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. 

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Favourite Zine Series #1: Sugar Paper

This is a guest post written by Caitlin Beth.  Caitlin is a feminist, zinester, ukelele player, and amateur music journalist.  

You’d pretty much have to be living under a rock these days to not have noticed a massive resurgence in crafts. Whether this is a feminist issue or not is another discussion for another time, but there is no denying that what was once seen as traditional pursuits, like knitting and baking, are all the rage these days, with both women and men. Riding the crest of this wave is the wonderful craft zine, Sugar Paper.

Every issue of the zine sees its two writers, Kandy and Seleena, set out 20 make and do projects that can be tackled by absolutely anyone with a minimum of cost. Sugar Paper makes it outrageously easy for anyone to give the various projects a go, and the way the zine is written makes the projects accessible, and makes them seem incredibly easy, which they very often are.

Everything about the Sugar Paper series screams DIY from the covers to the projects themselves. The 20 DIY projects in issue range from anything to knitting a scarf, baking a cake that looks like a burger, encouraging readers to vote, and even dance routines! Most of the issues come with free gifts too, making it even easier to get involved.

The format and the design of the zines are delightfully kitsch and retro, reminiscent of the old-school girls magazines that many of us grew up with, with the content being colourful, fun, and irreverent. The cover is always drawn by a guest illustrator, giving each issue a fresh feeling.  Many of the projects are written by guest writers too, making this a collaborative zine effort.

On Kandy and Seleena’s BigCartel store, you can buy all 9 issues of Sugar Paper, and the girls have also very kindly put together craft kits to buy too, with kits dedicated to cross-stitch and knitting, amongst others. You can also find the girls at the Sugar Paper blog, a blog just as delightful as their zine, which chronicles the pair’s adventures, as well as offering all sorts of crafty and arty inspiration.

Sugar Paper is the ideal zine to pick up if, like me, you love picking up knowledge and learning stuff from your zines. For someone as craft-phobic as I previously was, this has definitely passed on the bug. The girls recently contributed to the wonderful State of Craft book too, which is also really fantastic if Sugar Paper has whet your appetite for making and doing. The 9th issue of the zine has just been released, and is available to purchase right now on the Sugar Paper store: The Sugar Paper blog can be found at

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Zine News Round-Up: 08.07.12

1. Zine Releases
2. Upcoming Events
3. Submission Calls
4. Distro News
5. AOB (Any Other Business)


1. Zine Releases
- ‘Drifting Clouds: Writings on Consent’ was released last week.  You can buy a copy at Princesa Pirata Distro.
- Hayley Foster da Silva has released the third issue of her feminist perzine, ‘Dancing Barefoot’.  To buy a copy, email Hayley at
 - ‘Feeling Alone: A zine about being an inpatient with BPD’ was released last week.  Buy your copy at
-  I’ve released the tenth issue of my perzine, ‘Here. In My Head.’, a special half-sized issue all about university.  More info on how to buy a copy can be found here.
- Angry Violist #5.5 is out now!  Created for the 24-hour Zine Thing.  More info about getting hold of one can be found on Emma’s blog.
- Issue 16 of CZDerby, a zine by the Derby City Zine Collective, is out now!  You can buy a copy or download a PDF at

2. Upcoming Events
- ‘We Face Forward’ Fanzine Workshop: Saturday 28th July at The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.  More info at
- ‘Little Zine Party’: Saturday 4th August at Ort CafĂ©, Birmingham.  A day of “stalls, screen printing & zine making workshops, zine readings, and making friends”!  To get involved, email the organiser Sarah at More info here.
- International Alternative Press Festival: Saturday 4th August & Sunday 5th August at Conway Hall, London.  Bringing together UK and European small press comix, zines, book arts and print!
- Birmingham Zine Festival: 12th – 15th October.  Want to get involved?  More info can be found at
- Leeds Zine Fair: Sunday 4th November.  If you'd like to get involved in organising the zine fair, or hold a stall at the zine fair then get in touch at

3. Submission Calls
- Want to contribute to CZDerby, a zine published by the Derby city Zine Collective?  Details can be found at
- ‘Pandora Press #4: The Pink issue’ has extended its deadline to AUGUST 12.  More info on how to contribute can be found at
- Some of last month’s submission calls are still open too!

4. Distro News
- Marching Stars is 5 years old this month, and to celebrate, all orders over £12 in July will receive a free tote bag!
- Vampire Sushi was updated last week with lots of new stock!
- Lots of lovely new stock at Pushpin Publishing!

5. AOB
- Marceline, the lady behing Pushpin Publishing, is running another Zine Challenge, which challenges people to make a zine in the next 12 months.  More info and details on how to sign up can be found at
 - We’re officially 1 week into International Zine Month 2012!  You can find out more about it all over at Stolen Sharpie Revolution.  What are you getting up to this month?  Join the discussion over at We Make Zines.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Zine Reviews: June '12 (vlog)

Happy International Zine Month!  Here's our latest zine reviews, in the form of another vlog.  Enjoy!