Who and What We Are

Xerography Debt is a review zine for zine readers by zine writers (and readers). It is a hybrid of review zine and personal zine (the ancestor to many blogs). The paper version has been around since 1999. This blog thing is are attempt to bridge the gap between Web 2.0 and Paper 1.0. Print is not dead, but it is becoming more pixelated.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Reviews from Eric

I like to do a little intro to my reviews even thiugh I have nothing to say. But if you live in the US you gotta go vote next Tuesday. Not so much for the Presidential election because quite frankly your one vote really doesn't make much of a difference unless you live in one of the undecided states and that's assuming the whole thing isn't fixed to begin with. But you may have ballot questions and apparently if I vote wrong here in MA. dogs will be abused, potheads will rot in prison and I will get a few extra bucks in my paycheck while schools, hospitals & libraries collpase around me. They sure make it sound important.

BAMBOOZLED: THE JOEY TORREY STORY- “If the police ask for help, just say no! If the FBI comes knockin, do not answer the door! When you read ‘Former boxer Joey Torrey has died’ you can remember ‘Oh snap, I just read his zine‘...I am 47 years old in 2008 and not as quick as I was 20 years ago. I will be assassinated by the hand of someone you read about in this story. Thank you for your time.” Thus concludes the zine BAMBOOZLED, the story of former boxer Joey Torrey. I always enjoy zines by people who are not your typical zinesters and Joey, a former boxer currently in prison for murder, is definitely not a typical zinester. This zine actually featured something you don’t see a lot of in zines and I hadn’t realized I’d been missing- action and adventure. There’s definitely more to the zine than that, but at it’s core this zine has the makings of a good crime novel. Joey is a pretty impressive guy. After getting sent to prison for murder while working for the mob and having the government back out of their promise to get him out by the time he’s 25 he manages to make 6 figures a year while behind bars selling sports memorabilia and even producing a TV show. All the while he’s studying law diligently trying to find a way to get himself released from prison. Which he actually does, but that’s only the beginning of what can only be described as a huge shit storm. He agrees to help the FBI with an investigation on the corruption of boxing (which according to Joey is really, really corrupt. It’s kind of hard to believe that the mainstream media has no idea about this so I can only assume they don’t care) and...well, it ends with the quote I started the review with so you can figure that all does not end well for Joey. The writing is a tad choppy in that 5 years will pass without being noted, but Joey is an interesting guy with a fascinating story to tell. I’m kind of surprised it’s being told in a zine because it has the makings of a best selling book/
64 illustrated pages, 5.5 x 8.5 send $5 to Microcosm Publishing 222 S. Rogers St Bloomington IN. 47404
www.microcosmpublishing.com jessie@microcosmpublishing.com

FRESH BREATH OF MINT #9- I don’t know if this is really a zine, but they sent it to XD so I may as well review it. This is a free magazine produced by Mint Records that you find for free in indy record stores. It’s one of the better free magazines I’ve seen and has some good stuff in here. It also has articles on bands I’ve never beard of and tons of ads for even more bands I’ve never heard of. If nothing else it certainly highlights the fact that there are a lot of bands I’ve never heard of. It also came with a Mint Records Sampler CD that I liked, but I have no idea how you can acquire that. This is worth picking up for free and since it’s free I guess that means this is a good review. In my local record store this is in a little display by the door with all the other free newspapers. I don’t know where they keep in your local store but I bet it’s in roughly the same area.
Mint Records Inc. PO Box 3613, Vancouver BC Canada V6B 3Y6 www.mintrecs.com www,myspace.com/mintrecords

IZZY CHALLENGE #5- Hey, this is pretty cute. It’s a jam comic called “Izzy Tours America” featuring 50 artists from every state in the USA. The originator of this comic, JB White drew Izzy the mouse in 50 different poses and then sent them to one artist in each state to draw a specific scene for Izzy to be participating in. It’s definitely nothing Earth shattering in it’s brilliance, but it’s a fun idea well executed.
16 pages 5.5 x 8.5, e-mail before trading, send $1 to JB Winter PO Box 1814 Columbia, MO 65205 info@JBwinter.com

NUNS I’VE KNOWN- I picked this up at the Boston Zine Fair. It’s always been a goal of mine to review each and every zine I acquire at the fair, but even I know I’ll never do that. Quite frankly it’s an accomplishment if I even read ‘em all. Anyhow, as I read this it occurred to me that never in my life have I heard anyone say anything nice about a nun. Priests certainly get their share of bad publicity, but by the same token at least people recognize the good that some priests do. With nuns people just seem to dislike them. Not for anything illegal or horribly abusive, it just seems like nuns have a casual meanness and cruelty about them. If you really wanna hear some anti-nun talk you should ask my grandmother. She hates ‘em. “Nun is the Loneliest Number” as the Pope once said. At any rate, the author of this zine, Pruella Vulgaris, went to Catholic school and writes this zine about nuns she has known and dealt with. Good stuff. I liked it a lot. Very funny and believe it or not once of the nuns actually seems like a nice woman. The rest of ‘em, though, are typically mean nuns. But they’re still fun to read about.
12 pages, some kinda wacky size. I’d say 5.5 x 5. e mail prunellavulgaris@ymail.com www.myspace.com/prunellavulgaris

I’ll get some more reviews posted here on Saturday.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Reviews of Mostly True, ETC, Dwelling Portably, Hell's Half-Acre Herald and Exit 63 from Fred Argoff

Once upon a time, there was a magical, mystical land known as Brooklyn. People traipsed around saying such strange, wonderful things as, "Geddoudahere!" "Fuhgeddaboudit!" and even, "You got a problem with that?" Some of the people from this fanciful country got involved with zines. Producing them, and even reviewing them. So enough with the fairytale introduction already, and let's see what's here to review...

Well, I kept telling myself that I was going to save the best for last, but all my resolve just melted away. So let's begin with Mostly True. There's very little question that Davida only sent this one to me because she knew I was going to love it! Right there on the cover of Vol. 19, No. 7 it says, "The West's Most Popular Hobo Graffiti Magazine," and for anyone who's even vaguely interested in railroads, this one is the jackpot! Railroading adventures, hobos, loads of photos, even old ads. Featured in this issue, the search for Bozo Texino, and the Colossus of Roads. It's really more of a magazine than a zine, but why be a nitpicker? Don't waste another minute, and get your $6.95 in the mail right away, to Bill Daniel at Microcosm Publishing, 222 S. Rogers St., Bloomington IN 47404.

And yet more creativity, this time in ETC (that stands for, Everybody That Creates). The premise is simple: people create things--that is, things like artwork and short stories, and this zine presents them. Issue #2 has a story about bees (watch out! Somebody is going to get stung) and some comics. I, personally, liked the "Real Life for Real" panels, maybe because I relate to stick figures as about the only type of drawings I can manage. It's fun to check in and see what other people are creating, so I say, go for it. $2 from Chris Almond, P.O. Box 678421, Orlando FL 32867-8421.

Dwelling Portably has been around a long time. And the way things are going lately, it appears more and more relevant with each passing day. The premise is that you don't necessarily have to live within the grid. The issue at hand has tips for dealing with dirt floors, various (and very creative) uses for free water barrels, the merits of vitamin D, solar cooking, and plenty more. Also has a summary of past issues--many of which are still available--and a listing of unusual sources, many of which are zines. $1 per issue (6 back issues for $5 or 12 for $10) from P.O. Box 190-L, Philomath OR 97370-0190.

Remember the old sci-fi movie "Day of the Triffids?" Well, don't look now, but... Hell's Half-Acre Herald presents the Texas Triffid Ranch. Did you guess that the subject is carnivorous plants? Congratulations! Featured in the first issue, feeding P. Americana (the good old American cockroach) to your pitcher plant, and the coming of the dragonfruit. There's also a listing of resources. I didn't know that there was an International Carnivorous Plant Society, but there is. Do they sell Venus' flytrap T-shirts, I wonder? In any case, no price listed, so "the usual" will have to do, from Paul Riddell, 5930 E. Royal Lane (#140), Dallas TX 75230.

Next up, we have Exit 63. At least, I think that's the title. The cover of #8 also has Blues in big letters, so I can't say for sure which one is the title. That, by the way, is a demerit, if we have to guess what the zine is called. Anyway, this is the Lust for Lists issue. Our friendly local editor lists the things he did every day, from June 1 through August 17. For example, the list for July 4, representative of the zine: 1--worked most of the day. 2--tried to call Liz. 3--skated a lot. 4--listened to some baseball on the radio. Liz is definitely important to the zine, as she shows up in most of the lists. I hope we're dealing with genuine youth here, or something is terribly wrong. No price listed (pun unavoidable) but if you like reading lists of things, you might want to give this a try, from Matthew Bodette, 6466 Rt. 125, Vergennes VT 05491.

...And they all lived happily ever after. There! We got back to the fairytale theme just in time for my closing.

Monday, October 27, 2008

a new review by Kris

Bloody Hell! Where has this been hiding since I went ape shit for zines 5 years ago?!?

ART BUREAU #15 & #16:
($3 each from: ART BUREAU, PO Box 1823, Portland, OR 97207, USA. Or try artbureau.etsy.com)

This publication´s mission statement goes as follows: "Art Bureau publishes artists from around the globe, giving them ample space to display & write about their work. This is done by creating online portfolio pages & printing limited-edition publications like the one you now hold. Between issues, keep yourself art-fed at artbureau.org."

Issue #15 exposed me to the work of:
-Julio Rölle & Sebastian Bagge of the zine 44flavours
-Roz Foster & Gabe Marihugh of Holograph Magazine
-"Someguy" from the 1000 Journals Project
-the graphic insanity of Inksecticid (Canada) & Topsi (France)

Issue #16 contains the inspiring art & words of:
-Chinese artist Bubi Au Yeung Kit Ying (aka: milkjar)
-Dom Hall of Computer Arts Projects (The In-depth Guide for Digital Creatives)
-Venezuelan illustrator Amaranta (aka: Piktorama)
-Eyeformation´s "City Birds" project

Art Bureau is a beautiful little package. The printing is amazing, the content is top notch, but the price seems a bit low if you ask me. The two issues I received came with various stickers & postcards - only $3.00? One thing I should mention (because zinesters are touchy about these things) is that there are ads in Art Bureau. But, they are all for independent projects & magazines & comics, etc. Art Bureau even has an ISSN number, but this little publication has zine written all over it. Recommended.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A stray review by Maynard Welstand

Opuntia 64.1C February 2008
ISSN 1183-2703
By Dale Speirs
$3.00 Cash (no checks or stamps for US readers)
Trades for zines and letters of comment
Box 6830
Alberta, Canada T2P 2E7

Dale reviews some cool alternative history books and stories. Some may be hard to track down, so if you run into trouble, PLEASE ask your local public librarian about Interlibrary Loan to get a hold of this stuff. It looks excellent. Where the heck does he find his reading stash? Here are some titles and synopsis to give you the gist of the kind of materials he's into:

Lest Darkness Fall – Dude time travels to 6th century and discovers how easy we have it in the 20th century.

Pasquales Angel – What would happen if Da Vinci's drawings had all actually worked? Read about the possible world we'd live in if the Renaissance had happened 325 years early.

Not by Sea – (this is in the 1966 issue of IF, and you might need a librarian to help track this one down via interlibrary loan) What would have happened if Napoleon had won the battle for Britain?

But wait, there's more! In this issue, Dale reviews 43 zines and also has letters to the editor.

He also has this cool column called “Seen in the literature” where he quotes an article and then provides really insightful commentary. His scope of reading is broad and deep. Golly, to spend an afternoon in this guy's head would be a total trip. Anyhoo, there is this one clip that is creepily foreboding of our current crash, which he predicted 8 long months ago. Here is one citation that I will give you: The hunt for Black October. The American, 1 (6): 46-54, 104-110.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

zine reviews by Kris

Hey there. Welcome to my first post on the X. Debt blog. I hope this works...

First up: Worry Stone #1 (August 2008) by Jerianne
(P.O. Box 330156, Murfreesboro, TN 37133, USA, jerianne@undergroundpress.org).
Price: $?

This 28 page mini details the difficulties of living with a partner who has diabetes.

And I quote: "As I´ve gotten older, I have developed an increasing number of anxieties. Life isn´t simple anymore: I have a marriage-like relationship with a diabetic man. We have a young child. I am a homeowner. I have a career. I have debt."

This isn´t a light-hearted read. Jerianne gives the reader a heavy dose of the daily struggles of living with her partner, Denny, who has some very serious health issues which are a direct result of diabetes. There is also a lot of information & statistics regarding the disease reprinted here, as well as plenty of clip art & a list of sources. Recommended.

Apparently Jerianne´s been busy, because not that long ago I also received from her the new issue of Zine World: A Reader´s Guide to the Underground Press #26 (Summer 2008). Now, if you aren´t already reading Zine World: ARG then I don´t really know what to tell you other than YOU NEED TO GET THIS! Every issue contains articles, news & columns about censorship issues, tons of enlightening letters, classifieds & events listings, & hundreds of zine reviews. This is essential reading for anybody who is passionate about independent publishing. And the new issue contains an enormous updated international listing of zine libraries & infoshops.

To get your copy send $4 (USA), $5 (Canada/Mexico), $7 (elsewhere). To subscribe send $10 for 3 issues (USA), $13 (Canada/Mexico), $18 (elsewhere).

Here´s the address:
Zine World
PO Box 330156
Murfreesboro, TN 37133-0156

And that´s it for now. Adios!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Maynard reviews a bunch of zines

Dwelling Portably 1980-89
Edited by Bert and Holly Davis
ISBN 978-1-934620-08-3
Retail: $8
Paperback ½ size, 178 p.

With the imminent collapse of the Western financial world looming, we all need a copy of this resource favored by hikers, campers, hobos, dumpster diving hipsters, and armchair travelers.

This zine is what MacGyver would read on his day off. Need to make a knife holster out of scrap leather? Get some sketches. Hypothermia worries? Gotcha covered. Need a review of Primitive Life Skills video? (Where can I get a copy on DVD?) It's in there. From building a fire to pest prevention to waterproofing matches, improve your current hobo lifestyle or prep for doomsday with this handy book.

Pod Post
P.O. Box 170271
San Francisco, CA 94122
$5.00 US, $6.00 world
No trades
4.25” X 5.5”
Email contact: mail@podpodpost.com
Website: podpodpost.com

Library geeks, and any other folks pondering the meaning of our disposable, isolating culture, will love this sophisticated, extremely appealing zine. It's scrap-booky in feel, but slick in production values. Layout is really tight, well done, and engaging. The content is self-questioning and a thinking-person's eye candy.

Split Zine:
I'd start a revolution but I don't have time by Jolie Noggle
Riot Grrrl by Hannah Neurotica
Jolie Noggle
655 Martin St.
Greenville, OH 45331
No Price given
½ size
Email contact: mrsnoggle@yahoo.com

Back to the old, tried and true, copy-machine-generated, angst-filled collection of essays on being a girl, liking music and the whole She-Power of the late 90s and early 2000s. It is amazing how much has changed in just a few years! But it is fun; full of heart and spunk; and takes you back nearly a decade.

Inner Swine, Vol. 14, issue 2, June 2008
Jeff Somers
Subscribe for only $5.00 per year in the US, $6.00 in Canada
Trades considered.
½ size, 60 p.
P.O. 3024
Hoboken, NJ 07030
Email contact: mreditor@innerswine.com

Well, what more can I say about the Inner Swine: a veritable institution of zineland, with the focus being on what it means to be a guy. This issue is true to form, and my favorite bit is the Refusal to Twitter. In this hilarious commentary on the egotism involved in the whole Twitter movement, I found myself in total agreement (once again) with Jeff and his near-Luddite view of the whole technology-driven social scene and how it continuously erodes our humanity and communication abilities with each new “breakthrough.”

A sad note, please send Jeff encouraging email as he noted he feels kind of tapped out with the whole zine thing. His next issue is called No Future. He has covered a LOT of ground in the 200 years he's been writing, and it's only natural to do a “best-of” issue. Let's hope that he'll sharpen the saw, do some sort of retreat and recharge the creative battery. He didn't actually say he was tapped out, but with a title like No Future, what other conclusions can one jump to?

The CIA makes Science Fiction Unexciting #5: the things you may not know about Iran/Contra
No name given
$1.50 postage paid
Microcosm Publishing
222 S. Rogers St.
Bloomington, IN 47404

This little zine is for a conspiracy theorist with only minutes to live or with ADHD. The author has a gift for summary that is astounding. You'll read this and feel like you actually understand the Iran/Contra affair. In this day and age, it is both enlightening and depressing to see that our government has been remarkably consistent: bad for years.

The author goes into the history of our meddling in oil-related foreign affairs, which started innocently enough at the end of WWII, when we were the last English-speaking empire standing. It pretty much goes downhill from there. As time passes, it becomes less obvious when we are aiding friends across the sea and when we are bungling in the jungle or desert.

In order to continue this meddling once it gets on a scale large enough to be detected by the press, our gummint decides to tamper with the Constitution. Iran/Contra was a glaring example of how the folks in charge clearly ignored the foundation of what makes this country tick. Their violations, and the lack of repercussions for the transgressors haunt us to this day.

The founding Fathers would be absolutely furious if they could see us now.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"The First 7-inch Was Better: How I Became an Ex-Punk"

"The First 7-inch Was Better: How I Became an Ex-Punk"
by Nia Diaspora
50 cents, no trades, 1/4 size, 12 pgs, FTP.
Nia describes this zine as about her "progressive disillusionment with punk activist communities as I began to better understand their failure to live up to anti-racist, anti-sexist, and pro-queer ideals." It's a sage, succinct statement that both hits the main points and also, I think, doesn't say enough. It's a powerful zine, kind of heartbreaking and important to read, and what I thought was kind of beautiful about it was that at its center--quite literally--activism remains. There's a pull-out sheet titled 'check yrself' with some questions on it designed to get people thinking and talking. It's worth reading, even if you're not into punk--because while Nia's writing about a couple of different punk communities, those points are vital to think about in a broader context too.


My Brain Hurts by Liz Baillie (review by Anne)

My Brain Hurts (volume one)
by Liz Baillie
isbn: 978-1-934620-038 (Microcosm #76063)

Yes, this too is a book, but before it was a book it was a zine and an awfully good one at that. Following the lives of a group of teenagers who are punks and queer, Baillie's work chronicles a range of things from friendship, abuse, falling in love, heartbreak, religion; I don't want to say too much and ruin the tension of how the narrative unfolds, but it's interesting to see how much stronger Baillie's work becomes as it goes on. The collection is of the first five issues of the series, and just glancing at the beginning and the end of the book will show you how far she's come. The early panels are crammed with images and words that sometimes don't all fit, but by about two issues in you can really see the change in her layout work alone. Her characters are always compelling and the tension you feel as the story progresses is authentic and true. There's also an extras section in the back, including paper dolls (they're really cute) and guest art. Baillie includes a resource section with information about shelters and resources for LGBTQ youth, which I thought was a particularly good thing and worthy of note. Highly recommended.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Big Wheel at the Cracker Factory (Review by Davida)

Big Wheel at the Cracker Factory
by Mickey Hess
isbn: 978-1891053078

This is a book, not a zine, but it is the zinest book I’ve read in a long time. And for the record the author did his tour of duty in zineland. Technically it is memoir, but it is also a look at jobs, decisions, dreams, influences and how to find meaning. The period this book covers is approximately 2000-2002, where Mickey finds himself in his post-college days with part-time teaching jobs, but also random gigs as an ice cream truck driver, stand-up comedian, and arcade attendant. He pokes fun at the colleges he works at, just as he does the “ridiculous” jobs. He is caught between a job he almost seems afraid to care about and those that amuse him. For our generation, and I am going to assume Mickey and I are almost exactly the same age, work has a different place in our lives. We know that bad things happen to good employees and that most people change jobs (and careers) repeatedly these days. We’ve watched jobs shipped overseas, fear layoffs, and seen how corporations have kept the minimum wage ridiculously low. We are a generation of cynics, but what happens when cynics find jobs with meaning? What happens when you find that you can’t keep up the façade of youth and irresponsibility forever? The book is insightful, but also funny as hell. The scene where they are housesitting and a friend breaks the toilet tank in the middle of the night made me laugh out loud. Mickey has great comedic timing with a deadpan delivery. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Degrassi Digest Vol 1 (Review by Davida)

Degrassi Digest Volume 1
Putting the Zine Back in Lazyness

I am going to out myself here - I am a big fan of all things Degrassi. It all started back in high school when PBS first aired this Canadian teen drama. While my peers watched "90210", I watched Joey and his loud shirts, Catlin's idealism, and Spike's teen motherhood. I was a fan until the show ended in the early 90's. When we moved into our current house two things happened: 1) I got knocked up and 2) we got better cable. Suddenly I was able to watch the new series, Degrassi: The Next Generation - often in 3-4 hour marathons since I was in love with the couch during the gestation period.

So what that all means is that Degrassi Digest is the zine I have been waiting since I was 16 to read. It is obsessive, snarky, ziney, funny, offers commentary, and will appeal to anyone who has wondered where are they now? and are Pat Mastroianni/Joey Jeremiah the same person (the answer appears to be yes)? In some cases it is an MST3K version of Degrassi. Oh, and there are cats involved in the production of the zine, which can only make it better.

One of my favorite zine finds this year.

$10 (perfect bound, 297 pages - compilation of the first 5 issues)
PO Box 56551
Portland, OR 97238

Caboose #6 (Review by Davida)

Caboose #6
The Health and Recreation Issue

Reading about Liz's misdiagnosis ordeals and medical issues triggered a great deal of empathy. I read this after I learned she had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, which isn't covered in this issue. She was still in the dark as of publication. This issue is all about the pain, medications, and treatments (traditional and non-traditional) that she suffered through because of the unspecified pain she was experiencing. Doctors eventually decide on fybromyalgia. This all went on for many months before she was correctly diagnosed and received treatment (she is now in remission, yay!). There were lots of other articles, many of them informative or entertaining, but the whole time I couldn't help thinking how lucky Patrick was to have been diagnosed so quickly.

Liz Mason
Available from Quimby's Bookstore (www.quimbys.com)

In Today's Mail

I have a few reviews I need to post (hopefully tonight), but I want to start alerting people to new zines that are just out.

Today I received a packet of zines from Dave Roche (On Subbing) that included two issues of About My Disappearance and some comix from his brother. I lost touch with Dave a few years ago, so the zines and accompanying letter were a postal treat. Should you want to get a copy of what I presume is his new issue email poodrow@hotmail.com.

I also received the new Extranjero. It looks like Kris and Lola take a trip to the US in this text-packed issue. I am going to save this one for my trip to Germany next week because I see the humor in reading a zine by a US expat wholives in Europe, but writing about traveling in the US while traveling in Europe myself. I never said I had a developed sense of humor....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Red Emma's Infiltrated by MD State Police

Red Emma's, a Baltimore-based bookstore, zinestore and coffeehouse was infiltrated by a Maryland State Police agent. The Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post both have stories about the ACLU investigation.