Sunday, 29 July 2012

Zine Reviews: July '12

Rum Lad #5
Steve Larder, Lincolnshire –
Rum Lad has to be one of my favourite comic zines – every issue features interesting handwritten stories, surrounded by Steve’s charming and rich illustrations.  This issue features a visual diary detailing the “organised chaos” of his band’s tour around America – travelling for over 10 hours at a time in their tour van, playing at pubs and house parties, sofa surfing, and exploring the American towns they visited.  The illustrations of the band members, the venues, the interesting personalities they meet along the way, and the American scenery, are all so full of character that they really draw you in to Steve’s story.  I liked the choice of topic too; it was fascinating to see the details of what goes on during a cross-country tour.  Rum Lad never disappoints – get your paws on this issue now!

Buy Her Candy #2
Another cracking zine by Bettie, which opens with a list of things she has been up to since the last issue, including planning a riot grrrl night, and watching Star Trek TNG.  We read about Bettie’s concerns surrounding privacy in her zines, a little guide to her favourite parts of Chorlton, her feelings as she approaches the end of her nursing degree, and her future plans for when she qualifies as a nurse.  The layouts are as pretty as ever, with handwritten and typewritten sections, and lots of cool pictures and patterns pasted in.  However, my favourite thing has to be the cover – a cartoon of Cinderella and Snow White sharing a passionate kiss, printed on lilac paper!  Gorgeous.

Sad Songs About Failed Relationships
This zine is very difficult to describe.  From the title and gorgeous cover, I expected some sort of dissection of classic break-up songs alongside a story about a break-up.  Instead, Kirsten briefly outlines the dissolution of a relationship with sparse words, cartoons of typical relationship anxieties (e.g. how many kisses to include in a text), and symbolic drawings.  On the last page, Kirsten provides a link to the “soundtrack” of the zine, which features some great songs about failed relationships, including Leonard Cohen’s ‘Take This Longing’, The Dresden Dolls’ ‘Delilah’, and Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’.  This was a nice touch, though I would’ve loved to read a discussion as to why those particular songs were chosen!  I like the fact that it’s not your typical break-up zine, and it’s been put together carefully and creatively.  Having said that, I love me some dense, wordy zines, and the lack of text just didn’t sustain my interest.   A very interesting concept though, definitely worth a flick.   Buy your copy for a mere 45p (I love cheap zines!) – this zine has a limited print run, so grab hold of one asap!

Nancy #1
Alex Creep, London –
An intelligent queer zine written by effeminate queer Alex, which discusses in detail the concept of a nancy boy (a femme gay man), the way mainstream gay culture marginalizes effeminate queers and the pressure gay men face to “act straight”.  Tied in with this larger discussion Alex brings in ideas about the concept of “camp”, the idolization of strong women like Lady Gaga by gay men as examples of “strong femininity”, the oversexualization of gay culture, and effeminate boys in anime and goth culture.  We also read Alex’s own story of coming to terms with his effeminacy, and a list of his favourite femme gays of TV and film, including Kurt of Glee and Lafayette Reynolds of True Blood.  The layout is functional – mostly black text on white background, with hand drawings of a few of the aforementioned queers scattered throughout.  Having never really considered the idea of “sissyphobia”, this zine was an illuminating read.  Alex did a good job of discussing a murky issue with clarity and good humour, peppered with stories of his own experiences.  Highly recommended!

Bloomurder #1
Laura, Bristol -
This little perzine features the kind of topics you’d expect from a first issue - bicycles, gigs (Adelaide Fringe Festival 2011), travelling stories, thoughts about femininity, and nostalgia.  In the middle there’s a very interesting little piece on Laura’s love of violent/horrific art (including Medusa by Caravaggio), which was my favourite part of the zine.  Bloomurder has a nice upbeat tone, laid out with cut and paste imagery and charming scratchy handwriting.