BURN COLLECTOR #16: $5, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 40 pgs.

Al Burian could write about anything with incisive wit and humor—it’s his greatest strength, and sometimes the problem too. Having read almost every fanzine he’s ever put out—I’m always astonished at the consistent quality of the writing—but sometimes he’s not really saying anything, but just lost in a train of thought on anything (albeit usually at least a funny one). That’s how I’ve felt lately about his more “personal memoir”-type pieces; they neither open up into their own self-encapsulated worlds, reaching a fever pitch of drama and neuroses, nor does he whack as many proverbial moles—he still looks good swinging, but the mallet’s coming down on more and more empty holes. But there’s good news: the man is multi-talented! He’s genuinely an artistic renaissance man. He provides two great interviews with old friends of his, Tim Remis (musician), and Sascha Scatter (musician, mental health activist), a couple of good cartoons, and a series of reviews of everything from a Little Richard single to Patty Hearst’s memoirs. The reviews are a better use of his ability to write about anything. Having a specific target to zone in on lets him really wind up, and the pay-off is generally more rewarding. It’s fantastic stuff, as usual. -Dave Brainwreck (pegacornpress.blogspot.com)