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.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Absent Cause (review by Anne)

Absent Cause #1
by redguard
754 Washington Ave #4R
Brooklyn, NY 11238
redguard [at] gmail [dot] com

$3 US, $3 Can/Mex, contact first for everywhere else, +1$ for shipping
trades yes, 8 1/2 x 11, color cover, 44 pages

"Explore the dark side with Absent Cause: underground cultures, hidden histories, feminist and queer sexualities; chosen families and radical politics; vampirism; the gothic and horror; surviving abuse, coping with mental illness, self-harm and suicide. Through writing, art work, photos + comics, we explore the myriad ways they intersect."

Sounds like a pretty wide range, no? But that's a pretty accurate description of the things you're going to see in this issue. It's a first issue, which often is interesting, exciting, and a little messy, and Absent Cause #1 holds to that. This arrived with "Sometimes Things Get Confusing When You're Mentally Ill" (a half-size 8-page zine for $1). Both are pretty heady stuff, about the author's struggles with depression, PTSD, being a father and with being married. "Triggers abound," redguard states in the introduction to the mini, and that's an apt statement to keep in mind for BOTH of these zines.

Absent Cause is an anthology with a huge range of contributors. There are some fascinating interviews surrounding race, gender, and culture, and there are some incredibly disturbing full-color pictures included in this issue (it's bloody, eye-catching, and might freak you out even if those are not your particular triggers. If they are, you might want to approach this issue with caution). They're well-done and evocative, and not included for shock value, but they did shock me. The zine is well-crafted and uses a sharp, crisp layout and design; what I wanted to know more about was if there was an overriding theme to it. I couldn't in the end decide what that theme might be, and though the focus seems a little undecided in places I'm not sorry that I read it. In future issues, I'd be interested to see if themes do develop. The next issue is due out in January, so in time I suppose we'll see.

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