Zine Reviews

ZINE CUISINE #1, $3, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 24 pgs.

I think what made this zine edited by Dan Koskie immediately good for me is when an orphan hospital blew up. This zine is a collection of San Fernando Valley artists making comics to share with a common theme in each zine. This one is “Atomic Balsamic” and I don’t know what the fuck that means, even after reading the comics. Each one is comedic and has topics ranging from the mushroom aisle at the grocery store, aggression from relationships, to what a giant kanji-fighting-robot pilot does on their off day. There are two other zines in the mix and they’re just as entertaining. –Iggy Nicklbottum (etsy.com/shop/DeeCeetheRed)

XEROGRAPHY DEBT #42, $4, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 72 pgs.

I reviewed issue #41 of Xerography Debt for Razorcake in 2017 and my thoughts about it remain largely unchanged. There are some columns at the beginning but most don’t seem to have any cohesiveness (an exception being Joe Biel’s words about autism). Once again, it was great to see contributors from Spain, Germany, Australia, and Turkey. Reading about zines from around the globe is always cool. However, I couldn’t help but notice that many of the zines reviewed for this issue were ones done by the other reviewers (or published by Microcosm, which is run by Biel). It sets a tone throughout this issue of it being a closed community. I don’t know if Xerography Debt doesn’t get many zines sent to it for review, but it would be great to see more diversity in their reviews. I’d also suggest breaking down reviews by genre and having them all together with the name of the reviewer afterward. I’m much more interested in what zines are reviewed compared with who reviewed them. For what it’s worth, I like the clean look of the layout and appreciate the positive review of issue 98 of Razorcake. But there’s always room for improvement. –Kurt Morris (leekinginc.com, Davida Gypsy Breier, PO Box 347, Glen Arm, MD 21057)

WORM THAT ATE COSTA MESA, THE, free, copied, 5½” x 8½”, 49 pgs.

A goofy, handwritten short story about an occurrence, a happenstance, if you will, where a lowly earthworm struggling for life on the sidewalk gets drenched with a drunk punk’s malt liquor piss and then dusted with PCP a cop skimmed from a bust. For those who don’t know, this chemical combination makes harmless worms sprout eyes all over their bodies and grow into Godzilla-sized monsters. This one takes out Costa Mesa. On the envelope this came in, I got a collage and a bit of creative writing on love, showing talent for a little more than genre fiction. Sean is a prisoner, so support him and get his zine. It’s listed as free, but send a letter, some stamps, or your own zine to this imaginative, creative soul. –Craven Rock (Mr. Sean Dunne, AN4246 4-130, PO Box 901, Avenal, CA 93204)

THIS GOTH BITCH #2, $4, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 20 pgs.

This Goth Bitch knows what’s up in the world of goth, and these handy zines will help you be the best one you can be. This Goth Bitch is reminiscent of old gossip magazines you used to get as a teen at 7-Eleven or Circle K, whichever you lived next to. Chock full of great illustrations, hair guides, obscure goth music recommendations, anime, and horror-scopes, this zine is a great fun read for any goth, or goth fan. Highly recommended, especially for those sexy horror centerfolds. This issue is Jason Vorhees in all his buff glory. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Michael Vincent Garcia, etsy.com/shop/michaelvincentgarcia)

TARANTULA VANIA, $?, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 30 pgs.

Super juvenile and trite, and for these reasons I both think it’s charming and hideously droll, Tarantula Vania is a tale of classic Dracula with a heavy dose of ‘80s kitsch horror. Crude in storyline, dialogue, as well as crayola and magic marker drawings, it unfolds in a relatively obvious way. It’s charming and endearing, like reading an emo teen goth’s angst-ridden notebook. –Camylle Reynolds (IG:@veek1313, FB: @veek1313, Twitter: @fight_that)

STUPORHERO, $10, 5½” x 8½”, copied zine with CD, 48 pgs.

Mixed art zine with lyrics to each song featured on an included CD. Sugary sweet pop punk songs throughout the CD (digital download code also available). Zine is filled with mini comics, collage pages with lyrics to each song written out, random fake advice columns, and photography. Songs on the CD were a little too clean, polished, and a little too pop punk for me, but the zine and music combo format is a great idea! –Tricia Ramos (Sturporhero, stuporhero@gmail.com, stuporhero.com)

SHIT SHOW #3, $4.99, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 26 pgs.

Ah, the power of pulp. This zine edited by John Borges and Matt Pagourg is boasts a stamp for winning the 2016 Bloody Typewriter Award… but the first paragraph of the first story really does not show this excellence. Using “pore” instead of “pour,” and missing words are only the beginning of this tragedy of a story. It’s so rushed and sloppy, and it honestly made me so angry for finishing it. There’s so much to say about this one, but there’s no time. Thankfully, this zine was saved by a highly entertaining second story that proves that trash can be poetic, and I thank it for actually having an interesting story, with great writing and wit. There are two other stories here as well, but one is a second part and I have not read the first, and the last one is a bad attempt at political dark comedy. This collection of modern trash pulp may be fifty-fifty but it has some great, weird artwork and centerfolds. I have hope it could be saved in other issues, as we need more pulp in this world. –Iggy Nicklbottum (shitshowpulps.com)

SHADOW PEOPLE, THE, $10, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 16 pgs.

Augmented reality is not often used, but is super dope, and using it for a zine is quite unique. This cute comic makes something that could be turned into a horror short into something adorable. It’s the story of shadows that follow you everywhere, but with a sweet twist. Using your phone, you can make the pages come alive as the shadow people only appear when you use it, and the comic may be a little confusing without it. I wish there were more comics that used augmented reality, since this was such a fun read, and seeing those shadows pop out of the page was immensely entertaining. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Nathaniel Osollo, eyedraugh.com)

RUMLAD #11, €2.50, 4” x 6”, copied, 40 pgs.

This is a very simple exploration into Steve’s thoughts on all the horror films he watched in October 2017. Each movie gets a page of description and a page of illustration where Steve is drawn as a character from the film. The films aren’t well-known blockbusters, but instead include ones such as Hellraiser 2 and the 1988 version of The Blob. Scattered throughout the zine are things that Steve has been listening to throughout the autumn. There’s not a lot of content here but Steve’s drawings are unique and at times funny, which kept me entertained. However, unless you’re a horror film fan or a fan of Steve’s work, I’m not sure this will have a wide audience. –Kurt Morris (Steve Larder, 88 Lees Hill St, Nottingham, NG2 4JT, United Kingdom, stevelarder.co.uk)

REBATE MALL, $?, 5½” x 8½”, color copied, 34 pgs.

I’ve read some of Veek’s comics before and like the others this is incredibly bizarre and twisted but not in a horrible way. It’s just… weird. It’s a color illustrated comic of a postal worker who doesn’t like her job and a place called Bates Market. The way it’s drawn is very simplistic without much detail or expression on the characters’ faces. This makes the whole thing even creepier. Whether that’s intentional or not, it’s hard to deny it creates a unique revenge comic. –Kurt Morris (facebook.com/veek1313)