Zine Reviews

September 2016 Zine Reviews

Big Tight

Big Tight #4
By M. M
Art Zine, digest size, 16pgs
Instagram:  @big_tight.zine

Big Tight #4 is both anomalous and percipient. The author dedication reads “For Godzilla”, and a quote on the intro page sums this zine up nicely: “images from aimless wanders become lodged in the mind and seep out as doodles in lectures. The most persistent ones are included in this zine”. There are a handful of short prose pieces that accompany the artwork, the most interesting of which briefly analyzes the relationship between the conscious and subconscious minds. The highlight of this issue is the article that explains how to “find out what your city sounds like”. You take a city skyline, draw five horizontal lines in roughly equal intervals across this skyline. Mark each rooftop. Transfer this configuration onto sheet music with the marks being substituted for notes and, you end up with a song. This zine is a good, quick read. (Reviewed by JC)


D&D Virgin
By Emily Tulett

This is the first issue of D&D Virgin even though the number “1” doesn’t appear anywhere on it. Perhaps the author didn’t anticipate multiple issues at the time this one was made. Nevertheless, there are at least 3 issues of this zine that I am aware of. D&D is short for Dungeons & Dragons, the classic role-playing game. This 12-page, half-sized, cut/paste/copy zine is about the author’s first experiences with Dungeons & Dragons.

I really like the idea of zines about games and I hope to find more of them. I almost inspired to get a game going myself. D&D Virgin is a quick & nerdy read for those looking for that sort of thing. 1£ available from UK zine distro, Vampire Sushi. (Reviewed by Quasifesto)


Hanna Issue 1
Zine, quarter size

Hanna is a 33 page zine divided into three parts. The first part focuses on Exploring, this is done with travel tales, book recommendations and a recipe. A light way to ease you into the pages that are to follow. The second portion of this zine is all about Taking Action with an opinion piece on anti-rape nail polish, information on unethical coffee consumption, and the last piece on race and disability. The final act takes on Individuality with a woman’s perspective on her asexual lifestyle, breaking barriers with fashion and finished off with a poem.

Each piece is written by a woman and is framed to show the female perspective on each topic. Well written with great animation, this zine was easy to flow through on a Sunday afternoon. With glossy pages and a thick cover it does seem to be more of a magazine then a traditional zine. Maybe the creators are hoping to take it in that direction, some Bitch competition. If you are looking to see the world (or just everyday subjects) through the eyes of a woman or are hoping to join in on the equality conversation (you’re about 50 years late, but we’ll accept you anyways) then this is for you. (Reviewed By Shelby Monita)


By Jasmine Valerie Lutero

Isaw is a Filipino/English bilingual zine out of the Philippines. The direct translation of Isaw is, according to the author, “chicken skin.” Westerners probably picture the dimpled, yellow, outermost fatty layer of their favorite food fowl. They may be surprised to learn that the “skin” is actually intestines, and skewering them on a stick is a popular Filipino street food. This reviewer is a vegetarian and finds either option equally disgusting.

Isaw, the zine, contains photos, comics, collages, and musings about food, capitalism, and Filipino culture. This 16-page, photocopied, half-sized zine is thicker than expected because the pages are all single-side printed and then glued together for makeshift double-side copies. You can obtain one directly from Jasmine via We Make Zines for $5 (this includes shipping all the way from the Philippines.) (Reviewed by Quasifesto)

Minor leagues

Minor Leagues #1
By Simon Moreton
Comic/Perzine, digest size, 100pgs

The setting of Minor Leagues #1 shifts from pastoral landscape to concrete forest. The four longer prose pieces are separated by poetry and evocative line gesture drawings. Simon employs a gestural technique to suggest detail; this minimalist illustration style allows the reader to infer meaning, which makes it all the more resonant. A few days after reading this I found my mind oscillating back to it, and churning it over in my head. The subject matter is varied in temper and tone. In the first longer piece, Simon recounts an afternoon spent in Paris, in another, he surveys the demise of the video rental shop. This lighter fare is balanced out by more serious reflections, namely a relative’s funeral, and the death of a close friend. This is great stuff. Can’t wait to read the next issue. (Reviewed by JC)

Noodle Mania

Noodle Mania #4
Edited by Wendy
Music Zine, digest size, 22pgs

This zine is the finished result of an interactive workshop that was conducted at the 2015 Megapolis Audio Festival in Oakland. Wendy conducted taped interviews with a handful of artists and held a listening salon/doodling party where people listened to edited versions of those interviews, and chose an idea from them to illustrate. The full audio is transcribed into text for this zine, and the subjects (Julie Hemdon, Nelson Loskamp, Shanna Sordahl, Pat Mesiti-Miller) talk about their personal lives as they relate to the festival theme of the year: “the frontier”. I particularly enjoyed Julie Hemdon’s recounting her first experience with the internet, and Shanna Sordahl describing her most memorable day of the last year. Worth taking a look at. (Reviewed by JC)


Quitter #10
By Trace Ramsey
Perzine/Litzine, quarter size, 44pgs

We were first introduced to Trace’s writing a few months ago when we read Good Luck Not Dying, an omnibus spanning the first six issues of Quitter Zine. We read it cover to cover in one sitting. Trace’s writing is engrossingly polished, yet still brimming with spontaneous energy and ragged beauty. The writing is dense and detailed, it demands the reader’s attention and full focus. Trace has clearly mastered the perzine format and is pushing its boundaries to great effect. Like most great perzines, it’s difficult to firmly classify; it uses memory as a literary device, and it’s often honest to the point of brutality. We can’t wait to see what happens next. Highly recommended. (Reviewed by JC)


Someday You Will Ache Like I Ache
By Joan Elizabeth
Perzine, quarter size, 18pgs

This thought provoking zine examines white privilege and internalized sexism in an honest and reflective way. As a side note, it was also the third zine completed at the Fight Boredom Zine Residency Program. Joan Elizabeth uses a recently ended relationship as a jumping off point to examine our patriarchal culture at large.  Joan surveys her relationship with masculinity, and how her relationships with men have often predicated the construction her own identity. Joan’s conclusions are brutally honest and highly instructive. It was a pleasure to read Joan calling out problematic white-dude-alt-masculinity for what it is, “think: he reads Judith Butler and occasionally paints his nails, but still dominates spaces and talks shit about ‘identity politics”. This zine also offers an instructive definition of internalized sexism: “it refers to the ways in which people who aren’t men can still absorb sexist ideas and enact sexist behaviors upon themselves and other people who aren’t men.” It’s difficult to really sum up this important zine, in such a short review, but suffice to say, it’s one of the most important zines we’ve read in quite a while.  It adroitly uses a personal experience as a fulcrum to connect to broader societal constructions. This is DIY sociology at its best. (Reviewed by JC)

91166 (1)

Summers by Maine Manalansan

The is a travel zine filled with tips, tricks, some travel hacks around the Philippines, pictures and personal experiences. The travel hacks were especially good and I really enjoyed “traveler starter pack”. This zine makes me want to travel more. There are a lot of islands here , and I’m excited to visit more of them. Reading this zine feels like you are traveled along and experiencing the trip yourself through photos and the author’s personal experiences. This is a good read for tourists or Filipinos that don’t have much time to travel. (Reviewed by Jasmine Lutero)

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