Zine Reviews

MINOR LEAGUES #6, $?, 9” x 8”, copied, 100 pgs.

I was (and am) a huge fan of the previous issue of this one. Editor Simon Moreton has a distinct visual style which lets readers fill in gaps: his drawings imply depth and motion with their thick ink strokes and thin lines. In this issue, the first part of a larger narrative, Simon wonders whether he’ll be able to do justice to the story of losing his father to cancer. The answer is a resounding yes: Simon’s illustrations are a perfect complement to his prose, which uses breaks in chronology effectively to add even more narrative layers. One of the best zines out there right now. –Michael T. Fournier (smoo.bigcartel.com)

REAL BOSS HOSS #3, $5, 8½” x 11”, 28 pgs.

Keeping well within the parameters of “Chicano Time,” Jorge unleashes the third issue of this zine some sixteen years after the second. Not much has changed stylistically—emphasis is largely on the garage end of the punk spectrum, with Courier fonts in abundance and snatches of intelligence-tinged obnoxiousness within its Xeroxed pages. This time ’round we get interviews with Trent from the Mummies (which is worth the price of admission alone) and comedian April Richardson, plus a “diary” of the 2017 installment of the Ponderosa Stomp, a tribute to George A. Romero, a “Guide to African Rock ‘n’ Roll,” comics, and assorted reviews. It remains one of my fave local zines, and here’s hoping Jorge can get the next installment out before we’re both in an old folks home. –Jimmy Alvarado (Real Boss Hoss, PO Box 50236, LA, CA 90050)

SHORT, FAST & LOUD #30, $10, 7” x 7”, copied, 54 pgs.

Athena Kautsch and Jeff Robinson have published Short, Fast & Loud since the late ’90s. Their dedication to all forms of ear-piercing music is honestly admirable. The latest issue boasts interviews with recently reformed SoCal powerviolence band Gasp, Italian hardcore legends Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers, and Brazilian noise outfit Industrial Holocaust. Also included are record reviews and columns, including some background on Kautsch and Melissa Elbirt’s upcoming documentary The West Coast Power Violence Project. Short, Fast & Loud is lovingly assembled for all you deviant noise junkies out there! The additional Violation Wound and Deathgrave split 7” is the cherry on top. –Sean Arenas (Short, Fast & Loud!, sixweeksrecords@comcast.net)

SOMETHING FOR NOTHING #76, two stamps, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 48 pgs.

This is the thirtieth anniversary issue of Something for Nothing, and in it we get columns from long-running contributors updating us on what they’ve been up to since last writing. Each copy of this anniversary issue also features one-of-a-kind hand-colored covers (with crayons). Reviews included feature new Dead Milkmen releases, Citizen Fish, Violent Femmes, and my personal favorite, the beverage review column. I don’t know why non-alcoholic beverage reviews are so appealing to me, but I always look forward to them with Something for Nothing issues. –Tricia Ramos (Something For Nothing, PO Box 226, Massillon, OH 44648)

SPIDER SPELLBOOK FOR RABBIT’S HOME, A, $10, 5½” x 8½”, color, copied, 26 pgs.

There’s a special place in this world for those who write children’s stories, and a special place in that special place for those who write children’s stories about magic, healing, and the power of communist friendship. Here’s the thing about children’s stories: they’re almost never just for children. This story resonates with all ages because the problems resonate with all ages. A group of friends begin to lose their livelihoods, but by banding together they at the very least feel a little better about it. They heal together from trauma. And all of it, believe me, is magical. The author weaves astrology and spirituality into all of their work in the hopes we’ll all be a little better for it. –Jimmy Cooper (astroletariat.com)

TEAR THE PETALS OFF OF YOU, $?, 4½” x 5½”, copied, 54 pgs.

A zine about abuse and the emotional wear and tear it continues to do on one survivor. When a popular band has a member outed as an abuser, a zinester’s world is turned upside down as their own personal love and devotion to the band changes in an instant and connects their own trauma directly to their own ex. A cathartic and openly honest zine, the emotion is so visceral one can’t help but feel it all deeply. A reminder that trauma not only lives in our memories—it can be brought back from the most unexpected places. –Tricia Ramos (Tear The Petals Off Of You, crapandemic.storenvy.com)

TECHNICAL AUTHORITY, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 3 pgs.

A very short zine making the case that authoritarian systems can only make oppressive technology. Or, in his words, “Should we ever be lucky enough to see the toppling of authoritarian society, technology would go with it.” He quotes Marshall McLuhan, who says, “Any invention or technology is an extension or self-amputation of our physical bodies.” It’s the latter in a society where it’s used as a means of social control. On that note, my hard drive crashed, making these reviews late, as well as making me unable to buy a plane ticket to go do disaster relief work in North Carolina or get access to writing I wanted to work on. So… case in point. As usual, a pretty decent, thoughtful, and brief essay by Jason Rodgers. –Craven Rock (Campaign to Play for Keeps, PO Box 10894, Albany, NY 12201)

YAAWN COMIC #2, $5, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 12 pgs.

YAAWN is a band. YAAWN is also a comic zine about the band. All I know is this comic is two stories on the adventures of the band. Damn, man. I need all bands to make zine-comics about their adventures on the road, because it has the power to connect them with their audience. Shit, I’m listening to their fucking Bandcamp as I write this, so it’s already a good marketing tool. The first story is super short and gets its point across, but the second story is the best. The punch line at the end about “not being ska enough” is my favorite part of the whole thing. It’s funny, and the drawings are like a sloppy Adventure Time, if it had a bunch of tired punks. Check it out. –Iggy Nicklbottum (YAAWN, artsncrassdistro.com)

ZISK #29, $3, 7” x 11”, copied, 36 pgs.

Given that it covers a game which manifests change at a pace somewhere between somnambulant and glacial, the self-proclaimed “Baseball Magazine for People Who Hate Baseball Magazines” enters its twentieth season looking little different than it did in 1999. Size, shape, page count, office copier aesthetic—it’s all practically the same as it was nineteen years ago. What is far less predictable about Zisk is the content in any given issue: Other than having a starting point of “having something to do with baseball,” there is virtually no telling what any given issue might contain. If you’re imagining a run of who-can-yell-the-loudest diatribes about whether the Dodgers should have started Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 of the NLDS, you’re imagining incorrectly. Topics covered in the current issue, for example, include the music in baseball stadiums, Houston’s post-flood World Series celebration, my investigative report into why the 1965 Fritz Ackley baseball card is worth two hundred bucks if the guy only won one game in his career, Todd Taylor’s typically meticulous history of the Houston Astrodome and the turf therein—which then spins off into a separate four-page rant about the history of grass (I’m not kidding)—poetry, and more. I might be biased, but it’s fascinating to observe what a dozen different contributors come up with when they’re asked, broadly, to “write something about baseball.” As a result, Zisk can be read and enjoyed by just about anyone who doesn’t manifest a legitimate hatred of the sport, and, like baseball itself, you can jump in anytime without feeling that missing the last twenty years has left you insurmountably disadvantaged. –Rev. Nørb (PO Box 469, Patterson NY 12563, ziskmagazine@aol.com)

ADRIFT, 5½” x 8½”, copied, full color cover, 16 pgs.

Earth is uninhabitable or else destroyed completely; it’s not totally clear in Adrift. A survivor, perhaps the only one, floats through space in a capsule and this collection of poetry is of her isolation. She reflects on her time on earth and her current state of loneliness and exile. Patti Jean Pangborn has the nuance and quiet dignity to bring you into the mind of this sequestered, reluctant astronaut. With a lesser writer this would come across as trite or forced, but Pangborn pulls it off to create an introspective and inward study of the human condition. –Craven Rock (spacecowboybooks.com)