MAGGOT BRAIN #1 and #2, $12, 9” x 12”, printed, 128 pgs.

Yeah, the price tag is steep. But the cost is totally worth it: Maggot Brain is edited by Mike McGonigal, late of stalwart zines Chemical Imbalance and Yeti. Each issue of his new enterprise is stuffed with enough punk stuff to serve as a hook: issue #1 features articles on Swell Maps and Mia Zapata; issue #2 includes Don Letts and Toody Cole from Dead Moon. For me, the most rewarding reading in both issues was the weirdo, fringe stuff: a Detroit sign painter named Bird in issue #1; Arabic jazz musician Yazz Ahmed in issue #2. McGonigal has a great editorial sense for sniffing out interesting writing in all of its varied and more than occasionally out-there forms. In all, Maggot Brain’s curation and energy puts it up there with great glossy zines of yore like Motorbooty and Grand Royal—no small praise. Get it if you can! –Michael T. Fournier (c/o Third Man, 441 W. Canfield St., Detroit, MI 48201)

NO ROMANCE IN HELL, $5, 6” x 9”, copied, 24 pgs.

After being cock blocked in hell, a fed-up demon woman takes an elevator up to the surface to look for some affection. She mostly runs across standard douchey men with usual trope-y lines and attitudes; she sets them ablaze with her eyes. This comic is full of debauchery, sin, dick pics, and the aforementioned smoldering corpses. But there is a lesson to be learned, I promise. There are some really solid black and white artwork in here and it’s def’ worth checking out. –Rick V. (Hyena Hell, silversprocket.com)

NOT LIKE YOU #3, $1, 8½” x 5½”, copied, 38 pgs.

This is a photo zine of pictures of bands including H2O, Agent Orange, Ignite, Youth Of Today, and Suicidal Tendencies. But these aren’t pictures of the acts in their prime. These are all from more recent times. In addition, there are photos of bands I’ve never heard of such as Fastplants, Stale Phish, and Project Sellout. Sure, some of the photos are cool, but it would’ve been nice to read some background with each of the photos, such as where they were taken and why the photographer included them. As it stands, it doesn’t really stick out beyond any of the other photo zines I’ve seen. –Kurt Morris (Not Like You Zine, 102 Richmond Dr. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106)

NXOEED #1, $6, 8 ½” x 7”, copied, 32 pgs.

Matt Thompson from the always crucial Fluke fanzine has branched out into publishing other people’s stuff. This first issue of Nxoeed focuses on the artist of the same name, whose stuff I know a little bit from back issues of Fluke. Nxoeed has an instantly recognizable style, somewhere between Pushead and Vermiform. This issue showcases his stuff in a kind of cross between a diary and an issue of Crap Hound: flyers, clip art, journal entries and tons of cool, creepy graphics. –Michael T. Fournier (PO Box 1547, Phoenix, AZ 85001)

PEP TALKS FOR BROKEN PEOPLE, $10, 8½” x 5 ½”, perfect bound, 80 pgs.

Eighty pages of beautiful, earnest, quirky drawings and poems in this behemoth of a zine. The images and words are interspersed, making this—as it says on the cover—comix poetry, a largely (I think) underexplored medium. The beauty of comics as a medium is to have the power of both the word and the image at your disposal, and both are used well here. This collection celebrates the small things: a pitcher of iced tea in the summertime, a glimpse of nature in the city, but it just as well celebrates the huge things: a black hole the size of a parallel universe. There are images in Pep Talks for Broken People I’d like to pull out and tape to my wall. With just enough whimsy not to be sad, and just enough sadness not to be superficial, the worlds Meissner builds are intricate and fun and ultimately compelling. I think my favorite in the collection is “Affirmations By 14 Yr Olds,” because who the hell else should be writing affirmations? Pick this up for a pick-me-up that doesn’t tell you everything’s gonna be okay. –jimmy cooper (Caits Meissner, 690 Fort Washington Ave. # 2H, New York, NY 10040, [email protected],)

PETROLEUM SPIRIT DAZE, $5, 5½” x 8½”, risograph-printed pages, 16 pgs.

This is a fun Halloween haunt comic starring a younger Plus Man from Ben Sears’s steampunk and Aardman animation-inspired Double+ series. Goggled Plus Man and cohort Basil are driving a big rig through the night. They stop in the spooky town of Oakleaf, which is full of costumed mummies, witches, Frankensteins, and Draculas. Everyone is gathered for a big Halloween festival but there is something eerie going on behind the scenes. Many of the panels are so chock full of ghouls that you may find yourself searching for a Waldo cameo. I’m a sucker for Ben Sears’s blocky-yet-round artwork and a bigger sucker for Halloween-related stuff. This lil’ spooky tale is for anybody who shares my aesthetic. –Rick V. (Ben Sears, bensears.bigcartel.com)

RAZORBLADES AND ASPIRIN #8, $10, 8½” x 11”, full color glossy, 80 pgs.

Jesus Christ, this is insane. Mike Thorn is a frigging wildman. This is a serious undertaking: a perfect bound, full-color photography magazine with dozens of incredible photographs of punk bands well known and not? It’s bonkers. Also includes roughly 180 record reviews and interviews with other photographers, record labels Radio Raheem and 11 PM, Mark McCoy, Integrity, Dropdead, and more. Tons of ads, a truly fantastic layout, and photography of a quality I rarely come across. This is just shy of masterful, honestly. I can’t imagine the work that went into it. Really great. –Keith Rosson (M. Thorn, PO Box 23173, Richmond, VA 23223)

RESSURWRECKAGE, $3, 5½” x 4 ¼”, copied, 32 pgs.

Ressurwreckage is first and foremost a meditation on pain. It is also the narrative of how Marina became a ghost, not by way of dying but by way of trauma and its long-terms repercussions. It is also a testament to the bands that save us, or at the very least keep us here, employing emo aesthetics and lyrics to set the ambience, as it were, for the reader. I won’t cut corners and say this zine isn’t heartbreaking or at the very least upsetting (huge trigger warnings for rape and self-harms), and I won’t say “it’s emo, but—” that’s a cop-out. It’s emo and it’s important: it gets to the heart of what it means to survive terrible things—and to be in pain and maybe keep being in pain forever—but to keep being nonetheless. –jimmy cooper (Marina Graves, crapandemic.storenvy.com)

SOMETHING FOR NOTHING, two stamps, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 28 pgs.

Something for Nothing opens with a short meditation on the “balance between faith and art” (that is, what business a Christian has in punk, and his feelings about that business), and the rest of it is reviews, as seems to be the SFN M.O. I like the longform review style, digging into each band’s discography regardless of chronological relevance or even whether or not the band at hand is even together. This guy knows his stuff; that much is clear. No beverage reviews this time, so if that’s what you were hangin’ on for, this issue isn’t for you. However, if you dig One Blood, The Yah Mos, or Econochrist, or if you dig none of these bands but want and in-depth lowdown on their work, it is. –jimmy cooper (Something For Nothing, PO Box 226, Massillon, OH 44648, [email protected])

TATTOO PUNK FANZINE, Volume 3, $15, 8½” x 11”, glossy color, 56 pgs.

An absolute celebration of all things related to tattoos and punk as they intersect, and I don’t need to tell you that they intersect. I love tattoos and I love tattoo stories, and… what more can I say? Oh yeah, this is lovingly cut-and-pasted and in full-color, and unlike most mainstream tattoo magazines I come upon, full of heart—truly a love letter to tattooing and being tattooed. This issue also includes the story of Harley Flanagan’s chest tattoo, “one of the most iconic tattoos of the ’80s,” which is pretty cool, well-told, and makes me feel like I need to brush up on my iconic tattoo history. –jimmy cooper (tattoopunkfanzine.com)