ASYMMETRICAL ANTI-MEDIA #8, $1 ppd., 5½” x 8½”, copied, 8 pgs.

Subtitled “The Review Zine with Lunatic Fringe Tendencies,” this swift read basically does what Factsheet Five used to do about thirty years ago—reviews other zines and publications (plus a smattering of musical items and mail art thingies)—except it’s about one-eighth FF’s size. Preserving the independent postal culture of the pre-internet era is a noble impulse, but it’s also one that strikes me as a bit of an antiquarian windmill tilt at this point. “The point of this publication is to empower the postal network.” Best of luck with that. –Rev. Nørb (Jason Rodgers, PO Box 10894, Albany NY 12201)

BORN RIGHT: SURGERY, BODY IMAGE, AND OWNING IT, $9 ppd., black and white w/glossy cover, 24 pgs.

The surgical autobiography of Minneapolis writer and zinester Emma Johnson, whose zines I’ve dug every time I’ve seen them, chronologizes her surgeries from six years old to her most recent just this year, and the related stigma, trauma, and issues of self-image. The medical establishment is not kind—often least so to those who need the most care—and particularly when it comes to the “normal.” Johnson calls for “a different language of beauty,” in contrast to those who, to reassure, would tell her that they “couldn’t even tell” when she is entirely aware that her face looks different than most. In this language of beauty, maybe we’d all have a little more autonomy over our bodies and appearances. Though I cannot relate to the particular intensity of her medical experience, I saw my own transitional desires reflected in her desire to see herself in a different way than she appeared to the world, and the trepidation that goes into making that happen. –jimmy cooper (Emma Johnson, freaktension.com)

BROKEN PENCIL #85, $7.95, 8½” x 11”, printed, 72 pgs.

Long-standing “magazine of zine culture and the independent arts” that has somehow evaded my radar screen until now. I’m sorry I missed out. There are tons of reviews and shorter pieces, but unlike many other zine zines, Broken Pencil takes time to dig deeper, with great features on Hong Kong zinesters standing strong in the midst of the country’s ongoing political turmoil, and public murals as balm and pushback against the opioid crisis. Impressive and recommended. –Michael T. Fournier (PO Box #177, Sanborn, NY 14132)

DEEP FRIED ZINE MPLS #17, $1, 8½” x 11”, copied, 20 pgs.

This is a unique zine with a focus on fast food—both worldwide but also in Minneapolis. It’s a mish-mash of short articles, photos, and art. One piece covers the sale of a paper plate from a pizza joint used by Kurt Cobain to write a Nirvana set list. Another recalls when Willie Nelson was in a Taco Bell commercial. There are also interviews with artist Jason Steady and the band Lazear. Both interviews relate back to fast food, though. The zine is a quick, weird read. If you’re really into odd fast food stories, then this is the zine for you. For a buck, you can’t beat it. –Kurt Morris (2901 Yosemite Ave. S., St. Louis Park, MN 55416)

DISTURBANCE, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 28 pgs.

This is a great resource for any local scene. Disturbance is based out of Wilmington, Del. and jam packs a lot of info for anyone looking to get into DIY music. For one, there’s a listing for all upcoming shows at the very front. The editor’s note is about the importance of all-ages, underground music spaces, as well as offering unsolicited advice to anyone reading who is interested in throwing house shows. Just hope the cops don’t email you! There are a couple of record reviews in here: one for Merger, and one for Eyebawl. The later band’s front person is also interviewed in this issue. To top it all off, there are adverts from several local businesses and bands, as well as some decent live band photos from shows past. Nice little snapshot into a local scene report. –Kayla Greet (Impetus, 13 Delaware Ave., Claymont, DE 19703, impetusde.com)

FLUKE #17, $5 ppd., 5½” x 8½”, printed, 52 pgs.

Matthew Thompson’s long-running zine is back with another great issue. Every issue of Fluke includes some Venn diagram of skating, street art, local punk coverage, and excellent writing from people in the punk scene. The local focus on Matt’s hometown of Little Rock is in full effect here, with an interview with artist Nate Powell, also of Soophie Nun Squad. (The accompanying Little Rock scene family tree alone is worth the price of admission.) Matt also interviews the folks behind the skate mag archiving project undertaken by the Look Back Library, and Nxoeed interviews fellow artist Danny Martin. Essays and poetry round things out. Fluke is always a standout in my review pile. What are you waiting for? –Michael T. Fournier (bit.ly/fluke17)

GERMAN COMPLIMENT #2, sold out, 5¾” x 8¼”, black and white, copied.

German Compliment is a wry German DIY punk fanzine. It’s funny, irrelevant to almost everyone (I mean this only as a compliment), and offers real, wry insight into not just the German scene but DIY culture as a whole. It bitches about the scene while showing continued dedication to keeping it intact, something all of us could learn from. Far too often, toxic behavior goes unchecked and conflict goes unresolved in scene politics. But this zine both calls out shitty behavior and seeks to resolve it, celebrating the good stuff in between. International zines such as this, too, always remind me of my privilege: to be able to assume that the media I’d like to consume will be accessible to me is entitled and unrealistic, and the folks who make their work accessible to people like me who only speak one language are amazing. German Compliment is mostly bilingual, though a few parts remain in the original German because translating is a pain in the ass. They only make one remark regarding this: “we recommend learning a second language.” They’re right, of course, as they are calling out “apolitical” punks, encouraging you to wear the shirt for a local band to the show, and asking you to get to the goddamn gig. Unfortunately, this issue is sold out, but I’d wager the next one will be worth picking up, too. –jimmy cooper (keepitasecret.limitedrun.com)

LOITERING & BENEVOLENCE, $2, black and white w/color cover, 12 pgs.

The thing about punks is that we love to talk about punk. What it means to be, what it means to do, who is and is not, some defining philosophy. Well, Daryl talks about punk the way I wish everyone did: with joy, hope, and a critical eye that sees through the bullshit we’re all prone to. Really, the cover image (by Marcos Siref) says it all in two words: “Never stop.” There is a reason we’re in this, even if it’s sometimes shitty and hard. These essays and reviews, with the exception of the title essay, were all previously published in Razorcake, but they make a nice standalone selection and all are inspiring to keep on truckin’, keep on punkin’, and keep on fightin’ the good fight. Full of one-liner nuggets of truth: “You will be coming of age until the day you die.” This is a love letter to punk, not just a band or a scene (though that’s there, too) but the multiplicitous force that keeps us together. –jimmy cooper (Daryl Gussin, [email protected])

MELT GIRL, 5½” x 8½”, offset, 12 pgs.

What you get here are three horror stories of what Steven King would call the gross-out variety (and without judgment). The first story, “Melt Girl,” is about a girl who regularly melts into sloppy goo navigating the dating world. The ending surprised me. “Necksnapper” is about a woman killing a bunch of crows for a fetish porn shoot. I know horror is, at the very least, supposed to make you uncomfortable to be successful, but I’m a big fan of crows so, fuck that! “T-shirt Pants” was about a serial killer who keeps the T-shirts of the people he kills in his pants until the tables are turned on him. It should be noted that the author Emma Alice Johnson is a bit of a pro and the winner of the Wonderland Book Award. –Craven Rock (freaktension.com)

MINOR LEAGUES #9, $8?, 8½” x 9”, copied, 108 pgs.

This is the fourth and final installment of “Where?”, editor Simon Moreton’s epic attempt to process his father’s death. Simon’s prose is crisp and evocative throughout, interspersed with found clippings and increasingly chiaroscuro artwork which evokes as much as it describes. Throughout the run of this series I have been so, so impressed by the gossamer connections and implications Simon has woven through his narrative: he connects trauma and loss to landscape and geography to stunning effect. Some of the best zine writing and art in my recent memory—absolutely haunting and essential. Don’t sleep. –Michael T. Fournier (smoo.bigcartel.com)