PAPERCORE #2, 8½” x 11”, copied, 24 pgs.

This is a fantastic DIY punk zine based out of Marseille, France. It’s organized much like MRR—a few pages of columns with two rows per page, then articles, interviews, and reviews. The folks who write for this come from all over the world and seem to be dyed-in-the-wool punks. So much of the columns and personal writing is anti-establishment and pro-community. It was very refreshing to see the passion on the page. This particular issue includes scene reports from Brittany (France), and Belgium, an interview with Italian punk band Frattura, an interview with The Eye of Time (a solo project from France), and reviews of music, punk-related movies, and other zines. I am so grateful this zine is written in English. Making a zine in the first place is a huge undertaking, but to do one that crosses borders; that is impressive. They don’t list a price for the zine and their website says nothing is for sale, nor do they pay for ads, though if you’d like to donate to them, they can be found at diyconspiracy.net. –Kayla Greet (Giz c/o Cira, 50 Rue Consolat, 13001, Marseille, France)

ASYMMETRICAL ANTI-MEDIA #10, $1, 8½” x 5½”, copied, 12 pgs.

I reviewed issue #3 of this zine and it’s pretty consistent with where it was back then. The content is made up of reviews primarily of zines with some music reviews as well. Jason’s reviews are fairly thorough and explain what each publication is about and what he likes or doesn’t like about them. The topics covered in the zines he reviews are all over the place: from Christianity’s connection with New Age to poetry to zines that are art and collage. Jason gets a lot of interesting mail. I’m not necessarily a big fan of zines filled with zine reviews but it’s nice to see the diversity included here. –Kurt Morris (Jason Rodgers, PO Box 10894, Albany, NY 12201)

AWESOME THINGS #3, 5 ½” x 4 ¼”, copied, 28 pgs.

A list of good things. Energetic and optimistic in a refreshing way. The things range from small moments, to musings, to small stories. It’s simple and tries to have you confront the positive. Good for a quick smile. –Gwen Static (Liz Mason, PO Box 477553, Chicago, IL 60647, lizmasonisawesome.com)

B YOURSELF #1?, $3?, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 16 pgs.

Kinda Gertrude Stein-y wordplay poetry in this chapbook. Some nice lines herein. –Michael T. Fournier (Mark Sonnerfeld, 45-08 Old Millstone Dr., East Windsor, NJ 08520)

BIG PUNK, $5, 5½” x 8½”, full color, 18 pgs.

You will recognize Janelle Hessig’s colorful, cartoony artwork before you recognize their name. Hessig has been doing punk comics, fliers, and album covers since the ’90s. Big Punk is a comic about a punk woman who is sick of the big city and heads out to the woods. After a bout of loneliness, she discovers a love that redneck reality show subjects have been hunting after for years. It is a funny and perverse little comic that you will knock out in two minutes. Crossing my fingers for the teased “Big Punk, episode 2: Homeschool Is for Hippies.” –Rick V. (Janelle Hessig, silversprocket.com)

CABOOSE #12, $4 or trade, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 24 pgs.

If you’ve been around the zine scene for a little while, you’ve undoubtedly come across something Liz Mason wrote. She’s a frequent contributor to Xerography Debt and always has a few zines going, all uniformly rad. In her newest issue of Caboose, Liz details her time on jury duty. She explores her preconceptions about the civil service and her frame of mind approaching it. Liz takes copious notes during the trial and is shocked to find that she’s the only juror who takes the duty seriously. This leads to an overall rumination about the American justice system. Her tone is always friendly and inviting, which makes her frank discussion even more impactful as she peels back layers of the proverbial onion. Always a joy to read something new by Liz. –Michael T. Fournier (PO Box 477553, Chicago, IL 60647)

COMETBUS #59, $5, 8” x 5 ¼”, printed, 140 pgs.

In “Post-Mortem,” Aaron evokes the wanderlust of past issues by wandering around, conducting interviews in “a wide-ranging survey of the underground… to look honestly at where we succeeded and where we had fallen short.” Aaron’s interviews cover a wide swath of the underground, spanning big punk labels like Epitaph and Fat Wreck on down to smaller community theaters, squats, and poets. It’s odd, because I left the zine feeling hopeful even though many of the stories focused on collapse as much as sustenance. There are no hard and fast rules for success in the underground, and there are some notable omissions (ahem). But I think the omissions are the point here. If you watch any documentary on “the scene,” such as it is, there comes a point, usually right before the end montage, when the players talk about how the soul left when this band broke up, or this thing happened, or this person died. It might be true for those people, but it’s not true for all people, you know? Hardcore didn’t end when Springa declared its end from the stage, or whatever other arbitrary point sticks in your head. Punk doesn’t end so much as it evolves, or mutates. The end of the theoretical documentary inevitably laments how codified things became before the end. Who are we to proclaim a codified version of success? Aaron knows this. –Michael T. Fournier (PO Box 1318, Cooper Station, New York, NY 10276)

COMETBUS #59, $5, 8” x 5 ¼”, printed, 140 pgs.

I don’t know if you can even call this zine a zine. It’s the size of a book, and it’s bound like a paperback. In addition, the graphics—a key and possibly defining feature in many zines—are pretty much non-existent. Don’t let that put you off, though, or you’ll be completely and utterly screwed. In this issue, sub-titled “Post-Mortem,” Aaron crosses the country to interview prominent players from select underground institutions in an attempt to catalog the perceived “failures” within these organizations: Fat Mike of Fat Wreck Chords (“With revulsion I realized that we had hugged on my way in the door.”), the staff at Thrasher Magazine, C Squat, Umbrella House, activist group Black Mask, Fantagraphics, and really too many to list here. What mistakes were made? Were these mistakes learned from, or did they ultimately sink the ship (literally, in one case)? In hindsight, what should have been done differently? A huge project masterfully conceived and executed. There is a lot of heavy content in here, but Aaron’s offbeat style and great writing make this obituary a fun and easy read. “You can have it all.” –Buddha (Cometbus, PO Box 1318, Cooper Station, New York, NY, 10276)

DRIVEL #1, $5, 5½” x 8 ½”, copied, 37 pgs.

This medley zine has a piece asking Bay Area punk veteran, Robert Eggplant, what’s in his bag. The author also writes about calling out a clothing corporation for a misleading advertisement. There are also anecdotes about houses the author lived in, some words they’ve learned playing word games on their phone, and more. All this stuff was fine by me, but unfortunately, the zine is mostly a lengthy and super pretentious interview with someone she just met, asking them “36 Questions that Lead to Love” (according to a New York Times article). I also could have done without reading about two of her lovebird friends and the pukey questions she puts them up to asking each other. –Craven Rock (antiquatedfuture.com)

HERE’S WHAT I’VE HIDDEN UNDER MY TONGUE #1, free, 4¼” x 5½”, copied, 26pgs.

The anonymous author of Here’s What I’ve Hidden under My Tongue describes their experience battling disordered eating through a series of vignettes. They also explore the impact gender has on disordered eating, and how their coming out as a trans-man helped them see things differently. “Now I could allow myself… to say that it didn’t apply to me since I wasn’t a girl anyway,” they write. That respite was only temporary, as the author reveals further struggles to maintain a culturally acceptable body. “Gay male culture imposes its own impossible standards of beauty and without the advantage of feminist counterculture to fight it,” they write. The author explores the origins of their own disordered eating from their unique perspective. They attempt to draw some conclusions while also asking and attempting to answer the question of why it was important to write about it, and why someone should read their zine. While I couldn’t personally relate to the experience of disordered eating, I related to the author’s mental health struggles, and appreciated their ability to unpack their own personal baggage with a great amount of candor and clarity. I don’t often read perzines, but I thought this was very well written. I also appreciated the clean simplicity of its design and the author’s use of quotes from others to enhance their work. –Paul J. Comeau (D.J.T., 103 N Bliss St, Apt B, Anchorage, AK 99508)