Zine Reviews

100 PUNKS $5, 4¼” x 5½”, LaserJet, 20 pgs.

This mini zine by Robert has a great sampling of his online project, 100 Punks. There are some gems in there, with awesome back stories, and plenty of people of color. One of my favorites is the punk who disappeared and hasn’t been seen in a while. None of his friends know where he is but when a new horror movie hits, he’s bound to be there. Plus there’s some dope comics in the back of the zine. Do you feel lucky, punk? –Iggy Nicklbottum (RobertMakes.com)

BROKE BITCH ZINE #1, $10, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 22 pgs.

I’m constantly broke in one way or another. Sometimes you have to take that shitty job and roll with it to pay even the smallest of bills. This zine has several stories you can connect to on how being broke and making that hustle work can really stress you out, and how you can feel all that relief by also purging your hatred along with everyone in here. Being a broke woman/femme in a capitalist society is a different experience as well, so this zine itself can give you a look into this world. Alma and Alex have edited an interesting, funny, and wonderful zine, and I’m stoked to look at the next one. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Alma Rosa and Alex Beehive, IG: chicana_catwomxn)

CANCER CARE, donation, 4¼” x 5½”, copied, 34 pgs.

A donation-based zine that has all the proper information for anyone who needs help in several factors of dealing with cancer. It has sections for support groups, places that work specifically in make-up for cancer patients, scarves, fashion for patients, et cetera. This zine was made with absolute love, and every page is illustrated in the most beautiful illustrations. It also has little guides to being a good support, and it’s good for people who just really panic when someone is dealing with a serious problem. This is a good resource to have just in case. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Elise Bernal, elisebee.etsy.com)

DON’T OVERTHINK WHAT FEELS GOOD, $?, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 24 pgs.

Twin Cities artist, poet, and zinester Archie Bongiovanni is back in this hot pink poetry volume. With a custom-printed condom affixed to the back, this is one saucy zine. “Reckless Libido Paired with Emotional Immaturity,” the condom reads, a kind of mantra for the poems within. An examination of trans, queer, digital sexuality, the poems detail the whole range of sexual and romantic tension: rage, desperation, the wish that you could have a potential partner mailed to you by Amazon Prime. “Swipe right on life!” Archie urges. Their outlook on life is at times bleak in this collection, but at the end of it all, you can’t overthink what feels good. Don’t Overthink What Feels Good is a zine you can certainly judge by its cover. That is, it’s heartbreaking, heartwarming, sexy, and engaging. Plus, it’s hot pink, so who wouldn’t want to add it to their collection? –Jimmy Cooper (Twitter @grease_bat, IG: @babywrist)

EGON FOREVER! #1, 25¢, 6 ½” x 10”, offset, 30 pgs.

Imagine a crudely drawn, wide-eyed bunny. Now imagine that cute li’l bunny in a three-panel comic, each panel with the exact same bunny picture, except in the last one the bunny has a thought bubble that says, “FUCK!!! THE COPS!!!” I know you’re having to visualize something that’s right in front of me, but I’m sure you can understand how that could be funny. If you don’t, you’re probably not going to enjoy these comics. It was right up my alley, though, and I think you’ll like it. Said bunny comic is the pièce de résistance here as far as drawings go, because the rest of the comic resorts to stickmen and stickwomen as the vehicle for Egon’s sense of humor and wit. It’s very silly and very funny. And it’s a steal at 25¢. This glossy, normal comic-sized comic, seriously, only costs a quarter. I’m not sure how they’re doing it, but it’s well worth that. –Craven Rock (Andre Lux, 2018, Stuttgart, Germany, foreveregon@yahoo.de, egonforever.de)

FIXER ERASER #2, $3, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 24 pgs.

Fixer Eraser is a short “zine of odds and ends” that features small writings from different narrators’ perspectives, all searching for something in one way or another. Sometimes it could be a form of escapism, sometimes it’s what their true purpose is in life, other times it’s just the companionship of a like-minded individual. All the voices (even though written by one person) seem to be longing for a part of themselves to be erased or put back together. A thought-provoking read, I read back through it a couple times, finding bits of myself in the different pieces. –Tricia Ramos (Fixer Eraser, PO Box 633, Chicago, IL 60690, bubba.mahoney@gmail.com)

FIXER ERASER #4, $3, 5 ½” x 8”, copied, 26 pgs.

Jonas’s latest issue of Fixer Eraser finds him spinning tales that cross the line between fiction and non-fiction. He shares stories of, amongst other things, wanting to help others, asking for writing advice, speaking with a deceased friend, and giving counsel to his child. It’s a short read but the prose hits hard in its ability to bring up some strong memories and create moving dialogue. It also covers important topics. If you’ve liked the past issues of the zine, it’s worth picking up. –Kurt Morris (Jonas, PO Box 633, Chicago, IL 60690)

FLUKE #15, $5, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 44 pgs.

Dudes, I fucked up big time. Fluke honcho Matthew Thompson nudged me a while back to submit something for his new issue, and I was like oh yeah, totally. And I forgot. Then a few months later the fifteenth installment of the venerable institution arrived, with great interviews with Mike Watt, Ian MacKaye, and Gary Floyd (by Erica Dawn Lyle of Scam zine, no less), Linda Kite’s print debut, and good writing by Jessie Lynn McManis. And I didn’t contribute anything. I could have been in there, elbow to elbow with all the heavy hitters: I coulda been a contender! But no! I blew a chance to be in the best issue of Fluke yet for no good reason. This is an egregious error on my part, one that will haunt me for the rest of my woebegone days. But don’t take my word for it: check the new ish and marvel at how awesome it is and ruefully shake your head at the bozo who dropped the ball. –Michael T. Fournier (PO Box 1547, Phoenix, AZ 85001)

FLUORAZINE #3, Free/trade 5½” x 8½”, copied, 40 pgs.

In Fluorazine, Kit Brixton writes from what I think is a prison out in Kentucky, and if I’m reading right, they take submissions from other incarcerated folks. This issue includes collaged comics repurposed from other publications and a clipping from another magazine’s article about Betty Saar’s assemblage pieces that “challenged racist and sexist African American stereotypes”—think mammy tropes and “Jim Crow-era imagery.” Ripping a piece from another publication and dropping it in your own is a fun move, and it speaks to Fluorazine’s vibe: scrappy, rollicking, and raw. I dug the “fuckton of” haikus—“Hopes Audacity / A Sleepy Cigarette Smile / Accidental Pimp”—and what I take to be Kit Brixton’s note on loving University of Kentucky’s radio station, WRFL.FM, which has a pretty good punk rotation. Brixton tries keeping an open mind when the station plays EDM, but it ain’t easy: “In my day,” they write, “music was about dressing up like women and singing about heroin and the devil!” So yeah, a fun read, and good reminder that “prison is more than a still life picture. Nothing is absolutely still.” –Jim Joyce (Kristopher Storey, 26731-018 FMC, PO Box 14500, Lexington, KY 40512)

HOPELESS CITY #2: THE MAYDAY ISSUE, Free, 8½” x 8½”, copied, 12 pgs.

Hopeless City is a seemingly regular publication brand new to the Twin Cities zine scene. Branded in jest as a lifestyle magazine, the front cover reads “MY MAGAZINE IS BETTER THAN THE CITY PAGES!” and further down, “(BUT REALLY THO—FUCK THE CITY PAGES).” The cover is cheeky and fun; it sets the tone for the zine. The first entry is “Town Gossip,” preceded by a warning that some of these things are true and some are not. I’d refer to the whole zine as a romp if I wanted to sound like a jackass. I don’t, so I’ll just say it’s funny and invaluable if you live in or around the Twin Cities. Contributions from anyone are accepted, which is part of the charm and how you end up with a review of MTV’s Catfish, “Learning from Our Mistakes Horoscope,” and a psychiatrist’s office missed connection in the same zine. I also really dig the square, slightly large size, which isn’t too far off from standard but still makes it stand out. Overall, Hopeless City is a solid cut-and-paste aesthetic, has solid content, and is a solid zine! –Jimmy Cooper (hopelesscityzine@gmail.com)