Monday, 30 September 2013

Zine Reviews: September '13

Oddments #4 and #5
Written by Marceline Smith, Scotland –
‘Oddments’ is a cute perzine written by Marceline, ownder of UK travel and kawaii distro Pushpin Publishing.  Each issue is themed around a certain thing that Marceline loves - #4 is all about books, and #5 food.  In #4, we read about her favourite old book shops, online distros and book shops she loves, her best secondhand book finds, and independent publications to love.  The centre of the zine features a pull-out mini magazine titled “A Day in the Life: What I Got Up to on Friday 20 April”, which includes details and doodles about what Marceline wore, ate, and did (I love hearing about the details of people’s day-to-day lives!).  In #5, we read about Marceline’s favourite and least-favourite “weird sweets” (including Orangina Haribo, which sound amazing!), favourite things to eat and drink in Japan, favourite food websites, and recent foody reading.  The layouts are clean and plain, entirely black type on white background, with some cute kawaii-style drawings and good use of fonts throughout.  This zine series is always a lovely cheery read!

The Best Friend I Never Met: Notes from an 8-year correspondence
Written by Emma, Exeter –
This zine consists of short extracts from 8 years’ worth of emails, letters, phone calls and stories from Emma’s unnamed long-distance best friend.   The content is contemplative and prosaic, touching upon themes of loneliness, friendship, love, distance, heartache, hurt and memories.  Emma’s best friend writes in a beautiful way; I feel this zine will be kept close to hand whenever I want to drift off somewhere for inspiration.  You can find more of Emma’s work at her etsy shop Soft Skeletons.

Animated Review #1
UK –
This 24-page art zine was created to complement, a blog of “inspirational animation” where they feature artwork by selected animators, illustrators and artists.  The zine includes work by their favourite artists featured online, and in their inaugural issue, the editors asked the artists to reinterpret, in their own style, their favourite cartoon character.  The format is very structured, to the point of looking rather professional – each double-page spread features an illustration on one side, and an artist bio on the other.  This format appeals to my systematic mind, and it’s a good way of contextualising the artwork, but it’s not very ‘ziney’ so may not appeal to everyone.  Some of the cartoon characters featured include SuperTed, Sharky and George, He-Man and Jessica Rabbit.  The cover looks like an old school workbook, which I liked, plus this zine was sent to me in a cello bag - I love little touches like that.  Read/see more here:

Gravity: Learning to Balance Through Recovery
Written by Vicky Ann Smith, London -
This thoughtful mental health perzine deals with one woman’s recovery from an eating disorder, self-harm and sexual assault.  Vicky writes about her journey through life living with these issues, her feelings of guilt and low self-worth, recovery, therapy, and her coping mechanisms.  The zine ends with words of encouragement to anyone who is struggling – “we all have our own pace and never be ashamed to cry” and a list of resources.  With the handwritten passages and worksheets from her therapy, this zine feels incredibly intimate.  Vicky also uses a lot of cutesy stickers and images throughout the text which also conveys a sense of vulnerability.  I loved reading this zine – it’s an important topic to talk about, and Vicky writes about her recovery with honesty and wisdom.  ‘Gravity’ can be purchased for £2, and 50% of all sales are donated to ‘Running Without ED’, a charity group raising funds for eating disorder treatments. 

Necronomicon #26
Edited by Neil, Yorkshire
I adore this zine!  Lifelong horror fan Neil writes all about recent horror films and programmes he’s watched; this includes well-known titles such as Walking Dead, Silent Hill and Hannibal Rising, to low-budget British horror.  The zine is mostly made up of Neil’s own reviews, but includes some guest reviews from friends too.  Bonus points from me for the article on his love of Monster High (which, if you haven’t heard of it, is a tween TV show and toy range; the characters are sort of like Bratz, but they’re the daughters of famous monsters, with names such as “Draculaura” and “Frankie Stein”)!  Neil’s enthusiasm for the subject jumps off the page with every paragraph, and it’s totally infectious – his reviews are such fun to read, as he writes about what made him laugh, what frightened him, and what was going on in his life when he watched the film.  It’s also really good value for money at £1.  Fan of horror? You need this zine in your life!

Phaff & Potter #5 and #6
Edited by Rod and Tristrum, Bedfordshire –

Phaff and Potter is a bi-monthly irreverent music fanzine, which features single, album and live reviews, but lots of other silly content including bad jokes, fake local music news, local legends, and light-hearted ribbing of pub culture.  Issue 4 features an interview with Jerry Only, founding member of the Misfits, and a funny story titled “The legend of Barry Scott”; issue 5 is the “pub special”, and features a list of their favourite pubs, favourite local ales, and a description of their ideal pub.  I love the scruffy mix-and-match layouts, and the unusual variety of the content – unlike some music fanzines, P&P feels very lovingly made and doesn’t ever take itself seriously!

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