Zine Reviews

I FEEL WEIRD #3, $8, 5½” x 8”, copied, 34 pgs.

The new issue of I Feel Weird hits hard. This comic is about Haleigh’s life and her experiences with anxiety, depression, and suicide. It may not sound enticing but it’s incredibly moving and relatable (at least for those of us dealing with mental illness). The drawing is incredibly detailed and reminiscent of R. Crumb. I can’t imagine the time it must take Haleigh to put an issue together, but it’s totally worth it. This issue continues her journey back from her suicide attempt and trying to find a therapist. She also recounts her childhood and shares a history of psychotherapy. It’s not for the faint of heart, but for those with resolve to see it through and who are comfortable with topics like suicide and depression, this is worth every penny. I can’t think of a better comic I’ve read about mental health. As the hardcore kids used to say, get this or pose. –Kurt Morris (Haleigh Buck, 2700 Academy Dr., Westminster, MD 21157)

JUST ENCASED Volume 1, $7, 5½” x 8½”, printed, 8 pgs.

This black and white mini-zine is a short comic featuring a hot dog narrator. It’s pretty cutesy in its subject matter and the talking hot dog is likable (for a hot dog, I guess?). I would wager this would do well as a children’s book, purchased by parents who like puns and tongue-in-cheek jokes. –Tricia Ramos (Just Encased, daniellesusi.com, dsusi@saic.edu)

MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL #420, $4.99, 8½” x 11½”, newsprint, 103 pgs.

Another good’n from Berkeley, issue 420 features a Tim Yohannan remembrance and a dispatch from the Bay Area Girls Rock Camp. It feels a bit odd for MRR founder Yohannan to get a remembrance now (died in 1998), but maybe this is the publication’s way to acknowledge they’ve hit their 35th anniversary, a milestone otherwise unmentioned. Thanks to my friend Paul for pointing that out to me. Anyway, who was Tim? He loved playing Risk, he pursued band mailing addresses tirelessly. Maybe he was a Stalinist. He wasn’t everyone’s favorite. He “saved the lives of weirdos.” Bay Area Girls Rock Camp is at year ten, and one interview with a BAGRC group, Lil Debbie, made a cool point that I sure wasn’t thinking of when I was a tween or teen: “punk is dominated by straight white men,” says Liv of Little Debbie And The Crusaders. “And if you don’t fit one or more of those descriptions, it can be extremely hard—and unsafe even—to express yourself, or even enjoy music in a public space.” Maybe this makes some men sad, but I figure Liv is right. If I learned how to treat women from The Descendents or Screeching Weasel, bands I adored as a teen, I would be a creep. So yeah, it’s cool that girls write songs and that BAGRC normalizes girls writing songs. Other cool stuff? An article about weed. You know, dope smoke. Pot! Reefer! Sticky icky shit, you know what I’m saying? Comes in teeny bags from guys named Matisse. C’mon kids, I ain’t messin’ around—I’m talking about drugs! Issue 420 had all that and more. Happy 35th birthday, MRR! –Jim Joyce (Maximum Rocknroll, PO Box 460760, SF, CA 94146-0760, maximumrocknroll.com)

MINIMUM ROCK + ROLL #8: A JOURNAL OF INDEPENDENT ROCK + ROLL, $1, 5½” x 4½”, copied, 6 pgs.

This lil’ guy is handwritten and hand arranged, and it makes for a cool aesthetic. Joshua Hoey riffs on the history of Long Island’s Rok Lok Records (twenty years strong, m’dear) and the pleasure of cassettes—how they are less tacky than CDs, less expensive than vinyl. What do we learn about Rok Lok? Honestly, I can’t really say one thing stood out. Bands were named, DIY’s coolness was stated, all that kind of thing. Well, that’s okay. It’s a short zine. There are some record reviews, too. Here’s some hot desert dirt about The Expos’ latest release, Perfect: “Arizona’s favorite underage rockers understand the value of brevity,” and so does Minimum Rock + Roll! Yours for a dollar! –Jim Joyce (antiquatedfuture.com)

NIGHT HAG, $10, 5½” x 8½”, LaserJet, 20 pgs.

Queer Witch Love Stories is just not a band name I have called dibs on, but also something that I want to see more of. This zine is a beautifully illustrated comic that deals with that exact premise, and really delivers in heart as well. Plus it includes a rest easy spell inside! Rayne Klar’s work is beautiful, and I can’t to see more! –Iggy Nicklbottum (Rayne Klar, proteinpress.com)

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, $5, 5½” x 8½”, printed w/ glossy cover, 24 pgs.

A couple moves to the Morongo Basin to escape the Los Angeles lifestyle for a more humble life in the desert. Believing their stresses and unhappiness could be cured (or rearranged) by this change of life and scenery, the couple is caught off guard by the insanity and unsavoriness of their desert drinking neighbors, rednecks, and shady characters. Their own personal relationship problems are intensified by the removal of the city’s busy distractions. They have only themselves, the sand, and the suffocating heat to be around. An accurate but fictional taste of how strange living in the high desert can be, this zine is only the first of a wider narrative available through the prolific self publisher, Space Cowboy Books. –Tricia Ramos (Nothing To See Here, 61871 29 Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree, CA 92252, spacecowboybooks.com)

PARANOIZE #44, $2, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 24 pgs.

New Orleans’ premier (and maybe only?) scene report, Paranoize is back with its standard list of bands and venues in the area, album reviews, and two extremely long interviews with bands Exhorder and Dead Horse. The pinnacle of fanboy-ing out on this issue, Bobby Bergeron just had too many questions they wanted to ask out of purely being pumped to interview both bands. A good issue if you’re looking for in-depth interviews of these musicians. –Tricia Ramos (Paranoize, PO Box 2334, Marrero, LA 70073, paranoizenola.com)

PRESIDENT TOILET #3, $?, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 50 pgs.

President Toilet is a comic series about a “cliché-spouting toilet-man.” Half of the comics are just a page or two long, and all of ‘em are slapstick and strange. I’m not super into jokey comics. As with Ziggy, most of them barely get a smile out of me because they’re so predictable and pun-laden I feel like I should just watch Friends or something instead. President Toilet is… different? PT bombs the mayor, flushes his enemies, has a kink for hanging from hooks, and most of the people who populate his world are talking butts. A talking cigarette always seems to have his wee-wee out. In one scene, this character attacks a window display of wigs when he thinks he sees ELO front man, Jeff Lynne. And so, what can I say? President Toilet is like urine on the seat—an unpleasant surprise on a dark night. Bon appétit! –Jim Joyce (toiletprez@gmail.com)

RESTLESS LEGS: A PHOTO ZINE, pay what you can, 8½” x 5½”, glossy, 24 pgs.

There’s always one friend of the bunch who just won’t stop taking everyone’s picture. Photo zines like this are the result of that friend. The portraits in this zine are absolutely gorgeous; that alone makes it worth it. But they’re not just gorgeous because of technical skill, they’re gorgeous because though most only feature one person in each frame, the people are real and tell stories just by being there. Bryan’s been making these zines for about a decade now, and they’ve followed him through just about everything and everywhere he’s been. They’re hopeful, fun, and full of love for the people he’s photographing. They’re also super sturdy, which is a good quality in a zine, and it’s obvious care went into printing. For photography geeks, it was shot with 35mm film on a Pentax ME and Olympus XA. I know from experience trades are welcome for this one! –Jimmy Cooper (Bryan ℅ Disgraceland, 2616 15th Ave S., Minneapolis, MN 55407)

SNAP! PHOTOZINE, $10, 8” x 8”, printed w/ full color covers, 24 pgs.

From the opening photo of Alice Bag, a shot encompassing two pages of intensity; this photozine delivers. Each page is a live shot of different punk and hardcore bands, sweating and screaming in all their glory. Every photo lists the band’s names, where the photo was shot, and the names of the band members. There’s something about seeing these candid shots that puts you right into the middle of the show. As if you’re smack dab in the center of the pit, you get the tactile sensations of all the smells and heat of each venue, the screeching of feedback, and the raw emotion of the bands. SNAP! transports you to a show, and leaves you there awestruck. –Tricia Ramos (Snap! Photozine, END FWY Press, PO Box 1794, San Pedro, CA 90733, endfwy.bigcartel.com)