Zine Reviews

MINIMUM ROCK + ROLL #4, $3, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 8 pgs.

When I saw the title of this zine, I was hoping it would be a spoof of Maximum Rock‘n’roll, but it was not. Instead, I found a short zine that consists of a short interview with the Olympia, Wash., band Bad Sleep and a short number of short reviews. I would’ve rather seen another two or three interviews and that amount more of reviews. Even if it would’ve taken a little longer for the zine to come out, I think it would be worth it, especially for the price. That being said, I liked the handwriting that served as the font for the zine, but I’m going to have to take a pass on this issue. –Kurt Morris (acornersoul@hotmail.com)

BIG TAKEOVER, THE #80, $5.99, 8 ½” x 11”, glossy, 144 pgs.

I have always had a soft spot for The Big Takeover. Named after an excellent Bad Brains song, it has been around for well over thirty years. In the 1990s, when I was a teen, I would go to Barnes & Noble or Borders (RIP) and read Maximum Rock’n’Roll, AP, and The Big Takeover, amongst others. Away from a metropolis, it was the only place I could read these publications and find out about new music. This issue includes interviews with Chrissie Hynde, Tommy Stinson, Tobin Sprout, Grandaddy, as well as a ton of reviews. I appreciated Jack Rabid’s editorial about America’s political situation and the abomination that is Donald Trump. The Chrissie Hynde interview by Rabid was especially enjoyable, as he had an actual conversation with her that covered some good ground of the singer who has put out music for decades. Otherwise, I can’t say this issue rocked my world, but it was a good trip down memory lane. –Kurt Morris (The Big Takeover, 1713 8th Ave., Suite 3-2, Box 2, Brooklyn, NY 11215)

CELEBRATED SUMMER #1, $5, 5 ½” x 8 ½”, color, copied, 41 pgs.

This is a really cool way to celebrate a milestone. Celebrated Summer Records in Baltimore is ten years old, so Tony decided to make a zine to tell the story of the shop. Along with the story with its often intense ups and downs, the zine is chock full of photos of the store, its beginnings, where it’s at now, bands playing there, staff and friends, and the many shirt, poster, and button designs over the years. It has a beautiful layout and features cover art from Razorcake’s own Liz Prince. Reading this made me want to go to Baltimore and hang out at the shop! –Ty Stranglehold (Celebrated Summer, 3116 Falls Rd., Baltimore, MD 21211)

CHRISTIAN HUMPER, THE #54, Free, 3 ¾” x 6”, printed, 20 pgs.

It’s been a long time since Adam Voith has published a copy of his zine, The Christian Humper, although he’s been putting it out since 1991. I’m so glad he’s back at it. This issue is a great fictional piece about Adam’s neighbor. After many years of living nearby but never meeting, Adam finally does so, and gets to see the neighbor’s big old tour bus. The rest of the zine finds Adam switching back and forth between the actual encounter and the personality he has created in his mind of this neighbor. In Adam’s mind, this old man used to be the driver for Christian musicians, including Michael W. Smith. Adam’s imaginary tales of this man’s life are hilarious. They brought plenty of smiles to my face as I recalled Christian musicians from my teens and experiences in youth group. As someone who wrote “One Punk’s Guide to Christian Punk” for Razorcake, it shouldn’t be a surprise I got a kick out of this. However, I think those who have an even peripheral interest in Christian music culture or who grew up in a church youth group will find this zine to be appealing. In addition, Adam is a great writer whose prose is smooth and enjoyable to read. And it’s free, so there’s really no reason not to get this issue of The Christian Humper. –Kurt Morris (Adam Voith, 6559 Brownlee Dr., Nashville, TN 37205, adamvoith@me.com)

DEEP FRIED ZINE MPLS, $1, 5 ½” x 8 ½”, copied, 16 pgs.

Okay, first of all, fast food is unhealthy and terrible for your body and mind. No! Second, zines giving free advertising to terrible fast food companies… also a big no-no. No! There. Now that we got that out of the way, I’m going to say, for the discerning reader there’s quite a bit of fun to be had in this goofy, fast food-celebrating zine. In this zine, you’ll learn more than you ever need to know about Taco Bell’s Choco Taco and Jack In The Box’s ‘93 E. Coli epidemic. They use Mountain Dew spin-offs like Pitch Black and White Out as metaphor for deconstructing the politics of the Trump Administration. They also have a bone to pick with new school fast food and its urge to abbreviate everything, like DQ, et al. Deep Fried has ideas, man. Following in the tradition of the Ramones and Sloppy Seconds, Deep Fried reminds us of the trash culture-glorifying roots of punk rock. Somehow, with brains foggy from corn syrup, MSG, and lack of nutrition, they put together this zine as an outlet for those vices and it’s a good time. But you didn’t hear it from me. –Craven Rock (Deep Fried Zine MPLS, 2901 Yosemite Avenue South, St. Louis Park, MN 55426, videophobia222@hotmail.com)

DMB STUDIOS, $?, 3” x 4”, copied, 6 pgs.

In this batch of zines to review this month, I received a bundle of mini-comics from “DMB Studios,” a seemingly prolific cartoonist, as there were six zines in total. Each mini-comic contained six pages of a preview of one of his particular comics. Ranging from schoolgirls in a kind of monster-movie middle school (there was a vampire girl, a ghost girl, and more of the like), to a superhero team of fashionistas, and even an autobiographical mini-comic. While the genres of the author’s minis ranged, they didn’t really grab my interest. Quantity over quality in terms of story lines and plots. I believe the cartoonist would do well with teaming up with a writer so they could focus solely on their art. To check out their many characters and comics, you can read them all for free on their website. –Tricia Ramos (DMB Studios, dmbstudios.blogspot.com)

EARTH FIRST! SUMMER 2017, $6.50, 8” x 10 ½”, 72 pgs.

Earth First! is a journal of ecological resistance. What was new this summer? First off, I want to say that we have no word from incarcerated presidential candidate Sean Swain, who is sort of the life of the Earth First! party. In the last issue, he used his column to concede Trump’s win against his own campaign to end “swivilization,” but I’m sure Swain would have plenty to say about the first one hundred days. He’s not in this issue, so I hope he’s doing well. Anyhow, this magazine is growing on me. I’m always learning some crazy history when I take the time to sit down with it. I learned about the other side of the story to Somali pirates, who started out as a ragtag defense against illegal dumping and fishing in their waters, and I read about one of the world’s largest arms fairs, too. It’s the Defence and Security Equipment International (notice British spelling), which happens in London, where, ironically, you can’t even own a gun. The Robocop-ish organization sells “drones, planes, weapons,” and military vehicles. Yikes. As the author puts it, “bbrutality and war starts at DSEI, where deals are made,” so maybe some protest at the source will mean less folks hurt in more dramatic protests later on. What else is happening in England? Fox hunts. Men in red suits ride horses and follow hounds that chase foxes to kill them. The Hunt Saboteurs Association has long objected to this practice and has had a history of throwing the dogs off the chase by tossing them delicious hunks of meat—a good day for dogs, a bad day for men! This and other stories await you. –Jim Joyce (Daily Planet Publishing, Earth First! Journal, PO Box 964, Lake Worth, FL 33460)

FUTURE ANTHROPOLOGY, $5, 5 ½” x 8 ½”, 16 pgs.

Jean-Paul L. Garnier’s Future Anthropology is a poetry chapbook set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, or at least that’s the vibe I was picking up. The speakers in these poems bemoan the loss of humanity and of good growin’ dirt, too, seeing as “the soil / Which barely can now give us barley” is all that’s left, and the “demons of soul of man procure / With bodies dripping protoplasm” have a “Disease for which there is no cure.” All in all, it’s a rough scene. This might be your thing if you’re a fan of Ray “Red Planet Bandit” Bradbury, but if not, I’ll try to sell it to you on the cover art alone, as it features a painting of a cowboy whipping a couple of anthropologist robots as they sort through a shallow dig site. Yippee-ki-yay, future babies! –Jim Joyce (spacecowboybooks.com)

GUIDE TO BEING BROKE AND FABULOUS, $8, 5¼” x 7½”, copied, 36 pgs.

Julia Arredondo takes on the role of a brash and empowering older sister in this handy (and very cute looking) guide. The “Fabulous” in the title is crucial—the zine focuses less on the gritty, not-fun details (there are a couple simple recipes and some general thoughts about roommates vs. no roommates) than on the questions of cheap date activities and how to develop a rad and confident style on a tight budget. Someone needing practical information about survival, especially someone without any family support system whatsoever, will likely be better served by other resources. That person is probably not buying an eight- dollar zine anyway. That’s not to say that there isn’t some really thoughtful and valuable stuff in here, especially the sections on maintaining supportive friendships and dealing with stress. Overall, it’s a self-care/self-help zine oriented toward young people in urban areas who don’t have a lot of money. I could see this being a pretty cool resource for a lot of teenagers in general, just for the author’s tough, positive attitude. –Indiana Laub (Vice Versa Press, viceversapress.com)

KING-CAT COMICS AND STORIES #77, $5, 5 ½” x 8 ½”, copied, 40 pgs.

John Porcellino has been writing, illustrating, and self-publishing King-Cat Comics since 1989. Through a series of autobiographical vignettes, issue 77 explores his relationship with animals: a possum plays dead in his backyard, a yellow-jacket stings his crotch, and he spots a big cat while on the road on two separate occasions. Porcellino’s minimal black-and-white illustrations capture his childlike awe during every animal encounter. For example, he and his sister watch, mouths agape, as their pet caterpillar becomes a butterfly. When a cougar strolls alongside the road, his wide-eyed expression—comprised of a few simple shapes and lines—says so much with so little. There’s profound narrative power in stripping things down to their essential elements. And so, these thoughtful and serene moments epitomize the brilliance of King-Cat Comics; every experience—no matter how mundane—is valuable, meaningful, and worthy of documentation. After reading King-Cat Comics for the first time, I wanted to make my own minicomic, and that’s one of the greatest compliments you can give any creator: seeing what you do makes me want to do that, too. –Sean Arenas (Spit And A Half, PO Box 142, So. Beloit, IL 61080, spitandahalf.com)