Featured Zine Reviews from Razorcake 105: Fixer Eraser, I Feel Weird, Maximum Rocknroll, Restless Legs, Snap! Photozine, Sugar Needle
FIXER ERASER #2, $3, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 24 pgs.
Fixer Eraser is a short “zine of odds and ends” that features small writings from different narrators’ perspectives, all searching for something in one way or another. Sometimes it could be a form of escapism, sometimes it’s what their true purpose is in life, other times it’s just the companionship of a like-minded individual. All the voices (even though written by one person) seem to be longing for a part of themselves to be erased or put back together. A thought-provoking read, I read back through it a couple times, finding bits of myself in the different pieces. –Tricia Ramos (Fixer Eraser, PO Box 633, Chicago, IL 60690, [email protected])
FIXER ERASER #4, $3, 5 ½” x 8”, copied, 26 pgs.
Jonas’s latest issue of Fixer Eraser finds him spinning tales that cross the line between fiction and non-fiction. He shares stories of, amongst other things, wanting to help others, asking for writing advice, speaking with a deceased friend, and giving counsel to his child. It’s a short read but the prose hits hard in its ability to bring up some strong memories and create moving dialogue. It also covers important topics. If you’ve liked the past issues of the zine, it’s worth picking up. –Kurt Morris (Jonas, PO Box 633, Chicago, IL 60690)
100 PUNKS $5, 4¼” x 5½”, LaserJet, 20 pgs.
This mini zine by Robert has a great sampling of his online project, 100 Punks. There are some gems in there, with awesome back stories, and plenty of people of color. One of my favorites is the punk who disappeared and hasn’t been seen in a while. None of his friends know where he is but when a new horror movie hits, he’s bound to be there. Plus there’s some dope comics in the back of the zine. Do you feel lucky, punk? –Iggy Nicklbottum (RobertMakes.com)
BROKE BITCH ZINE #1, $10, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 22 pgs.
I’m constantly broke in one way or another. Sometimes you have to take that shitty job and roll with it to pay even the smallest of bills. This zine has several stories you can connect to on how being broke and making that hustle work can really stress you out, and how you can feel all that relief by also purging your hatred along with everyone in here. Being a broke woman/femme in a capitalist society is a different experience as well, so this zine itself can give you a look into this world. Alma and Alex have edited an interesting, funny, and wonderful zine, and I’m stoked to look at the next one. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Alma Rosa and Alex Beehive, IG: chicana_catwomxn)
CANCER CARE, donation, 4¼” x 5½”, copied, 34 pgs.
A donation-based zine that has all the proper information for anyone who needs help in several factors of dealing with cancer. It has sections for support groups, places that work specifically in make-up for cancer patients, scarves, fashion for patients, et cetera. This zine was made with absolute love, and every page is illustrated in the most beautiful illustrations. It also has little guides to being a good support, and it’s good for people who just really panic when someone is dealing with a serious problem. This is a good resource to have just in case. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Elise Bernal, elisebee.etsy.com)
DON’T OVERTHINK WHAT FEELS GOOD, $?, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 24 pgs.
Twin Cities artist, poet, and zinester Archie Bongiovanni is back in this hot pink poetry volume. With a custom-printed condom affixed to the back, this is one saucy zine. “Reckless Libido Paired with Emotional Immaturity,” the condom reads, a kind of mantra for the poems within. An examination of trans, queer, digital sexuality, the poems detail the whole range of sexual and romantic tension: rage, desperation, the wish that you could have a potential partner mailed to you by Amazon Prime. “Swipe right on life!” Archie urges. Their outlook on life is at times bleak in this collection, but at the end of it all, you can’t overthink what feels good. Don’t Overthink What Feels Good is a zine you can certainly judge by its cover. That is, it’s heartbreaking, heartwarming, sexy, and engaging. Plus, it’s hot pink, so who wouldn’t want to add it to their collection? –Jimmy Cooper (Twitter @grease_bat, IG: @babywrist)
EGON FOREVER! #1, 25¢, 6 ½” x 10”, offset, 30 pgs.
Imagine a crudely drawn, wide-eyed bunny. Now imagine that cute li’l bunny in a three-panel comic, each panel with the exact same bunny picture, except in the last one the bunny has a thought bubble that says, “FUCK!!! THE COPS!!!” I know you’re having to visualize something that’s right in front of me, but I’m sure you can understand how that could be funny. If you don’t, you’re probably not going to enjoy these comics. It was right up my alley, though, and I think you’ll like it. Said bunny comic is the pièce de résistance here as far as drawings go, because the rest of the comic resorts to stickmen and stickwomen as the vehicle for Egon’s sense of humor and wit. It’s very silly and very funny. And it’s a steal at 25¢. This glossy, normal comic-sized comic, seriously, only costs a quarter. I’m not sure how they’re doing it, but it’s well worth that. –Craven Rock (Andre Lux, 2018, Stuttgart, Germany, [email protected], egonforever.de)
FLUORAZINE #3, Free/trade 5½” x 8½”, copied, 40 pgs.
In Fluorazine, Kit Brixton writes from what I think is a prison out in Kentucky, and if I’m reading right, they take submissions from other incarcerated folks. This issue includes collaged comics repurposed from other publications and a clipping from another magazine’s article about Betty Saar’s assemblage pieces that “challenged racist and sexist African American stereotypes”—think mammy tropes and “Jim Crow-era imagery.” Ripping a piece from another publication and dropping it in your own is a fun move, and it speaks to Fluorazine’s vibe: scrappy, rollicking, and raw. I dug the “fuckton of” haikus—“Hopes Audacity / A Sleepy Cigarette Smile / Accidental Pimp”—and what I take to be Kit Brixton’s note on loving University of Kentucky’s radio station, WRFL.FM, which has a pretty good punk rotation. Brixton tries keeping an open mind when the station plays EDM, but it ain’t easy: “In my day,” they write, “music was about dressing up like women and singing about heroin and the devil!” So yeah, a fun read, and good reminder that “prison is more than a still life picture. Nothing is absolutely still.” –Jim Joyce (Kristopher Storey, 26731-018 FMC, PO Box 14500, Lexington, KY 40512)
I FEEL WEIRD #3, $8, 5½” x 8”, copied, 34 pgs.
The new issue of I Feel Weird hits hard. This comic is about Haleigh’s life and her experiences with anxiety, depression, and suicide. It may not sound enticing but it’s incredibly moving and relatable (at least for those of us dealing with mental illness). The drawing is incredibly detailed and reminiscent of R. Crumb. I can’t imagine the time it must take Haleigh to put an issue together, but it’s totally worth it. This issue continues her journey back from her suicide attempt and trying to find a therapist. She also recounts her childhood and shares a history of psychotherapy. It’s not for the faint of heart, but for those with resolve to see it through and who are comfortable with topics like suicide and depression, this is worth every penny. I can’t think of a better comic I’ve read about mental health. As the hardcore kids used to say, get this or pose. –Kurt Morris (Haleigh Buck, 2700 Academy Dr., Westminster, MD 21157)
MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL #420, $4.99, 8½” x 11½”, newsprint, 103 pgs.
Another good’n from Berkeley, issue 420 features a Tim Yohannan remembrance and a dispatch from the Bay Area Girls Rock Camp. It feels a bit odd for MRR founder Yohannan to get a remembrance now (died in 1998), but maybe this is the publication’s way to acknowledge they’ve hit their 35th anniversary, a milestone otherwise unmentioned. Thanks to my friend Paul for pointing that out to me. Anyway, who was Tim? He loved playing Risk, he pursued band mailing addresses tirelessly. Maybe he was a Stalinist. He wasn’t everyone’s favorite. He “saved the lives of weirdos.” Bay Area Girls Rock Camp is at year ten, and one interview with a BAGRC group, Lil Debbie, made a cool point that I sure wasn’t thinking of when I was a tween or teen: “punk is dominated by straight white men,” says Liv of Little Debbie And The Crusaders. “And if you don’t fit one or more of those descriptions, it can be extremely hard—and unsafe even—to express yourself, or even enjoy music in a public space.” Maybe this makes some men sad, but I figure Liv is right. If I learned how to treat women from The Descendents or Screeching Weasel, bands I adored as a teen, I would be a creep. So yeah, it’s cool that girls write songs and that BAGRC normalizes girls writing songs. Other cool stuff? An article about weed. You know, dope smoke. Pot! Reefer! Sticky icky shit, you know what I’m saying? Comes in teeny bags from guys named Matisse. C’mon kids, I ain’t messin’ around—I’m talking about drugs! Issue 420 had all that and more. Happy 35th birthday, MRR! –Jim Joyce (Maximum Rocknroll, PO Box 460760, SF, CA 94146-0760, maximumrocknroll.com)
NIGHT HAG, $10, 5½” x 8½”, LaserJet, 20 pgs.
Queer Witch Love Stories is just not a band name I have called dibs on, but also something that I want to see more of. This zine is a beautifully illustrated comic that deals with that exact premise, and really delivers in heart as well. Plus it includes a rest easy spell inside! Rayne Klar’s work is beautiful, and I can’t to see more! –Iggy Nicklbottum (Rayne Klar, proteinpress.com)
RESTLESS LEGS: A PHOTO ZINE, pay what you can, 8½” x 5½”, glossy, 24 pgs.
There’s always one friend of the bunch who just won’t stop taking everyone’s picture. Photo zines like this are the result of that friend. The portraits in this zine are absolutely gorgeous; that alone makes it worth it. But they’re not just gorgeous because of technical skill, they’re gorgeous because though most only feature one person in each frame, the people are real and tell stories just by being there. Bryan’s been making these zines for about a decade now, and they’ve followed him through just about everything and everywhere he’s been. They’re hopeful, fun, and full of love for the people he’s photographing. They’re also super sturdy, which is a good quality in a zine, and it’s obvious care went into printing. For photography geeks, it was shot with 35mm film on a Pentax ME and Olympus XA. I know from experience trades are welcome for this one! –Jimmy Cooper (Bryan ℅ Disgraceland, 2616 15th Ave S., Minneapolis, MN 55407)
SNAP! PHOTOZINE, $10, 8” x 8”, printed w/ full color covers, 24 pgs.
From the opening photo of Alice Bag, a shot encompassing two pages of intensity; this photozine delivers. Each page is a live shot of different punk and hardcore bands, sweating and screaming in all their glory. Every photo lists the band’s names, where the photo was shot, and the names of the band members. There’s something about seeing these candid shots that puts you right into the middle of the show. As if you’re smack dab in the center of the pit, you get the tactile sensations of all the smells and heat of each venue, the screeching of feedback, and the raw emotion of the bands. SNAP! transports you to a show, and leaves you there awestruck. –Tricia Ramos (Snap! Photozine, END FWY Press, PO Box 1794, San Pedro, CA 90733, endfwy.bigcartel.com)
SUGAR NEEDLE #40, $4, 4¼” x 11”, copied, 16 pgs.
Man, is this zine tall. I don’t think I’ve seen another zine that was folded in half this way before, but it really caught my eye. Especially since the cover is so menacingly fun, with the creepy grandma giving chocolate to little demon children. Sugar Needle is a candy review zine in its fortieth release that’s a collaboration between two friends who met through their love of candy, in an ad apparently! I never knew candy could mean so much until I read this, and was reminded how the smallest things can bring huge friendships. I reflected on this while reading the sometimes hilarious, sassy, and serious reviews of candies, and could feel the friendship these two have even though they live in two different states. Pick this up for a great view of the mind of candy fiends, who admit they have to cut their carbs sometimes. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Phlox Icona, 870 Ponce De Leon Ave., Decatur, GA 30030 / Corina Fastwolf, PO Box 66835 Portland, OR 97290)
TRUST #188, €3, offset, 8” x 11¼ ”, 68 pgs.
I am almost certain that besides MRR, Trust is the longest-running zine in the world. The text is pretty much exclusively in German, so I can’t personally say too much about it other than that it’s nicely laid out. Formatted somewhat similarly to Razorcake, there are columns, articles, and reviews, with Quest for Rescue, Kink Records, Tics, O-Ton Musik, Stun, and Wolf Mountain being the main subjects in this issue. Major kudos is in order to Trust for staying in print for so long. It’s beautiful! –Art Ettinger (Trust, Postfach 11 07 62, 28087 Bremen, Germany)
All of these reviews and many, many more are printed in a handy-dandy zine that you can subscribe to at a reasonable price, delivered to your door. Click the link below.