Seven zines

Write Your Own Words #2

Having recently come out as a zine, not a blog, Mostly Words will now observe the sacred zine tradition of reviewing other zines. 

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 That Girl, at the bottom of the page.

Anywhere but Here — I’m gently charmed by this. It’s a tiny mini-zine with no words except the title, and seven illustrations on eight pages. The pictures are suitable for framing, but you’d need very small frames. It came with a bonus entitled Meet the Artist, in which K tells you a bit about herself. Also included: two mini-stickers. 

• 16 tiny pages (2 8½x11 pages), no ads
• color graphics (4 minutes)
$1.50 postpaid

(click the pic)

Awesome Things #3 — Exactly what the title promises, this is an ongoing list of things that Liz finds awesome, most of which are also awesome to me. It's relentlessly optimistic, which we all need some days. I kept my copy beside the toilet, and it made pooping an awesome thing.

Fun fact: It isn't mentioned in the zine and I didn't know it until I went to her website, but Liz, the author, is the manager of the legendary Quimby's Bookstore in Chicago.

• 28 small pages, no ads, stapled
• typed and scribbled prose, with graphics (45 minutes or so, over several days)
• $3 from Quimby's

(click the pic)
Devil in Hand, by Issa Saldana — Thoughtful comic about a kid's relationship with religion, which gets warped by an offhand remark from his great-grandmother. It's a quick read, but lingers afterwards.

• 8 half-size pages, no ads, stapled
• b/w comics (3 minutes)
• $3 from Quimby's

(click the pic)
The Man who Mistook His Life for a Hat #6 — An extended criticism of punk superstar Johnny Rotten, ex of the Sex Pistols and now a conservative supporter of Boris Johnson and Donald Trump and all the related endless stupidity. Also, side bits about John Cleese's racist dialogue on Fawlty Towers, Magritte's hat, and a warm review of Napalm Death's new album. It's odd that all this connects with me, as it's all-punk and I'm the opposite, but it does.

• 16 half-size color pages, newsprint, no ads, stapled
• prose, color graphics (1 hour, 15 minutes)
• no price or address listed; email thewonderofitall at gmail.com

Mystery Zine Bundle — Four mini-zines, plus a small sticker and a sheet of 12 hand-drawn non-postage stamps with adhesive backing. Each mini-zine is one page, folded thrice to make eight tiny pages. It's all an artistic venture, and it works, but I’m not sure whether everyone who orders gets the same zines I got.
    • A Knock of Three — a short spooky story with color (mostly gray and green) illustrations.
    • Reversed — A brief and simple poem set in a graveyard, and colorfully illustrated.
    • Settling — Mostly pictures, with minimalist text, pondering things that go bump in the night.
    • Tick-Tock — A poem of murder and dread.

• 32 tiny color pages (4 8x11 pages), no ads
• prose, poetry, and graphics (12 minutes)
$3 + shipping

Scarfff #7 — In this big tabloid of comics, each artist gets one page. There's a lot to like (almost all of it really) and it didn't change my life but I had a smashing good time. Without giving away any of the brief stories, my favorite lines were: "Sorry, I'm not the master. The master went to the store," "Maybe next time don't be a white supremacist," and "In the end, the match resulted in a draw." 

• 28 11x17 pages, tabloid, no ads, unbound
• comics anthology (1 hour)
$3.45 + shipping

(click the pic)

That Girl #16 — This is what I love in a zine: I can tilt back in my recliner and make myself comfortable inside someone else’s head, cuz I get so tired of my own.

That Girl takes place inside Kelli’s head, as she relives months of her life from long ago. It’s raw and painful and sweet and full of mistakes never to be regretted. She’s in high school, and dating a homeless dude who lives in an abandoned Cadillac, and he seems like a better man than most (to her and to me).

The big question is, Will he care enough to be there for her graduation ceremony? I’m reading all this, slowly finishing page after page, and really hoping it works out for these kids, though it all happened 25+ years ago. Simply splendid writing.

I've occasionally blathered on about how terrific zines can be and how much they've meant to me. If you've wondered what I was talking about and why I care, order this and you'll soon understand.

• 36 half-sized pages, no ads, sewn binding
• prose with b/w graphics (1:45, plus a re-read)
$5 postpaid

♦ ♦ ♦

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


Write your own words

← PREVIOUS          NEXT → 


← PREVIOUS          NEXT →


  1. I had no idea you could buy zines on Etsy, but it makes sense.

  2. I hadn't 100% understood the concept but I'm getting there now. Crazy the things people do, and I like crazy.

    1. If you order one, please let me know what you think.


The site's software sometimes swallows comments. For less frustration, send an email and I'll post it as a comment.