Zine Reviews

BEETROOT, $5, 5¾” x 8”, risograph printed, 40 pgs.

In vibrant pink and forest green, this risograph printed beetroot cooking zine really is beautifully designed and informative! Including recipes on cooking beetroot in a slaw, borscht, curry, or making them as pierogies, the recipes sound hearty and filling (an especially good thing now that the weather is colder). There are instructions on how to preserve and pickle beets, and a nice afterword explaining how cooking has helped the author through bouts of depression. Further reading of healthy cookbooks is included in the back. –Tricia Ramos (Beetroot, etsy.com/uk/shop/tfhtfh)

DITHERING DOODLES #57, #63-#65, trade, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 24 pgs.

Dithering Doodles strikes back with a whopping fourteen issues. Mercifully, they’ve only asked us to review four of them. Once again, they are mostly a freeform collection of stream of consciousness thoughts, random doodles, and the occasional rant. The comics aim for the medium of high energy and low polish, what I imagine zine fests are full of. These are clearly the work of an artist in great need of an outlet, willing to put forth whatever comes to mind, like a Guided By Voices album. As a product (and fuck me for talking about products in a punk zine), they leave a little to be desired. They are a personal to a degree where outside input seems completely irrelevant. Come for the doodles, stay for the dithering. –Gwen Static (Steve “Dith Dood” Anderson, premiumdeluxe@hotmail.com)

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF DEADLY PLANTS, $?, 4¼” x 5½”, Risograph, 8 pgs.

The dangers of the common vegetable are taken with a grain of salt, but the author of this zine (a Dr. Park) take it very seriously. The dangers of veggies like broccoli, celery, and artichokes will no longer be at the back of my head. My favorite addition is when Spinach Artichoke dip is called the “world’s deadliest appetizer.” I ate a whole bag of roasted broccolis from Trader Joes about an hour ago, so I won’t see the publication of this zine. Tell my spouse I hate them.
–Iggy Nicklbottum (Yiran Park, instagram.com/yiranpark)


Enough Is Enough, before even being opened, is super aesthetically pleasing, well laid-out, and intriguing. Once opened, it’s a little intimidating. These people have done their research and it shows. That’s important, though, because the amount of opposition you face when you attack the police, even from an intellectual standpoint, is stunning. Getting into the actual content, though, Enough Is Enough is the exact right combination of statistic, history, and narrative required to make a compelling argument against something so ingrained in our culture. It’s split into three sections: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re At, and Where We’re Going. This zine is specific to the Minneapolis Police Department, but does briefly go into the history of policing as a whole before detailing the specificities of MPD’s long and fucked-up narrative. Where We’re At exposes the current state of the MPD through the lens of both those who work in direct contact with them and those most disadvantaged by them on the daily. The portrait is grim but it reflects a reality many people with privilege can’t see. Where We’re Going is the most hopeful of the writing—not that we should try to make this situation light—and provides concrete, realistic steps to a community and world without police, and for that, I love it. –Jimmy Cooper (mpd150.com)

GOTH GANG: A MEMOIR #1, $3, 4” x 2½”, Laserjet, 20 pgs.

Nostalgia is the driving force behind this mini-zine. Whether you lived goth in the ’80s, or are a current goth kind of missing your other goth friends in your empty, empty room, this brings that great feeling of adolescent camaraderie right to your palms. This first issue’s all about discovering other goths and that scary moment when you go to that Hot Topic (circa ’90s) getting your first black T-shirt. Check it out. It leaves you wanting more and there are at least two more issues I know of. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Anonymous, bought at Book Show)

HATRED OF WRITING, $5/$6/$7, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 43 pgs.

Hatred of Writing is a collection of short stories from the past five years written by S. D. Stewart. These twenty tales are less than three or four pages each, so they’re easy to get through. The stories are more cerebral and not necessarily “fun” tales. In fact, many of them detail lives of people who are unhappy with their existence: a scientist, an office worker, and an infiltrator. I could very much empathize with many of the characters, as I’ve often been someone who doesn’t like his place in life, primarily with my jobs. I could also relate to this zine as a writer, as I wrote stories and pieces about being unhappy with my life, particularly my work. Yet, more of my writing was directly autobiographical in nature. And that’s something I wish Stewart would have done here. It’s easy to cloak unhappiness with life in short fiction, but I find it more encouraging to know there are other individuals dealing with my experiences, not just fictional characters. Still, it’s written well and interesting, albeit on the more abstract side. –Kurt Morris (lostgander.wordpress.com/zine)

KACKLE #14, $7, 5” x 7”, blue, red, and gray printed, 24 pgs.

Kackle is a 3D zine. Each issue is a different story or idea, but they all feature the familiar red and blue printing of old 3D comics or magazines and include a pair of 3D glasses. This issue (subtitled Prom Queen Werewolf in 3D) reads like a children’s spooky story with a prom queen getting scratched by a werewolf, not noticing it at first, then changing into the beast over the big dance. The concept is cute and I think it would be a great kid’s first zine. (Even though the cover of the zine has a big 18+ rating on it, it’s not all that mature.) Some spelling errors and a few of the jokes are shrug-worthy, but the 3D is well executed. –Tricia Ramos (Kackle, facebook.com/kacklezine)

LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT, A , $3, 4” x 5½”, copied, 28 pgs.

Two letters from two likeminded spirits fill this zine; both experiencing and expressing anxieties, depression, and emotions. One letter is a more solemn, calm voice, questioning what it means to be alive and are we existing as ghosts? The other letter has a more frantic, high intensity feeling, with sentences running on with no end to their anxiety. Both letters are here on display, a glimpse into two people’s minds and voices. –Tricia Ramos (There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, crapandemic.storenvy.com)

MY DUMB KIDS, $3, 3¾” x 9½”, Risograph, 14 pgs.

Picked this zine up at a sketchy-looking comic shop where my sketchy-looking witchcraft store used to be. It immediately caught my attention with its bright cover and hilarious title. I bought it, got my ass outta there, and read this hilarious comic zine on some dumb kids. It uses a style of art that mimics a coloring book crayoned in by a talented child. Not a dumb one. It follows the narrative of a man who says his kids are dumb, and his smiling contempt of the children is something that I can really get behind. Kids are dumb. Pick this up!
–Iggy Nicklbottum (Sam Spina, spinadoodles.com)

NIX QUARTERLY #10, $5, 8½” x 11”, printed, 28 pgs.

I’ve now read a handful of the Nix published comics and they seem to be steadily improving. The caliber of art in this issue (special shout out to Gideon Kendall for his gorgeous contribution) is a dramatic improvement over other offerings I’ve seen from the same publisher. There are a few real winners in this issue, specifically the first two stories. Weirdly, I found myself bored by the cover story, a tale of fighting werewolves in a bar, but they can’t all be winners. It’s maybe a bit odd that the best two stories are right in the front of the book. At this rate, I have no doubt that Nix is well on their way to being a reliable source for quick, easy-to-get-into anthology comics like this. –Gwen Static (Nix Comics, nixcomics.com)