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!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Zine News Round-Up: 15/09/13

Tote bag by

1.            New Releases
2.            Upcoming Events
3.            Submission Calls
4.            Distro News
5.            A.O.B.

1. New Releases

2. Upcoming Events

3. Submission Calls
  • Poor Lass, a zine about working-class women, is looking for submissions for its third issue!  The theme is ‘family’. Details here:
  • ‘Stories from Space Camp’ is an alternative sci fi and fantasy quarterly looking for submissions for their first issue.  Submissions from people who feel alienated from mainstream sci fi & fantasy media are particularly welcome. Check out the Facebook page for more info:
  • Litzine ‘Hand Job’ is looking for written work to publish in its second issue.   For more details, or to get hold of issue 1 of free, email handjobzine @
  • A new zine dealing with death & loss is looking for submissions. We'd like to put a workbook-type zine together, with strategies for & articles on grieving and dealing with death. Get in touch at ipsumATriseupDOTnet.
  • DUPE is calling for submissions for its third publication: “THE DARK ISSUE" due for release in Winter 2013.We are looking for original and creative material in the form of photography, illustration, collage, writing, poetry, reviews, interviews etc. The work must respond to the theme but it can be interpreted as literally or abstractly as you like.  More details at

4. Distro News

  • Save Our Royal Mail is a new campaign that has popped up, campaigning against the proposed plans to sell off the Royal Mail.  Check out their website for lots of detailed information on why the Royal Mail should stay as it is, and how to get involved with the campaign:

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Zine Reviews: August '13

Death Is When The Monsters Get You #1
Edited by Kat Williams, Swansea –
I love this zine so much, and not just because it was created by one of my close friends!  DIWTMGY is a Stephen King fanzine, and features a selection of opinion pieces discussing aspects of King’s work, including mental illness, female archetypes, grief, mythology, and the success of the movie adaptations of King’s novels.  I love the layouts – Kat uses photocopied sections from relevant King books as backgrounds, and uses a mixture of different typewritten fonts and handwritten sections.  If you’re a King fan, I can’t recommend this zine enough!  Kat is also looking for people to contribute to issue 2, so if you have something to say, get in touch at the email address above.

Make It Work #1 and #2
Edited by Kirsty Fife, London -
Make It Work is a compzine dedicated to DIY fashion and style for plus-sized women (“fatshion”), with a focus on body-positivity, self-care, and resisting the mainstream.  Both issues are very densely-packed, which at £1.50 a pop makes this zine great value for money!  #1 includes advice articles on topics including how to shop on the high street, buying and repurposing second-hand clothes, crafting tutorials, advice on DIY event organising, as well as introspective pieces by the authors on life as a fat woman, and the struggles and prejudice faced on a daily basis.  #2 has more great craft tutorials and resources, along with more political articles on radical vanity, the subjectivity and hierarchies of taste, gender play, fat-shaming, and mental health.  I adore this zine series so much, and wish it could be mass-distributed, as everyone deserves to be told that they don’t need to fit into the limited body aesthetics that mainstream media offers us.  Favourite quote, from the introductory page of #1: “Making it work is about more than just clothes – it’s about finding ways to live and love a body that you are brought up to hate. It’s about choosing to survive and fight, to be visible”.

Feeling Alone #2
Human Bean Zines, Surrey –

Feeling Alone #1 was published in July 2012, and detailed the author’s struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder and their stay at a psychiatric hospital.  Feeling Alone #2 takes place exactly a year later, and we read about the author’s progress with their mental health over the 12 months following their hospitalisation.  Some topics covered include counselling, coping with Atos and DWP assessments, mentalisation-based treatment, the benefits of occupational therapy, and taking on more activities in their life, including volunteer work and roller derby.  With mostly hand-written with some sweet hand drawings, it feels incredibly intimate, and the author documents their journey with honesty and clarity.

Ghost Fuck #2
Edited by Lizzy, Bournemouth –
This is one of my favourite EVER zines in terms of layout style!  The style is arty and chaotic - lots of typewritten words and phrases cut and pasted all over the place, bits pasted in upside down, lopsided columns of text, striking black crosses and triangles used throughout.  It’s difficult to describe, but it looks amazing, one of my fave zines to look at!  Having said that, there are 2 things that bother me – 1, the zine is just titled “Ghost Fuck”, without an issue number (I had to search through the website archive to find out which issue was which), and 2, there’s no intro or outro outlining what the zine is and what it’s about, which I always think is a useful addition to a zine.  The content is mostly DIY feminism, with pieces on girl-hate, pornography, queer club nights, the Bechdel Test, and riot grrrl.

untitled and Negative Land
Elodie, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne -

Elodie's untitled zine is mostly an artzine, but feels very personal – it reminds me a lot of an art journal, with mixed media layouts, handwritten notes, disjointed poetic prose, hand drawings, cut and paste typewritten lines of text, and photographs.  All bound together within a white tracing paper cover, it feels very delicate and intimate, a lovely thing to get lost in for a few minutes.  Negative Land is a photozine created by Elodie in collaboration with 3 other friends, and features colour photographs of different scenes from England and Paris, including beaches, parks, cozy living spaces, woodland, and city streets.  Both are free, so if you want a copy, drop Elodie a line at the email address above.