The Zine Collection

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Archive for the ‘Zine of the Week’ Category

Assassin and the Whiner Vol. 15 by Carrie McNinch

Posted by Andrew Coulon on August 26, 2010

Carrie McNinch is a zine and mini-comic veteran of the first order.  As the editor of Food Geek and an early innovator of diary mini-comics, she has gained a following by allowing readers into her personal life, sharing her experiences as a lesbian cartoonist whose anxiety and disconnectedness have led her into depression and alcohol abuse.  Assassin and the Whiner Vol. 15 is one of the most compelling mini-comics I’ve read to date.  For a diary comic, McNinch has taken great care in drafting daily entries, something that sometimes gets brushed over in other daily comics.  You get the sense that McNinch is deadly serious when she discusses her comics as type of therapy.  By reflecting on the serious and mundane together, you begin to see that McNinch’s hang ups aren’t at all strange or alien but intensely personal; you probably know someone who suffers from similar issues, if you yourself don’t.  Assassin and the Whiner is a great human story reflecting on personal struggle, loneliness and the little victories that keep us all sane.

Keep an eye out for other mini-comics by McNinch in the Zine Collection or check out Food Geek.

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Murder Can Be Fun. Vol. 13

Posted by Matthew Moyer on August 18, 2010

“Death At Disneyland,” screams the cover, accompanied by an olde-timey illustration of a group of gentlemen and gentlewomen careening sideways down a roller-coaster to an uncertain fate! (A top hat flies off into the abyss, even!) There’s no way this one won’t be a winner.

San Francisco resident John Marr started Murder Can Be Fun back in 1986, using it as a print outlet for his painstaking research into all manner of strange historical deaths and disasters (from Karen Carpenter’s anorexia to zoo deaths), and his omnivorous consumption of true crime books, all written up in a bleakly sarcastic and yet informative tone.

In this issue, Marr debunks the longstanding myth that no one ever dies at Disney, tells the tale of train-wrecker Sylvestre Matuschka, and that dark day in 1960 when an airplane plowed into a streetcar(!), pens a biography of mystery writer Harry Keeler, and a score of other morbid goodness. Forget the guy who always pulls up Youtube videos of people getting kicked in the crotch, this issue alone has enough anecdotes to make you a hit at your next party.

This particular issue is LONG out of print, but was donated by a kind zine connoisseur. Enjoy it!

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Zine Machine Issue #2

Posted by Josh Jubinsky on July 28, 2010

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Issue #2 is done! It’s the  “country” issue!  Kids from the Main Library’s  Zine Machine class spent a month of meeting weekly to create eight different countries.  Check out a flag designs, maps, currency, royal portaits, data such as climate, population and motto, and even pictures from each countries rich fictional, child-created, history!   Countries include Karateland, Legotown, Spiralonia, Fight-Rager, Sophie, Adelhide, Imagine World, and United Games. 

Copies are available for checkout at the Main Library’s Children’s Department and first floor Zine Collection.

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Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness

Posted by Jessica Whittington on July 19, 2010

Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness: A Reader and Roadmap of Bipolar Worlds, was self-published by the Icarus Project in March 2004. The book is currently in its 6th printing and is full of firsthand encounters with bi-polar disorder. I like the fact that it’s not a normal sized zine, but more like a larger magazine.

First off, I had no clue Sascha Scatter was one of the co- founders of Choking Victim, although I have never listened to them, I think it’s a good idea that someone “known” to younger people would take the time to educate people on this serious disorder. The personal stories from people and families dealing with bipolar disorder are very insightful and you really get an understanding of how this all works.  I mean, can you imagine one minute having the best ideas in the world and the creative juices flowing through your veins, thinking you’re superman with the most self confidence in the world, and the next hour crying for no apparent reason feeling like the biggest failure, completely hopeless?

These stories are heartbreaking and honest and it took a lot of guts for the people involved in this project to open up with their feelings. It’s a huge road map guiding you along the trails of different people showing you the route they took and how they are dealing with it and trying to live their lives the best they can.

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Al Burian’s Things Are Meaning Less

Posted by Andrew Coulon on July 12, 2010

Burn Collector author Al Burian’s autobiographical comic Things Are Meaning Less treads the narrow line between whining child and existential heavy weight with clumsy grace.  At times funny, lonely and painfully embarrassing, Burian never strays far from conversations about the weather and his quest to comprehend such chaotic systems seems to rack his waking hours.  His shyness, self loathing and alienation are thankfully cut with the humor, allowing the reader to decompress once in a while.  This isn’t Camus’ Stranger or even Catcher in the Rye. This is one guy’s transition from awkward teen-aged metal head into a directionless, coffee-swilling bike punk and zine author.  As in all existential writing, there are moments of juvenile fist pounding to be expected.  (I mean, who doesn’t want to just slap Holden Caulfield once in while?)  Burian acknowledges these tendencies in himself as well and portrays his fantasies about super powers and suicide as a part of the problem.  He remains connected and disconnected at the same time and you get a strong sense of his frustration: the sunny days are too short and the rainy days just keep coming.  Burian’s unending quest for purpose and fulfillment may just be one more city away. Check out Things Are Meaning Less.

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AC Dickson’s Guide To Ebay Powerselling

Posted by Matthew Moyer on June 30, 2010

AC Dickson is a winner. You can tell. Just look at the picture on the cover – power stance, “Blue Steel” eyes, red polyester pants, a tie that makes no sense whatsoever…. Wait, where was I? Oh, yeah, AC Dickson is a winner. What made him a winner? Ebay. And guess what else? He’s willing to share his ebay expertise to lift us common saps up to his level. What a guy.

Okay, truth be told, there is no AC Dickson. “AC” is the alter ego of Andrew Dickson, and this zine is the print companion to a similarly demented faux infommercial DVD/VHS he made touting the curative properties of ebay on the human psyche. And yet, for all of the gonzo laughs implicit in the “AC Dickson” character, the Guide to Ebay Powerselling is quite an insightful look into the mechanics of being an ebay vendor, before then morphing into a much more ambitious (and almost philosophical) look into the implications ebay has for our economy and our capitalist society. Though it also includes tales of some of the more interesting ebay scams– the Drunken Sailor, the imaginary girlfriend (What, no Haunted Doll?)– so it’s not all heavy theorizing.

Guide to Ebay Powerselling is exactly the kind of quirky yet informative writing that could only exist in a zine. Proper magazines wouldn’t give Dickson the word count necessary, a blog post this long would never be linked by Metafilter, and Twitter? Forget it.

Bonus material includes an ebay timeline, guide to seller’s slang, and a glossary.

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All The Days Are Numbered So

Posted by Josh Jubinsky on June 19, 2010

All The Days Are Numbered So
Zine w/ CD

Somewhere, amidst the median of grasping at straws to ‘being the change you want to see in the world’ and the full blown attempts (with generally tepid results) of recreating the glory days of your past, we find the zine “All the Days Are Numbered So.” It’s right in the middle of these ideas. But luckily for us, hovering just off the ground. So as to be heightened over the mediocrity of the casual boring punk over 30, who now instead of writing about something interesting w/ coffee and smoke, is now just writing about coffee and smoke. Wisdom, at times, creates a bored perdition of artists. And bored and soul less still are it’s fans and those perpetually aging and urging provocateurs.

Thankfully, twice now you’re struck on luck dear reader. For “All the Days Are Numbered So” is contains none of this boring purgatory. No unheroically aging punks. No dim torches being fueled by old record collections.

The enthusiasm is real. The idea of punk in this zine will and has changed lives. The sum of this community is far greater than it’s parts. Everything included here is compiled by Nate Powell, and the work is aptly released on his Harlan Records label. The highlights of the first half of the printed zine include contributions from Al Burian, Travis Fristoe, Erin Tobey, and Meredith Gaydosh. This includes essays and comics. The second half of the zine is pages the bands made with lyrics and collages. Highlights from the CD include tracks from Fiya, Soophie Nun Squad, Erin Tobey, Tiny Hawks, Reactionary Three, Sinaloa, Cassette, Matty Pop Chart, and of course, my favorite, Abe Froman.  Having booked shows and even released records for some of these bands on my own, it’s nice to know that most of the people know each other.  The community represented here has a good small town feel. The music is varied, and yet everyone knows nearly everyone. It’s comforting that with this zine and CD, you get to know them yourself.

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Root v.3

Posted by Andrew Coulon on June 9, 2010

In Root v.3, Sarah Evans shares what she has learned after 9 months of travel and exploration throughout Canada and the US. Her observances are mostly short and sweet, accompanied by personal photos and charming cut and paste collages that are so poignant, you begin to feel like a fellow traveler. You can’t help but imagine your own cross-country explorations and reflect on what makes a place feel like home. For Evans, home is in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Everyone else needs to find that place for themselves and sometimes, reading a good old fashioned perzine is a great way to reflect on your own roots and where life has taken you.

Prolific zinester Sarah Evans has been publishing zines for over a decade and has worked as a collaborator at the Anchor Archive Zine Library. If you want to read more by Sarah Evans, we also have Root v.1, Try, Try Again and Salt and Slush: Nova Scotia Winter Cooking.

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Cometbus v.48

Posted by Matthew Moyer on June 2, 2010

Cometbus is that most pleasing and rare phenomenon in the zine world – a long-running, (somewhat) regularly published title. Aaron Cometbus has helmed (and done most of the writing for) Cometbus  since 1983. The zine is known as much for it’s distinctive aesthetic–hand-lettered, simple black and white layouts and photography–as it is for its ever-changing content and focus. However, the whole thing is distinctly Aaron. This partciular issue is all interviews, and is built around the theme “Back to the Land.” In other words, it’s all about Communes, and the continuing urge in alternative sucultures to “get out of the city, get some land, get yourself together.” The hippies in the Sixties, Bob Dylan and the Band most famously did it, as did punks like Crass, and it’s an urge that continues to this day with the Family Band, MV & EE, etc,  upping sticks from the big city to the country. I’ve always been intrigued by communes; Aaron Cometbus is quite the opposite. This makes for fine reading, as he wrestles with his own feelings, while trying to remain the objective  observer during his interviews.

Like David Greenberg and his Duplex Planet, Cometbus eschews the famous, and seeks out friends and friends of friends, all of whom chose or were dragged away from civilization at one point in their lives. However, Cometbus is a more obtrusive and active interviewer than Greenberg. This issue is divided into three sections: The Kids, The Adults, and Back To The Land. All of the interviews more or less fall under these themes. Ironically, despite the loftiest of ideals when leaving the rat race behind, every one of these interviews has a slight tang of disappointment to it. Ain’t it the way…

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The Rise and Fall of the Harbor Area v.14

Posted by Matthew Moyer on May 20, 2010

The balance between national and local interests/arts/music is what sets the best zines apart from mainstream publications of a similar stripe.  You get a stronger sense of place and space than you would in a national pub like Rolling Stone (which ironically started out very much like this zine, inextricably linked to its Bay Area environs). ANYWAY, what I’m trying to say is that The Rise and Fall of the Harbor Area walks this very line perfectly, tied symbiotically with its hometown of San Pedro (birthplace of the legendary Minutemen), devoting the same passion poured into an oral history of  the San Pedro Skatepark to an interview with New York’s Japanther.

The Rise and Fall of the Harbor Area is an an attractively designed quarter-size publication devoted to the usual concerns of raucous punk music, DIY art, and skateboarding, but executed with an enthusiasm and poise a cut above many punkoid peers. For instance, Rise and Fall reprints forgotten Charles Bukowski poetry in every volume, and this particular issue uses illustrations and drawings instead of the usual boring band promo imagery (only Galactic Zoo Dossier does this regularly). And not only do you get excellent interviews with the aforementioned Japanther, Aaron Cometbus of Pinhead Gunpowder, and Street Eaters, but you also get a nifty article on great diners in San Pedro. With very little in the way of bad attitude, to boot. Worthy.

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