Featured Zine Reviews from Issue #87: Feminism Means Equality

Aug 06, 2015

NOT MY SMALL DIARY#18, 5 ½” x 8 ½”, 152 pgs.
This issue’s theme: Pets. Pieces ranging from lifestyle poetry, to accounts of past family pets, to incidents where animals brought out a conversation that would never happen otherwise. Small, brief flashes of the lives of others. Moments etched into the stones of time for others to connect to and discover. But, honestly, most of the stories are about pet’s dying, so prepare to cry. Grade: A. –Bryan Static (

, $12, 8” x 7”, 88 pgs.
Esoteric prose and unique comic strips. Some of these comics are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. There are obviously pieces that are better than others, but the selection and presentation of this zine is top notch. I couldn’t pinpoint what the exact philosophy behind the selection process is, but whatever they’re doing to get into the printed form is quite clearly working. Grade: A. –Bryan Static (

ASSWIPE #6, $2, 5½” x 8”, copied, 40 pgs.
Asswipe is an ongoing zine from Oakland local, Vanessa X. In this issue, Vanessa reviews SCAM magazine and shows us a few ways to scam and get free stuff her own way. There are tips on stealing from the grocery store, where to get free toilet paper, free clothes, and free rides around town. Also included are record reviews, an Oakland scene report, reviews of local libraries, and short stories about getting into Black Flag, a twerking woman in a theater, tour diaries, and lyrics to the author’s band, Pink Pile. As an Oakland resident, I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to read the next issue (which I hear is out now)! –Tricia (Asswipe,

BACON IN THE BEANS#4, $3 U.S., $6 Int’l, 5 ½” x 8 ½”,copied, 60 pgs.
I’m enjoying this weird zine because of its diversity of subject matter. One essay about a Killed by Death band entitled, “Unnatural Axe” shines light on a band that I’ve never heard of—a raw, Stooges-style punk rock band that I then checked out on Youtube. There are so many cool bands like this that I have yet to discover. Another feature is “Crap Jobs,” which is about a horrible farm job that a lot of us Midwestern punk rockers had to do. I don’t miss cleaning out shitty horse stalls. Lastly, there is a touching article about a couple of friends and their exploits together. I swear, there must have been a guy like this in every scene—someone who leads the pack, disappears, shows up later all messed up, and then is lost forever. Bacon in the Beans is one of those cool zines that has a lot to offer and one that gets better with each issue. –Steve Hart (PO Box 4912, Thousand Oaks, CA 91359)

EARTH FIRST! The Journal of Ecological ResistanceFall 2014, $6.50,printed, 8 ½” x 11”, 48 pgs.
I’ll be the first to admit that I agree with much of Earth First’s ideas. I’m one hundred percent behind resisting ecological destruction and look forward to reading Earth First whenever it is sent to me. One interesting article is about genetically engineered trees created companies like Monsanto and DuPont. This article serves more of a warning on what could happen. The article itself doesn’t refute GMO-science; instead, it relies upon an emotional argument and an anti-corporate message. There is one poignant section about the use of eucalyptus trees for pulp and I highly recommend reading this article just for the points made regarding eucalyptus trees. For instance, they state that the planting of GE (genetically engineered trees) only increases the efficiency and economic return of production, which does nothing to ensure conservation. “Managed plantations” have actually increased the rate of conversion of native forests and grasslands to industrial tree factories. In Hawaii, where I live, eucalyptus trees are an invasive species and are crowding out native trees. An especially well-written book review of Stephanie McMillan’s Capitalism Must Die, makes many well-reasoned arguments about the problems of communism, which, apparently, is the crux of McMillan’s book. I share similar concerns, especially with communism’s focus on the group rather than the individual. If you’re interested in reading about ecological resistance, Earth First magazine is a great place to begin. –Steve Hart (PO Box 964, Lake Worth, FL 33460)
FEMINISM MEANS EQUALITY, $?, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 16 pgs.
I love submission zines by and for women and this one is especially badass! An excellent compilation of essays, rad art, good poetry, a movie guide, and some choice reading suggestions. Awesome information, writing, and layout. This is an on-going extension of Adrian Chi’s comic/zine Bite the Cactus focusing on gender equality, politics, and feminism. The last page is an open call for submissions so grab a copy of F.M.E. and “get the rage out!” –Robin Effup (Adrian Chi, [email protected])

FRANKIE COMICS #3, $3, 5” x 8”, copied, 26 pgs.
This zine immediately grabbed my attention. Bound with a hot pink cover, a cartoon cat stretches out her leg for a lick while diamonds lay at its paws. Frankie Comics #3 is a cute slice-of-life style comic about a cat named Frankie and her everyday adventures. Cats are ridiculous creatures and I’m a sucker for animals, so this was right up my alley. Written by Rachel Dukes, the comics inside are similar to gag strips featuring her adorable cat. After several shorts, the end of the zine features fan art from eight different artists. This comic is a surefire hit for cat lovers. Dukes has a prolific online presence, with the inside back cover of the zine featuring links to merchandise for Frankie Comics, and online shops where you can purchase this and previous issues. –Tricia (Frankie Comics,

GOOFBOOK #7, $2 or trade, 4” x 5 ½”, copied, 22 pgs.
Super goofy comics from Gonk Publishing out of Chico, CA. A cutesy rectangular bear-like creature delivers one nerdy punch line after another. Kind of reminded me of a more innocent Ren and Stimpy. Send one Forever stamp to the address below for a list of all Goofbooks and comics available! –Robin Effup (RL Wallace at Gonk Publishing, 2700 White Ave #3, Chico, CA 95973)

GRAVITY POWERED POCKETS, $6 ppd, 5 ½” x 8 ½”, printed, 36 pgs.
It’s rare to pick up a random zine and feel an instant connection with the author, but Robert Earl Sutter III made me feel right at home with his awesome new zine. First off, when flipped open I saw that the card stock cover had been printed on the back of a café menu. Ahh, a fellow scrounge! Gravity Powered Pockets is “short writings about wild childhood adventures, real wisdom from elders, funny family stories, science articles, and contemplations on music and morality.”I particularly enjoyed the beautiful story about one of his moms being the only transgendered person to have ever escaped Alcatraz. A lot of great information on climate change and what we can do to help, as well as some humorous ways to free yourself from wage slavery. Not only do I want to read more of Rob’s zines, I want to hang out with this guy! –Robin Effup (Robert Earl Sutter III, 628 North 10th Ave E., Duluth, MN 55805)

MASCULINITIES, $4, 8 ½” x 7”, copied, 28pgs.
When I opened my review packet, I immediately got excited when I got something from the likes of Cindy Crabb. I knew that I was in for a thought-provoking narrative and interesting characters. Masculinities features a series of interviews from members in the DIY community who were asked how masculinity was perceived and presented in their journey growing up, and how it has effected them in hindsight. The discussion gravitates towards how and why it is important to redefine traditional expectations and learn that masculinity it is a characteristic that shouldn’t belong or be assigned to any one gender.–Simon Sotelo (Doris Press,PO Box 29, Athens, OH 45701)

MAXIMUM ROCK’N’ROLL#383, $4.99, 8 ½” x 11”, copied, 128 pgs.
Here’s something different from Old Faithful. Well, the regular columns, reviews, and smudgy record label ads are still here, but the interviews have been replaced in this issue with comics and illustrations by an impressive range of international artists. This zine prides itself on being diverse to a fault, and the art issue is no different. Collage, scratchy line drawings, intricately beautiful portraits, absolute smut—there’s something for everyone. Content ranges from snarky punk commentary to surreal symbology to horrifying sci-fi. This is sure to be a hit for anyone who ever trawls those comic anthologies for new artists, even those who haven’t kept up with this newsprint pillar of DIY culture. Honestly, this is worth seeking out for Jeff Mahannah’s fucking hilarious strip alone. Also comes with a fold-out poster of an illustration that quite accurately captures the feeling of a certain kind of house show every band has played at one point or another: “Should we play another song?” “Does it even matter?” Spot on. I kind of appreciate this issue more than I thought I ever would appreciate a new MRR issue again. No offense to my punk-as-fuck, Borders-shoplifting former self, circa ninth grade. –Indiana Laub (Maximum Rock’n’roll, PO Box 460760, San Francisco, CA 94146-0760)

PENIS HIDER, $?, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 12 pgs.
A groundbreaking new zine from Denis Chavez of Magnets and Dads in Brooklyn, NY! What is a penis hider, you may ask? Penis Hideris a term that was coined by Denis to describe a particular “kind of guy, who comes off as being Mr. Politically Correct, loves Kathleen Hanna and calls himself a feminist. In reality, though, this guy is really a creep trying to make out with you while his girlfriend is in the next room and hides his sleaze beneath a veil of bullshit.” Sound familiar? These hilarious and amazingly illustrated comics depict various run-ins Denis has had with Penis Hiders and the like. This is a must-read for anyone who has ever experienced the verbal punishment and time-suck of the detestable, fake-feminist, slime-oozing, mouth-breathing, pimple-squeezing, chunk-spewing, shit-drooling, PENIS HIDER.–Robin Effup (author Denis Chavez [email protected], illustrator Evan Wolff or [email protected])

PHASES OF THE MOON #5, $10, copied, 120 pgs.
Phases of the Moon is probably one of the most heartbreaking and familiar zines I’ve come to read this year. This particular issue is a recount of the true story of author Stacey-Marie’s five-year-long abusive relationship to an alcoholic. From her writing, you can tell that this woman is incredibly articulate and smart; self-aware of the fact that she is in a relationship with an alcoholic, but unable to see a way out of it. Her partner manipulates, lies, and threatens her to keep her in the relationship—tactics that any person who has experienced, or knows someone who has experienced abuse, will be familiar with. At times it was hard to read, being familiar with alcoholics and abusers. I just wanted to save her and get her out of it. Smart writing, 120 pages of truth and struggle; this is an issue for anyone who feels trapped in an abusive relationship, or if you want to read how this strong author eventually got out. –Tricia (Phases of the Moon,

PORTLAND UNDERGROUND PUNK ART ZINE#1, $0, 18” x 11”,newsprint, 16 pgs.
This is an awesome free new paper featuring non-music related art from the DIY Portland punk scene.“P.U. aims to rep those that make flyers, shirts, patches, adornments, tattoos, record covers, comics, calendars, protest posters, and take the pictures, book the shows, build the spaces, heal the ailments, and print it all.” Hell yeah, get it Portland! –Robin Effup ([email protected])

THIS DARKNESS IS ONLY THE SHADOW OF OUR LIGHT, 6 ¾” x 8 ¼”, $4.50 ppd., copied, 18 pgs.
Impressive collection of illustrations from a guy named Nick Wortham. Dark, black-heavy, detailed, loaded images with a flair for the what? Occult? Spiritual? Weird? I don’t know, but there are lots of runes and mystical-looking shit flying out of various eyes and hands and stuff. There’s also an occasional, super-interesting fusion of collaged textures here—I see car fresheners and dollar bills inserted sporadically throughout these pieces. Reminds me a bit of painter Heidi Elise Wirz’s stuff. This guy can draw. Metal bands should hit this guy up for sure, he’d kill. Really nice work. –Keith Rosson (Nick Wortham, 972 Stanford Ave., Oakland, CA 94608)

THIS IS NOT A CAMERA,$0.99, 8” x 5”, newsprint, 75 pgs.
Fucking great zine. Brought to you by Razorcake veteran Jim Ruland, he chronicles the ins and outs of what it is like working at an Indian casino for five years. He relates his experience and knowledge to working at Disneyland and how it can destroy or enhance the magic. Answering your burning questions such as: “How much of the experience is authentic?” “How much to the owners care?” “What kind of people are you surrounded by?” But arguably the most important question is “When will jackpots payout?” My favorite part is the deconstruction of the people. Who goes to a casino and why? There are hundreds of thousands of answers to that question but it’s fascinating to see so many people attracted to gambling and to witness a mental compulsion in action. –Simon Sotelo (Vermin Enterprises,

THIS IS NOT A CAMERA, $0.99, 8” x 5”, newsprint, 75 pgs.
For the sake of transparency, I proofed This Is Not a Camera. Although that makes me biased, reading and re-reading Jim Ruland’s writing only increased my appreciation of his irony-laden voice and scalpel-precise style. Ruland worked at an Indian casino for nearly six years and each piece in this zine is a report from the frontline. The stories explore the often seedy underbelly and backstage goings-on of casino life, or, as Ruland puts it, “Who hasn’t wanted to peek at the machinery behind the scenery at the amusement park?” Ruland nods to Wallace Stevens on “13 Ways of Looking at a Slot Machine,” which is my favorite story in the collection, as each paragraph nails the lack of system involved in striking it rich at slots. The story sums up the collection pretty well: Although gambling rarely makes practical sense (“gamblers are all about risk”), “Thunderclap Casino” is a microcosm of our adrenaline-addicted society and a ripe metaphor for the absurdities and lack of logic in daily existence. As for the winners, those who take home the big jackpots after hours (and sometimes days) of warming a seat, well, “It’s enough to understand their lives don’t change, that winning changes nothing. The rest I don’t want to know.” Well put, Jim. –Sean Arenas (Vermin Enterprises,

TOTAL BLAST, $3, 8 ½” x 11 ½”, copied, 16 pgs.
The first published in 1987 these series of comics are revived after being on hiatus for some twenty-five years. I kept my chin up in optimism and every once in a while I needed the reassurance. It’s never been my place to comment on someone else’s drawings; the quality of a drawing in a zine usually doesn’t affect the story or subject. However these comic panels are indeed as crude as the believability of the characters. They reminded me of material I would write about my imaginary friends in the forth grade. By no means am I saying that this is cringe-worthy; I was smiling through most of it.–Simon Sotelo ([email protected])

TRUST #170, $?, 8” x 11 ½”, offset, 68 pgs.
Trust has been around forever, I think second to Maximum Rocknroll in the field of longevity. I still don’t know enough German to read it through, but I do like looking at the clean, minimal layouts, and the incredibly clear and sharp photographs within its pages. Along with the columns, reviews, news, and show dates, there are interviews with Twisted Chords Records, New Direction Festival, Tiger Pussy, Marc Gartner, Wolfen, and the top notch photography I mentioned earlier. –Matt Average (Trust, Postfach 11 07 62, 28087 Bremen, Germany,

WASTED OPPORTUNITIES #9, $4, 5 ½” x 8 ½ “, copied, 29 pgs.
Wasted Opportunities #9 is a great voyeuristic look into a foreign nation’s growing social dysfunctional tendencies. Written by a native Australian, we are given a glimpse into a country that has a natural progression of following in the United States’ trail of gloom and doom otherwise referred to as expectionalism. That’s just a portion of the commentary packed into this modest zine. There is also an impressive selection of record reviews, a great interview with Needles/Pins, and—what I find to be the most interesting—is a critical review of Fest 13. Being a fellow organizer of a large annual DIY fest, hearing about another fest’s good/bad qualities is like porn to me. It’s not cheap to ship anything from Australia, but this one is worth it. Maybe order in bulk or something. –Simon Sotelo (Justin W.O., GPO Box 2712, Brisbane, QLD 4001, Australia)

YOU ARE DESTINED FOR DARKER THINGS, $3, 6½” x 8”, copied, 20 pgs.
Entrancingly cryptic and punk as fuck, You Are Destined for Darker Things is a reissue of Nick Wortham’s hypnotic and severely beautiful pen and ink illustrations. If you like the visuals then I bet you will also dig the dark wave psyche punk sounds of Human Baggage and Healers. I highly recommend checking it out! –Robin Effup (, [email protected], 972 Stanford Ave., Oakland, CA 94608)

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