Featured Zine Reviews from Razorcake 106: Shoes Fanzine

Nov 12, 2018

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Featured Zine Reviews from Razorcake 106: Shoes Fanzine, Fixer Eraser, Fluke, Possums Don’t Get Rabies, Proof I Exist, Queerfuck, Slingshot

: INTERVIEWS OLD & NEW, $3, free to prisoners, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 71 pgs.
Vancouver punk, Nate—whom you might know from great bands like Siren Songs, Poor Form, and Unfun—dropped this zine full of interviews and you’re really going to want to get it. Each interview is with people who are friends with Nate, so the tone is relaxed and casual. This also gives him the advantage of knowing what’s interesting about his subjects and drawing that out. With Karmin, he has her talk about sailing the Pacific Ocean, a quixotic seven month, 8,600 mile trip she took with her father. They barely escaped with their lives during a lightning storm. For the thrills, this harrowing tale was by far my favorite interview. Nate’s childhood buddy, Will, talks about organizing Anti-Racist Action in Sarnia, Ontario in the nineties. He talks to Matt Hern, author of What Is a City for: Remaking the Politics of Displacement and other titles about gentrification and rises above the same tired conversation that’s usually had about it. Shellshag talk about their history in the San Francisco punk scene, 50 Million, Hickey and more. And with Cometbus, he recycles questions he asked him from an interview in 1999, then he prints his current answer and the one from way back then. –Craven Rock (Nate/Shoes Fanzine, PO Box 88023, Chinatown, Vancouver, BC V6A 4A4, [email protected])

, 5½” x 8½”, copied, full color cover, 16 pgs.
Earth is uninhabitable or else destroyed completely; it’s not totally clear in Adrift. A survivor, perhaps the only one, floats through space in a capsule and this collection of poetry is of her isolation. She reflects on her time on earth and her current state of loneliness and exile. Patti Jean Pangborn has the nuance and quiet dignity to bring you into the mind of this sequestered, reluctant astronaut. With a lesser writer this would come across as trite or forced, but Pangborn pulls it off to create an introspective and inward study of the human condition. –Craven Rock (spacecowboybooks.com)

BIG TAKEOVER, THE, #82, $5.99, 8½” x 11”, printed, 144 pgs.
You must know the Big Takeover, right? Since 1980, editor Jack Rabid has lived up to his name, obsessively interviewing and reviewing bands from the punk and indie scenes. This time around, bands like Yo La Tengo, No Age, and X (wuddup, Berlyant!) are interviewed. Tons of reviews, too. Each new issue reminds me of the days when Big Takeover was one of a dozen zines I’d pick up on a trip to Newbury Comics. Now, that number has dwindled drastically because there aren’t as many stores, or zines—but the Big Takeover survives. At six bucks for 144 pages, it’s a steal, whether you’re a longtimer or first timer. Worth seeking out. –Michael T. Fournier (shop.bigtakeover.com)

CIAO CIAO PAGES #1, free, 4¼” x 5½”, copied, 16 pgs.
The Giallo subgenre, the love child of horror and mystery, is only really known by hardcore horror fans. Ciao Ciao focuses on this genre as an extension of their podcast. Its first issue deals with one famous actress in the genre, Edwige Fenech, who became an Italian sex symbol. This zine is, in essence, a fanzine/review zine, but it’s a great primer to those who want to learn more about one of the genre’s best and sexiest actors. It gives you the seven best films to start with, to get yourself into the Fenech bandwagon. The tone of the zine is very much in the eyes of a huge fanboy whose infatuation with Edwige Fenech is really endearing, happy, and wide-eyed. It’s gotten me interested in some of these gory sex romps, and I’m taking this list with me to find these films. The scale in which the movies are rated is pretty great, too, taking into account how good the film is and how fashionable Edwige Fenech is. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Creep, giallociaociao.com)

DEAD IN HOLLYWOOD #3, $3, 5” x 5½”, LaserJet, 24 pgs.
The Menendez Brothers are the subject of this extremely well-made and thick zine. Inside is what looks like a website made in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, with information about the case in great, but brief, detail. The design is amazing, and at times funny. One section plasters “Power Bottom” on the face of Jose Menendez, and there’s a section that creates a poster of the Menendez Brothers calling them “Scum Fuck Flower Boys.” I love some humor in the face of gory death. If you’re a lazy ass true crime fan, this may be a series you’d love to read. It has great detailed information (with sources!) in just twenty-four pages. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Castroburger, deadinhollywood.com)

#14, $1, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 20 pgs.
“The Mall Issue” indeed—Deep Fried #14 boasts blurbs and features on such pillars of mall culture as boycottable fast food chains, mall cops, mall punk hairstyles, and Kevin Smith’s Mallrats. There are cheeky reviews of various Minnesota malls and an activity page with a maze that leads to Hot Topic. Seamlessly interwoven with the general mall content are brief mall-centric interviews with the bands Dreamdecay, Mommy Long Legs, Wimps, and Sass. In keeping with Deep Fried’s greasy fast food theme, Sass is asked to rank the staples of the food court (Orange Julius comes out on top). Perfectly irreverent reading material for when you’ve got nothing to do but ride the escalators up and down all afternoon. –Indiana Laub (No address listed)

$3, 5 ½” x 8½”, copied, 22 pgs.
­Jonas’s latest issue of Fixer Eraser comes just a few months after his last. It’s got the same general layout—black pages (oh the toner!) with blocks of white filled with black typewriter print. What it lacks in design it makes up for in fictional tales of messages in a bottle, echo chambers, friendship speed dating, and ghosts in hospitals. Jonas’s writing is exploratory of a great range of emotions, primarily on loss and reflection. While the tales are fictional, there’s a large amount of personal experience included (I know this from having interviewed Jonas about mental health). Some of these pieces could easily be developed into longer stories and with that is my only complaint: I wish the zine had been a bit longer. As it stands, they’re brief glimpses of things that need more detail and description, but they’re a good start and certainly worth reading. –Kurt Morris (Jonas, PO Box 633, Chicago, IL 60690)

FLUKE #4, $6, 5½” x 8½”, offset, 52 pgs.
Fluke is one of those zines that I wish was a hundred pages or more each issue. It really is one of the best out there. This issue is the “Lust for Life” issue, which as stated on the last page, is “about getting older yet still following one’s passion.” This issue has excellent interviews with Ian MacKaye, Gary Floyd, Mike Watt, and photographer Adam Smith, who has gone as far as living in his car to follow his passion through and get the photos. There’s also a story from Linda Kite about her time with D. Boon, Steve Hart of New Wave Chicken zine has a story about Tex the Magical Rooster, and more. Buy this for yourself and see. –Matt Average (PO Box 1547, Phoenix, AZ 85001)

LAST NIGHT AT THE CASINO #13, $3, 4½” x 5½”, copied, 39 pgs.
I don’t know why it’s taken me until issue thirteen to read Last Night at the Casino for the first time. I’m kind of bummed I haven’t because this is great. As Billy (who also does the long-running zine, Proof I Exist) points out, the reason people like this zine is because it serves as a doorway between the capitalist world of gambling (where Billy has worked for years) and the anti-capitalist world of punk rock. A big change has occurred with this issue, though. Billy quit his job working as a dealer at a casino in New Mexico and moved to Baltimore. However, he can’t stay away from the gambling bug and decides to start dealing at private parties (think fundraisers or holiday parties where no one uses real money but instead does it for fun and/or prizes). This issue is all about his experiences with those parties. And it is fascinating! The events are so varied he finds himself at a charity event attended by professional football players and then at an elegant booster club fundraiser for black college fraternities. The writing follows a step-by-step account of the various gigs Billy has, and thus isn’t very imaginative or exploratory, but it provides great insight into a world of which I know very little. If you have even the faintest interest in casino culture and a sense of curiosity, this zine is for you! –Kurt Morris (Billy, PO Box 22551, Baltimore, MD 21203, [email protected])

POSSUMS DON’T GET RABIES, $?, 4¼” x 5½”, copied, 84 pgs.
Technically a novella but produced and printed as a zine, Possums Don’t Get Rabies follows a pair of unlikely companions—a demon named Iodine, and their familiar/love/lover, an opossum named Chernobyl. Desolate and heart-wrenching but beautiful, Possums Don’t Get Rabies works as an allegorical tale of coming-of-age and love, in sickness and in health. Would you die for the people you love most? What would you do to keep them alive? Simple in formatting and copy, this story sticks with you. Ripe with quirky metaphor, fascinated with birth, death, and all the human (or, in this case, demon and possum) parts in-between, this is worth the read for anyone who loves an eccentric, gritty, and meaningful journey through the city and life. Also, the author, Arthur Sprague at Blue Snake Zines, is super sweet and will probably send you homemade lick and stick stickers or other fun stuff with your order. –Jimmy Cooper (bluesnakezines.tumblr.com)

$2, 4½” x 5½”, copied, 35 pgs.
I’ve read Proof I Exist on and off for well over ten years. I’ve always enjoyed Billy’s writing, but this issue is by far the best he’s ever done. On a superficial level, the paper stock and typewriter he used are beautiful. The paper is off-white and the type is kind of black but also kind of blue. Whatever it is, it makes the words easy to read. The content, on the other hand, is more difficult to swallow. But that’s not because of how Billy writes (to the contrary!) but because of what he’s covering. This issue delves into Billy’s relationship with Aaron, his brother. Aaron and Billy grew up in what seems to be a good household. But as the brothers grew older, Billy steered clear of substances while Aaron got involved heavily. It got to the point where the two brothers were fairly well estranged from one another. This was primarily because Aaron went missing for periods due to drug and alcohol use. I don’t want to give away the entire content, but the writing is compelling and deep. It goes back and forth between Aaron’s story with drugs and Billy’s life without them. Aaron’s life is tragic and Billy doesn’t shy away from that, but neither does he hit you over the head with it. This is, ultimately, not a hopeful tale, but as Billy reminds us in the zine, “this isn’t a movie, and the final scenes of resolution aren’t coming through all clean and smooth….” If you’ve ever had a family member struggle with addiction, or want to understand the pain of what that is like, this is essential. For more info, email [email protected] –Kurt Morris (Billy, PO Box 22551, Baltimore, MD 21203)

QUEERFUCK: THE BIG ONE, free, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 26 pgs.
Stressing over a comprehensive, queer-inclusive sexual health resource? Look no further! Longtime sex educator Eli Scriver provides an awesome guide to everything you could possibly want to know (and maybe a little more) in the first volume of Queerfuck. It’s handwritten and drawn with a few handy printed graphics, which is super cute. Don’t worry, though, all the words and diagrams are easy to read, which is often a problem with zines done by hand. The overall visual is cute and welcoming, unlike many a sexual health resource. It’s perfect for educators and educatees alike, especially those whose school and parent-provided sex ed. was lacking (and whose among us wasn’t?). The Big One even includes a section for “Things They Don’t Tell Us” and “LIES,” aimed at correcting misconceptions folks may have picked up along the way, in addition to the basic information that composes most of the zine. There may be more issues coming, so watch out! –Jimmy Cooper ([email protected])

#127, free, 11” x 17”, newsprint, 16 pgs.
Does it get more classic than Slingshot? The radical newspaper behind punk’s most ubiquitous daily planner celebrated its thirtieth birthday this year, and it’s clearly still going strong. As usual, this one is packed with insightful pieces on a broad range of issues. This time, major articles cover topics including the defense of forests in Northern California, the dangers facing sex workers in an increasingly hostile political climate, and ongoing activism against police violence around the States. I was also impressed by the thorough and thoughtful discussion in the “Dear Joan” advice column about how punk scenes deal with sexual assault. Everything in here is remarkably accessible in style and content, even the pieces on topics I know little to nothing about. That accessibility is exactly how Slingshot, after all these years, can be both a regular read for longtime activists and a manageable point of entry for newly minted young (or old) anarcho punx. As the jubilant editors’ note explains, the strength of the Slingshot Collective lies in the diversity of its members’ and writers’ radical imaginations—as shifting and conflicting as some of their ideas may seem, each is a strong-willed “attack on reality” in its own way. –Indiana Laub (Slingshot, PO Box 3051, Berkeley, CA 94703, [email protected])

SPIDDER #19, $?, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 16 pgs.
This one’s all over the place—some comics, some tour photos, some cool illustrations, a short interview, some meditations on Southern blues highway ghosts… wait, what? The few pages of prose in this zine seem somewhat intentionally obscure and meandering, but I think what they culminate in is a brief, hyperliterary take on a tour journal. Based on the details provided, I’m finding it easier to picture what the smoky hills and cemeteries looked like from the road than to determine exactly what exactly happened when, and to whom. The bands are in Japan at some point? A Japanese band is playing in New Orleans? Maybe it’s not for me to know. –Indiana Laub (No address listed)

subTERRAIN #79, $7, 8” x 8”, printed, 96 pgs.
I love when this Canadian litmag hits my mailbox. subTerrain consistently features excellent writing, usually themed. This time around the editors and writers conduct an issue-long lament titled “Goodbye, Vancouver.” The general story is likely familiar: development and real estate prices are forcing longtime denizens out. The depth of this loss is relayed not just through stories on real estate (though there are these), but also through discussions of squats, old theaters, and through photo essays and poetry. The Vancouver situation is sadly all too common, but the level of nuance with which it’s discussed here is sadly uncommon. Always a recommended read, this issue especially hits hard. –Michael T. Fournier (PO Box 3008, Main Post Office, Vancouver, BC, V6B 3X5, Canada)

#190, €3, offset, 8” x 11¼”, 68 pgs.
The German language publication Trust is one of the longest-running zines in the world. I don’t speak German, so I can’t read it, but it sure is pretty. Formatted similarly to MRR and Razorcake, it’s packed with columns, articles, and reviews. This issue’s highlights include coverage of Phantom Winter, Refuse Records, Martin Büsser, Joseph Boys, Hank Wood, and Hairy Lights. Nice! –Art Ettinger (Trust, Postfach 11 07 62, 28087 Bremen, Germany)

XEROGRAPHY DEBT #43, $4, 5½” x 8½”, printed, 74 pgs.
I still get a kick out of sitting down with a pile of zines and reading through reviews, circling records and zines to seek out via mailorder. As such, Xerography Debt is right in my wheelhouse: columnists review zines on their radar screens. It’s been a few years since the last issue I read, but the format remains the same: per the mission statement inside, the columnists/reviewers are all about hyping stuff they like rather than bashing stuff they don’t. It’s nice to have such a collection of positivity handy for mailorder scouring. –Michael T. Fournier (order through Microcosm: microcosmpublishing.com)

YOKAI WHY, $2, 4¼” x 11”, copied, 20 pgs.
I dig the humor of this zine right away. It’s always the little things that make me laugh, and the first joke with the little kid was hilarious. Unfortunately, I can’t really say much about it without ruining the joke. But that little kid’s reaction to fucking disaster is great! The story follows a demon hunter’s reluctant path into turning something she hates into a profitable job. She reeks of regret in every panel, but continues because we all hate our jobs but need money. This is just an intro to the series, but I’m interested enough to see what happens next. Well, I was sufficiently interested until I saw that the next issue would include an otaku, and that is not a character I would ever want to see continually. Then, there was promise of a ghost puppy, so I was pulled back in. –Iggy Nicklbottum (Tina Horton, Dan Candal, and Conor Rank, yokaiwhy.tumblr.com)

YOU SHOULD HEAR THIS!, $3, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 24 pgs.
A fun, light mini-comic about music Ricky loves. In You Should Hear This! he deconstructs artists he likes like AFI, Jeff Rosenstock (Bomb The Music Industry), and Weezer. You don’t have to be a fan of these bands to enjoy these comics, but you should be a fellow music freak. He also gives us “6 Skull-crushing Songs about Pro-wrestling,” lauds the breakdancing game, Floor Kids, and there’s more. I’m not going to give it all away. My only complaint is it was too short. –Craven Rock (rickyvigil.bigcartel.com, [email protected])

ZINE CUISINE #4, $4, 5½” x 8½”, copied, 32 pgs.
Hey, here’s another offering by Zine Cuisine on the topic of winter in L.A. with the coolest artists in the area. I swear that was not supposed to be a pun or anything. It’s got some great stories like the one by Ari that’s a boundless comic on the troubles of gifts. It’s not a new topic but the art style, humor, and fixation with My Super Ex-Girlfriend makes it memorable. There’s also this Whodunit? a la The Thing that has diarrhea jokes. I’m a sucker for diarrhea jokes. It’s poop jokes for someone with fine taste. Some artworks are a little confusing, narratively, but this is a great anthology nonetheless with lots of great stories.
–Iggy Nicklbottum (Dan Kosmo, [email protected])

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