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  1. I am almost ready to take the plunge -- should I oreder Montana Diary or No Gods?

    1. No Gods No Mattresses is raw and fun and has heft. There's so much of it, my hour and 45 minutes included some skimming.

      Montana Diary is more focused, accomplished, effort and art.

      Liked 'em both, but I would *definitely* nudge you toward Montana Diary.


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