Zine Reviews

ADVENTURES OF PUNK BIRD, THE #1, $1.50 or trade, 4¼” x 5½”, copied, 15 pgs.

This series covers the adventures of Punk Bird (not just a clever title). In this issue, the first in the series, the bird is bummed, thinking he doesn’t have any friends. Meanwhile, he’s constantly rejecting friends wanting him to hang out because he’s too elitist to do anything he doesn’t want to do. He decides to throw a wild party (inviting all the friends he doesn’t have) to bolster up his social life. –Craven Rock (PunkBird352@gmail.com)

BROKEN PENCIL #79, $7.95, 8 ½” x 11”, offset, 72 pgs.

If you’re not familiar with Broken Pencil, it’s Vancouver’s magazine of zine culture and all things DIY—all that’s worth knowing about, anyway. Besides reviews of zines, indie lit, and independent art, this issue has a feature on deaf zinemakers and another on how to make it tabling a zine event without getting overwhelmed with anxiety. I found the latter irritatingly petty. Yeah, it’s awkward and uncomfortable at zine events. Life is pain! Attention is focused on a contest called Deathmatch where short stories are pitted against each other in an online arena. The winners are reproduced here; most of them are of a sci-fi nature. I can’t say I was blown away by them, but they were worth my time. So, the features are kind of hit or miss, but their review section is spot on as usual. –Craven Rock (Broken Pencil, PO Box 203, Station P, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2S7, Canada, brokenpencil.com)

BROKEN PENCIL #80, $7.95, 8 ½” x 11”, full color, 64 pgs.

Broken Pencil is a Canadian zine that focuses on independent arts and runs the gambit covering zine culture, reviews, and comics, along with interesting and sometimes oddball fictional short stories and columns. Issue 80 features an article covering webcomic platforms (something that I’m not all to familiar with but found pretty intriguing), urban foraging, and a few short stories, most notably the emotional and quirky “Whatever This Is, It’s Something” by Nicole Chin, about a father leaving his family to “find himself” and the emotional fallout and eventual peace that follows. Chin writes, “I spent two days trying to channel my energies into hating my father, but it didn’t last long. Hating people is exhausting business.” Kind of a kitschy, cool addition to this mag was the 3D glasses that gives a bit of depth to graphics and adds a bit to the intrigue. Broken Pencil has lush pictures of mixed media from submitting artists, colorful and cheeky comics, and very thorough and thoughtful zine, book, and independent music reviews. I’m not sure out how essential this magazine might be for punks, but I can say it was enjoyable to thumb through. Plus I dig the glasses. –Camylle Reynolds (Broken Pencil, PO Box 203, Station P, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2S7, Canada, brokenpencil.com)

DANNY MARTIN’S TUCSON MURALS, $10, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 28 pgs.

From the pretty straightforward title (which, by the way, is actually A Very Incomplete Collection of Danny Martin’s Tucson Murals), this photo collage zine is page after page of local muralist Danny Martin’s murals around Tucson, Ariz. Printed in black and white, we see a wide range of Danny’s art, with commissions, western heroes, murals advertising music shows for the Rialto Theatre—it looks like Danny is one busy muralist. The screen printed cover to the zine is also a nice bonus. –Tricia Ramos (Danny Martin’s Tucson Murals, bullmooseallstar@yahoo.com)

DEAR SENTIDA, $5, 5½” x 8½”, LaserJet, 12 pgs.

Dear Sentida was short but sweet. I got to the last page and was pretty pissed that it didn’t continue, but then I thought that maybe that’s a sign that I really liked it and I wanted it to continue. It’s Bay Area artist Breena Nuñez’s personal tale in the lens of an anthropomorphic crocodile, dealing with the annoyance and awkwardness of getting asked out in public. It’s something that I can’t even fathom anymore, as the idea of asking anyone out is ridiculous and anxiety-ridden to me. The art is charming and well-made, and the zine itself is funny as hell. It’s the first I’ve seen of this artist and I want to read more of these comics, so it is very recommended. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Breena Nuñez, technicolormorena@gmail.com)

EARTH FIRST! JOURNAL, Vol. 38 No. 1, 8” x 10½”, newsprint, 64 pgs.

Again, EF Journal gives us news of environmental liberation struggles throughout the world. Some of the features in this issue get into defending wild buffalo in Yellowstone National Park, then there’s an update on what’s happening with the La ZAD in France, an occupation that turned into autonomous communal land that’s constantly defending itself from The State. There’s also a feature on anti-pipeline struggles taking place in New York. The most interesting article—and one that made me livid—was about lawsuits taken out on anti-DAPL activists and the COINTELPRO-style tactics used against them, from infiltration to trumped up gun charges. I like how EFJ gets more intersectional every issue. It’s all one fight! –Craven Rock (Earth First! Journal, PO Box 964, Lake Worth, FL 33460, collective@earthfirstjournal.org)

GUNK #1, $8, 6¾” x 6½”, LaserJet, 40 pgs.

My face has melted to a great degree. I’ve felt my body turned to slime, and it was disgusting and amazing. I thank Gunk Vol. 1 for making me feel this way. In the spirit of classic Cold War era artists like Will Eisner, C.C. Beck, or even Bob Montana, this comic zine has a nostalgic spirit that is really appealing to the eyes. It hits my every being with that nostalgia stick for a time I never grew up with. It’s strange, gross, and beautiful. The stories included have wicked turns, and put you in the shoes of some of the weirdest individuals. Sit back, relax, and get taken into a world where The Blob wasn’t a film, but a reality. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Curt Merlo, curtmerlo.com)

LIVE FAST DIE, $3, 5½” x 8½”, color, 10 pgs.

What happens when you buy GG Allin’s preserved dick from a hard-up Merle Allin? Well, this comic suggests it just might start talking, insulting you, and quoting GG’s lyrics. Next thing you know, you might be slamming dope with hookers and said micropenis. The illustrator of this comic had to grace GG with an inch or so of length in a couple of panels simply to make it stand up and talk—a dick so small it would, otherwise, stop the flow of the story. That struck me as kind of funny. –Craven Rock (veek13veek@gmail.com, veek.rocks)

MAXIMUM ROCK’N’ROLL #423, $4.99, 8 ½” x 11”, newsprint, 104 pgs.

This issue of Maximum Rock’n’roll features the Break Free Fest and is promoted as “By Punks of Color for Punks of Color,” which is something I can fully get behind. The fest is in its second year and is held in Philadelphia, Pa., and showcased a myriad of bands from all walks of marginalized lives and identities. In a nutshell, it was a celebration of punk bands of color united by music to let loose, have fun, talk shit on our oppressors, and ultimately raise some funds to donate to worthy causes such as the Trans Lifeline, United We Dream, and The People’s Paper Co-op. Judging from the cover’s photograph, the shows looked like a lot of fun and boasted a largely black audience: fuck yeah! I haven’t flipped through an issue of MRR in quite some time, but a lot of my old favorites (Al Quint, Felix Von Havoc) are still representing. And while a lot of the other columnists are new to me, their writings are full of perspective from varying degrees, such as sex work (Erin Gerety) and radical teachers in the education field (John No). You say you want fucking punk bands? Featured are Olympia noise fuckers Physique, Portland political punks Abolitionist, and Parisians PMS in a farewell interview of sorts. All this plus the usual record, zine, movie, book, and demo reviews. Even though I’m not as much as a regular reader as I was in my early twenties, I find comfort in knowing that the world’s longest running punk fanzine still has something for everyone and doesn’t seem to be in danger of disappearing anytime soon. –Juan Espinosa (Maximum Rock’n’roll, PO Box 460760, SF, CA 94146)

MINIMUM ROCK + ROLL #12, $1, 5½” x 4¼”, copied, 6 pgs.

Mini-zine containing one short interview and short reviews of indie bands. This issue features an interview with Boston-based Temporary Eyesore. This stripped down project from Zoe from the band Halfsour is an indie pop gem. The interview talks about the vulnerability of the new project and the sadness in a lot of the songs. The issue also features record reviews of Royal Roads, Babehoven, Resounding No, Hard Pass, Stars Are Insane, and Pre Nup. –Tricia Ramos (Minimum Rock + Roll, no address listed)