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Xerography Debt #11

Table of Contents

Xerography Debt
Issue #11
June 2003

Davida Gypsy Breier, Editor

Fred Argoff, Androo Robinson, Donny Smith, Eric Lyden, & Bobby Tran Dale, Founding Reviewers

Mark Hain, Matt Fagan, Josh Bowron, Erin Quinlan, Eric Lyden, Gavin J. Grant, Dan Taylor, Brooke Young, Maria Goodman, Rick Bradford, Mariah, Kathy Moseley, Ted Mangano, & 710 Bishop (Zebulun and Dan), Reviewers

Androo Robinson and Matt Fagan, Artists

Androo Robinson and Maria Goodman, Proofreaders

Xerography Debt is a Leeking Inc., publication. It is scheduled to appear 3 times a year. Issues are $3. Send cash/stamps, zines, and correspondence to: Xerography Debt
Davida Gypsy Breier
PO Box 347
Glen Arm, MD
21057 USA

E-mail: davida@leekinginc.com
Website: www.leekinginc.com
© June 2003

#12 Due out October 2003. You can pre-order today!
  • Cover by Androo Robinson
  • Back cover and interior art by Matt Fagan

To order a paper copy of this issue, please send $3 (cash, stamps, money order, or check) to Davida Gypsy Breier
PO Box 347
Glen Arm, MD
21057 USA

Distribution: Atomic Books, Quimby’s, SoberBrothers.com, Stickfigure Distro, & Tower Records

  • Introduction
  • Basic Stuff You Should Know
  • Announcements
  • Submissions
The Columns
  • The History of Zines: In Praise of the Blackshirt By Cali Ruchala
  • The History of Zines: Civilian Public Service Newsletters By Donny Smith
  • It Means its Wank By Jeff Somers
The Reviews
  • Reviews by Dan Taylor
  • Reviews by Daina Mold
  • Reviews by Donny Smith
  • Reviews by Mark Hain
  • Reviews by Fred Argoff
  • Reviews by Androo Robinson (only available in print version)
  • Reviews by Brooke Young
  • Reviews by Josh Bowron
  • Reviews by Eric Lyden
  • Reviews by Maria Goodman
  • Reviews by Kathy Moseley
  • Reviews by Kate Haas
  • Reviews by Rick Bradford
  • Reviews by Matt Fagan
  • Reviews by Bobby Tran Dale
  • Reviews by Ted Mangano
  • Reviews by Mariah
  • Reviews by Gavin J. Grant
  • Reviews by 710 Bishop
  • Reviews by Davida Gypsy Breier


I was behind the counter at Atomic Books when punk rock's answer to Tracy Turnblad walked in with two friends. She and her female friend were showing their dorky male friend underground comics that they enjoyed. He was clueless, but interested. It is easy to get disheartened by the world, but watching teenage girls proselytizing about comics to teenage boys shows me the revolution is already here.

This issue kicks off the start of a series of columns addressing The History of Zines. As I see it, the history stretches much further back (and in many more directions) than the often cited science fiction fanzines of the early 20th century. There have always been people publishing outside of established literary circles. Each of our personal zine histories is intertwined with, well, history's histories. There are hundreds of roots and thousands of branches.

I've been writing a column regarding zines for Atomic Books for some months now, but The History of Zines series means they will likely not be printed here. Recent topics have included tips on printing your zine and tips for writers. You can read the columns online at: www.atomicbooks.com/bastardspawn.html. If you don't have internet access, but want to read them, get in touch and I'll send copies.

This time around I sent about 10 zines to the reviewers and they selected whichever ones they wanted to review. A few added picks of their own. I have been trying to cut down on the number of repeat reviews. You can't suppress a true democracy and more than one reviewer chose the same zines to review on their own. So be it. A recent review of Xerography Debt mentioned that the reviewers often tend to review one another. Ideally, this says to me Xerography Debt is made up of fantastic writers who are recognized by their peers. At the same time it can appear cliquish. The difference between a clique and a community is that a clique is exclusive, while a community is inclusive. We are all about community here, baby, please join us.

Davida Gypsy Breier
June 2003

Basic stuff you should know

If this is your first issue, XEROGRAPHY DEBT is a review zine for zine readers by zine writers. It is a hybrid of review zine and personal zine. XEROGRAPHY DEBT has its own freestyle approach. It is all about communication, so each reviewer has used the format or style most comfortable to him or her. Also, each reviewer "owns" the zine in a completely communal, non-possessive sense. We are individual artists and writers coming together to collaborate and help keep zineland flourishing. It is a communal experience from start to finish. Do your part by ordering a few zines from the many reviewed here and, if you self-publish, please consider including a few reviews in your zine.

XEROGRAPHY DEBT's reviews are selective. To explain the “system”: Some reviewers choose to review zines they have bought or traded with, some review zines that are sent to Xerography Debt for review, and some do both. Also, I buy zines at Atomic Books, my local zine store, and zine events, so if you see your zine reviewed and you didn’t send it in, that might be where I found it. Generally the only reviews you will read in here are “good reviews.” Constructive criticism is given, but basically we don’t have the time or money to print bad reviews. If you sent your zine in for review and don’t see it listed, wait a few months and see if it appears in the following issue. I read and then distribute the zines to the reviewers about two months before the print date. If the reviewer passed on reviewing your zine, it will be sent out again for the next issue. So, each zine gets two shots with two different reviewers. Ultimately, many of the review copies stay in the XD archives, but some are donated to zine libraries. Occasionally mistakes happen, postal or otherwise, so if you have a question about a zine you sent in for review, please contact Davida at PO Box 963, Havre de Grace, MD 21078 or davida@leekinginc.com.

XEROGRAPHY DEBT is receiving more and more zines for review. Until issue #6 complimentary copies were sent all of the zines reviewed. That just isn’t feasible any more. If I have your e-mail address, I’ll try and email a copy of the review and a link to the new issue on the website. If I can afford the time and postage I’ll send a postcard or letter with the review. If I am unable to do this, please bear with me, I’m doing the best I can.

It is available for free online (some reviews and artwork will only be available in print) or paper copies can be ordered for $3.

If you have an event, announcement, or project you would like to share, please get in touch.

The lack of paid advertising within these pages is deliberate. Despite reviewing our friends and lovers, we try to be somewhat objective and free to do as we please. Needless to say, this brings up the point of needing some help to stay afloat...


I see Xerography Debt as the PBS of review zines. It is by us, for us, with no financial incentive, just a dedication to small press. If you have a few spare stamps or dollar bills to help support us and the zine community, it would be most appreciated. Also, let me know if you wish to remain anonymous. This issue's sponsors are:

William P. Tandy, Androo Robinson and Maria Goodman, Bobby Tran Dale, Dar Veverka, Jeannie McStay, Scout, Josh Bowron, Lydia Ricci, DB Pedlar, Al Cene, Owen Thomas, Billy McKay, Delaine Derry Green, Anne Thalheimer, Matt Fagan, and a few anonymous benefactors.

The spring offered a new and improved brand of hell. I know I must have forgotten to write a few names down. If you sent a contribution and your name isn't listed, please let me know and I will list it in the next issue. My deepest apologies.


Submissions for HOME wanted
“Daina Mold (KITTY!) is seeking contributions for a zine called HOME. It will be about places people have lived: shacks, mansions, cars, boxes; stories of roommates, neighbors, parents, solitude. Also: what the idea of “home” means to you. Essays, comics, photos, etc. Deadline: August 1st. Daina Mold, PO Box 6681, Portsmouth, NH 03802”

“GetUnderground.com is a noncommercial website community dedicated to the promotion of underground creative arts and culture, featuring new articles, columnists, art, music, and poetix on a consistent biweekly basis. Our HotSpots section is the only continuously updated national database of performance poetry venues in the USA.”

Portland Zine Symposium
This summer, independent publishers from across the country will gather for the third annual Portland Zine Symposium. The symposium is a three-day conference and social celebrating independent publishing. It will be held at the Portland State University campus on the weekend of August 1-3, 2003. For more info visit: http://www.pdxzines.com/ or write: Portland Zine Symposium, PO Box 5901, Portland, OR 97228-5901
The focus of this year’s symposium is It Takes All Kinds. Workshops and panels are plentiful during the weekend to support this theme of diversity. During the three days you could take a class on Zines and Motherhood, The History of Zines, Bookbinding or How to Distribute your Zine. In between the classes zine enthusiasts will have ample time to peruse other people’s wares and socialize.

Microcosm CUT & PASTE Tour
“Looks like we are hitting the road again this summer with the CUT & PASTE tour! Egads. The fun just doesn’t stop, does it? Do you live in one of the fine towns below? Do you want to acquaint us with the locals? Help promote and create a really fun evening event? Bake us brownies? That would be swell. Our cast of characters this time around includes Dave Roche (On Subbing zine), Josh Browniekid (Zen and the Art of Brownie Baking), Joe Biel (Perfect Mix Tape Segue), Abner Biel (CIA Makes Science Fiction Unexciting), and Alex Wrekk (Brainscan, Stolen Sharpie Revolution). Our shows will consist of us presenting from our zines as well as doing spoken word, performance art, selling zines, and any other words for interacting with an audience.”
August 1-3 @ Portland zine symposium www.pdxzines.com ; Aug 5 - Eugene, OR @ Mother Kali’s, 720 E.13th Ave, 7 PM; Aug 6 - Ashland, OR @ Evo’s, 376 E.Main St, 7 PM; Aug 7 - San Francisco, CA @ Needles & Pens, 7 PM, 483 14th St, 415.531.7718; Aug 8 - Berkeley, CA @ Long Haul, 3124 Shattuck Ave. ; Aug 9 - Reno, NV @ Ark-aic, 555 E 4th St, 3 PM ; Aug 10 - Salt Lake City, UT @ SLC Public Library, 1:30 PM, 210 E 400 South, 801-524-8200 ; Aug 11 - Denver, CO @ Breakdown Books, 1409 Ogden ; Aug 12 - Lawrence, KS @ Grimshaw Gallery, 731 New Hampshire ; Aug 13 - Minneapolis, MN @ Arise! Books, 2441 Lyndale. ; Aug 14 - Chicago, IL @ Quimby’s Bookstore, 1854 W North Ave, 7:30 ; Aug 15-17 - Detroit, MI @ Midwest Zine Fest, 4208 Trumbull Ave. ; Aug 18 - Bloomington, IN @ Boxcar Books, 310A S.Washington St ; Aug 19 - Columbus, OH @ the park ; Aug 20 - Cleveland, OH @ Mac’s Backs, 1820 Coventry Rd. ; Aug 21 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr Roboto Project hardtravelin@yahoo.com ; Aug 22 - Philadelphia, PA @ A-Space, 4722 W Baltimore ; Aug 23 - Manchester, CT @ Krystina’s house, 63 Coburn Rd.
For up to the minute info and questions - www.microcosmpublishing.com

“Hi everybody. This is A.j. Michel of Low Hug Productions (incorporating Low Hug and one-shots like 12 Item or Less and Moving Images). I will be pulling up stakes from the Midwest at the end of the summer, and my biggest concern is not being unemployed or without a couch to crash on, but how I’m going to get mail. As for now, the standard address (A.j. Michel, PO Box 2574, Champaign IL 61825) will be good until about September 2003. After that, please please PLEASE either e-mail (lowhug@yahoo.com) or check the blog (lowhug.blogspot.com) for address updates. After working on building a good zinester reputation for the past five years (filling orders on time, etc.) I do not want miscommunications to sully it. Thanks very much for your understanding and patience during this transition.”

Cullen Carter in Serious Accident
On April 1st, 2003 Cullen Carter, the publisher behind The Secret Life of Snakes (which was reviewed in the last issue of XD) and also My Moon or More, was struck by a pick-up truck as he biked home. His injuries were severe and at press time he was in a coma rehabilitation facility. His wife, Allyson, has been sending weekly updates regarding his condition, which can be found online at: www.ashabot.com/cullen.htm. They have a two-year-old daughter, Veronica.
The zine community has been working together to help his family with mounting medical bills and also provide support. Below are two ways to lend a hand to Cullen and his family.
To help Cullen’s family with bills and expenses, please give to the Cullen Carter Benefit Fund. To do so, visit any Bank Mutual (formerly Mutual Savings Bank) location throughout Wisconsin. To find a branch location near you, you can visit their website at: http://www.bankmutual.com/locations.html
If there is not a branch location near you, you may also send a gift via the U.S. Postal Service to:
Bank Mutual
Corporate Headquarters
4949 W. Brown Deer Rd.
PO Box 245034
Milwaukee, WI 53224-9534
attn: Legal Department
Checks should be made out to: Cullen Carter Benefit Fund
To contact Bank Mutual with questions, please call (414) 354-1500 or 1(800) 358-5070, fax # (414) 354-5450.

Benefit for Cullen Carter reading in Chicago
August 3rd, 2003 8 p.m., at the Barrel Cafe at 820 W. Jackson. Among the zinesters scheduled to read: Jeff Somers “The Inner Swine,” Dr. Wred Fright, Frank Marcopolos, Emerson Dameron, and many others. Tickets are ten dollars and can be ordered by mail to King Wenclas Promotions, re: Cullen, P.O. Box 42077, Philadelphia PA 19101, check or money order pay to “Cullen Carter Benefit Fund.” More info at www.ashabot.com.

How to Order Cullen’s Zines
Clint Johns at Tower Records is handling orders for The Secret Life of Snakes while he recovers. Copies can be ordered from:
Clint Johns / Tower Mag Hell
2550 Del Monte St., W. Sacramento CA 95691
attn: CULLEN

Kate Haas on Maternity Leave
Email from Kate Haas (Miranda): “I was hoping that two hours of walking and the overall excitement of the big January 18 peace march would bring on labor, but Nathaniel made his entrance on February 9, after a rather hairy 13 hours of back labor (if, you don’t know what that is, believe me, you don’t want to); on the upside, I didn’t have to be induced this time. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but so far young Nathaniel is a very mellow and contented child. He takes naps, does not have inexplicable screaming fits, and – oh miracle! - only gets me up a few times at night. There is justice in the world after all. So far Simon’s reactions to the baby have ranged from, “I want to hold him, I want to kiss him!” to, “Let’s take him outside and break him.” We trust the former sentiments will prevail.”

The Inner Swine Weds
Oh, and since we are just getting all community newslettery now, Jeff (The Inner Swine) Somers done went and got hitched.

This city holds a million stories, most of them unwritten. Undrawn. Untold. And whether you're a native, a transplant, or just passing through, chances are that one of them is yours.
Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore! celebrates all things Baltimore, good and bad. From the routine to the quirky to the downright bizarre, Smile, Hon is interested in your stories: everything that defines what it means to live - or simply be - in Charm City. Work, home, neighborhoods, pastimes, nostalgia. Saturday night, Sunday morning, and everything in between. Good, bad, and ugly.
Submissions/queries are welcome via e-mail at esp@leekinginc.com, or by writing to Attn: William P. Tandy, c/o Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore!, P.O. Box 963, Havre de Grace, Maryland 21078; www.leekinginc.com/esp

Editor’s Note Leeking Inc. Moving to Baltimore
In the last few weeks there have been some major changes around Leeking Inc. Headquarters. I finally got what appears to be a sane, decent job, after months and months of looking and four months at an insane job. The glitch is that the job is 70 miles from Havre de Grace. I signed a lease on an apartment in Baltimore last night. For the moment I’m keeping the HdG PO Box (I’m very fond of the box and the postal staff there), but I’ll probably only be able to check my mail once a week. If I am tardy in my responses that is why. For now I have to finish this issue, get it printed, and in the mail before moving day (one week from tomorrow)...

The Columns

The History of Zines: Civilian Public Service Newsletters

By Donny Smith
PO Box 411, Swarthmore, PA 19081

Not everyone thought World War II was “the good war.” Pacifists who refused both combatant and noncombatant military service had to go into Civilian Public Service (CPS). Generally they were shipped off to Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps set up during the Depression.

These objectors were a mixed group. Most came from several dozen sects of Mennonites, Brethren, and Quakers. The rest ranged from Methodists and Congregationalists to Parsees, “Negro Moslems,” and traditional Hopi. There was also a small but vocal minority of members of the War Resisters League and other “philosophical” objectors. (Jehovah’s Witnesses often refused to serve in the camps and were sent to prison.) One camp published statistics on its workers: 64% had been farmers; average age, 25; average education, 2-3 years of high school; 83% Mennonites, from 11 sects (Weeping Water News Drops (Weeping Water, Nebr.), vol.1, no.7, p.7, no date). The average objector in a Friends camp had over 14 years of formal education, in Brethren camps over 12, and in Mennonite camps over 10. This was high compared to the armed forces, where the average enlisted man had a little over 9 years.

Most campers entered CPS full of zeal, eager to put their belief in peacemaking, service, and brotherhood into practice and be witnesses to “the Light.” Soon, however, the drudgery of the work, the poor conditions of the camps, the strain of being thrust among strangers with differing beliefs, the lack of pay, the filth, the poor food, and the difficulty of disentangling themselves completely from the machinery of war hurt their morale and in some cases stunted their spiritual growth. One objector wrote that “CPS is a tough place to convince ourselves that human beings are capable of an ideal state of society. The frustration induced by years of forced labor at relatively useless tasks makes one think instead of the ugliness and bitterness of life.” However, he went on to say that “With life stripped of its conventional frills and pleasures, we have had a chance to see through practice that the deepest satisfactions of life are found in friendly and cooperative living” (“Working toward the ideal” by Purnell Benson, The Germfask Newsletter (Germfask, Mich.), no.4, p.2, Aug. 27, 1944). The most successful camps were those that allowed the objectors to perform direct altruistic service: working in hospitals, caring for the mentally ill, being subjects of medical experiments, doing agricultural research, fighting fires. The less successful camps were those that took over CCC “make-work” projects: digging ditches, clearing brush, building fences.

Because the objectors were by nature thoughtful and idealistic and many came from churches with traditions of printed personal testimonies, most camps had at least one publication. These were usually typewritten, illustrated with simple line drawings or crude cartoons, then mimeographed on low-quality paper and mailed by folding in thirds and sealing with a postage stamp. The newsletters had titles ranging from boring—News, News & Views, News-Letter, Bulletin—to ironic—Pacifism for Other People, The Journal of Unitology, The Irresponsible, Chips (at a forestry camp), The Last Ditch (at a soil conservation camp), The Dope Sheet (at a mental hospital), and Raising Kane and Kane Penn (in Kane, Pa.). They were distributed within the camps, in neighboring towns, in the objectors’ home communities, to peace organizations, to other camps, and to government officials.

Newsletters tended to be earnest and very practical, but varied wildly in content and aims. Weeping Water News Drops was fairly typical, with information about camp residents, calendars of events, and articles on the roots of war next to articles on hog feeding. The other Weeping Water newsletter, On the Level, focussed mostly on social issues, with articles on poverty, racial integration, and a visit from Bayard Rustin (“Negro pacifist visits” by Boyd Nelson, On the Level, vol.1, no.4, p.1, Nov. 1942). The newsletter from a Lincoln, Nebr., camp, The Ruralogue, looked almost exactly like a church bulletin, except that mixed in with the notices about prayer meetings, softball, youth fellowship, and choir practice, were lectures about insect control, irrigated pasture, and building chicken coops.

All the newsletters attempted to draw connections between the objectors’ ideals and their assigned tasks. The motto of Mennonite Farmunity (Malcolm, Nebr.) was “To conserve rather than destroy.” The motto of The Conservator (also Malcolm, Nebr.) was “Learning to save souls and the soil.” An editorial from another soil conservation camp expanded on the theme: “The earth is holy, therefore, that which comes from it is holy in the sight of God. … Men have sinned against the Lord by misuse of its resources. When the soil goes the people go. To lose the soil upon which men live is to lose the souls of those men. Through our project training and work we strive to learn how to build and maintain good soil” (The Ruralogue, no.14, p.1, Apr. 27, 1945).

Newsletters from the medical experiment camps had titles like Guinea Pig Gazette, The Pig’s Pen, and The Daily Grunt. The overall tone of these was light-hearted, with sarcastic verse and comments like “Guinea pigs must not worry … SSS [Selective Service System] takes care of funeral expenses up to $100.00 and $50.00 for railroad fare” (The Pig’s Pen (Pinehurst, N.C.), vol.2, no.1, p.2, Jul. 9, 1945). They also had the usual lists of new arrivals and departures, explanations on the purpose of the projects, political commentary, and exhortations to keep up pacifist ideals (and help with housekeeping).

The camps also produced a few “cultural magazines.” Unlike the newsletters, these attempted more complex graphic design and higher-quality printing. They also included contributions from campers all over the country, not just from one camp. The Illiterati (Wyeth, Ore.) was saddle-stapled with stenciled or relief-printed color cardstock covers. The interior pages were mimeographed and featured poems, stories, and line drawings (including male and female nudes), as well as collage, linoleum prints, and tipped-in illustrations. The Compass (Waldport, Ore.) looked like a standard magazine, offset printed with half-tone photo illustrations, and lino or silkscreen spot color on the cover. (The Illiterati later gained access to a letterpress for printing.) Both these magazines featured established or soon-to-be writers and artists like William Everson, William Stafford, and Morris Graves. The content did not entirely avoid discussing pacifism or war, but mostly it was “literary” or “humanistic.” There was some discussion among objectors whether this was right. One of the editors responded, “But is art important to pacifism? … to the pacifist, the original question should have been, is art important to life? … the individual who includes pacifism in his philosophy and has chosen some form of art as his work is confronted with the necessity of fusing these two into a productive, effective function of his existence” (The Illiterati, no.2, p.1, summer 1943).

The objectors’ ideas could still be found in a zine today: “In this Atomic Age which we have entered men everywhere are faced anew with the problem of eliminating war and retaining liberty in the face of the gigantic technological power now in the possession of the national States. In an age of violence, in fact, in an age when we have the power to destroy ourselves and the world with us, each man has the moral duty of exercising his individual responsibility as a human personality to the extent of following the dictates of his conscience rather than the dictates of the state…” (“Recapitulation” by Roy C. Kepler, The Germfask Newsletter (Minersville, Calif.), vol.3, no.2, p.3, Feb. 1946).

And like current zinesters, the objectors waited for the mail carrier: “Although technically we are no longer ‘humans’ … we still like to get mail!” (Guinea Pig Gazette (Minneapolis, Minn.), volume one and only, p.1, May 1943).

sources: Conscience in America: A Documentary History of Conscientious Objection in America, 1757-1967, edited by Lillian Schlissel (Dutton, New York, 1968).

Conscription of Conscience: The American State and the Conscientious Objector, 1940-1947 by Mulford Q. Sibley & Philip E. Jacob (Cornell University Press, Ithaca NY, 1952).

Thanks to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection for access to the CPS Newsletters Collection (index at www.swarthmore.edu/ Library/peace).


By Cali Ruchala
Diacritica Press
100 E Walton #31H, Chicago, IL 60611

It’s often been lamented that zines, for all their diversity, present a very narrow view of the world, and particularly of politics. Every political zine that has crossed my desk in the last few months has told me why I should be opposed to war in Iraq (a view which is, incidentally, close to my own). The opposition to this view isn’t just muted; I can’t even find it.

Throughout history, it’s true, zines and the small press have had an incurable left-wing orientation, including, most famously, the self-published rants of rebellious anti-monarchists like Ben Franklin. But being the type of guy that I am, I prefer to look to a much darker tradition of self-publishers: cult leaders, fascist progenitors and, of course, horribly bad poets. Instead of the tracts put out by America’s first millionaire, modern zines probably have much more in common with the work of an obscure Italian Socialist who took up self-publishing, as so many of us do, in search of warm bodies to lead. You might have heard of him: his name was Benito Mussolini.

After becoming il duce and introducing the word “fascism” to human discourse (and what would modern zines be without that?), Mussolini dispatched some of his more literate blackshirts on a mission to destroy every trace of his wobbly sallies into the wonderful world of self-publishing. Fortunately, copies had been smuggled out of Italy (some were even reprinted from abroad as a jibe by his bitter ex-comrades), so it’s possible to reconstruct the contribution of the Supreme Leader to our glorious small press heritage.

In the first decade of the century, the young Benito was a volatile (if well-read) vagabond, drifting from city to city and bed to bed in search of bread and love. His ingenuity and his desperate need for an audience filled the kiosks in the small towns he passed through with a series of publications to which he was the primary (and in some cases the only) contributor.

It was while working as a teacher in Oneglia on the Italian Riviera in 1908 that Mussolini either began or took over a publication called La Lima, or The File. Though its origins are difficult to determine, The File at its height had a circulation of less than two hundred copies. Mussolini wrote every issue from cover to cover, wielding a variety of clever pseudonyms. His favourite was signed beneath his anti-Catholic screeds (it seems that Mussolini pioneered zinedom’s penetrating critique of organized religion as well): “The True Heretic.”

In The File Mussolini found an escape. He liked it as a place of shelter from the rest of the world, particularly the dreary reality of small town, provincial life, where he was merely a substitute teacher taken to bribing his uncontrollable students with candy. Already he showed an instinctual feeling for pleasing an audience. Even if a reader wasn’t overwhelmed by the need to bash his neighbour’s head in and move into his house, he was entertained by the furtive scribblings of a sociopath who was. Based on the not inconsiderable notoriety such a tiny periodical had brought (most of all from the police), Mussolini thought he might well make a career of it. He fished around for a more respectable newspaper job in Italy, but none was forthcoming.

Mussolini’s job at the school in Oneglia lasted only four months, and his tenure was not renewed. In early 1909 he crossed the border to Trent, an Austrian border province with a considerable Italian population. His Socialist connections enabled him to gain control of a moribund weekly called L’Avvenire del Lavoratore. Though the party had a strong local base of support, L’Avvenire was not considerably larger than his own La Lima.

One of Mussolini’s duties as publisher was to organize the workers behind party directives. Within a few weeks he was grumbling that he was forced to spend more time rappin’ with the proles in local beerhalls than working at his desk. Once again, his contract was allowed to lapse after a few months. His next job - as an assistant editor at the non-Socialist Popolo - lasted only weeks.

At the age of 26, the future duce returned to his hometown of Forli, washing mugs and wiping down tables at his father’s tavern. Frustrated by his lack of progress, he considered for a time emigrating to America. We can only regret that the young Mussolini didn’t follow through and launch a preemptive strike in the Zine Revolution.

Instead, the local Socialists asked him (based more on his father’s reputation as a radical than his own) to create a vehicle for the party in Forli. Without much assistance except credit from a unionized print shop, Mussolini began a four-page weekly he called La Lotta di Classe, or The Class Struggle. Over the next two years, Mussolini devoted himself solely to publishing, filling the pages of The Class Struggle with calls to violent revolt and treating politicians (Socialist as well as others), church leaders, local industrialists, sandwich makers, and pretty much anyone who looked like an inviting target or did him wrong, to his scathing attacks.

The Class Struggle was one of hundreds of small Socialist weeklies published throughout Italy, produced mainly by other small town intellectuals. Unlike most of them, Mussolini had total control of his organ (though the circulation never topped more than 1,000), and by way of attacks on his own party and calls for strikes and violent revolution alienated nearly everyone he came into contact with, except for those who already agreed with him. He wasn’t publishing Socialist propaganda so much as his own.

Mussolini’s independence from the party mainstream paid off two years later, when in July 1912 he was asked to speak at the party’s national congress. A radical faction which opposed the Socialist leadership’s cooperation with the government used the young publisher as an attack dog. The Socialists thereby engaged in their favourite pastime of purging their ranks, with Mussolini’s speech denouncing the guilty leaders for supporting the imperialist Libyan War tipping the scales. At the age of 28, Mussolini’s performance vaulted him from zinedom in Forli to a leading position in the new party leadership.

Four months after the congress, Mussolini sold out. He was offered the editor’s position at Avanti!, the leading Socialist newspaper in Milan, as payment for services rendered. Though he had gone commercial, Mussolini did carry something of his old DIY ethic with him to Milan. While he pushed Avanti! into a more militant direction, he also began a second publication, solely financed by himself. This was the little-known Utopia, an intellectual plaything for the rising star of the party. Though he put more work into Utopia than Avanti! for a time, it never struck a chord, and his later efforts to suppress it have left us with few indications as to its contents.

In the October 18, 1914 issue of Avanti!, two years into his editorship, Mussolini famously confessed that he was having doubts about Italy’s neutrality in the First World War. The party elders called him to account and he was sacked. Two weeks later, he published the first issue of Il Popolo d’Italia, an overtly “interventionist” rag in the pages of which he glorified war and called for Italy’s immediate intervention on the side of the Allies, while threatening to empty a revolver in the stomach of one of his enemies.

The speed with which he was able to launch such a massive undertaking led to suspicions that the man who moved from The Class Struggle to Avanti! on the backs of his victims had been even more handsomely rewarded for abandoning the Socialist cause. This was true, and with the payments from various Allied governments came checks from Italian industrialists (including the car manufacturer, Fiat) eager to speculate on war profits. After being drafted and injured, Mussolini went on to found the Fascist Party, and the rest is small press history.

Curiously, Mussolini was never able to shake the idea that he missed his calling when he left The Class Struggle. Ten years into his reign he was still submitting articles and letters to the editor anonymously, written in his own hand, and would under his true name advise the nation’s editors on the finer points of the trade. “Put the duce’s words in a box,” he told one, “under an eight-column headline.”

Later he made one last, nostalgic run at zinedom, ghost-editing a magazine from his palace. Gerarchia was Fascist Italy’s version of People magazine: a sort of bizarre lifestyle publication devoted exclusively to the comings and goings of the pathetic and venal creatures Mussolini surrounded himself with, the high chieftains of Fascism. It sold poorly, though because Gerarchia’s featured subjects were also in charge of its distribution, Mussolini went to his grave believing it was yet another hit in his unbroken chain of successful publications.

Ravaged by syphillis, Mussolini spent his final days reading newspapers through thick glasses, leaving snide comments in the margins and ordering what was left of his Ministry of Popular Culture to initiate new, even grander publications than Gerarchia. Hung from the gallows with his mistress, the duce remained a zinester to the end.


By Jeff Somers
P.O. Box 3024, Hoboken NJ 07030

“So what does that mean? It means it’s wank.”- Vic Flange, www.fleshmouth.co.uk, describing my zine.

... ...in which Jeff Somers considers the folly of talking back to a bad review.

Shockingly, even mega-talented hipster-doofus Zine publishers who look good in tight pants, like me, get bad reviews sometimes. I’ll give you a moment to recover from the shock. Now, I’ve already discussed the proper response to a bad review: Take it like an adult and use it as ironic advertising fodder. Or, simply ignore it with the serene confidence of cult leaders and geniuses alike. Sure, reading that you write like your ass chews gum* is no fun, but the words lose some of their power if you just smile mockingly and let it slide over you. It’s even better if you take no notice of reviews at all, aside from the aforementioned advertising-fodder. Life’s too short to be worrying over what other people think of your stuff. Unless, of course, no one is actually reading it, and you’re greeted by the calming noise of crickets in the night whenever you release a new issue. That’s a problem, I’ll grant you, much worse than bad reviews.

Sadly, a lot of people can’t seem to control themselves, and they spend a lot of time and energy responding to bad reviews. They write indignant letters to the reviewing publication, they post angry rebuttals on their web sites. This is not only silly, it’s counter-productive. Like playing tic-tac-toe with a huge supercomputer, there is no winning, only degrees of losing.

First of all, for the most part the people reviewing zines are doing so because a) they think their opinions are worth hearing or b) out of a sense of serving the zine community. While I think a lot of zines use reviews of whatever they can think of just to fill some scary white space in their idea-challenged zines, a lot of fine publications review zines earnestly, and there is certainly a value to these reviews, especially if the reviews come from a respected place like, say, Xerography Debt or Zine World. Or even maximumrocknroll, which has never given me a good review, ever. A good review gives you an idea of the content and tone of the zine in question, and a decent recommendation of whether it’s worth your dollars in the mail. After a while you get to know which reviewers you find to be reliable, and can make decisions based on their opinions. This is all a Good Thing. None of these people are getting paid to review zines, I don’t think. There’s nothing in it for them but giving honest opinions.

So why bother complaining? One of the most entertaining aspects of Zine World, for me at least, is the pathetic letters in the beginning of each issue complaining about bad reviews. The indignant protests! The insults! Every time I read these letters, I hear a baby crying in the background (but I’m prone to these sorts of audio/visual hallucinations, so that’s not too surprising; sometimes entire issues of my zine are dictated to me by a small Leprechaun named McEgo. So what? Doesn’t make me a bad guy). Same thing goes for screaming updates to web sites which hurl vitriol at the shadowy conspiracy of reviewers bent on undermining people’s hard work and genius–they resemble all too well the pathetic flame wars you witness in chat rooms, forums, and newsgroups. No one wins, no one admits being wrong, and everyone else just killfiles the idiots.

First of all, complaining about a bad review just makes it seem like the reviewer hit a sore spot. It’s like admitting that people have been telling you that your writing blows since third grade, and you can’t take it any more. People get testy about things they’re insecure about, after all. If you’re confident about something, you can accept criticism about it serenely, sure that everyone else is a moron if they don’t like your work. Complaining about a review, in my opinion, just confirms that the reviewer got something right about you.

Second, arguing about an opinion is ignorant and a waste of time. If someone thinks your zine sucks, that’s what they think. It’s like arguing over their favorite color. Don’t waste your time.

Finally, and most importantly, it’s useless. The reviewer is not going to publish a retraction. They are not going to apologize. And, most likely, you’re not going to change anyone elses mind about your zine. Chances are the readers of the reviewing publication are familiar with it and have learned to trust it’s reviews–they have a relationship with it. If they’re not already familiar with your zine, they have no reason to believe anything you say, and since you’re all pissed off and self-righteous about a bad review, it’s doubtful they’ll take you seriously anyway. All you’ll probably do is convince them that the review was right. Complaining about a review will, most likely, just embarrass you.

Obviously, since the world is still a madhouse and I have not yet been named the Poet Laureate of Hoboken, New Jersey, with the associated liquor and beer stipend, no one is taking what I say very seriously. That’s probably for the best. Still, I think if people would listen to me on this one thing and stop bitching about bad reviews, we’d have a better world. Plus, that liquor and beer stipend would be good, too.

*This is a quote from a rejection letter I got from a magazine called Samzidat when I was about thirteen years old.

The Reviews

Dan Taylor
PO Box 5531, Lutherville, MD 21094
www.dantenet.com; dante@dantenet.com

His head hurts, his teeth itch, his feet stink and he don’t love Jesus. But that doesn’t make him a bad person, it just makes him The Hungover Gourmet. Check out the journal of food, drink, travel and fun at hungovergourmet.com or send a SASE to PO Box 5531, Lutherville, MD 21094-5531 for more info.

GOMETRIC #16 Winter 2002/2003 (15A South Bedford Road, Pound Round, NY 10576; after 7/1/03 verify address at gogometric@yahoo.com; $2 per issue; 64 pages, half-legal)
Computers and desktop publishing software are the best and worst things that ever happened to the world of self-publishing. In the late 1980s, zines took a giant leap forward in terms of readability, but lost some of their personality in the process. GO METRIC solves that problem by combining desktop typesetting with a rough, hands-on, cut and paste kind of layout. That said, a zine still needs to deliver some compelling content and GM has that in spades - there’s an interview with 8-TRACK MIND editor Russ Forster about his documentary on tribute bands, why Queen “ruled,” Godzilla flicks, The Boys vs. The Dead Boys, and the obligatory pages of record and CD reviews. Best of all, who knew The Figgs had a new CD?! Good package filled with heaping helpings of smart-assitude, though I could’ve done without Rev. Norb’s thoughts on the SPIDER-MAN movie. The headache-inducing layout made it impossible to get through the first page!

CLAMOR #19 March/April 2003 (PO Box 1225, Bowling Green, OH 43402; $4 per issue; 68 pages, full-size)
Despite protestations to the contrary, sports and an alternative lifestyle are not mutually exclusive. But I can probably count on two hands the number of zines that have any kind of regular sports content or admit to liking something so corporate and mainstream. The “Everyday Pros” issue of CLAMOR tries to rectify that by presenting how real do people do all sorts of sports - everything from candlepin bowling and kickball to triathlons and something dangerous looking and sounding called “volcano boarding.” Since the mag has an admittedly alternative and activist slant, some of the contributions do come off a bit whiny, which makes it hard to appreciate the singular drive that’s required of any athletic endeavor. That said, pieces like the chat with boxer Ernie Terrell (who fought Muhammad Ali in 1967) and a look at the “sport” of cockfighting in America are excellent examples of writing in any venue.

CABOOSE #3: The Modular Karaoke Issue (PO Box 476802, Chicago, IL 60647; $2 per issue; 44 pages, digest)
My trips into the world of karaoke have been liquored-fueled performances of tunes by the Go-Go’s (which almost resulted in me getting my ass kicked), Fleetwood Mac (a heartfelt rendition of “Landslide” that thrilled the crowds), and a medley of songs from ‘Grease’ (the less said the better). CABOOSE editor Liz gathers her karaoke circle of friends for an issue-length conversation about the intricacies of the karaoke experience. I particularly enjoyed the discussions of Paper Lace’s “The Night Chicago Died,” Canadian rockers and the frank declaration that “Ya always look like an ass when you get up and do karaoke.” Brother what a night it really was...

REGLAR WIGLAR #18 (PO 1658 N Milwaukee #545, Chicago, IL 60647; $2 per issue; 48 pages, full-size)
Yet another punk zine full of band interviews and CD reviews. Best part is a couple pages of reviews for the likes of a Rock & Roll McDonald’s (what a great concept!) and Hooters, a chain I’ve never set foot in. Based on the writer’s description of the crummy food and uncomfortable seating I don’t think I’ll be heading there any time soon.

CHUMPIRE (PO Box 27, Annville, PA 17003-0027; 1 stamp or trade per issue; a few pages, various sizes)
One of the problems with many review zines is that the material is often wildly outdated by the time it lands in your mailbox. CHUMPIRE solves that by reviewing anything and everything in a no frills format that takes on everything from news about the local school system, zine reviews, new and old CDs, movies... even the state of Florida. Think an on-line blog in paper format. A fast, breezy read well worth your time and effort!

LUCID FRENZY: A Belated Best of 2002 (8 Brewer Street, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 3HH, England; $2 per issue; 20 pages, digest)
Collects editor Gavin Burrows’ thoughts on the ten best gigs and flicks of last year.

Daina Mold
PO BOX 6681, Portsmouth, NH 03802

Hi, my name is Daina and this is my first time reviewing for XD. I’ve been reading, making, and obsessing over zines for almost 10 years. My current zine, KITTY!, can be had for $1.00 or trade.

23 contributors come together to dissect the pleasures and pains of food shopping. As a lover of all things grocery, I find this zine to be positively dreamy! But even if you’d rather eat your own skin than join the supermarket sweep, you’re sure to find enjoyment in at least a few of these tales. Memories of favorite stores, noxious odors in the aisles, insulting product labels, shopping do’s and don’ts, grocery store politics, and yes, love found and lost amongst the produce. Includes submissions by some of zineland’s brightest stars (Dan Taylor, Davida Gypsy Breier, Shawn Granton, Delaine Derry Green, Eric Lyden, Sean Stewart) plus, well, me!
$3 (while you’re at it, send an extra buck and get LAUNDRY BASKET, the first installment of the LOW HUG Life Maintenance Series!); A.J. Michel, PO BOX 2574, Champaign, IL 61825

I wish more teachers made zines. While hundreds of zine kids regularly describe the ups and downs of student life, we very rarely learn what it’s like to be on the other side. Dave Roche takes on this task with a seemingly endless supply of humor, heart, inspiration, and curiosity. As a substitute teacher working in special ed, Mr. Roche has to deal with much more than the usual crap (which is difficult enough). The diary-style entries effectively narrate both the amazing (hilarious quotes, shit fights in the bathroom) and the routine (rude teachers, math worksheets). His quest to change the world, one juice-stained smile at a time, absolutely melts my heart. I volunteer at a local special ed class, and I can tell you straight up: this ain’t no easy shit, my friend. (“AIN’T ain’t a word cuz it AIN’T in the dictionary!”)
$2 (?); David Roche, 1036 N. Shaver St, Portland, OR 97227

RFTI is probably the least zine-like zine I’ve ever seen. If you subtracted the random illustrations (one per cover), you might think that you accidentally received a personal letter meant for someone else. Every issue is only a couple of typed pages in length; no introduction, no closing, no fuss, no muss. This unimposing style works, though, because it draws the reader right into the stories. Join Mick as he makes a jump rope out of rat intestines, witnesses a brutal cat fight, pisses circles in the road, busts his head open one too many times... OK, these examples might lead you to believe that the writer is an uneducated brute, but that is not the case at all. Mick’s rollicking tales may scream “Jackass!”, but underneath it all you can tell that this is just one smart guy having a great fucking time. I do kind of wish that I knew more about the writer’s background, motives, and life. However, the stories are entertaining enough by themselves and I’m glad to see something that isn’t like everything else.
$2? $3? (It IS overseas mail, but I’m sure you can get a few issues for only a few dollars. Maybe e-mail him to be sure of the price.); Mick Sols, PO BOX 5817, West End, QLD, Australia 4101 prodigal_hobo@yahoo.com

This is an interesting project. In an effort to revive the lost art of letter writing (a cause that is very near & dear to my heart!), DB Pedlar sent a sort of form letter to several musicians. In it, he explains how much he loves letters and music, asks about each artist’s inspirations, wanders off into some odd & funny tangents, and basically hopes that he will get some replies. Oh, and he lets them know that the letters might be printed in a zine. The result is a collection of responses from people like Dahlia of Dahlia & the Llamas, Brian Dillon, and Bop Monroe of Pocket Monster. While I’ve never heard of these musicians, their letters are still intriguing. Once in a while, I send a letter or zine to someone I think would never EVER write to me. The signed Lynda Barry drawing on my wall tells me that some people WILL write back! (I’m still waiting to hear from Amy Sedaris.) When you admire someone, be it writer, artist, or performer, you tend to believe that they throw all of their mail in the trash & couldn’t give a fuck about what people think. But everyone needs feedback & everyone needs letters! Yay to the old skool mail revolution! Oh, I’m supposed to be reviewing a zine, not freaking out about how much I love mail. Anyway, I enjoyed this zine & am curious to see DB’s other projects. He seems like a fascinating fellow.
$2(?); DB Pedlar, 25727 Cherry Hill Rd, Cambridge Springs, PA 16403

THE INNER SWINE Vol.9 Issue 1 “Violence” (30th issue!)
I’ve only seen two issues of TIS, but I am hooked. Unlike almost every zine I receive, I can’t read it all in one sitting. This thing sits around my house for weeks, sometimes months, beckoning me every now and then to take a little jaunt through Jeff Somers’ mind. And what a place that is! Full of hilarious humor, extreme sarcasm, harsh truth, intense self-indulgence, and severe leaps of imagination. Beneath it all lies a very genuine, intelligent person that knows way more than people give him credit for. This is what I would be like if I actually voiced my real (mean!) opinions instead of locking them up in a secret vault. This issue explores the violent nature of humans, both philosophically and superficially. While many of the essays are quite thought-provoking, I can’t help mentioning that I, too, despise “People Who Don’t Dress For the Weather.” I live in New England, and the moment the thermometer hits 35 degrees I am forced to witness hordes of shorts-sporting idiots flitting about like it’s the middle of fucking August. For shame! My new, related pet-peeve is when people wear flip-flops or sandals in torrential downpours. Maybe it would be acceptable if there was some sort of unexpected afternoon rain, but these people put on flip-flops even when it’s been pouring from dawn til dusk, for days on end! Who wants wet, stinky feet? Not me! Anyway, THE INNER SWINE is much more thrilling that my hatred of unseasonal footwear. I promise you’ll either love it or hate it vehemently. There seems to be no middle ground.
$2; Jeff Somers, PO BOX 3024, Hoboken, NJ 07030

Billy McKay and Jamie Easter collaborate on this dreamy, magical little story about a “kind man named Therman Zukjam” who enjoyed “lendin smiles to butterflies.” Therman meets a strange creature he’d never seen before, & a short, delightful romp ensues. The drawings are unique and captivating; the story is simple and sort of wistful. I’d definitely like to see more from both artists. I imagine they could create a wonderful, huge, crazy children’s book that might rival THE LITTLE PRINCE.
$1; Billy McKay, PO BOX 542, N. Olmsted, OH 44070

HAVE YOU SEEN THE DOG LATELY? Trash issue, Spring 2003
Two sisters (twins?) take on the ever-present subject of trash. The introduction got me all excited about exploring the issue at hand, but the subsequent pages left me a little cold. Besides a really funny fake episode of “Blind Date” featuring Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester, nothing managed to grab me. I can relate to Stevie L.’s love for Bulky Trash Day, but he writes as though he’s the first person to ever think of raiding the neighborhood garbage stash. Much of the zine is overtaken by a reader’s response to the “analysis” issue. I tried really hard to follow the 9-page analysis of analysis, but it just plum tuckered me out. The last essay, by Dr. Eileen Baker, is about desiring material stability while her mate tries to simplify his existence. I enjoyed this as much as the introduction, so I guess I entered and left on the same note. However, the in-betweens seemed like just that: filler. I’ve heard some great things about this zine, so maybe I just haven’t read the right issue. Or maybe it’s just not for me. Try it out for yourself!
$2; Jenny & Serena Makofsky, 456 38th St, Oakland, CA 94609

BROOKLYN! #’s 38-40
Fred Argoff sure loves Brooklyn, that much is clear! In fact, “it’s a party— and you’re invited!” His adoration is infectious, because it made a city-hater like me wish I was living right next door to him! It also made me realize that exclamation points are quite contagious! Fred devotes his spare time to learning about the history, culture, people, and life of Brooklyn, NY. Highlights include a running glossary of Brooklyn slang; interactions with nutty panhandlers, neighbors, and strangers; Floater Week (you have to read about it! The idea of this sort of thing has never entered my mind, but now it will never leave!) & more. In between the juicy bits, Fred shares a lot of historical facts about the area’s neighborhoods, streets, and buildings. Much more interesting than any textbook, and filled with a million times more love!
$10/year for 4 issues, $2-3 each?; Fred Argoff, 1800 Ocean Parkway, #B-12, Brooklyn, NY 11223-3037

KRAZY KAT LADY pack of 5 mini zines
As a crazy, purr-zine-making cat lady, I have to mention this incredible project! KRAZY KAT LADY is a series of 5 mini zines devoted to author Tiff’s fabulous felines. Gracie, Jack, Baby Kitty, Salvador, and Dan are fascinating characters that you must get acquainted with! Every issue is brimming with fun facts, anecdotes, drawings, and photos of each individual kitty. While the zines in themselves are quite wonderful, I haven’t even told you the best part: all proceeds from the zines are donated directly to a local cat-related charity. For instance, Baby Kitty’s zine gives money to the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, while Jack’s zine supports House of Dreams, a non-profit, no kill shelter. This is such an amazing, heartwarming idea! I can’t believe I haven’t thought of this! And even though, generally speaking, zine sales don’t exactly rival Microsoft, the dollars DO add up. So support a sister cat lady AND some needy cats! Buying zines never felt this good.
$1 each, $5 for the whole set; Tiff Noreuil, 3558 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214

Donny Smith
PO Box 411, Swarthmore, PA 19081
dwanzine@hotmail.com; www.geocities.com/dwanzine

Ambiguous Ambrosia (2003)
write to Paul Moore #650402, 12120 Savage Dr, Midway, TX 75852 USA, for more information
what it is: a “comic supplement” available to zinesters for insert in their zines
quote: They don’t like my whip, but I don’t like the jocks’ bats or the rednecks’ belt-buckles. My vote doesn’t count in this democracy, though.
overall: very well drawn; strong stories

Autistic eye #1 (January 2003)
available from Nicholas Miller, 635 Chapel Terr, Havre de Grace, MD 21078 USA, for $1 or “a page full of drawings suitable for issue #2” hominyandsausage@hotmail.com
subtitle: art is retarded: focusless theme-jumping sketch art from around the country!!
overall: A mixed bag—some brilliant, some lame. My favorite was an anonymous drawing of a hotrod car with rolling dice and playing cards (maybe a tattoo pattern)—caption: Saturday Nithgs (with a heart for a dot on the i). Below that is a drawing by Dan Phillips of a Vegas-style sign that says JEFE. Below that is a drawing of someone’s backside in frilly spotted panties. It’s helpfully labeled PANTIES and has flies swarming around the panties.

Double Underground #1 (winter 2003)
available from Ted Mangano #50157, WSCC PO Box 7007, Carson City NV 89702 USA, for free, but self-addressed 5x9 envelopes with 60¢ postage appreciated (do not write Double Underground on the envelope; do not send cash, checks, or loose stamps; inquire before sending trades)
inside: an editorial on “personal sovereignty”; an essay about lock-down in prison before a big thunderstorm; a story about a crazy dollmaker and her family; a story about a girlfriend and a shark attack; some poems and drawings
quote: The sturdy louvered window is designed to keep the prisoner in and the rain out in any position. I crank it fully open and the smell of warm, damp dirt enters with the wind. It is only just beginning. In the field beyond the fence, what looks to be a sheer, gray wall of water closes in fast.
overall: vivid, personal writing—a solid first zine!

Hello James (2003)
available from Dorchester Dog Hip Press, C. Dodge, 2712 Pillsbury, Minneapolis MN 55408 USA; cover price is 50¢, but send $1 at least (or send more dollars for some of the press’s other excellent publications)
subtitle: Selections from letters by the editors of zines, mini-comics, newsletters, tracts, and other self-published periodicals in response to a postcard from the Wisconsin Historical Society (formerly State Historical Society of Wisconsin), with a few words about WHS Newspapers and Periodicals librarian James P. Danky
quote: Thanks for your interest! Here’s a copy of VHFPH [Vicious Hippies from Panda Hell]! It costs 45¢ to mail if ya wanna reimburse me, if not - I’ll live! P.S. Don’t you have any thing better to do? Love John
overall: A personal inspiration! (Right now I’m working on a collection development policy for the library where I work. I’m going to take Danky’s advice and try to “collect all of the materials published in [our] service area,” so we can do our part “to create a bibliographic universe of unparalleled diversity.”)

I Hated, Hated, HATED This Zine (2001)
maybe still available from Yul Tolbert, PO Box 02222, Detroit MI 48202 USA, if you send him something nice
quote: Shortly after canceling [my review zine], I concluded that most zines are crap and scrap. In my recent experience, most zines seem to be similar in content and lacking in creativity. It’s as if the so-called “mainstream” media have taken over the small press and now most zines are as mediocre and bland as the movies, TV shows and music that the “mainstream” media produce these days.
more quotes: this shameless ball of crud … such trite zine tripe … this malarkey … this pukafying puke tank … Another big-time, big hoopla zine that sucks like a giant sucking sound … this sloppy slopola …
overall: Hey, I’m all for positivity, but sometimes it’s good to stick a pin in a few people. I’d love it if Yul made this an ongoing project (but then he’d actually have to look at these bad zines all the time, and I wouldn’t wish that on him).

It came to pass … by Maria Goodman (May 2003)
on the cover: a perfect (but hand-drawn) replica of an ornate Presser’s sheet music cover
inside: zine reviews in the form of sheet music, with one song for each zine
overall: like walking to school on a winter morning, wondering when the first snowball will be thrown
note: I dreamt this zine.

Leeking Ink Number Twenty-Seven (February 2003)
available from Davida Gypsy Breier, Box 963, Havre de Grace MD 21078 USA for $2 or fair trade
overall: Her best work so far. Spare language. Elliptic but satisfying narrative. And so emotionally hard. Left me wanting to give someone a hug (I mean that in a non-creepy way).

Opuntia 52.1A (April 2003)
available from Dale Speirs, Box 6830, Calgary Alberta T2P 2E7 CANADA, for $3 cash, trade, or letter of comment
on the cover: the zine’s namesake, a prickly-pear, talks about the experience of botanical description
inside: zine reviews, book reviews, APA (amateur press association) contact info, mail art listings, with rants about bookselling, library management, indexing practice, original research, and zine organizations
quote: She happened to be talking to the [library] book buyer who mentioned a title he was ordering for $25. She walked him over to the library book bin where they sell discards and pointed out three perfectly-usable copies of that title, 25 cents each in cost. She suggested that he buy the three copies and then take her out to dinner on the remaining $24.25. “Did he do it?”, I asked. “Yes, but we only went across the street to the City Hall cafeteria.”, she replied. overall: So many topics dear to my heart! Sharp (but only a little prickly).

Otro #3 (no date)
available from David Peña García, Apdo 20011, 48014 Bilbao BIZKAIA (SPAIN) for 50 centavos (Spain) or fair trade (elsewhere)
subtitle: zine anarquista sobre arte “arte” y cambio social [anarchist zine on “art” art and social change]
on the cover: a puzzling photo of what might be laundry hanging to dry out of an apartment window
inside: translation of an Italian interview with Stewart Home on his book The assault on culture; a statement and counter-statement from the owners of the anticapitalist brand name and store Yomango (whose main “product” seems to be shoplifting information and paraphernalia); a translation of an article on “bioprivateers” by Richard Stallman quote: … si bien puede estar cuestionando determinado nivel de funcionamiento del “sistema” (a saber, la circulación totalizante del dinero) no estará por otro lado fortaleciendo uno de los pilares de dicho sistema: el sujeto inmaduro y perpetuamente necesitado de objetos que le construyan y le reafirmen. —Yomango
overall: One of the few anarchist zines I’ve seen that has a sense of legible layout (not to mention style). Of course, I would have liked more articles on what’s going on in Bizkaia and Spain and less on English-speaking theorists, but I suppose most readers of the zine already know what’s going on there and want to know about other things.

Peace Is Patriotic, and that’s the problem (2003?)
no mailing address or price listed; a version available from
subtitle: an anarchist perspective
overall: Can’t argue with their analysis of U.S.-Iraqi relations over the past 20 years or their critique of capitalism. But I distrust any group with a revolutionary agenda, particularly one that advocates violence (probably the bourgeois Christian still lurking in me).

Pouèt-cafëe! No 3 (printemps-été 2002)
available from Christine Douville, 6595 St-Hubert, CP 59019, Montréal QC H2S 3P5 CANADA, for $5 cash or good trade
subtitle: Poésie et autres magies
on the cover: a girl on a flying carpet
inside: poems in French and English, essays in French, drawings with French captions
quote: Amante de l’engoulevent / posée comme une amande sur le portique du rêve / accélératrice de feux-follets / attise-colibris / piège à baisers / je cherche encore la flamme / qui ne se consume jamais [Nightjar lover / possessed like an almond on the portal of dream / will-o-the-wisp accelerator / hummingbird stoker / fuck trap / I seek again the flame / that never burns out ] —Nadia Capolla
overall: attractively constructed—color cover, light brown paper, bound with ribbon—but with the usual litzine mixture: some laziness, some self-indulgence, some charm, and some insight

Some zines 2 by Tom Trusky (1996)
available from Boise State University Bookstore (www.boisestatebooks.com) for $19.95 plus shipping
on the cover: silkscreened title with ink spatters on gold-painted cardboard
subtitle: alternative & underground artists & eccentric magazines & micropresses
inside: pictures of zines displayed in an exhibition at Boise State, with extensive annotations
quote: True zine/ster sorts are tinged with or drenched in anger, wit, perversity, clear-or-jaundiced-eyed innocence, iconoclasm, and imagination. Such zine/sters may illustrate breathtaking chance-taking attitudes or approaches. They may betray ignorance or scream modesty. Some provide a terrifying footnote to an ego galaxy-sized and at least half-unhinged. Others have an aura of Twinkie about them; yet, so pure, so distilled, so powerful is their essence of Twinkie, it becomes manna. Neither are they faux; however, if they are, their bogusness is beautiful to behold: we forgive them as we forgive Wayne Newton and Naugahyde. Nor is their sincerity mean-spirited. If they spew vitriol or inject venom, it is on or in a worthy victim or vein. Or is just real funny.
overall: interesting snapshot of a moment or two in zine history

Mark Hain
PO Box 411, Swarthmore, PA 19081

As usual, my reviews are late, so I’m sitting here on a Sunday afternoon, with my cat Midge on my lap, expressing opinions on these fine zines for you fine folks. I suppose it’s no great loss to be hunkered down at the computer on a weekend day, since here in Philadelphia we’ve had about five months of ceaselessly gray skies and rain. This time around, Davida has sent me a handful of zines about some of my favorite things: “vintage” films and pop music, kitties, Italy, and scary stuff. So, let’s get started….

Bloody Beautiful, Issue two
52 pages, 9 x 14”
As someone who’s tried to write about and interest others in old movies, music and art, my first reaction to this handsome, impressive publication was “I hate them. They’ve stolen my thing and done it with such class and elegance.” It didn’t take me long, though, to submit to Bloody Beautiful’s rich evocation of the wonders of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, from derby hats to spats and everything in between. There’s always something off-putting about someone who was born in 1972 dressing like an Edwardian fop and insisting there’s been no valid popular culture since the death of vaudeville, but for the most part Bloody Beautiful avoids the kind pretentious smugness that could so easily poison an endeavor like this. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the subject of a lengthy, rather kowtowing interview in this issue with David McDermott, an artist who has chosen to live in a turn of the century fashion, and who herein proclaims Hitler the greatest artist of the 20th century. More appealingly, the rest of Bloody Beautiful is substantial with pieces on British crooner Al Bowlly; German film star Lilian Harvey; singer/comedienne Sophie Tucker; and perhaps most interestingly, art historian, writer, artist, actor and all-around aesthete Sadakichi Hartmann; plus the recollections of composer/performer Kristian Hoffman on the mid-1970s New York music scene (complete with a great “best of” pop song list.) My biggest criticism is that some of the articles read a bit like book reports, without much suggestion of what it was about these figures from an earlier era that broke through the span of decades and spoke to these writers. With a generous amount of illustrations, at times the layout’s a bit slapdash, and six pages reproducing sheet music covers with no commentary or thematic groupings comes off a bit as filler, but why am I being so critical? The writers of Bloody Beautiful have produced one of my favorite zines in a long time— damn them…. “Ten American dollars” in cash, check or money order drawn on a US bank
BUA Productions, 1701 Broadway #347, Vancouver, WA, 98663
(Ed – this also comes with a colored vinyl record that I forgot to send to Mark with the issue. I concur, this is one amazing zine that encourages me with the limitless possibilities zines are capable of acheiving.)

hey ho never be still., Issue one: god(s).
A spare, beautifully rendered meditation, this latest piece by Androo Robinson unfolds into four images of increasing size, creating a sense of development and expansion.
Androo’s artwork communicates something beyond language, indefinable yet powerful.
Send a dollar or two, and I’m sure Androo will provide you with several examples of his fine work.
Androo Robinson, Ped Xing Comics, 2000 NE 42 Ave., #303, Portland, OR, 97213

Kitty!, Issue one
28 pages, 8 x 14”
Editor Daina describes her publication as a “fun-filled cat zine,” which is a rather understated assessment of this charming, witty, sassy production. Daina’s “triumphant return to zine land” was inspired by her own kitty, Kitty, who reportedly told her “…there’s absolutely nothing out there that caters to (cats’) interests. That’s why we often shred newspapers with our claws.” Cats are weird— their quirks and idiosyncrasies can be incomprehensible, and Daina and her contributors transcend tedious “my cat is so funny!” tales to create warm yet genuinely funny commentary on the bizarre vicissitudes of kittydom. Kitty! profiles various cats, complete with photos and comics, including some by Dan Moynihan that are among the finest zine illustrations I’ve seen. Perhaps my favorite moment was the comic (by Cynthia M. Spanos?) detailing the feral freak-cats of the neighborhood; it made me laugh and miss Mr. Peepy, the little gray guy who used to come to our back door for petting and food but got run over. Maybe I’m just too much of a sucker for photos of cats with blankets wrapped around their heads so they look like old ladies in babushkas (for some reason, this strikes me as about the funniest thing in the world), but I very much enjoyed Kitty!; those types who don’t appreciate cats might want to pass.
$1 or trade
Daina Mold, PO Box 6681, Portsmouth, NH, 03802; kittyzine@yahoo.com

Leeking Ink Issue twenty-seven (February 2003)
Hopefully I’m not coming off as sycophantic when I say that I think Davida’s writing gets better issue by issue. Leeking Ink, a simple but well written account of a life, is this time around infused with a strangely gripping melancholia Davida’s writing has never revealed before, while still retaining the typical humor and insight. Not that I’m some sick voyeur that revels in other people’s pain, but I’m always amazed when I realize how the negative experiences other people write about in personal zines eases me: I guess it’s a combination of both finding out that I’m not alone and seeing how others have gotten through. Davida’s writing here has that magical soothing quality; there have been times in my life I could relate exactly to the sensation of eating a doughnut and crying at the same time. $2 or fair trade
Davida Gypsy Breier, Box 963, Havre de Grace MD 21078

Mars: News, Views and Com-mentary, numerous issues, 2001-2003
Each newsletter one 8 1/2 x 11 sheet
A brief, chatty newsletter with an informative neo-pagan and amiable sci-fi geek slant, each issue features original pen and ink artwork, little tales retold from literature or folklore, and recommendations for books, films, websites, zines and artists, many connected with something called Dark Side of the Net. Much of the focus is on the pre-Christian origins of holidays, and as editor Chris Friend produces Mars seasonally, there’s a bit of repetition from year to year. He writes “The whole point of Mars is to be cutting edge for all groups. If it wasn’t a little threatening, then there would be no real point at all.” That said, the writing’s friendly tone stands in stark contrast to the images of rotting corpses and H.P. Lovecraft-like deformed creatures. It automatically raises flags for me when I see the word “magick” spelled with a “k,” but Mars isn’t insufferable.
“A few dollars for sample copies. I’ll send along a few from each season.”
Chris Friend, PO Box 14, West Union, WV, 26456-0014

Shouting at the Postman/ Ominous as the Postman, Issue forty-nine, February, 2003
12 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2”
Comprised of a compelling travel narrative by Mary Miller titled “The Last Train from Pompeii,” this issue of a well-established zine tells about the unpleasant aftermath of a visit to Pompeii; namely, waiting endlessly for a delayed train and then once it arrives, getting stuck on it for hours (shades of Philadelphia’s regional rail system). Although the narrative focuses on an unpleasant experience, it never totally loses sight of the fantastic aspects of visiting Italy: the light, the incredible food, the fleeting glimpses of countryside and unfamiliar lives viewed from a passing train, standing on ground so infused with history it sends a shiver up one’s spine, and most of all, the indefinable, life-changing sense of wonder imparted by the travel experience. The story ends with late-night pizza and beer, and what could be more satisfying than that?
“Send a US stamp, 2 IRCs or something cool in trade”
ASKalice Art Exchange Net, PO Box 101, Newtown, PA, 18940-0101

Dwan, Issue thirty-five
For the tenth anniversary of his fantastic queer poetry zine, Donny has included poems, fragments, translations, journal entries and an impressive selection of submissions by a wide range of contributors for an issue that simultaneously reflects on the past decade and breaks new ground, as always. Astonishingly rich in content, what is perhaps most amazing is that, in spite of the number of voices and writers, the recurring themes of life, death, spirituality, dreams, love and lust, growth and change weave together into a complex but startlingly unified vision (the true sign of a gifted editor). The overall effect is that of a vividly remembered dream, veering between sexual pleasure, disturbed anguish, and the sense that something, just below the surface, is trying to communicate something vital. With clean, beautiful design and nice cover art, a worthy summation of ten years of publication.
$4 or fair trade; free to prisoners
Donny Smith, PO Box 411, Swarthmore, PA, 19081

“Valerie Lives!” The Third Solanas Supplement to Dwan
With this third exploration of Valerie Solanas— paradoxical author, feminist, whore, now-and-then lesbian, mental patient and shooter of Andy Warhol— the amazingly, aggravatingly prolific Donny Smith has once again produced an exquisitely designed and fascinating account of an enigmatic figure. Who among us in the zine community can’t relate at least a bit to Solanas, a sharp, funny, insightful writer with something to say, a stand to take, frustrated by being ignored and plagiarized into murderous rage? Although I think the quality and care of Donny’s work speaks for itself, in fairness, I can’t be counted on for an unbiased review. In our lives together, his various obsessions have gripped me, and vice versa, and so I was completely absorbed by this newest account of the life and death of Solanas, told largely through an interview with some men who knew her, including her common-law husband. Equally intriguing are the various responses to his research and writing that Donny includes: “How patriarchal can U get?”. $4 or fair trade; free to prisoners
Donny Smith, PO Box 411, Swarthmore, PA, 19081
(Ed – After I read this issue I dreamt of Valerie, which I think is a recommendation in and of itself.)

Fred Argoff
1800 Ocean Pkwy. #B-12, Brooklyn, NY 11223

Time for another fun get-together here in the zine community. Many of you may not believe this, but since the last issue of XD I have moved my personal timetable up by nearly a hundred years. Yes, it’s true: I resolved to become computerized before the advent of the 22nd century, and now it is an accomplished fact. Not only do I have a computer, but a connection to the internet, too. (You may therefore reach me at wajasay@optonline.net in addition to the “real” address I still maintain.) This computer stuff has a practical side, I see, relevant to this here scribbling: I was able to e-mail my reviews in, thus saving myself much in the way of the many and varied headaches to which dealing with the Post Orifice is subject.

Ah, but enough light chitchat. There are zines to be reviewed, so let’s sharpen the pencil (figuratively speaking) and see what was inside the big, bulky package this time around...

Modern Arizona. Excuse me, but I happen to be fairly enchanted when the title of the zine has absolutely no relevance to its contents. This is a political zine, and appears to have been inspired by the recent events in Iraq. I mean, of course, the War for American Corporate Contracts. But don’t let me go getting all political. Joe Unseen will do that for me. Issue #1 puts the magnifying glass to topics such as patriotism, the World Trade Center, voting, and Confederate flags. Then, when the real shootin’ war got started, issue #2 came out quickly with protest as a theme. Let me say this: even if you aren’t especially politically inclined, you will find yourself unable to put the zine down once you start reading. Therefore, the mere buck asked for by Joe to get yourself hooked up is quite reasonable. Cheap, even. P.O. Box 494, Brewster, NY 10509.

We shall follow Modern Arizona’s review up with The Weird News, because issue #57 has a similar theme. Editor Don Busky leads off with a thoroughly humorous bit of satire (or was it prescience?) titled, “Demonstrators Call for U.S. Out of France.” There’s also a piece on the Cliche President testifying at a Congressional hearing. If you’ve never seen this zine, here’s what you need to know: Don has quite the sly sense of humor. Very often, it’s hard to tell whether or not he’s being serious. But he assures me that he is, so who am I to argue? And here’s the best part: the zine is free! Yup—don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t get anything for free. Just dash off a missive to Don at 7393 Rugby St., Philadelphia, PA 19138-1236, and he’ll have a copy in the mail to you pronto. Tell him you read it here!

Now, here’s a zine you didn’t have to ask me twice to read. The Constant Rider, subtitled Stories from the Transportation Front. Being both a believer in mass transit, and in fact an employee of same (New York City Transit rules, and don’t let anyone tell you different!) this was a zine I could sit down to read knowing from the first that I wasn’t going to be disappointed. Davida sent me two issues: Vol. 2, No. 1 had drunks as a theme. Well, as we say here in Brooklyn, waddaya gonna do? There are drunks riding trains and buses in any city, so you might as well deal with ‘em tongue in cheek. And issue No. 4 will inspire you to do some reading on the subject of transportation. So even though neither issue comes with a price listed, you should stuff the usual couple of bucks into an envelope, rush it to Kate Lopresti on the double-quick, and start riding. P.O. Box 6753, Portland, OR 97228-6753.

Neufutur is a perzine. In his note to XD, James McQuiston describes it as covering “...all facets of my young life.” I find perzines fascinating, because I think they’re windows to another’s mind. If I had any problems with this one, it’s the unfortunate and unoriginal layout style featuring paragraphs of type laid in blocks on top of graphics. Call me picky if you must, but after the first time I saw someone do that, I decided I just didn’t care for it. Should you get this zine? If insights into other people are interesting to you, you should. $1 and trades are welcome, from James at 408 South Locust St., Greencastle, IN 46135.

Ah, here we go! A zine from Fort Greene—which only happens to be a section of Brooklyn. (Come on, Davida—you didn’t send this one to me purely by coincidence, did you?) (Ed. - Nope.) It’s styled a “fanzine,” and titled Abort! (exclamation point included, just like in my zine). Now, I must tell you that I’m never sure exactly what a “fanzine” is supposed to be. This one, though, seems to read more like a perzine. There’s certainly a lot of drinking going on, and rather more in the way of four-letter words than I use in my own writing. But what the hell? If it was all slick and professional, it wouldn’t be a zine, and then who’d care about it at all? I say, go for it. 32 pages of photocopied hellraising for only $1 plus two stamps, from Jonathan Spies, 40 Adelphi St. (#3), Brooklyn, NY 11205.

Once upon a time, I traded zines to get Infiltration. Then all of a sudden things got cut off from the other end without explanation. I still don’t know why, but I still love this zine. Why? Look at the subtitle, pal: it’s The Zine About Going Places You’re Not Supposed to Go. Is there a living, breathing human being who could resist a temptation like that? Nah, I didn’t think so, either. Issue #20 takes us to the Twin Cities of Minnesota (that’s Minneapolis-St. Paul, in case you don’t have immediate access to your atlas.) We’ll go poking around beneath Hamm’s brewery, as well as in telephone and power tunnels, and the Old Bank Cave. Can you do better than this? Nah, I didn’t think so. Although listed as an occasional publication, you should still get your copy right away, if not sooner. $2 to Infiltration, P.O. Box 13, Station E, Toronto, Ontario M6H 4E1. And please don’t forget that you need extra postage for letters to Canada.

How about another perzine? OK, let’s try Supreme Nothing. I will admit to being intrigued by the title, and roping in readers is half the battle. The intro to issue #14 is titled, “14 bottles of beer on the wall, 14 bottles of beeeer,” and welcomes you to Denny’s life, filled with spelling and grammar errors. Things happen—relationships, drinking, concerts—and, well, I guess I thought it was a good read, and what else do you want from a zine? No price listed (I wish people would tell you somewhere in the zine what it costs), so “the usual” will have to do, from Denny at P.O. Box 211, Burton, OH 44021.

Finally out of me this time, there’s My Strange Malady, issue #3. Some opinions about this-and-that, and a whole lot of zine reviews. The thing that bothered me about it was the small type size. As anyone who’s ever seen any of my zine work knows, I am definitely not allergic to photocopying. But come on, you can’t run eight or even six-point type through a xerox machine and expect it to be readable. Bigger type, less eye strain, OK? Other than that, I wouldn’t mind if maybe the next issue appeared in my mailbox. $1.25 or trade from James Dawson, P.O. Box 613, Redwood Valley, CA 95470.

Wait a moment! There's one more zine I have to cover. What would you think if you saw the word Chunk plastered across the cover of a zine? Would you imagine it was a music zine? Well--it is. Now I must confess that while there are many subjects upon which I might discourse, music is not one of them. To show you how much of a dinosaur I am, I've considered the book to be closed on rock 'n roll since the Beatles broke up in 1970. Still, the second issue makes up a fun and spirited zine...and not entirely filled with things musical, either. There are some restaurant and zine reviews, a deconstruction of the second Tyson-Holyfield fight, and most fascinating of all, an interview with a real, live milkman (perhaps more politically correctly termed a "dairy deliveryman.") Once again, no price listed, but since you already know the deal, get that envelope prepared and send it straight off to Jason Olcott, 2445 55th Ave. SW, Seattle, WA 98116.

Brooke Young
c/o SLC Zine Library, 209 E 500 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Dude, did you guys see Arsenal totally lose the title to Man United? I would be upset, but Arsenal had plenty of chances to win. Now my soccer season has ended and Saturday mornings no longer contain a good reason to get up early. Sigh. Plus, poor David Beckham broke his wrist and when David Beckham is in pain, fairies loose their wings. Or something. I feel like I should mention in every introduction that I work at the Salt Lake Public Library and that we have a really cool zine collection. Anyway, feel free to email me - byoung@slcpl.lib.ut.us

Infiltration #20
I was so surprised about how much I liked this zine. I have to admit to being a stereotypical girl who fears dark places and things that have eight legs, but I love this zine. Infiltration bills itself as “the zine about going places you’re not supposed to go” which is exactly what it is. This issue is about exploring the underground tunnel system in the Twin Cities and how they were discovered and mapped out by the Action Squad (maybe I don’t like the name Action Squad, if you name your group the Action Squad I expect crime fighting and cool gadgets). I think what impressed me the most about the zine is that these guys are great storytellers and each contributor did such an impressive job of conveying the excitement of exploring the unknown parts of a city. Zines like Infiltration are why I like zines; they are about how odd other people are and how happy they are being odd.
Send $2 (cash only) to Infiltration PO Box 13, Station E, Toronto, ON, M6H 4E1 Canada, liz@infiltration.org

28 Pages Lovingly Bound with Twine #6
If you have never seen this zine or if you have seen it but never read it, then your life is somehow incomplete. There must be a nagging feeling that something just isn’t right but you don’t really know what. You might be happy, but your joy is somehow tainted by an unknown element. I am here to tell you that this zine could possibly be that piece you are missing. It won’t make you richer or cure your health problems or make your breath smell less like garlic (dude, brush your damn teeth!!) but it will make you laugh and then go, “ahhh, how cute.” I guess if you need something more substantive in this review, this issue is about water heaters, Christoph’s kid Herbie, and his missing Muse Pat. P.S. I didn’t just say nice things about this zine because I fear Christoph’s fiery rage and didn’t want to receive an expletive ridden letter. Really, I promise.
Send $2 (that is a steal!!) to Christoph Meyer, PO Box 106, Danville, OH 43014

Thoughtworm #9
I love this zine. Very few people understand the art of writing personal essays like Sean does. This issue of Thoughtworm is the music issue and it is chock full of deep looks into how Sean infuses music into his daily life. It also describes how being in a band changed him from just a passive listener to someone who actively creates. Now that you all have a brief summary of this issue, let me tell you how I have to read Thoughtworm, just in case you need hints. I have to read the zine all the way through, without stopping or taking a break. Reading Thoughtworm is one of the few things I like to do when the house is quiet and there are no distractions. I also tend to read each issue several more times, with weeks passing between readings. Every time I read it again, I catch something that I missed in a previous reading. I think it is remarkable that I never skip pages or skim to the end of the zine to find out the conclusion, which I do with everything else.
Send $2 to Sean Stewart, 1703 Southwest Pkwy, Wichita Falls, TX 76302, www.thoughtworm.com

Clamor Jan/Feb 2003 Issue 18
The first time I went to what is now called the Allied Media Conference (formerly the Underground Publishing Conference) in Bowling Green, Ohio I was, I think, 17 years old and extremely terrified. If you want me to tell you the Snapple story, which just highlights how terrified I was, email me. I bring this up, because the Allied Media Conference is brought to you by the same people who produce Clamor and they are forever twined together in my consciousness . I really respect Clamor for several different reasons. One is that Jen and Jason totally get that you have to infiltrate the system in order to make a difference. That makes more sense to me then a lot of the snob rhetoric that is prevalent in the punk community. Another reason why Clamor gets props from me is the quality of writing and art they manage to find. The contributors are great, even if they are some times a little serious. The final and biggest reason to run out and buy a subscription to Clamor is how open minded they are. In this issue the theme is technology, which is handled well with lots of grays and few easy answers.
Subscriptions are $18 for 6 issues. PO Box 1225, Bowling Green, OH 43402, info@clamormagazine.org

Slug & Lettuce Winter 2003 #74
I feel somewhat underqualified to be reviewing such a bastion on punk culture. I tend to be a “wimp” and I often tell people, “I’m not really all that angry, just melancholy.” The fact that I deal with my anger more in the sad puppy kind of way makes most of the music reviews kind of pointless for me personally, but for others they are at least well written. As for the regular columnists, they were outstanding. This zine contains a good mix of different kinds of people in the punk community which helps make their columns interesting to read. I think that the more capable the punk world is at adapting, the better they will survive. Look at the Catholic church, one of the reasons they survived for such a huge chunk of time was their ability to change (well, that and brutal oppression). Hmm…maybe my Catholic analogy didn’t work, or maybe it works a little too well. You decide. Let’s return to Slug & Lettuce, which is a great source of well-written articles that are on subjects that are of interest to punks and zinesters alike. I should admit that the type was just a wee bit too small for this myopic melancholy lass, but those among you blessed with good eyesight and a fondness for carrots might be better off.
Send postage (or $2 if you are not a cheap bastard) to PO Box 26632, Richmond, VA 23261-6632

For awhile I was convinced that Trent Call either did not exist or that he wanted to beat me and my melancholy ass up for not being hip enough. After having actually met him, I have revised my opinion and now think that I just have an overactive imagination and am paranoid. Trent is legend in the Salt Lake zine scene and he deserves some sort of gold star or prize. He has taken SWINJ from just a photocopied zine and turned it into a performance piece that includes making the entire city of Salt Lake his canvas by means of stickers on flat surfaces and an artistic use of the spray can. This issue far surpasses earlier attempts at greatness, which is saying a lot because #4 was damn fine. The art included in SWINJ is usually described as “graffiti” art, but SWINJ also includes some impressive writing as well as a truly amazing cover made out of either red or blue folders. If I had to pick one representative to send to the zinester U.N. conference from Utah, I would send Trent.
Please send $5 to Trent Call, 741 S. 400 West #3, SLC, UT 84101; tonic482@aol.com, www.swinj.com

Factory Wounds #3
I struggled to read this zine more then any of the others sent by Davida this time around. I picked it up on several occasions and just could not read more then a few pages. It took me awhile to warm to the author’s writing style and to figure out what the point of it all was. I guess this is a perzine, but it is extremely obvious early on that Jacob Snodgrass didn’t publish the sort of vain musings that comprise a lot of perzines. I don’t mean that to sound insulting to perzines, but part of the reason why I like them so much is that voyeuristic look into a life that the author felt was interesting enough for the world to read. I am also not saying Jacob isn’t vain, because when it comes to name dropping his smarts, he does that. On the other hand, his writings comprised of real life events, movie ideas, and dreams all eventually have a point. As I read several accounts of different dreams I was wondering what the point was because I got the feeling Jacob didn’t necessarily enjoy exposing his unconscious to me. Then you realize he is using his dreams to back up a larger hypothesis which involves subconscious, Buddhism, Surrealism, and Japanese film making. Maybe I should have read it more then once.
Send $1 or a trade to Jacob Snodgrass, 6648 Eastland Court, Worthington, OH 43085

Quest of the Moon Box
This is a zine about the importance of quests. Once upon a time a great man named Sir DB Pedlar set forth to find a magical box that would hold moonlight for him on cloudy nights. Sir Pedlar prepares heartily for this treacherous journey, for which he knows he will have to travel to new and far away places. After much feasting and toasting he sets off on his quest. The toils were many and he fought mightily in order to find the magical moon box, but yea, he did find it. All shall hear of his quest and forever try and recreate his valiant deeds.
All ye of mighty spirit send $3 to DB Pedlar, 25727 Cherry Hill Rd., Cambridge Springs, PA 16403

Josh Bowron

Josh Bowron does Scatological Think Cap, #4 is right on the tip of his tongue. He’s moving soon, so e-mail is best to contact him: joshbowron@hotmail.com.

What do you do with Xerography Debt? After I wrest my new copy from my beloved p.o. box I pore over it with my new highlighter. By nightfall that baby is dog-eared, tabbed, annotated, and highlighted. Next to XD I’ve got a stack of trades, letters, and dollar filled envelopes. Hats off to Davida for her dedication and for putting out the best and most consistent review zine out there. Without further ado, here are the zines I reviewed in the order in which they are stacked on my table…

The Zine Dump #2
$? / Guy H. Lillian, P.O. Box 53092, New Orleans, LA 70153
Zine Dump is to Challenger as Frasier is to Cheers; that is: a spin off. Mr. Lillian understands, as not enough people do, that “zines demand quick response.” So he has gleaned the zine reviews in Challenger. Since Challenger is a sci-fi fanzine, The Zine Dump favors the SF zines but still reviews “non fannish zines on the mere basis of whim”. Zine Dump is a good read with the most well written review I’ve ever received. Except I can’t decipher this sentence, “If he reads SF, he’d be a great recruit for one of the rebel apas”. Guy, if you’re reading this, throw me a bone!

Slush Pile: The Second Coming
$5; 84 packed pages / P.O. Box 42077, Philly, PA 19101-2077
This publication from the Underground Literary Alliance (ULA) is simply putting out “authentic American writing”. The $5 price tag may leave some cold, but it’s worth it, not one inch of space is wasted in this fine collection.

Fun Facts edited by Eric Lyden
$2 / 224 Moraine Street, Brockton, MA 02301-3664
What follows is a direct transcript of my thoughts upon receiving Fun Facts: What is this? Seems like a bunch of superlatives. Who cares what jobs you wish you had. Silly, silly, lame, silly, stupid. Who cares, silly, really? When you were 3? Silly, silly, cool, silly, cool. Hey me too. Wow, really? After your mom’s dog? Final verdict: Fun Facts is Entertainment Tonight for zinesters (i.e. you can’t help but be attracted to it). Also has a nice contact section for those listed.

Out of the Blue #13
$3; 48 pp. / Larned Justin, PO Box 471, House Springs MO 63051
The first half of Out of Blue is a collection of stories and some excellent comics. The second half holds reviews.

Shot By A Raygun #5
by Jamie Easter and Billy McKay
Minicomic; $1/trade / Billy McKay, PO Box 542, N. Olmsted, OH 44070; billyCSQP@aol.com
A whimsically weird tale, the opening line alone is worth the ordering. The art is superb, two very different styles coming together beautifully.

Opuntia #52
$3/trade/or letter of comment / Dale Spiers, Box 6830, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 2E7
Smart commentary, quirky history, and a sci-fi convention. An excellent example of what I call a grown up zine.

28 Pages Lovingly Bound With Twine #6
$2 / Christoph Meyer, PO Box 106, Danville, OH 43014
Four words: Herbie is zine gold. A few more words: Herbie is Christoph’s child but don’t think that 28plbwt is simply some guy showing home movies. Highly recommended. Also inside: the cutest phrase ever uttered in English. and Christoph’s bathing habits (speaking of which I just accidentally typed Crustoph). Christoph also puts out The Heart Star for $1.50. A very well done, illustrated story of redemption through acceptance. Block printed cover, nice thick paper throughout, a nice handfeel.

Rock Out: ideas on booking DIY shows
$2 Megan Wells, PO Box 5027, Chicago IL 60627
Common and not so common sense on puttin’ on shows. Beautifully classic cut and paste. Recommended.

For the Clerisy: Good words for readers #50
LOC/Trade / Brant Kresovich, PO Box 404, Getzville, NY 14068-0404
Ultra-smart zine that meditates on…everything. Featuring vast swathes of quotes of commentary from the wizened Brant, the man’s been around and read a little too. Highest recommendation.

½ legal; 24 pages; $1 / PO Box 6681 Portsmouth, NH 03802
The title says it all, a nice collection of anecdotes on life with cats including one from yours truly. Nice cut and paste layout.

Child of the World
$6; 100+ pages / Michael Olaf, 65 Erickson Ct. #1, Arcata, CA 95521
Not a zine, not a book, not a catalogue but somewhere in between. Child of the world is indispensable for anybody who’s interested in alternative forms of education. The $6 price is more than worth it.

Eric Lyden
224 Moraine St., Brockton MA 02301

Hey and howdy. What’s up, kids? Before we begin I’d like to tell you all about a little problem I’ve been having lately. Not a big problem, mind you, but a problem is a problem. What is this problem? Zine trades. I just haven’t been getting enough of them. Why? My zine is a good one. It gets plenty of good reviews (maybe even in this very issue) and good notices and whatnot, yet day after day I go to the mailbox and find it empty. Maybe this is partly my own fault because I’m not aggressive enough about trading and just don’t send enough out to folks, but... Hell, why don’t you initiate the trade? I’m happy to trade with just about anyone. So c’mon, trade with me. Please?

God, that was the most pathetic intro ever. By the way, I’m also going to be putting together a second issue of Fun Facts so anyone wanting to contribute to that can just get in touch with me. It won’t be out for a while, so this isn’t an official announcement looking for submissions, it’s more of a prelude to an announcement. Still, getting it done early is always cool. Anyhow, reviews…

The Pornographic Flabbergasted Emus #3
You know what this zine reminded me of? I’m probably the only one who would consider this to be a compliment and Wred might be downright offended, but this zine reminded me of the old Monkees TV show. Really, it’s about a band living together in the same house frequently having nutty misadventures. Seriously, it’s like the Monkees with more sex and booze. It’s like...Extreme Monkees! Oh man, if I was a TV producer I’d buy the rights to the Emus from Wred and shop them around to the networks as the Monkees of the new millennium and…oh man, we’d have such a hit on our hands. Anyhow, moving on from this Monkee nonsense, PFE is actually a serialized novel following the adventures of a band by the same name. The idea of doing a serialized novel in zine form is a good one and I’d like to see it done more though I’m not sure many zine folks have the writing chops to pull it off. This issue contains chapters 6-8 and although it is just part of a greater story you should have no problem getting into it right away without any problems (although you will want to see what happens next and you will want to order back issues to see exactly what you missed) 2 nitpicky details I must point out - sometimes the font will change in the middle of a section for no apparent reason (ed. – this indicates a change in character speaking) and Funnybear’s constantly referring to himself in the third person is really annoying to read. I realize that it’s sort of supposed to be annoying, but to me it was annoying in a way that wasn’t intended. Still, this zine was great. Well-written and funny with realistic (though still somewhat ridiculous) characters...I can’t wait to order the back issues. Send $3 ppd. or trade (but write or e-mail before trading) to Wred Fright PO Box 770984, Lakewood, OH 44107; wredfright@yahoo.com

Out of the Blue #14
When you’re reviewing zines you begin to appreciate it when zine writers include a little form with their zine which contains all the pertinent contact info. Well, this zine contained the form, but it was blank. I ask you, what is the bloody point of that? Do they do this to mock me? Do they, huh, do they? (Ed. – Um, Eric, Larned usually includes those in Out of the Blue so that people can send him their zines to review. He uses the same basic form as XD, so I can see where that could be confusing. Sorry.) At any rate, I liked this zine a lot. It’s an anthology of sorts with comics (the best being Joel Orff’s) writings (including 2 columns by Christoph Meyer and a story by Matt Holdaway about almost getting eaten by a bear) and plenty of reviews. Good stuff, though as with any anthology you may not like everything, but you’ll find enough here to be worth your while. Send $3 to Larned Justin, PO Box 471, House Springs ,MO 63051 candidcartoons@yahoo.com; www.candidcartoons.com

The Spazz Report #1
Ladies and gentlemen, what we have here is a very first attempt at a zine. Round of applause and let us officially welcome Joy into the zine community. And it’s a good one, too. This is far better than most first attempts at zines, which tend to be sloppy affairs. This one is clean with no fancy layout and a few nicely reproduced photos. The theme for this issue is work with a funny yet oddly sad piece on what Joy wanted to be when she grew up, various funny work stories, a piece by the author’s dad which is the low point of the issue (but I guess you can’t tell your dad that he isn’t good enough to be in your zine, can you? Still, the piece is a low point in an otherwise fine zine) and a short fiction story that is entertaining enough, but still comes across as “Shit, I’m done with the zine, but still have 2 pages to fill. I guess I’ll just toss in this story I wrote...” Good zine, especially considering it’s only her first issue. I liked it a lot and am eager to see what she does next. Get it by sending either $2 or trade to Joy Todaro, ASC Box #726, 141 E. College Ave., Decatur, GA 30030

Thoughtworm #9
Thoughtworm has gotten plenty of good reviews in XD in the past so in an effort to conserve space I’ll try and be brief. This issue chronicles Sean’s lifetime of listening to and playing music. No fancy layout, no graphics other than some well-drawn stick figures, just writing and good writing at that. Good stuff, very highly recommended. Send $2 or trade to Sean Stewart 1703 Southeast Pkwy, Wichita Falls, TX 76302; www.thoughtworm.com

Maja Daoust’s comics
These are pretty cool, though I’m not quite sure what to make of them. Squid and California Dreams appear to be illustrated dreams; The Systern is an odd little tale of blood, shit, puke and cum, and VS. is a comp zine put together by Lost Dog Press featuring drawings of various epic battles such as tiger vs. python, Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster, Lake Titicaca vs. Dick Butkus (my personal fave) and many more. Odd, but entertaining. No contact info or price listed on the zine so for info e-mail Maja at peeweerules@hotmail.com

Get Bent! #10
Wow, this is a pretty neat looking package. For Get bent! #10 Ben did a series of 5 mini-comics titled “Can,” “Anybody,” ‘Find Me,” “Somebody,” and “To Love?” The 5 comics are all separate stories, but they all have similar themes of loneliness and depression. It’s really a pretty melancholy series of books, yet it still also manages to have a certain sense of humor about them, though I wouldn’t really consider any of them to be what you’d call funny. Great packaging and great comics. What else could you want? Send $4 and .75 or postage (expensive, but worth it) or selective trades (e-mail Ben for details) and not free to prisoners (he seems to be rather adamant about that) Ben T Steckler, PO Box 7273, York, PA 17404; bsteckler@suscom.net

Too Negative #1
Hey, more comics! Cool beans, as the kids say. The title of this comic is Too Negative, yet this comic actually focuses on the positive aspects of negativity. If that makes any sense to you and the way I explain it, and it probably doesn’t, but if you read it you’ll get what I’m saying. (Ed. – You are trying to kill me, aren’t you?) Anyhow, this comic is funny. There’s at least one good chuckle on every page (except for the “Bongwater Buddhists” strip which just didn’t do it for me) My fave bit was White Boy Angst Comics which was a pretty dead on parody of these auto-bio comix artistes types who just think they’re so bloody brilliant. Funny stuff and a worthy object of mockery. Plus Jenny actually uses her humor comics to actually express a point of view about the world, which is really sort of rare when you get right down to it. Send a few bucks or something to Jenny Gonzales, PO Box 22477, Brooklyn, NY 11202-2477; lilrenoir@aol.com; http://www.anglefire.com/ny3/devildoll. Oh, and Jenny is also in a band called Ms. Pac Man (or maybe it’s Pak man...) which is comprised of 3 (or is it 4? hell, maybe it’s 5. I dunno...) really cute chicks. Just thought I’d mention that...

Damaged #7
OK, before I get started with this review I’d better make a few things clear for some of our more sensitive readers - this zine mocks fat people, the homeless, claims the Beatles suck, makes a few jokes about pedophiles, and if you want to be picky you could say it also makes fun of the mentally ill. Right now those of you reading this have either fainted in disgust or are saying, “Where can I get me this wonderful zine?” If you (like me) fall into the latter category you are a wise person indeed. This is one of the funnier zines I’ve ever read. I’m not saying it’s for everyone because it’s clearly not and I’m not saying every bit is a classic because some jokes just fall flat, but at 50+ pages for just 2 bucks you can’t complain too much. Send either $2 or a trade (free to Mexico) to Louis Fowler, PO Box 54572, Oklahoma City, OK 73154; StrokerAce2k2@aol.com

FANgirl #1
If nothing else this zine has a message - women can be just as obsessed with your geekier aspects of pop culture as men. This zine is called FANgirl because it comes from a more female perspective than your average zine focusing on comics and movies and anime. It’s a fine concept and it manages to walk the fine line of being “girly” (for lack of a better term and I know there’s a better one I should be using) enough to stick to its premise, but never becomes so girly that it would scare guys away. A very good, entertaining, funny read if you’re into pop culture type stuff. The only part I wasn’t into was the piece on anime, but that’s just because I’m not into anime. Overall a very enjoyable read. Send $2 or a trade to Emily McCombs, PO Box 54572, Oklahoma City, OK 73154; misanthropegirl@aol.com (yes, it’s supposed to be the same address as Damaged. No, I didn’t just screw up and type the same addy twice. Mind you, I wouldn’t put it beyond me to make such a dumb mistake, but I didn’t do it this time...)

Maria Goodman
2000 NE 42nd Ave. #303, Portland, OR 97213

I’m still amazed that no matter how many crappy zines I get in the mail, or buy by accident thinking they’ll live up to their name or cover, the brilliant treasures keep sneaking in, rare and wonderful, raising the bar for my own zine, Secret Mystery Love Shoes. Here are some of the most recent pieces of gold:

Esperanza #2 and #3
by Jackie, PO Box 33441, Baltimore MD 21218, esperanzazine@yahoo.com digest, $2.00 or trade, 24 pages
When I first got this zine, I was like “Esperanza? What is it, in Spanish?” I opened it up and saw something about babies and immediately assumed (in my harsh and hasty way) that it would be either precious or spiritual or just really dull, because what’s so exciting about babies? The fact that there weren’t lots of illustrations or a snazzy cover further fueled my cynicism. But then I started skimming and one of those magical zine moments occurred: every doubt I had was ERASED. This was in fact a FANTASTIC zine. I was a FOOL. Jackie is such a good writer that illustration would be extraneous. The first article I read was about accidentally peeing in public and I couldn’t believe anyone would write such an honest and embarrassing story. I kept skipping around reading articles, saving what I thought would be the boring ones for last, but finally I was reading the Introduction and even THAT was astounding. Who writes good introductions? Nobody! Except for Jackie. I’m eating my hat.

I still don’t care much about babies, but I do care about women and books and food, and Jackie has this awesome ability to express her opinions and passions in a really thoughtful, enthusiastic way. You feel like since she had twins she’s suddenly looking at the world with brand new eyes and is all excited to describe what she’s realizing and learning, which is extremely inspiring. She reviews books and zines (especially mama zines), talks about activism, about writing, and of course, about her twins. And even that snagged my interest, because I’m a twin, too.

Check out this little sample from the introduction to her second issue and see if you aren’t moved: “I know why I read zines: to get glimpses into the lives of other people, usually people who are well-spoken and articulate, people who limn their daily details and make me remember them in the random moments of my own days...people who can voice feelings and emotions I always knew I had but never really saw clearly until some stranger handwrites it across a page.”

Issue 3 continues in this same great vein, with a description of her t-shirt collection, her hopes for a room of her own, her worries about raising mixed-race children, and the distro she’s starting for mamas (www.geocities.com/mamasunidasdistro).Plus, photos of her daughters so you can see their cuteness for yourself.

Zuzu and the Baby Catcher #1, #2, #3
by Rhonda, 2535 NE 46th Ave, Portland OR 97213, rhon@Uswest.net; www.emeraldgiant.com/babycatcher mini, $2, 32 pages
What’s with all the baby zines? You know what’s weird is that on the same day I got a letter from Jackie (Esperanza) telling me to check out ZBC, this zine was also in our mailbox. Mother’s intuition? Written in small perfect handwriting and illustrated with hilarious perfect drawings, ZBC is like a cute little present. Rhonda (the Baby Catcher) writes zippily and smartly about life with Zuzu (her daughter) and Randy (the Geek Daddy). Issue one describes Rhonda’s first pregnancy in high school (she liked it!), her newfound fascination with feet, birth stories, and family outings (I loved the illustrations of what they all got at Baskin Robbins one stressful night). Issue two contains more birth stories, a list of things you think you’ll never buy as a parent but DO, another family outing (sex on the beach!), and the tale of what it’s like to have hypothyroidism. Issue three is the fashion issue—there are drawings of various midwife outfits (it seems a vest is essential), Zuzu’s favorite clothes, Randy’s former mullet, and lots more. Also each issue features a suggestion box of things to read and the Geek Daddy page, which is always funny and well-written. This is one of those zines where you’re like “How can somebody write AND draw this good AND lay everything out beautifully?” Tomorrow I’m going to meet Rhonda in person, so I’ll find out if she’s really for real or not.

Double Underground #1
by Ted Mangano, c/o Fanorama Society Global Headquarters, 109 Arnold Avenue, Cranston RI 02905 digest, $2, free to prisoners, 22 pages
You wouldn’t think someone in prison would have perfect grammar and spelling or the ability to write short stories of a New Yorker caliber or a friendly, chatty writing style complete with silly sense of humor, but all this is true: Ted is amazing. Somehow he manages to put out this zine neatly, adding drawings in COLOR—”I wrote and assembled it on my prison bunk with just a roll of tape, a stash of paper, and two typewriters. Like a good little convict, I trimmed the paper pieces using the fold-and-lick method and employed no tool that might possibly double as a weapon— not by any stretch of the most painfully paranoid imagination.” (Because he was recently moved to another prison with rules that make copying and distribution impossible, a distro is now helping him out—see address above.) With cheerful honesty, Ted tells you why he’s in prison and in his stories there are more details, all of them fascinating, because how many of you have been in the slammer? There’s also fiction anyone can relate to, about families and relationships and weirdo grandmothers. And stuck here and there, almost bashfully, are short and good poems. This summer his second issue is due out and man, I can’t wait to read it. He says it will be bigger and will contain letters and reviews in addition to everything else. This is not a zine you make excuses for. You will not say “Gosh, for a prison zine, it’s pretty good” and you won’t temper your opinion with pity or make special allowances because he doesn’t have the advantages you have. This, my friend, is high quality stuff.

Moonlight Chronicles #33
by Dan Price, Box 109, Joseph OR 97846; www.moonlight-chronicles.com mini, $5, 120 pages
For several years, Dan has been printing these gorgeous little books that are like drawn diaries of his adventures traveling and observing. Infatuated with the hobo lifestyle, he hops trains and camps in secret nooks and refuses to sell his soul to corporate America. Beginning with issue 32 he’s been documenting his “Great American Trike Tour” in which he rides a recumbent bicycle across America, and his zine possesses the quiet humor and friendly acceptance of Steinbeck along with the wide-eyed enthusiasm of Kerouac. His intricate line drawings show the faces and buildings and scenery of Ameriea, and his tidy handwriting describes with unbelievable cheer what it’s like to pedal through storms, up mountains, along narrow streets, and into town after town where people are kind, rude, curious, and bizarre. We get to hear about the high spots (generous strangers and forgiving weather), the low spots (trike breakdowns, family problems), and everything in between—it’s completely, utterly satisfying. Take one of these brown-papered issues outside, sit under a tree, and laugh, sigh, and doodle what’s around you— I swear after reading it you’ll grow a new eye.

Trace of the Hand (issue # “Organic Pizza Please”)
by DSAME, PO Box 3405, Portland OR 97208; www.DSAME.com digest, $10 (includes price of mailing, a tape, and something to eat), 110 pages
This is a very kind-hearted publication, full of information on how to help the “have-nots” — the disabled, elderly, minorities, homeless, and people of extremely low income. While rather long-winded and scrambly-looking, it is absolutely bursting with details of what you can do to change the bleakness of society and provides addresses and photos of various stores, restaurants, and organizations in the Portland area that are generously doing what they can to contribute. $10 sounds like a lot (um—I got it free from Davida), but here’s what you get: the zine, an 8 1/2 X 17” poster, an audio tape (poetry, songs), a tiny bit of community-supportive food and a community-supportive aromatic item (Ed.- There were a few other food items that didn’t make it out of XD headquarters – very good vegan mints and chocolate.). They call their zine an “All 5 Senses Zine Experience” because “it is meant to engage all the senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch...in a very personal way.” The handwritten portions are punctuated by calligraphy, little hearts, smiley faces, and i’s dotted with circles— at first I assumed this was the work of a crazy person, but it turned out to be very well-written and coherent and most of all, sincere. These are people who really don’t have much money or food, who often don’t have places to live, but they’re doing everything they can to give something to the world with absolutely zero whining or judgment. Maybe it’s a little corny and on the Christian side, but it’s astoundingly sweet and upbeat, and really does inspire you to think of the world as a community, rather than as a bunch of selfish individuals only out to satisfy themselves.

1573 N. Milwaukee Ave, #403, Chicago, IL 60622

Ascension (Pamphlet #4 in the Camelopard Series - A Course of Study for Aspiring Mentalists)
Stuff like this fascinates me. I’ve always been interested in the idea of mental powers and being able to travel to other planes of existence. But I’ve also always been afraid of trying to do it, or worse, finding out that I can’t, that I don’t have enough strength or “will” or whatever you want to call it, to accomplish such things. The basic idea behind this series is that everything is composed of “aether”, and by practicing certain mental exercises we can learn to manipulate our own “personal aether,” allowing us to achieve astral flight, and communicate with other “aetheric beings.” After reading this one I really want to read the first three. You could read this issue on its own, especially if you have some prior knowledge of these techniques, but otherwise I think it would be best to start from the beginning if you are really interested in it. Jeff Hoke’s great illustrations help to explain some of the concepts. 36 pages, digest size. $3 each, accepts all trades. Subscriptions to the entire Camelopard Series are $20 (13 pamphlets are planned by the end of 2005). You may also order the first 3 issues as a set for $11 postpaid. Checks payable to Clint Marsh, or order online at www.wonderella.com. Clint Marsh, 1204 Neilson Street, Berkeley, CA 94706; marsh@wonderella.com

Chickenhed Zine and Roll #5
I think sometimes I am really weird. After receiving my envelope full of ziney goodness from Davida, I flipped through the pile to see what I had to look forward to and saw mostly familiar titles, and then Chickenhed Zine and Roll. Hmm, cute title, I thought. And then, without having read any of the zine, for the next few days, I would catch myself repeating the title to myself over and over again. “chickenhed zine and roll. . . chickenhed zine and roll. . .” isn’t that bizarre? I don’t remember ever having this occur with any other zine titles. I’ve never walked around muttering “fish with legs. . . fish with legs. . .” I think it might be the “zine and roll” thing that’s throwing me off.

Anyway. Aside from completely taking over my brain momentarily, it’s an enjoyable personal zine. Josher starts off this issue telling us about the time he got miserably, disgustingly drunk at age 14 at his mother’s Christmas party and hurling extravagantly all over the Christmas sweater and khakis she forced him to wear; and finishes with an anecdote about his friend Fred, who had an enormous influence on him, but now is gone from his life. In between, he shares stories about his job at a grocery store, and a scary car accident. He also writes the history of his old band in the form of “hell-ku” verses with 3 lines of 6 syllables each. (Credit for this verse form goes to Josher’s old high school English teacher - I wish I’d had an English teacher like that!) It’s a combination of hand-written and typed cut-and-paste. Worth a read. $2 each, or $1 and 3 stamps. Josher, PO Box 330, Richmond, VA 23218; thejoshertm@hotmail.com

Tight Pants #10
So this is the famous Tight Pants I keep hearing about. One thing I have to say, Maddy has enough energy to power a small town. She’s kooky and fun and knows all about socialism! She’s not afraid to poke fun at herself! Punk rock! Cereal! Lots of exclamation points! For me, the two most amazing stories in here are about work. In college she once worked 18 hours a day for six days straight washing dishes at Cornell University. With major potential for Lucille-Ball-like assembly line disasters, Maddy and her sister became human kitchen machines, running on autopilot. Exhausting and kinda scary. More recently, Maddy had 3 jobs at once, starting a new job before her old temp job ended, with another part-time job in between. For a few weeks, she was running from job to job with barely time to shower or sleep. I think I need to go lay down now. Besides this, there’s plenty of other good reading material and cute little cartoon drawings. It also comes with a bonus record review supplement, wherein Maddy describes bands and their music in terms of what kind of cereal they would be. 68 pages, digest size. #10 is $2 + 3 stamps. #8 & #9 are $2 each. Maddy, 296A Nassau Ave. #3L, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Tight Pants #9.99/Snake Pit #27 (split zine)
Maddy from Tight Pants and Ben from Snake Pit put together this fun little book of short comic strips. They each have 2 strips per page, and then each have a full-page comic on what they did for New Year’s Eve last year. 24 pages, digest size. There’s no price listed, I’d say it’s worth a dollar or two, or send them a trade. See Maddy’s address above. write Ben at: PO Box 49447, Austin, TX 78765; threeinverted95@hotmail.com

Farm Pulp #42/Autumn 2002
Sadly this will be the last issue of Farm Pulp. Greg is branching out into publishing small literary digests, chapbooks and the like under the name Farm Pulp Family Library. I’ve always loved the design and artistry of Farm Pulp, with all the different folding flaps and interesting art and type treatments. It makes me look at my own zine and slump my shoulders at its ordinariness. I must try harder. This final issue is saturated with a love of design and typography and the tactile elements of books and publishing. He tells the fictional tale of Eugene Baskerville and his fantastic font creations; an office worker talks with the copy machine repairman who reminds me a little too much of Hal from 2001; and the history of a family of hard-working immigrant indentors who built a life for themselves in America. I think my favorite is the story of a designer who had a favorite font for years, but then found a new favorite, told in terms of a cheating lover who feels guilty. Beautiful! The whole issue is a wonderful flight of fancy that made me really happy; but also sad that there will be no more. Order this and savor it. 24 pages, almost standard size. $5 each or 4 issues for $15. (Back issues of Farm Pulp will continue to be available.) Gregory Hischak, PO Box 2151, Seattle, WA 98111-2151; www.farmpulp.com; greg@farmpulp.com

Power Dreams #3
Hannah gives us a series of little scenes from her life. Her style is very poetic and dreamy. I feel like I’m seeing all these scenes through a mist or through a sheer curtain. She gives almost everything kind of a romantic varnish, and as is often the case when you’re young, the most mundane of situations can take on dramatic importance. She stands on the border of adulthood, looking back at childhood and old friends, and wondering what the future holds for her. She’s a good writer, she knows her voice and has confidence in it. I’d love to read something longer. 20 pages, digest size. $2 each or a trade. (Issue #2 is also still available.) Hannah, POB 1375, Princeton, NJ 08542; power_dreams@hotmail.com

Recluse Zine #7/November 2002
Recluse is primarily a personal zine, but unlike most personal zines, it has contributions from many different people. Most essays run just a page or two and cover many different topics: why everyone who can vote should; the evils of procrastination; cruelty towards animals who work in circuses; some weird fiction; and anger-inducing stats on CEO pay vs. worker pay. There’s also a few pages of record and zine reviews. A nice little mish-mosh for everyone. 32 pages, digest size. $1.25 each, or $5 for 4 issues. P.O. Box 307663, Columbus, OH 43230 www.reclusezine.com; info@reclusezine.com You can also order via PayPal to: knucklehead_distro@yahoo.com

Fish with Legs, the “Bootleg Edition”
In January and part of February, Eric decided he would try to write for 30 minutes a day and see what he came up with. The result is this daily-journal issue of Fish with Legs, known as the “Bootleg Edition,” because Eric didn’t feel it should be an “official” issue. If you’ve never had the pleasure of reading an Eric Lyden zine, this would be a great place to start. He’s got a really odd, matter-of-fact sense of humor and is not afraid of saying things or telling stories about himself that might make one cringe a little. I will quote a few first sentences from some of his journal entries just to give you a taste: “January 9: A few weeks ago I woke up one day and I actually knew the meaning of life.” “January 10: I’m starting to worry about my sense of morality.” “February 2: Today at work I saw a young boy humping a large stuffed polar bear.” “February 5: I was cooking supper today and as I was cooking I suddenly realized what a strange word ‘spatula’ is.” “February 16: Today I went to the 7-11 to pick something up and the guy behind the register said ‘When you going to get a haircut?’” There’s also more of the ubiquitous Fun Facts, and a few reviews. Enjoy! 16 pages, digest size. $1 and a stamp Eric Lyden, 224 Moraine St., Brockton, MA 02301-3664

Watch the Closing Doors #22
As an avowed public transportationist, I love this zine. It’s another fine publication from Fred Argoff of Brooklyn! fame. His primary focus here is the New York subway system, with occasional trips on the bus, or a little bit about public transportation in other cities (in this issue, it’s Philadelphia). Fred is a conductor on the subway, so he knows his shit. I would guess he probably knows more about the history of public transportation in New York than just about anybody. 24 pages, digest size. $10 for 4 issues. Fred Argoff, 1800 Ocean Parkway (#B-12), Brooklyn, NY 11223-3037

PO Box 2235, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
azure.bbboy.net/poopsheetnews; www.angelfire.com/freak/ricko/myzines.html; rickbradford@msn.com

($1.00 from Billy McKay / PO Box 542 / N. Olmsted, OH / 44070 USA)
This is pretty cool. Billy likes to experiment with format and I dig that. The interior of this issue begins with a whimsical, Silverstein-like poem that unfolds (literally) as you read it. When it’s done you’re left with an 11×17” sheet of color drawings of people, monsters, aliens and other thingies. Billy says the drawings were originally done on letters as color experiments. I wish more artists would scan and publish their letter art. If you like Billy’s work, then I don’t even need to tell you to check this out. If you’ve not seen his work, this is as good a place as any to introduce yourself.

($7.00 from Marc Calvary / PO Box 11923 / Eugene, OR / 97440 USA. Web: www.cherrypepper.com. Age Statement Required.)
Now here’s something I’d like to see more of. Marc Calvary (of THE CARBON BASED MISTAKE) is, among other things, a photographer. Perhaps I’m just missing the boat, but it seems that the zine world is severely lacking in photographers who publish their work. If, however, that idea isn’t novel enough, how about this: The focus of cherrypepper is the female body. I don’t mean puerile T&A (though I wouldn’t have a problem with that). The photos here – of five different women in 50 pages – are respectful, mostly-interesting portraits of natural, unenhanced models. The photographer himself says “cherrypepper is about the sexy innocence of the classic pin-up magazines and a heartfelt tribute to real women.” This is good stuff and I hope it encourages a trend. As for production, it’s a pretty nice package – squarebound, black and white halftones (it is a zine after all), with each photo a full bleed – so you can understand the price tag. Go check out the samples on the website, then send Marc your money. And if it inspires you to publish something similar, send a copy to me!

(Rabid Publishing / PO Box 93 / Paddington, NSW 2021 / AUSTRALIA. Web: www.atomiserzine.com)
Stratu’s SICK PUPPY is dead (Long live SICK PUPPY!), but has been rebirthed in the form of ATOMISER, a new anthology with a different theme each issue. Like its predecessor, ATOMISER features comix of the ugly, sick and depraved variety and publishes some of the top cartoonists in that arena. The theme for this issue is “Ancient” and, under a tasty cover by Marcel Ruijters, you’ll find the repugnant, the beautiful and the beautifully repugnant by such folks as Doug Iannucci (whose “Stan and Edna Nats” bit is one of my favorites in this issue), Gregory Mackay, Ryan Vella (my other favorite, a mini-biography of Roman emperor Elagabalus), Mike Diana, Neale Blanden, Anton Emdin (man, this cat is slick), Glenn Smith, Josh Simmons (easily the most repulsive strip this time around), editor Stratu and several others. Also thrown in, and much appreciated, are five pages of reviews of like-minded publications. So, not only is this a fun anthology, but a good resource. ATOMISER isn’t for the faint of heart (you know who you are), but if you like a little perversion in your comix, you might want to check it out.

($1.00, 3 stamps or a trade from Owen Thomas / PO Box 9651 / Columbus, OH / 43209 USA. Web: http://members.aol.com/vlorbik)
Good to see a new TEN PAGE NEWS, Owen’s zine of informal reviews and whatever else. Under a cover by Matt Holdaway, this one’s got a handful of reviews, a three-page response to a particular position on classroom learning, a one-page comic and “Why I Teach Such Good Classes”, an encouraging one-page statement of purpose that reads as if being delivered to students. More, Owen, more!

($3.00 + post.? from Tim Doyle / Lo-Fi Comics / 924 E. 40th, #106 / Austin, TX / 78751 USA. Web: www.lowfashion.com/timdoyle)
Tim Doyle, the guy behind SALLY SUCKERPUNCH, does a monthly diary comic and this is the third six-month collection. It’s done in a daily three-panel format, which makes for a brief look at the day, but it’s fun reading. In this collection you’ll find stuff about work (Funny Papers in Austin), hanging out with pals, movies he sees, art shows, his love life, smoking cigars, etc. Plus, you get cameos by local cartoonists, the regular “Hall of Shame” and guest art by Drew Weing, Jen Frost Smith, Laura Pace, Wayne Alan Brenner and others. This collection also contains the issue that was split with Ben White’s SNAKE PIT #29 (all left intact). If you’re not convinced mail Tim a stamp and he’ll send you the current monthly issue to check out.

($2.00 from Jay / PO Box 931333 / Los Angeles, CA / 90093 USA)
This is Jay’s long-running perzine in which he dishes the dirt on his daily deeds. This issue covers October and November of 2001 (he’s a little behind) and deals with, among other things, unfortunate public nudity, bad vibes, the early stages of putting a film together, food (and places to get it), his job as a commercial scanner (wacky!), hooker trouble, celebrities, football, dreams and his sex life (which is either very active or very fictional). Jay also does something I wish every zine publisher would do: includes zine reviews in the back (about 20 this time). If you dig that diary sort of thing, this is one you should check out.

($4.00 from Jerianne / PO Box 330156 / Murfreesboro, TN / 37133-0156 USA. Web: www.undergroundpress.org)
I think it’s safe to say that ZINE WORLD is currently the closest thing we have to what FACTSHEET 5 was in its mid-’90s heyday. I don’t know how many zines are reviewed in this issue, but it’s a lot. They review underground and alternative publications (very few UPCs, ISBNs or ISSNs) in an A-Z fashion (I’d like to see categories, but I can live without them). There’s so much stuff in here, in fact, that I can easily see how putting it all together must be a major headache, so I encourage you to send your support. In addition to hundreds of reviews, there’s also a really good news section (Patriot Act, censorship in schools, obscenity bust, etc.), a healthy letters section, various articles and more, all under a striking apocalyptic 2-color cover by Bobby Tran Dale (HOMOEROTICON). This issue also comes with a 12-page supplement with still more information. Highly recommended.

Matt Fagan
1573 N Milwaukee Ave, PMB #464, Chicago, IL 60622
hadmatter@hotmail.com; www.geocities.com/depotdevoid/meniscus/inside.html

Hey, doesn’t Xerography Debt rock? When I’m not working on my little zine (Meniscus) I get to read all this cool stuff and then write about it! Ah, the strange costumes worn by good fortune. Today she comes clad in letter-sized photocopy paper.

Free – donations encouraged, Digest 20 pp + insert Shadow, 32 Maple St. Aurora, ON L4G 1K9 Canada
This is not the greatest zine I’ve ever read, but THE MEANS TO AN END is important for a few reasons. Taking the form of a zine, it’s really the underground newspaper for Richmond Hill High School in Ontario, and editor Shadow has adopted his chosen format after his recent discovery of zines.

The first article, and arguably the most significant, is about the camera surveillance in the school – the type and arrangement, but also a variety of information about the legal and moral questions raised by involuntary recording. Drawing on sources like the New York Surveillance Camera Players, RTMark, and Michael Naimark, Shadow informs his readers of actions they can take (both legal and otherwise) to prevent being taped. Along with his culture-jamming primer, he provides a map of the school with all the camera locations.

The other big piece is about the gathering storm of war in Iraq, which was odd to read now, with the future, hypothetical tense it was written. It was overwrought, like much of the writing in TMTAE, but that’s just a product of youth and zealousness. Shadow has a command of language, but too much energy to keep his words under control. The important thing is that he has skill, a commitment to accuracy, and a deep willingness to put himself out there. He has been learning some wonderful things, and clearly feels a need to bring information to his fellow students. He instinctively understands the value of describing actions without endorsing them. Shadow has all the makings of a great underground presser, and the students at Richmond Hill are lucky to have him.

$1.50, ¼ size, 24 pp Christoph Meyer, PO Box 106 Danville, OH 43014 If you have a taste for a short, simple fable, THE HEART STAR won’t leave you wanting. It’s a sweet story about the afterlife, an existentially troubled ghost, and an explanation of why the people of Gohio gave a special name to a certain star. Nice block-print cover, too.

No price listed, Digest, 20 pp Maja D’Aoust, peeweerules@hotmail.com
True to its name, this is a zine of one- and two-page stories, most of which begin with “I was walking down…” A perzine of a very specific nature, WALKING IN L.A. reveals nothing about Maja besides what surfaces in her short vignettes of walking or bicycling in the city.

A punkish feminist with a fierce environmental streak, our narrator sometimes comes across as obnoxious, but this is exactly what made her zine so entertaining. She writes in an archaic, adjective-heavy style, occasionally addressing her anonymous subjects in an imperfect second person POV, lending drama to what are otherwise just colorful character-studies of the Armenian neighborhood Maja lives in. They are colorful though, and her stories never dwell too long to maintain our interest in people about whom the author can only speculate, never wander too far into conjecture. I did enjoy reading these stories, but the only character who could have been developed – Maja herself – remained almost as distant as her neighbors.

$1 plus SASE, Two letter-sized double-sided color pages, corner stapled The CineZiner, 12 Skylark Lane, Stony Brook, NY 11790
I really love to read about movies. I’ve got piles of Fangoria, Film Comment, and Cineaste right next to my MURDER CAN BE FUN and FARM PULP. I love to see behind the scenes, and check out the interviews, but I also love to read opinions about the movies, because it’s the next best thing to discussing the movies with all my friends, who live really far away. What I liked most about reading CINEZINE is that we didn’t always agree, but she put thought into her opinions, and documented her reasoning. For example, she liked Signs far more than I did, but as I read the article “Thank You, M. Night Shyamalan, For Not Crapping Up Your Movie With Music Videos”, I realized that I agreed with all of her reasons for liking Signs so much. When I got to the end of the story, I found myself saying, “You know what? Maybe I ought to check out Signs again… ” The same way I would if I was talking with a friend back home who made an interesting point about a movie I was sort of lukewarm on.

Would I pay a dollar for this zine? I’m not sure. It was a good read, and if it came my way I’d certainly read another issue. But a buck seems steep for two pages. If you can spare it, though, CINEZINE is interesting stuff.

No price, ¼ size, 14 pp Androo Robinson, 2000 NE 42nd Ave. #303, Portland, OR 97213 Pardon me if I seem to be proselytizing, for I realize that I keep reviewing CRYPTOZOA like a stalker or something, but Androo keeps making new ones and sending them to me, and I get really excited. This is the best one yet, and some of the cartoons gave me little chills. If you haven’t gotten off yer duff to find out what the hell I keep ranting about, by all means do it now. Please, in the name of all that is good and true, get CRYPTOZOA #6.

$2 or trade, ¼ size, 40 pp Androo Robinson and Maria Goodman, 2000 NE 42nd Ave. #303, Portland, OR 97213 This was my first issue of SMLS, and now I’m hooked (just as I feared). Androo and Maria invite you into their home, and they are most affable hosts. They share stories about ouija boards, including a DIY piece about making your own, and this leads to Androo’s outgrowth project of making his own Tarot deck on the backs of business cards. They have a section of handy cleaning tips, comics from Androo, cool stuff about the movies, and plenty more. Maria and Androo even review each other’s dreams, and Maria seriously shafts him for resorting to celebrity cameos in one of his. Remind me to send Maria my long, long litany of dreams I had with celebrity guest stars, to see what she can make of them…

SECRET MYSTERY LOVE SHOES has what I would describe as a “Portland Sensibility”. To me, this means a laid-back style, a love of the low-tech, and a genuine appreciation for the mundane. (This last is not the same thing as dramatizing the trivial, a crime of which most zinesters, myself included, are guilty. It is an understanding that the things we do everyday are meaningful, and finding the art, beauty, or entertainment within those experiences is an important process for an artist in any pursuit.) That is the Portland Sensibility I speak of, and that is what Androo and Maria do best.

PLATFORM #2 & #3
$2, digest, 44 pp each Elizabeth Genco, P.O. Box 22722, Brooklyn, NY 11202-2722 Elizabeth has maintained all the elements I loved about her original PLATFORM, and has grown from the experience too. The warm reception her first zine received seems to have taken Elizabeth by surprise, which must have been overwhelming what with all the busking she was pouring so much energy into, already. But she’s integrated PLATFORM into her life, and returned to her mission of public fiddle-playing with renewed confidence. Her reviews of each busking experience are more contemplative now, as her skill allows her to devote increasing amounts of attention to the people around her. In the first issue, she had trouble concentrating on the music with all the noise and activity in the subway stations, but she has gone a long way toward conquering her chosen environment, and now there’s even more for her to see.

Rounded off with lots of information about Irish musical history and resources, PLATFORM is not just quality entertainment, it’s inspiring and educational, as well.

No price listed, Digest, 10pp and 12pp Bert “Brick Mickasso” Kimura, P.O. Box 51252, Seattle, WA 98115 geocities.com/bittermancomix What do you do when some icy, soulless maneater breaks your heart? Some people drink alone. Others bore their steadfast friends with interminable, tearful stories of how things might have been. I painted constantly for three months. Brick Mickasso apparently created his comic alter-ego Bitterman, a not-so-superhero who cheerfully turns the failings of a relationship into weapons for fighting evil. When the Legion of Goodness is held captive by their arch-nemesis, their last hope is to call in Bitterman, whose arsenal of Dear John Letters and videotapes of ex-girlfriends reduce the bad guys to tears. BITTERMAN is a tongue-in-cheek bit of therapy, a self-parody similar in tone to Lethargic Lad or some of the really old Kitchen Sink Press stuff. Brick is a talented cartoonist who uses his bitterness as a comic foil, neatly sidestepping self-pity with a good sense of humor.

Also included with this mailing is BITTERMAN EPISODE TWO – ATTACK OF THE CLOWNS, a Star Wars parody that replaces Yoda with the ticklish Yelmo, and includes the bald Master Moby-Wan. Both issues have a comic or two outside of the main storyline to balance things out. As a storyteller, Brick is conscious that his theme only stretches so far, and doesn’t let it run too long (a rare trait in parodies these days). Overall, I like his work, and I’d like to see what else he can do. BITTERMAN is pretty funny, but there’s no price on it so just send him a buck, or maybe e-mail him first.

$2, digest, 28 pp. David Robertson; d1robertson@hotmail.com This is the first issue of David’s first comic book, and it’s not half bad. The title character is a robot built by Ronnie, who intends to enter it in a Robot Wars competition. Our main character is Bert Ainsley, Ronnie’s friend who agrees to paint Berserkotron in time for the games. But here’s the weird part: Bert keeps trying to explain to his uncomprehending friends that it’s indestructible magic paint…

Sadly, this issue is mostly a big setup for the action of next issue, so it left me a bit unsatisfied, but my curiosity is piqued. Two bucks is a reasonable price to sample what our friends across the sea are up to.

$3 Frank Marcopolos, editor, 4809 Avenue N #117, Brooklyn, NY 11234-3711 editor@thewhirligig.com www.thewhirligig.com Triumphing over insurmountable odds, THE WHIRLIGIG continues to impress me. Not that I have read every issue, but whenever I do, I find myself amazed that the quality of writing is so good. And I don’t just mean good for zine writing. They publish fiction that is interesting, well-designed and executed by folks who are more than merely competent or adequate.

I realize that many readers steer clear of fiction zines, whether from being burned by drivel in the past, or maybe that’s just not why they turn to zines in the first place. But there is fiction being written on the outskirts that is just as interesting as the confessional voices that draw so many people toward the underground to begin with. In my experience, THE WHIRLIGIG is a very reliable source for that fiction, and I encourage you all to take a chance on something a little different. I even read the poetry (which I usually skip over) and actually enjoyed some of it despite myself! I think my favorite story this time was Frank Tempone’s “Absolute Gentleman”, which created tension out of thin air and made me care about what was happening (even when nothing was happening). He breaks all the “rules” of storytelling, and he tells a really good story.

Digest, 50 pp, $3 Vincent Voelz, 575 12th Ave. #3, San Francisco, CA 94118; vvoelz@itsa.ucsf.edu First a bit of history: a hundred million years ago (okay, three years ago) I read the debut issue of BREAKFAST, and I loved it so much that I was inspired to write. This is significant because this was the first time I was ever moved to write to, or for, somebody else’s zine. But Vincent (then headquartered in Minneapolis) had created this terrific thematic zine all about the first meal of the day, and the whole thing was cheerful celebration from cover to cover. From the first two issues, I learned more ways to prepare eggs than I could ever have imagined (coddled eggs? Who knew!) He covered the difference between bacon and Canadian bacon! And he shared with his readers the greatest Pannekoeken story ever told. Even without being a breakfast lover, I was swept up in Vincent’s enthusiasm. I wrote him a couple of letters, traded a copy of my zine, and after I got back from my first trip to Amsterdam I wrote him an article about a breakfast I had there.

But then he disappeared. His e-mail went fallow, and the zine never reappeared. Then, about a month ago, three years since the last issue, I got this envelope in my mailbox that had Vincent’s name on it, and a California address. Wouldn’t you know it? I was holding the third issue of BREAKFAST, which I had long ago given up hope of ever seeing.

“Better late than never,” proclaimed the accompanying note, and I couldn’t agree more. He picked up exactly where he left off, with the promised issue devoted to Donut Culture, and it’s a good one. I don’t know how many of you have experienced the diversity of donut availability across the United States, but as someone who has been transplanted from one part of the country to another, I will attest that the adjustment can be unsettling. I can’t find a goddamn maple log anywhere in Chicago! BREAKFAST #3 deals with similar discrepancies, along with many of the other subtle donut nuances, along with breakfast-spot reviews, and a letter to Dunkin Donuts from Rich Mackin. Plus, the back issues are still available. Lucky you!

Bobby Tran Dale
7932 Winthrope St., Oakland, CA 94605
botda@aol.com; www.homoeroticon.com

Hail, XD readers! It’s Botda-da-da here with a few small press dilliohs to check out. But before we start, I wanted to mention to all ya’ll publishers who are considering sending your work in for review, PLEASE PRINT your contact information legibly if you are handwriting your information on the XD form or elsewhere. The little extra effort that you put into your writing may make the difference between your pub getting reviewed or not, and even may determine whether or not orders for your publication gets to you or your neighbor down the street.

That ASSide, ya’ll can get in touch with me at “botda@aol.com” and for snail mailers, I’ll be moving yet again around August/September 2003 from 7932 Winthrope Street, Oakland, CA 94605-3655. So keep that in mind. And now, I give you...

16pp Digest size, Price: ? (Try a buck or 2) Vblast, P.O. Box 66337, Burien, WA 98166 Email: vblast@attbi.com Website: www.vblasto.com Mama D’ done did right sending this one my way. “DEVIL BOY” comix is a pleasurably disturbing visual excursion into the world of artist Vblast. When I first saw this, it reminded me of Eric York’s work, then lo and behold, I see on the vblast.com site mention of ol’ Eric’s stuff. Included are bits such as “Bureaucracy Is A Monster” that is as the title suggests, and piece on “Lesser Gods & Angels” amongst the small offering of work here. The artwork is the prize—creepy, beautiful and demonstrates Vblast’s handle on a multitude of mediums as well as design layout—-it’s all very well done, though I don’t suggest reading this on a handful of painkillers unless you want the meaning of it all to get lost on you. His website offers artwork for sale and also looks at his work in color for added dimension—-it’s a great accompaniment or is this zine the accompaniment to the site? Whatever the case, whether you dig the subject matter or not, there’s no doubt, Vblast has some skills and that’s all that matters. The content of this publication is not for the meek, but then that’s the point. If harsh, graphic demonic excursions makes you all nelly, you might want to stick to some tamer offerings. Those into the darker, more occult flavored comix should find interest in this.

Tablet size (well, kinda), 52pp Price: FREE, Donations for subscription accepted Violet Jones, Post Office Box 55336, Hayward, CA 94545 OK, this is kind of a cheat review, since this came in the day I’m sending off these reviews, but if you don’t already know of Violet’s advocacy for the free press, then you should and this might be a good time to drop a note to FPDS to find out firsthand the goings on. Included besides the usual onlaught of encapsulated zine reviews are articles such as “The ISBN Mystery” and “What Is Mail Art?”-the latest in the mix of fun and no-bullshit articles that are FPDS’s signature and also tons of letters from readers. As with Violet’s other joints, the use of beautiful screen/woodcut art amongst other vintage styles just kicks butt. This is highly recommended.

8pp Digest, 50 Cents (Will trade) Carson Demmans, 2515 Victoria Ave., Regina SK Canada S4POT2 Email: cdemmans@accesscomm.ca I tend to not like to use the word “cute” in a review, but hell, if the shoe fits, steal it, you know? “Night Shift” is definitely a cute comic with monster teens: Dirk, the vampire, Bram-the teen Frankenstein monster, Will-the Werewolf and Mort-the mummy. In this mini jaunt, the boils...err...BOYS, get chased by living dead in Nikes and Scarecrows. With no negative dig to the team of Demmans and Choat, the creators of “Nightshift”, this strip is for sure kids fare. Thus, it may be a tad too cute for some, but otherwise, it’s well done for its all of 8 pages. The art by Frank Choat is clean, nice to look at and could very well be just at home in a Nickelodeon issue.

Standard, 40pp, $3.50 (Will trade) Cathleen Grado, 385 Troutman St. #105, Brooklyn, NY 11237 Email: dreemykreem@yahoo.com Website: www.dreemykreem.com To begin with, reading the title of this zine brought to mind just how the word “cream” or any of its derivatives just makes my skin crawl for some reason. From my once favorite artist Prince’s song to say...the title of this zine, the word “cream” may as well be “creepy” to me. Anyhow, with that bit off my tender breasts, I should say “Dreemy Kreem” was a very funky and eclectic read, that won my heart over especially with the piece “Times Square Sicko Binge!”. It’s not some avant garde reporting or nothing, I mean this whole joint is just chock full of funkadelica stuff that you won’t find in The Times, but when you add in DK’s Robert Hardin’s piece on dressing up like Dr.Phibes for Halloween, you just gotta give praise all the way—-and that should give you some clue as to the flavor of this whole joint. Highlights include: An interview with Tura Satana (from the movie “Astro Zombies” and its new sequel “Mark Of The Astro Zombies”), cult movie reviews, a piece on the effects of TV & the telephone while growing up, band and zine reviews—-but dare I say? There’s much more. At this price, it’s a no complaints, well done zine that I’d recommend to the more kooky and eccentric of us. DK has the feel of your local alternative paper without all those sex ads and personals.

“THE CIA MAKES SCIENCE FICTION UNEXCITING #1-The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.”
20pp booklet, $1 and a stamp (or 6o cents each for 6 or more) Microcosm Publishing, PO Box 14332, Portland, OR 97293-0332 Email: abner@microcosmpublishing.com Website: www.microcosmpublishing.com To this zine’s credit or discredit (you decide) I began reading this and realized (duh!) part way thru, that I wasn’t reading yet another comic from my review stack (I’m j-u-u-ust a lil’ slow today!). This is of course a piece on the assassination of MLK, it’s sparsely illustrated, and factually based but written with enough pizzazz that you could easily get thru it. The author (Joe Biel?) hopes it doesn’t read like a term paper, all anal and stuff, and I think it succeeds in that regard. Conspiracy theorists or not, all this CIA, FBI stuff is intriguing history, and this is apparently going to be or has become a series regarding the said organizations’ involvement in assassinations and other domestic affairs. Sounds cool to me. This is yet another good example of independent press at work.

Standard, 64pp $4.00 Jerianne, PO Box 330156, Murfreesboro, TN 37133-0156 Website: www.undergroundpress.org Of course, no introduction needs to be made to the review zine, ZW:ARG. This issue came out a tad bit late due to a number of factors such as family issues and moving to Tennessee amongst other such things, but to compensate for some of the dated reviews contained within and to quiet some of those testy zinesters out there, a supplemental review section was printed up as a rider to this issue. Besides the usual in your face reviews that people have grown to either love or hate, there is also the usual in you face articles that makes this review joint one of the remaining few zines that everyone should pick up at least once in their publishing life. (Ed. – Modestly, he didn’t mention it, but Bobby also drew a great cover for this issue.)

Standard, 32pp, $3 US/Canada (Allow 6 weeks for surface mail) John Miers, 66A Settles St., London E1 1JP UK Email: mclentil@hotmail.com See the cover/first image in folder here: http://www.villagephotos.com/pubbrowse.asp?selected=108273 This was...uhm...interesting. This is a day in the life of an office worker “slab”. Slabs are apparently little gumdroppy looking people things. Anyhow, this comic was done entirely on Microsoft Word and Paint, so as far as the “art” goes, it’s pretty simple (and wordless BTW) and depending on who’s looking, one might say the images are rather stiff and uninspired after a few pages. I don’t want to totally bag on this production because as far as the print up is concerned, it’s done quite well, not to mention, it’s cute, so some of you might dig this. The story involves a little slab dude that goes thru his day, bitches about the boss at the office (who has a distinctive penis & balls atop his otherwise featureless slabness—-well, save for the slit for a mouth), and falls for a coworker who he dreams of having slab-sex with. The female looks strangely like the underside of a penis with her hairdo the way it is, I might mention. The comic is fairly easy to follow. The illos are digitalized and very clean. But I think that the comic suffers from not having more of a human, artistic touch to it, so if there is a second issue, it would be cool to see less of a mechanized look to this production and more of the stylized work of Miers hinted at on the website “www.perduraboart.com”. Now *that* looks like it’d be a fun romp.

CONCLUSION: Goodness....am I ready ta hush m’mouth already? Well, looks like the end folks. Hopefully I’ll see and hear from some of ya sooner than later, so until then, this is U-know-who signing off.

PO Box 3096, Corpus Christi, TX 78463

Welcome to some reviews by Lone Star Ma, substitute reviewer for zines maternal and political.

Fertile Ground
The best of this batch, in my opinion. Fertile Ground is a parenting zine full of earthy metaphors and friendly tales of birth, breastfeeding and the continuing adventures of parenthood. Its first issue is sweet and open in a way that is very engaging. I can’t wait for Issue Two! Subscriptions are $8 and single issues are $2 to Fertile Ground, 2084 Court Ave., Memphis TN 38104.

Zuzu and the Baby Catcher
The subtitle for this zine is “midwife meets motherhood” and that is a good summary of this zine about Zuzu and her midwife mama. Issue Number Three is “the fashion issue” which is a pretty unique theme coming from a midwife and so quite interesting. Rhonda’s illustrations are great and I really enjoy her serial on “Becoming A Midwife In 10 Easy Years”. Issues are $2 to Rhonda Baker, 2535 NE 46 Ave., Portland, OR 97213.

The East Village Inky
This is a very old zine. Issue 18, if you can imagine. Ayun is sort of a goddess of parenting zinesters and EVI is always a treat. This issue includes some vintage reprints as well as performance reviews, scary craft ideas, winter fun, recipes, restaurant reviews and more. As always, the artwork is wonderful and the text entertaining. Issues are $2 to The East Village Inky, P.O. Box 22754, Brooklyn, NY 11202.

This is a punk rock, vegan parenting zine so, as you can imagine, it is COOL. It is also from Texas, which makes it SUPER-COOL. (W. is not really from here; it’s all a terrible lie!) Issue Number Two of Placenta covers stories of taking baby on tour, homebirths, recipes and much, much more including the regular section, “Rocker Mom vs. Soccer Mom”, which is great. Issues are $2 to Rosa-Maria DiDonato, 4412 Avenue A, #204, Austin, TX 78751.

Black And Blue
This one is new to me. Issue Number 3 is a very eclectic zine covering lots of pop culture with a feminist slant. I could personally have done without the Barbie porn, but there’s no accounting for what is funny to different folks, so that’s probably just me. I really enjoyed the account of Ladyfest and especially liked the story about fighting back against advertising that belittles women. Issues are $2 to Black & Blue, c/o L. Morris, P.O. Box 293, Visalia, CA 93279.

Caryatid Rises
Caryatid Rises is a women’s social action zine. Issue #1 has numerous tales of women taking action to change their world, including a story by one of my favorite authors, Juleigh Howard-Hobson.. It is a wonderful and very worthwhile publication with, if it is not disrespectful to note such a thing in a zine with such important subject matter, the prettiest font I have ever seen. If you haven’t read this one, you should. Issues are $3 ($5 Canada & Mexico/$6 other non-US) to Gaynor Taylor, P.O. Box 380431. Cambridge, MA 02238.

Hermana Resist
This is a beautiful zine that is also very upsetting. Noemi, an obviously talented and fascinating writer, writes Numero Tres from the depths of a heartbreaking depression (and from Texas!). One feels honored to have shared such personal moments and concerned for the author’s well-being. Issues are $2 to Noemi, P.O. Box 809, La Blanca, TX 78558.

Women’s Self Defense
This zine is about women standing up for and defending themselves. Even though I am a pacifist, I found much to enjoy in Issue Number 2 of this zine that defines “self defense” very comprehensively. It is also 69 pages long! Issues are$3 to Clemenzi, P.O. Box 2433, Champaign, IL 61825.

That’s it for this batch. Hope you enjoyed my reviewing debut. For information about my zine, Lone Star Ma, go to www.LoneStarMa.com. Peace, Love and Breastmilk.

Ted Mangano
#50157 WSCC, POB 7007 Carson City, NV 89702
(Please write before sending your zine)
Fanorama Society Global Headquarters, 109 Arnold Ave., Cranston, RI 02905

Aloha from the balmy climes of cell-unit one, A-wing. A lot has changed since our last luau. Mainly, I was transferred to a medium security joint in the state capitol. Shortly after I got here, I was sent to work downtown, microfilming stuff deep beneath the State Library & Archives. It’s not a bad job, actually, and I get to work near pretty women—there’s this one with hazel eyes, the kind that turn soft green in candlelight...damn. I’ve been locked up way too long. And prisoners are not allowed to become “familiar” with the free women. Double damn. There’s a seeing eye puppy-in-training across the hall from my work that I relate to most: Chained to the sightless/No cats for you, sad eyed pup/,No sniffing bushes. Ouch. Anyway, the mail censors at this prison are tough and so Davida was unable to send me zines for this issue. Fortunately, I got a bunch of new ones before leaving the minimum joint. All were sent to me free simply because I’m a prisoner, and many came with warm notes of encouragement. Thank you, zine people. I was moved by your kindness. If you sent me a free zine and don’t see it reviewed here, rest assured that it will be covered in DOUBLE UNDERGROUND #2, due out in August. Okay then, here we go.

LITTLE BLACK STAR #25: “A Fortnightly Reader.”
When I was transferred from the prison camp I also lost my daily newspaper connection. Since then I’ve come to rely on this expertly written newsletter to help keep me current on national and world events. It was here, in fact, that I first read of the dimwitted hicks who allegedly started the “freedom fries” movement. You know, the traitors who want to take the French out of French fries because sissy France wouldn’t support the Iraq war. Obviously this is the work of foreign agents. The French, being the culinary snobs that they are, have been whining through their noses for decades about us calling our greasiest fast food French. And now suddenly these “patriots” are catering to the enemy with their freedom fries? Yeah, right. I’m sure France cried all the way to the cafe over that one. Of course, LBS covers the hard news too, and manages to keep a sense of humor in the process. The writers, who choose to remain anonymous, list all their sources and strike me as professional journalists. Who knows, perhaps they are. This excellent little resource appears every other week, on time. One last thing, a message for you clown-act patriots: If you really want to see France get her flag all in a bunch, start calling ketchup French sauce. LBS, POB 197, Lewisburg, PA 17837 37¢/free to prisoners/4ppg./half standard

SPACE FOR MACHINES #3: “61801 Transmission Verification Report.”
A single short story with lots of interesting illustrations and that’s it. At first I thought it was science fiction because it opens with an astronomer guy attempting to communicate with extra-terrestrials via radio. But no, the point is that he seeks meaning for his life in outer space. The story then flips to a woman, a martini chugging dance professor who’s building a dream house that she believes will bring meaning to her life. Read the house as inner space. The professor and astronomer don’t know each other, but in the end, sure enough, his outer space meets her inner space. Not, however, in the way you might think. Call it a twist. The phrasing is sometimes awkward and there’s some extraneous technical stuff about architecture and radio waves, but we’ll forgive that, won’t we. Not a bad little story. Dave, POB 635, Urbana, IL 61803-0635 www.spaceformachines.org $2/free to prisoners/trades welcome /32ppg./3X5

MONSTERS OF THE ID #? [The Raegan Butcher Issue]: “A zine about various things.”
An intro, movie reviews, prisoner poetry, cut & paste quotes, a Picasso inspired drawing, and many WWF wrestling photos with handwritten commentary. The movie reviews do what they should, which is entertain and give vital information about films I’ve never seen. The poems, by Raegan Butcher, are actually good; true and vivid snapshots of prison life. The quotes, from Jung, Eckhart, and others make for good filler. And the art, though not spectacular, is art. What I don’t get are all the wrestling photos. They don’t fit. And in the intro, the editor rants on and on about the evils of capitalism? Seems to me that WWF wrestling goes with French fries and capitalism the way Mom goes with marijuana and apple pie. Fortunately, the editor thinks free enterprise and capitalism are the same thing, so this zine is free. I’d say the poems and reviews are worth a buck, though. MOTI c/o Nervecenter, POB 40358, Redford, MI 48240-0358 Free/free to prisoners/12ppg./halfstandard

BLACKTHORN: “An overview of radical diy culture.”
This is a tough one because I’m trying to be a nice guy this week. The worst of it is an article by the imprisoned founder of The Political Prisoners of War Coalition, a cliché choked political expose rife with contradictions, fugitive metaphors, and intentional misspellings such as “Kapitalist”—which appears to be an actual single word oxymoron. Appropriately, you’ll find this piece in the “Prison Support” section. To the author: Kick rocks...I mean, keep writing, my brother in chains, you can only improve from here. Better is the do-it-yourself birth control column. Guys! Did you know if you scald your nuts in hot water 45 minutes a day for three weeks you’ll be rendered sterile for six months? Well, the author recommends that you also wear ultra tight briefs and a condom, just to be safe. And if you don’t like it, “STUFF IT!” she says. “What’s a little itching compared to an abortion...or even menstruation fer chrissakes!?” To the author: If it’s all the same to you, doll face, I’ll just use the deep fryer and be done with it—and hey, while I’m at it, you want French fries with that? There is one good piece, about a group of young anarchists in Oregon who rent a warehouse and embark on a two year “Experiment in Creative Collectivism.” These brave souls actually took time out of their lives to discover whether people can live peacefully together without rules, contracts, or coercion; kind of like people did in the hippie communes of old, but with birth control. “Looking back on it all...” the author says, “ I can’t define the experience as a failure or a success. It was simply an experiment.” To the author: Okay, but I’d like to hear a lot more about it, perhaps from some of the others involved. You did something cool. Tell the world. Fill a zine with it. Please. Blackthorn, POB 11046, Portland, OR 97211 free/donation/free to prisoners/20ppg./ tabloid

“I think zine reviews as we know them suck,” editor Yul Tolbert says. “They create standards, they encourage conformity and they attack free expression.” Yul is just kidding, of course, trying to scare up a little business for his “review zine that doesn’t give reviews.” What it is, basically, is a collection of ads, or rather, a catalog, and is somewhat useful as such—though many of the ads are too blurry to read. Send Yul a dollar and he’ll stick your ad in his zine. And remember: “Don’t let the zine reviewers tell you what to think.” Yul Tolbert, POB 02222, Detroit, MI 48202 25¢/free to prisoners/20ppg./half standard

“Published with the express purpose of criticizing the current economic system.” Learn what makes the greedy world go round and have fun in the process. Mr. Tony Hunnicut knows a lot about money and is generous with his knowledge. He also knows how to put words together in a way that makes even the most complex and potentially boring of subjects, such as global economics, understandable and entertaining. Of course it’s not all fun with anecdotes. There’s some scary stuff here, too, stuff that might even make you angry. But don’t let that run you off. Mr. Hunnicut is no propaganda spewing political hack. He has answers, realistic solutions. I recently received SMt$ #16, but if you’re new to the zine, or don’t happen to have a degree in economics, issue #14 is an excellent place to start. The pink pullout section, “A Primer on How Money Works” (12ppg.) is a summarized course that walks you step by step through the history of money, from ancient banking practices to today’s economic system. Attention all rebels with too many causes: after reading this, you’ll be able to dis’ capitalism and actually know what you’re talking about. Or your money back. Tony Hunnicut, POB 48161, Coon Rapids, MN 55448 Free/free to prisoners/donations appreciated/32+12ppg./half standard.

“True Till Death.” This is the flashiest zine of the bunch: full size, full color glossy cover, well-crafted content, and lots of quality photos. The photos are especially cool because they show some prominent zinesters I’d never otherwise see (Hi Janice!). This issue chronicles the continuing long-distance love affair between editor REB and prison zinester Neil Wiener— much ultra mushy romantic stuff happening here. It also houses the largest collection of good prisoner writing I’ve ever seen in one place. And if you’ re into graphic tales of desperate sex behind bars, well, you won’t be disappointed. There’s also zine reviews, poetry, letters, a prisoner made crossword puzzle, and an in-depth movie review with a subject matter so taboo I refuse to name it – let’s just say that REB must have balls the size of Texas to include it here. What you won’t find is advertising, a postal permit, or even a bar code, which explains the seemingly high price. I’m sure it takes every penny of $6 to produce and mail this extravagant zine. REB, 109 Arnold Ave., Cranston, RI 02905 fanorama1@aol.com $6/more if you can, less if you can’t/free to prisoners/36ppg./ standard

Ten short literary sketches, all excellent. What Amanda does, it appears, is take a single word and then write about whatever thought, image, or feeling it evokes. “Teething,” “Flitting,” “Lipping,” and “Sighing” are among the topics. Taste how she handles “Teething”: “I want teeth, your teeth, crooked, crashed, filling my mouth, covering my skin.” The way she fondles language is enough to make a grown convict cry. Amanda? Did you beg your tongue from a siren? Dip your quill into the brightest star? That you could whisper warmth on stone and steel and coax the jailer from a heart? Or something? Amanda is poetic and playful and often profound. But above all, she’s a seductress. And I’m a sucker. Amanda Huron, POB 332, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 $2/free to prisoners/18ppg. / half standard

“Stream of Consciousness or Stream of Urine? You Decide.” That quote is an essay title from inside the zine, but it should be on the front cover. “Stream of Consciousness” describes Alex’s writing style and “Stream of Urine,” besides complementing the “Piss” part of the title, conveys a subtle warning that this zine is dangerously funny. No kidding. This teenage punk is gifted with a wit as pointed as his mohawk and a sense of timing so precise you’ll never see the silly hairdo coming. Yeah, the hair looms large in these true accounts of Alex’s world. But what really sets this zine apart from many other punk zines is that there seems to be no bitterness or anger in this kid. And he is just a kid, wise and compassionate beyond his years. He clowns parents, teachers, cops, classmates, and the rest of us jaded “stupid jerk” adults in a way I can only describe as loving. There can be only one explanation for this. Alex is God! Alex, 11 Alger Drive, Rochester, NY 14624 $l/trade/free to prisoners/62ppg. /quarter standard

Dirt Roads to Nowhere...Part Two.” And then there’s Asha, who on the third day re-created the Nevada Badlands. 22 September, Day Three... Other than our little camp along the dusty, hoof marked road, there isn’t a human thing visible anywhere around us or over the horizon looking still sleepy in this early light. And when Asha had finished the high lonely deserts, she said, Let there be poetry. And there was! It rang clearly from the heavens and spoke to us of summer pastures and quiet brooks and “...blue ice/prairie skies...” and The ceaseless wind who teaches each new golden crop of grain the same strange song of emptiness On the last day Asha rested and clicked “print,” and REDDOG #5 was born. And she saw that it was good. And it is. Superb even. Sublime. Order this zine, but when it arrives, don’t open it. Wait, anticipate, until you can spend some time in your alone place, your quiet space. Then light some incense (or something) peel the envelope, and ready your soul for one hell of a heavenly ride. Sky River Press, POB 1436, Gardnerville, NV 89410 www.ashabot.com $2.75/free to prisoners/32ppg./half standard

December 2002-May 2003: Not long ago a group of young writers, who were fed up with the polymorphic pap offered by the official school paper, sought to create a publication that would address their real-life, problems and concerns. “We approached the administration with our ideas,” the editor explains. “We were shot down and warned not to proceed...We did not hesitate to carry on. “ Consequently, officials confiscated issues from students, but by then it was too late. “The students were filled with admiration and courage.” BANDERSNATCH fought on as an underground press and brought to us twice monthly the truth about life in the post-Columbine prisons we call schools. At a morning book bag inspection: “Some guy must have forgot to take out his cigarettes. They actually arrested him.” In the restroom: “...I touched her arm and recommended she talk to one of the counselors. The next day she overdosed on pills. I guess she was trying to kill the baby...” There have also been tales of triumph, of local musicians and dare devil skaters and other such mold-breakers who dare to rule their own destinies, and much, much more. But now, with the May 2003 issue, comes word that BANDERSNATCH, due to lack of outside interest and support, may soon meet its demise. These kids need to hear from us, zine people. Please send them some encouragement, advice, zines, dollars, whatever. Because if we don’t reach out to them, George and Jehovah surely will. Rachel and Jessica, c/o Emerson Review, POB 376, Frederic, MI 49733 $1.50/$13 for 12 (6 months)/free to prisoners/12ppg./Standard

Okay, that’s it. I’ve been up all night with these zines. Soon the call to early chow will crackle from the intercom. Time to haul my thoughts across the yard to another prison breakfast. I hear they’re serving liberty toast. Love.

Gavin J. Grant
176 Prospect Ave. Northampton, MA 01060
www.lcrw.net; info@lcrw.net

Gavin J. Grant lives in Northampton, MA. He and his wife, Kelly Link, do a zine, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, run Small Beer Press (www.lcrw.net), try and keep the garden in order, and are hoping that someone will help them put together the old letterpress they just inherited.

Sansevieria Published for the “Point of Divergence” APA and “devoted to alternate history.”
This issue of what looks like a long-running conversation in print is mostly concerned with stamps: those we hope won’t be franked by the post office and those used by governments as implements of taxation. I expected to skim through this but I was drawn in by the book reviews and their very strict interpretations of alternate history (no cheating with time-traveling or science fiction allowed here!). Just the right length to dip into a subject and all the contact info if you want to go further. No.50, $?, letter, 20pp., Dale Speirs, Box 6830 Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2P 2E7

The “Feeling Good” issue of a zine about a librarian and his friends — some of whom are drawn as blobs, some as people. Is this how they are, how they appear, how they project themselves? Great X-ray-type cover. All about sore stomachs and not actually going to the doctor or doing anything recommended to stop it recurring. Not being a regular reader makes it a bit hard to get into but it’s gentle stuff for the most part. No.9, $1/trade, quarter-letter, 32pp, Clutch McBastard, PO Box 12409, Portland, OR, 97212

What God Has Revealed to Man
Christoph (whose enthusiastic zine 28 Pages Lovingly Bound with Twine seems still to be a hit with almost every zine reader) explains on the back that someone sent this booklet to him and when he opened it, it was blank. Ha! How funny! But, as blank pages will, they tempted him. He started doodling and quickly filled them with a stick-figure tale. The story is simple (remember: stick-figure drawing) and if your sense of fun does not run to, ah, bathroom humor, don’t get this. Did he really print up 756 of these for fun? Wow. $0.50, quarter-letter, 12pp, Christoph Meyer, PO Box 106, Danville, OH 43014

The Autocaust
A poetry zine, mostly in the exhortative mode. Although I’m probably wrong, many of these poems read like they were written (or came from) poetry slams. Of note: includes a short poem by Xerography Debt publisher Davida Gypsy Breier. No.2, $1?, half-letter, 24pp., SevenTen Bishop, 710 N. Bishop, Chicago, IL 60622 www.seventenbishop.com

Reddog Review
Last ish of the Red Dog before it becomes Errata — apparently RR was named after a famous ’60s saloon that recently closed for the second time. Poetry and writing by Asha Anderson including the second part of a piece, “Dirt Roads to Nowhere,” where Asha and Lee get off the main roads and go exploring. It’s well put together and there are half a dozen decent reviews of mostly well-known zines. No.5, $2.75 (no checks), half-letter, 28pp., Ashabot, Sky River Press, PO Box 1436 Gardnerville, NV, 89410 ; zines@ashabot.com

A magazine for new writers. There’s a reading fee (basically a dollar per page) for manuscripts but at least they seem to publish a fair amount of their submissions and they do pay their writers. There are at least a couple of poems each by fifteen writers and three stories. The poetry ranges from X-rated to the city-flavored questioning of Texan Christopher M. Brinson. Argonne House also apparently publishes books — although whether they’re subsidy (like iUniverse or Xlibris) or regular publishers I couldn’t tell from the magazine. Most amusing prose: their ad for their chapbook series which asks and answers: What is a “Chapbook?” Also includes a reprint of a radio interview with Billy Collins. Wordwrights looks like it’s somewhere between the average zine and a glossy mag so if that’s where you want to be, send your stuff in. No.28, $5.95, letter, 62pp., Argonne House Press, WordWrights Magazine, PO Box 21069, Washington, DC 20009-0569

Cairn Free: Further Travel Down & Up Some Canyons
Saved the best for last — although I read it first, which raised my expectations sky high. Ah well. First impression: Hmm, Chris Dodge writes that Utne column on zines. I’ve never read his zine. Second impression: small type! But at least the paragraph spacing (instead of indenting) makes for easier reading. Anyway, by then I was into reading and the look of the thing no longer mattered. On a November holiday to the national parks in Utah (disclosure: one of my favorite places on earth) Chris goes day hiking, eats more cold pizza than a student, and (fortunately) takes many notes. He spends almost as much time in his car as he does driving (and flying) but they’re covered briefly while the walks and hikes are everything. There are many descriptions of trails, animals, and the few people he meets: he writes what he sees, and the writer himself remains in the background. People are funny: we travel a long way to be alone and then struggle with the right of other people to do the same — even if we arrive second, the others, not us, are the invaders. The last thing anyone wants when watching the sun rise at Delicate Arch is to run into a couple of photographers. Chris does, but he deals with it (it’s a big place, after all). On Day 11, it’s all over. He gets on the plane and “I draw Delicate Arch and its setting from memory, write no more words.” $?, half-letter, 24pp., Chris Dodge, 2712 Pillsbury, #105, Minneapolis, MN 55408 curvyedge@yahoo.com

710 Bishop
That being Zebulun & Dan Nagelberg P.O. Box 61754, Chicago, IL60661

Cultural agitation Chicago style. See seventenbishop.com for more details.


On Subbing
If you ever feel unwelcome or out of place even when you have been invited somewhere you have the gut feelings for On Subbing. On Subbing chronicles the day to day of “Punk Rock Dave’s” day in day out journey through the Portland, OR area public school special education programs. As a substitute, his future is uncertain even as far reaching as the next ten minutes. I respect a writer who can keep track of their daily machinations this way and portray the hope of their pursuit as well as the futility of the machine. For instance, “SCOTT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, MARCH 19. . .I have a hard time knowing what to do in these kinds of classes, [Life Skills with Nursing] and since I’m not certified to do any of the important things (like feed students), I end up washing the dishes and wiping down the toys. (Some of the students have viruses in their saliva that can cause birth defects . . . I’ve also been told to wash my hands for thirty seconds after being drooled on)” Dave captures the essence of these unnamed children and how his endeavor affects them when he is available. He does what he can to answer their questions honestly and he includes many accounts of recognition in situations uniquely “funny” or “tense” or “uncomfortable”. Dave as a sub is an assistant on the basketball court, an assistant in the lunchroom, an assistant on the bus, an assistant in the toilet, et cetera. On Subbing closes with “The Portland Public School District is completely fucked.” So many journal style zines fail to offer this type of insightful summation. If you enjoy vignette style personal writing that runs a vast gamut of emotions order On Subbing. personal p.s. to Punk Rock Dave: spell check. David Roche, 1036 N. Shaver St., Portland, OR 97227; poodrow@hotmail.com

In Your Room # 6
Par for the course, it’s a zine so all the lines are not parallel, some letters are missing, there are cross outs, misspellings and grammatical non sequiturs. Oh well. If one reader is available to wade through the crude sketch renderings, photocopied pictures and chicken scratch they will find a dense story of a crew of young folk touring without abandon throughout america from June 2002 through December of the same year. Very spontaneous adventures of drunkenness, confusion and transition including a minivan collapse, a domestic bunny, a segregated gay bar and a man wearing nothing but a cowboy hat in his driveway on the only road into town. A highlight of this publication is the included cd tucked into the back cover particularly laura viers’ “mares’ tails” and allison williams’ “construction”. Can’t go wrong when women play the banjo. price?/ 68 pages P.O. Box 1514, Bellingham, WA 98227. Or 2111 W. Chase, Pensacola, FL 32501 (New Address); serene@yourheartbreaks.com

About 10,000 Words Publisher’s Clearing House
Samuel Plahetka has got the bases loaded. This zine has prose, poetry, comix, submissions, reviews, dream analysis, video game synopses, even unobtrusive indie advertising. The publisher explains that not much is going on in the source city of Las Vegas “the cultural desert” and maybe that is why 10,000 words is so packed with enthusiasm. issue #0, January 2003 56 pgs. half size/ $2 in USA Contact Samuel Plahetka, 5138 Mapletree Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89122; samuel_plahetka@msn.com

Blair Ewing Project 2nd edition July 2002 Under Construction
This quarter page cutie is an effective collaboration between award winning poet Blair Ewing and cartoonist Luc LeClerc (aka Mr. Swiz). The stories/poems are sparse and the accompanied drawings are dramatic. This is a photocopied mini and the use of grayscale works well. I encourage these two to continue their symbiotic partnership. Look at http://www.geocities.com/swizcorp for more images. 20 pgs $4/ no trades 6 Barthel Ct., Lutherville, MD 21093; bgewing@comcast.net

I Don’t Like Mondays The Waking Nightmare Again and Again
Though perzines such as this can be difficult to read due to their extremely personal nature this zine captures the spirit of the perzine very well. “I Don’t Like Mondays” chronicles one person’s young lifetime involvement in a public school system from kindergarten through 12th grade. Her condemnations and affirmations are illuminated by thematic drawings along the margins of the page. Many archetypal characters stomp through this zine: The disillusioned and self absorbed teachers, the amateur psychologist/assistant principal, the freak clique, the “most popular girl” and many more. Becky’s stories are believable, full of energy and much attention is paid by the author to censor the tendency towards self pity. She is consistently and honestly careful to omit information that is not directly related to the experiences being discussed if they are included in the “at home” category. If you are available for a challenging read you will be charmed. $3 Becky, P.O. Box 2152, Jenkintown, PA 19046; hatesmondays@hotmail.com


Big Hammer Issue #6
The cover of Big Hammer reads “Inside: Poems about Aging, Alcoholism, Domestic Violence, Drugs, Getting Laid Off, Police Brutality & Working Nights!” The first words out of my mouth were “Fuck yeah! Finally!” The collected poems and prose pieces here are full of anger and spite, they challenge and attack. These are not your standard academic works about green grass and sunlight. No, this is an excellent ‘zine full of individual voices screaming beneath one umbrella in a shitstorm. Unique, mature and intelligent, it is obvious that the people working behind Big Hammer are both sincere and honest. The issue kicks off with two black and white photos, the second of which is a self-portrait by Pedro Angel Serrano. These were followed excellently by three quotations all of which work as an excellent introduction (however the quote about poetic sensibility by LeRoi Jones is fantastic) and sets the tone for the rest of this issue. Beat poetry and booze-inspired, Big Hammer was a welcome surprise. Also contains a review of “The Holy Grail: Charles Bukowski And The Second Coming Years” and several zine reviews to boot. Get yourself a Big Hammer. 100 Pages, $6 Dave Roskos, POB 54, Manasquan NJ 08736; www.iniquitypress.com

Jones AV. VIII/3
A collection of poems from straight outta Toronto. There’s nothing offensive here, really, but nothing that particularly stands out either. The writing is fine, albeit slightly bland. Steven Hoadley’s “Denny’s” is a decent piece about about a meeting with a girl who asks him “why do you write about such terrible things?” He replies “Because I don’t know about any nice things.” If I am to read this piece as a separate entity from any other work by the author, how am I supposed to know anything about his supposedly disgruntled character aside from his one line “bedraggled, beaten and bothered.” I am not totally convinced, although I would be interested in more of his work. Theresa Lapensee’s “Saturdays and Jellyfish” is one of the stand-out pieces within Jones AV. Instead of making an attempt at a “this is what poetry class taught me” style, she writes with emotion, uninhibited by unnecessary wordiness. Lyn Lifshin’s “Used to Think You Took More Than You Gave” and Paul Karan’s “Then And Now” are also worthy of mention. Ultimately, Jones AV was a decent read, not bad for two bucks. Probably a good place to try to get published. $2.00 24 pages Editor: Paul Schwartz, 88 Dagmar AV, Toronto, Ont. M4M 1W1 Canada; oel@interlog.com

The Pornographic Flabbergasted Emus
Wred Fright returns with his another installment of the fictitious band The Pornographic Flabbergasted Emus. Anybody interested in the trials and tribulations about being in a band will enjoy this. This is part two in a seven issue series. Pretty well-written, worth the time it takes to read. 47 pages, stapled in the middle $3/selective trades Wred Fright, PO Box 770332, Lakewood, OH 44107; wredfright@yahoo.com

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No.11
I don’t know what the title references but I’m going to guess it’s literary! LCRW is 52 pages of very well written fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Reads like a college university literary magazine, maybe it is, that’s something else I don’t know but I felt a little wiser reading this instead of a porno magazine. Second zine I’ve read this week to discuss the film Donnie Darko which is cool. The stories are well crafted and the poetry more original and thought provoking than the typical literary independent zine. Recommended for anybody looking for well above par writing and makes for a good example as to what is lacking in many other attempts at an intelligent zine. 52 pages/4 bucks Small Beer Press, 176 Prospect Ave., Northampton, MA 01060; info@lcrw.com

h2so4 is quite a treat of a magazine. Art, politics, philosophy, “how we live”. In other words it’s got a very nice mix of articles, editorials and reviews. One article uses Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a vehicle to explain love and friendships. I guess this works, it’s a nice lighthearted way to discuss a huge and never ending topic. “Reviews of books I shouldn’t have read” is amusing and “Big-Headed Statues: Enron, Plato and Modern Day Sophists” was quite stimulating. I would certainly recommend this magazine if you’re looking for something intelligent to read in the bathroom. 50 pages/4 bucks PO Box 423354, San Francisco CA 94142 www.h2so4.net

hey ho never be still Issue number one: gods
Mini-comic from cartoon genius Androo Robinson. Wonderfully drawn, brilliant images, telling a story of gods, control and man’s smallness in the universe. I could stare at this all day, I have no idea why this guy isn’t more popular, get this. Get everything he’s got. Trust me. Androo Robinson, Ped Xing Comics, 2000 NE 42 Av. #303, Portland OR 97213

Davida Gypsy Breier
PO Box 963, Havre de Grace, MD 21078
davida@leekinginc.com; www.leekinginc.com

Are We There Yet #1
There seems to be a sudden boom of radical mama zines, especially in Baltimore. Lauren is mother to Maia (7) and Keegan (4). She writes of taking them to a protest, explaining about Senator Wellstone’s death, snow days, finding deeper meaning in gardening, and the daily life issues facing a mother of two. Zine reviews, video game reviews, recipes, and poetry. $2 US/Can/Mex, $3 world, trades/digest/26 pgs Lauren Eichelberger, 1200 Hilltop Rd., Baltimore, MD 21226; masageleaf@toad.net

Baptism River
I went through a few weeks this spring where I wanted to get in the car and drive as far as I could. I just wanted to get away. I never made it, but I did get to live in a cabin in a small Minnesota town along Lake Superior for a week vicariously though Chris Dodge. Experience his thoughts as each day glides into the next. He hikes, watches and feeds birds, ponders, and succeeds in living in the moment. Recommended. No price listed/digest/28 pgs Chris Dodge, 2712 Pillsbury, #105, Minneapolis, MN 55408; curvyedge@yahoo.com

Brainscan #19
I left my full-time job at the end of March and on Monday (June 9th) I’ll be starting a new job near DC. In the interim I went back to youth sports photography, painting friends houses, and also working at Atomic Books. I really enjoyed working at the store, plus Rachel and Benn are cool to work for. One afternoon Rachel had to remind me I was there to pay attention and work. I was mortified. This zine had completely stolen my interest and I forgot about waiting on customers or watching for juvenile shoplifters (http://www.atomicbooks.com/NewsEvents/shoplifterbusted.html). I hadn’t finished reading the copy in the store by the time my shift was over, so I bought it and finished reading it that night. There was something engaging about Alex’s writings and character. She is one of the organizers for the Portland Zine Symposium and she writes of her experiences at last year’s event. I usually have trouble with cut out sections of type over images, but she knows how to pull the effect off properly, without sacrificing legibility, creating a fun, diy layout. $2 + 2 stamps/mini/64 pgs Alex Wreck, PO Box 14332, Portland, OR 97293; brainscanzine@ureach.com

Dream Whip #12
DREAM WHIP is my pick for this issue. Of all the zines I’ve seen in the last few months, this one stood out above the rest. Admittedly, I tend to like both per-zines and travel zines, but never before has a zine made me want to see waning industrial towns in North Dakota. I couldn’t put it down and at 160 pages it ended too soon. There is an ache in both Bill’s interior mindset and the exterior landscape of the Midwest. Spend some late nights on the road and in diners with him, won’t you? $3, trades/mini/160 pages Bill D. Whip, PO Box 53832, Lubbock, TX 79453; www.geocities.com/dreamwhipzine

Farm Pulp #42
I’ve written a review for this issue in my head more times than I can count. It made my top ten list for 2002 (www.atomicbooks.com/staffreviews.html). Now faced with an actual review, I am choking. I can’t do the issue justice. As I said in my top ten wrap up, “I don’t make comparisons like this lightly, but if I had to assign a spot in my library, Farm Pulp would be next to Kurt Vonnegut and Tom Robbins.” $5/uniquely sized/20-something pages A Mystery Subscription of four quarterly mailings gets you a surprise package, possibly coinciding with the seasons or not, for only $15.00. Gregory Hischak, P.O. Box 2151, Seattle, WA 98111-2151; greg@farmpulp.com, www.farmpulp.com

No For An Answer
This is one of those times where judging a book by its cover will get your finger nipped by the pages. Teddy bear fur on the outside, barbed wire on the inside. Humanities Standing still squinting with sunglasses perched on it’s head The poems are short and spar with the world, taking a few upper cuts on the way. $20/hardbound/68 pages Zebulun, PO Box 617547, Chicago, IL 60661; www.seventenbishop.com/

The Pornographic Flabbergasted Emus, #1 & #4
This has been reviewed favorably elsewhere in the issue, so I’ll just add that I am also a fan. #1=$2, #2-4-=$3, trades, but ask first/digest/#1 32 pages, #4 48 pages Wred Fright, PO Box 770332, Lakewood, OH 44107 (NEW ADDRESS); wredfright@yahoo.com

SouthEast Vibe
Occasionally a zine will come along that does everything right. Southeast Vibe is one such zine. Southeast Vibe is a product of the Southeast Youth Academy (SEYA), a community organization devoted to providing a safe and creative haven for kids in southeast Baltimore.

“The Academy” is founded on four basic principles: Respect Yourself and Others, Create a Safe Space for Everyone, Commit to Learning Responsible and Healthy Behavior, and Believe in Your Ability of Become a Leader. The zine is divided into sections displaying how these principles apply to the youth the center serves. Best of all, the kids are given the opportunity to describe their lives and experiences for themselves. They offer short biographies, poetry, and essays on everything from growing up in dangerous neighborhoods to friendship to traveling to visit family in Guatemala City.

Stephanie, a teenager at the academy, is openly gay and explains her experiences with discrimination, and also how students organized at her all-girl school to protest that their girlfriends be allowed to attend dances with them. An anonymous contributor shares what it is like to live with cerebral palsy, while Bliss explains, “When my mother died I turned very wild. Two years ago I got my sense back and I know my mother led me to the real decision. And I’m sure she lead me to the teen center.”

It is clear from reading Southeast Vibe that the staff and volunteers treat the students with respect and also offer guidance.

The 60-page zine is professionally designed by Luci Morreale, which adds to the vibrancy of the words and images by and of the teen center’s members and staff. I asked Luci about the design, and she explained the covers, “were painted with stencils and spray paint. The idea was to give the kids a bit of ownership of the magazine. A few kids and all us teachers really loved the process and got really messy and creative, which was great fun.”

Southeast Vibe was edited by Kara McDonough (“Miss Kara”), who runs the center and Miss Zakiya Kabir and Mr. Joel Esguerra, two prominent volunteers.

If you would like a copy of Southeast Vibe, contact Luci Morreale directly at lucinderella57@hotmail.com (the price is $2 plus $1.50 per book for shipping). It is also available through Atomic Books. (note: This review also appeared in my online column, The City that Still Reads, for MetroBaltimore.com)

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