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Archive for the ‘Zine of the Week’ Category

Duplex Planet v. 180

Posted by Matthew Moyer on December 3, 2009

Duplex Planet n.180
by David Greenberger

A familiar cliche of journalism is that everyone has a story. Famed writer/broadcaster Studs Turkel embodied this maxim, spending most of his professional career, in print and broadcast media, letting everyday people tell their stories. One would think that now, with a profusion of online media platforms and outlets, someone would have stepped up to continue Terkel’s work. Not so. So much online media is consumed with either first person accounts or celebutainment that the art of the interview is increasingly lost

I think one of the people hewing closest to the spirit of Turkel’s work is David Greenberger and his Duplex Planet zine. Since 1979, Greenberger has published this zine, drawing upon his time as a nursing home employee in Boston. He regularly interviews the senior citizens on all manner of topics, just letting them talk and absorbing their insights without interruption. It doesn’t matter who they are, everyone gets their say. The theme of this issue is music, and cleverly juxtaposed against slightly out-of-focus performance shots of flamboyant indie musicians are wry and touching observations on dancing, singing, and how a song can soundtrack a precious moment. Greenberger pulls off a coup here; his conversations transcend easy stereotypes like “the Greatest Generation” or “Grampa Simpson” to present a view of the elderly as they are, just people.


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King-Cat No. 68

Posted by Andrew Coulon on November 24, 2009

King-Cat Comics and Stories No. 68
by John Porcellino

In these hard economic times, anything that can bring a simple smile to my face without a price tag is very much appreciated. With that in mind, I have been smiling all week whenever I think about John Porcellino’s King-Cat comics. Like traditional Japanese haiku, Porcellino’s Zen influenced comics are firmly rooted in nature and the peace he sometimes feels when present in the moment. Likewise, his ultra-simple line drawings and understated narrative only begin to tell the story. Along the way, the reader is reminded of his or her own experiences and invited to observe life in a more mindful way, bringing the story into the real world. But hey, this is Zine of the Week so I better pick just one. Issue 68 contains several comic strips about moving, observing nature and a very brief biography of Greek philosopher Diogenes. Also be sure to read the Nature Notes and the Top 40 section. Luckily, the Zine Collection has a few other issues so the joy doesn’t have to end… at least not right away.

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Heart Star

Posted by Matthew Moyer on November 18, 2009

Heart Star: Ghosts of Gohio Book 1
by Christoph Meyer

Heart Star is a gorgeously sad one-off zine from Christoph Meyer, who you should also know from Twenty-Eight Pages Lovingly Bound With Twine. It epitomizes what’s good about mini-comics of this nature; the diminutive size inversely proportional to the quality of personal storytelling and individual art within – something that would never get a chance under a larger comics imprint.  Heart Star tells a simple story of a girl who committed suicide and her ghost’s quest to find peace for her restless, burning heart, and tells it in the style of a children’s fable or poem. The art reminds me of my attempts to draw ghosts in the first grade; all bedsheets, sad, sad, eyes, and skull faces drawn in thick pen-and-ink lines. This style lends it an air of Charlie Brown-esque whimsy and melancholy (Charles Schulz keyed into this same primal visual language) and is all the better for it.

The only occasional splashes of color are for a blood-red heart or red tongues of flame from a funeral pyre. Despite the deliberately rudimentary art, the layouts are creative and little touches like a hole-punched heart very literally communicates a feeling of loss. The story is rich and imaginative, the tone is meditative and elegiac, and the ending will definitely get you misty-eyed. Right before you flip back to the beginning to start all over again.

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