ACCEPTING FAILURE, $3, 5½” x 8”, copied, 27 pgs.

I found Accepting Failure to be more of a discussion of birth order and gender in determination of family dynamics than a true discussion of failure, but it came together nicely at the end. It includes great line drawings of the author and her family, and the whole zine is handwritten, which lends it the air of being a diary I wasn’t supposed to find. Families are hard. Most of us, even if we have a fucked-up relationship with them, want to make our parents (or even just one of them) proud. How do we do that if we don’t follow a traditional career path? Lopez does not provide an answer, but encourages us to “fail A LOT, and get better at it,” a necessary sentiment that bears repeating, and repeating often, in an (economic) success-driven culture, whether or not you’re making your folks proud. –jimmy cooper (Ana Lopez, microcosmpublishing.com)

BEHIND THE ZINES #8, $3, 8.5” x 11”, copied, 39 pgs.

Billy has put out another solid zine with this issue of Behind the Zines. For those who don’t know, Behind the Zines is, as Billy calls it, “A zine about zines.” There are contributions here from all sorts of individuals in the zine community and their pieces vary. There’s a self-written Q&A from Neither/Nor Zine distro, a few questions with zinester Julia Eff, and a piece by our very own Todd Taylor titled “One Punk Who Makes Zines.” Todd’s piece is a good explanation of the history of Razorcake and how it operates. But all the writing is good—whether it’s an author explaining how he put together his first zine or someone writing how they register people for a zine fest, there’s a lot to take in here. If you’re part of zine culture, you should certainly check this out. –Kurt Morris (iknowbilly@gmail.com)

BIG TAKEOVER #84, $6, 5½” x 11”, glossy, 152 pgs.

Prior to this issue, I didn’t know The Big Takeover existed, but here it is, with a frankly overwhelming amount of content between interviews, reviews, editorials, and the like. Typically, with a long magazine like this, I’d be bored about halfway through (152 pages of magazine is a lot!), but these folks know their stuff, and they’re witty even when rehashing the same debates—as music journalism, particularly in the punk realm, tends to do. The interview with bev davies, a music photographer spanning decades of bands, from the Rolling Stones to D.O.A. to the contemporary Vancouver scene, was a highlight—all this history from one person who not only knows her stuff but was enmeshed enough in the “scenes” to know how it really was. However, the interview is left off halfway through with a note that it’ll “continue next issue,” which is a magazine peeve of mine—what if I just picked this up and don’t have or plan on having a subscription? Either way, lots of good content and lots of good photos for a reasonable price per issue make this a win in my book. –jimmy cooper (bigtakeover.com)

CIRCUMVENTION OF BOB SEGER, THE, 8½”x 11½”, copied, 32 pgs.

A wordless emotion piece about the religious conversion of a rock and roll fan. Bob Seger is hell, the Ramones are heaven. This is the kind of punk comic you want sitting on the toilet of a punk house. It’s easy to intuit, communicates its premise clearly, and utilizes the comic medium in novel ways. For the most part, this is emotional, metaphorical representations of mundane life and rock music, with little else. If you find yourself a copy of this, it’s worth the time it’ll take you to read it. –Gwen Static ( Jimmy “The Truth” Wysolmierski)

D (N) R / O (N) R (2019 re-issue), $2, 5½” x 8½”, 14 pgs.

Aisling Fae states at the beginning of the zine that there is more and more transgender literature written by trans people in English, but not so much in Spanish. That’s why she prints all of her stories in English and Spanish. This short story is written from the perspective of a woman who was just brought into the hospital emergency department after a brutal car accident. She can’t speak or move, so we read her inner dialogue about what she thinks, sees, and hears from the hospital bed. She overhears the hospital staff misinterpreting one of her tattoos and consequently their decisions on whether or not they should attempt to keep her alive. Despite this dark subject matter, the story is stacked with humor. Our narrator has nicknames for all the staff like “Beardie” and “Whoopi Goldberg.” In seven pages, you get a caboodle of horror, comedy, romance, and tragedy. The only thing you could ask for is some artwork in this basic black text on a white paper zine.¬ –Rick V. (Aisling Fae, transfaerie.com)

DEAR JULIE, 5½” x 8½”, full-color, copied, 40 pgs.

The comically tragic/chaotic story of a dog left at The Humane Society. To be blunt, in a very technical sense, this was unreadable. Dear Julie embraces an MS Paint aesthetic for accomplishing the raw art duties. There are sections where it embraces extreme color, such as a lengthy section in blue and black. I could not make heads or tails of the action occurring on the page. To complicate matters, the overall panel structure was broken and seemingly random. Can’t recommend, sorry. –Gwen Static (Martin Phol and Angela Juarez)

DECEIVED, THE, VOL. II, $5, 8½” x 11”, color, illustrated, 36 pgs.

It’s no secret that the CIA, military, and other federal institutions have performed a lot of awful deeds, starting most obviously with the rampant imperialism and terroristic interference in the name of “democracy” in largely the Middle East and global South. But it’s less well-known—that is, not taught, generally, in public schools, often the highest history education a U.S. citizen will get (even at my university—American history is not required), that the CIA has a history of not only colluding with but actively including Nazis (not just neo-Nazis, but O.G. World War II Nazis who worked sometimes directly with Hitler) in “thought control” experiments. TLDR; this zine is about that. It’s also about one individual coming to terms with her abuse at the hands of related experiments. Between the poems and drawings of personal abuse and the history included in this zine, it’s an uncomfortable read, not, as I did, something to read over your lunch. Trigger warnings abound for sexual, emotional, physical, religious, and military abuse, and it was upsetting to me even as someone who is not a survivor of the level of abuse detailed here. Be cautious, but it is chock-full of good information for those interested in knowing more about the subject, and includes lots of resources, as well as tools for healing, along the way. –jimmy cooper (Sparrow, PO Box 14276, SF, CA 94114)

FOREVER AND EVERYTHING #4, $?, 8½” x 5½“, copied, 44 pgs.

Diary comics are a hard proposition. You’re expected to either be so funny that nobody cares about your art, or your art is so clean that your sense of humor can be mild. Few truly nail the perfect intersection where both happen in a consistent manner. Kyle Bravo manages to hit right in the sweet spot with his diary comics. The art and people are endearing, the page structure immaculate. Recommended for your bathroom reading pleasure. –Gwen Static (Kyle Bravo, microcosmpublishing.com)

FUZZ #2, $5 or trade, 5” x 8”, printed, 24 pgs.

This second issue of Fuzz (Cleveland’s underground punk scene zine) features beautiful black and white photography of bands during their live performances, all local to Cleveland. With a short story, an interview with local band DANA, and drawings by local artist Sadie Lee, this follow up to their first zine continues to highlight music, DIY, and the eclectic scene in Cleveland. –Tricia Ramos (Fuzz, 1319 W. 76th St., Cleveland, OH 44102, itsajinx.storenvy.com)

GRATITUDE FANZINE #3, $2, 8½” x11”, copied, 14 pgs.

Gratitude’s got that now-classic black-and-white cut-and-paste aesthetic while remaining readable and clean, as well as a fantastic cover done by Joe Daly (a comics artist featured on occasion in Kramers Ergot). The content is a little light, containing one show review, two interviews (one half a page and one several), a letters section, and a few other short reviews, but what’s there is good, worthwhile content. The show review (Fiddlehead, Zeel, Guiding Wave, Glitterer, and Gem at AS220 in Providence) was rad, because it’s actually eight reviews of the same show, which made it compelling and a lot more fun than the typical show review. Fanzines—especially those true to the art like Gratitude—really never get old, even hardcore fanzines still asking questions about Fugazi. McGuire says it in the “Six Guidelines for Your Fanzine” in this issue: “Even if it’s the worst zine of all time,” (and this certainly isn’t. It was, in fact, more pleasant than most of the hardcore-specific fanzines I’ve seen) “it’s better than 100 percent of the zines that don’t get made.” –jimmy cooper (AJ McGuire, gratitude.storenvy.com, aj.mcguire00@gmail.com)