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, May 25, 2008

Public Restrooms

You don't know how I love a good public restroom. I tend to take photos of the really good ones, from the bar in NYC where the clear doors fog up once the lock is clicked to the Loo of the Year in central London. I've invaded men's rooms in Alabama (you wouldn't believe what they had in the vending machine!) and commandeered others when the line for the ladies is just too long (London again, I think). I relished the fact that one of my dissertation directors wrote about restrooms in his first book (not as naughty as it sounds) and remember fondly the Lego-lined bathroom in a museum I frequented often as a child. I love www. thebathroomdiaries.com and I think you should too.

Anyway, so when issue 002 of Xploited Zine showed up in my mailbox and it was all about public restrooms in San Francisco, I pretty much tackled it all in one reading. Lots of photos. Lots of very funny stories, including lost cellphones, terrible lines, bathroom reviews (yes, really), and inclusion of Safe2pee.org (an important resource to include, particularly when writing about public restrooms). The writing is vivid, the photos compelling, and the design and layout is beautifully crisp. Though the print is small, it's obviously edited and someone clearly put a fair amount of time into making this zine look good. Nicely done, folks.

Kathleen [at] xploitedproductions.com
www.XploitedProductions.com
myspace.com/xploitedzine

$3, order through the website above (via PayPal).

(first dip of my toe)

Hi all.

Though I've been blogging for a while in a variety of places for some reason I've been delaying getting going with the XD online version. Given the long weekend and the post piling up on my desk (virtual or no) I figured it was about time to jump in. I'm starting in the order I've received the work up for review and Nia King's Borderlands #2 (it's the second issue of a zine that was titled MXD: True Stories by Mixed Race Writers when issue #1 was published) has been patiently waiting since March. Like MXD, Borderlands is keyed to issues particular to mixed race writers (the full title is "Borderlands: Tales from Disputed Territories between Races and Cultures"), though it of course looks at how being mixed race impacts and interplays with other categories of identification as well; the framework and compilation style remains the same as MXD.

I've reviewed Nia's work before (you can find other titles at StrangerDangerDistro.com and QZAP.org, or contact her directly) and it's always a powerful experience for me to read what she writes. I have a soft spot for autobio work, and I'm interested in people who use that writing to create a space to resist dominant culture. She addresses some of these things in her introduction, stating that "this zine is a product of our struggle to move beyond the margins, the disputed borderland territory between races and cultures we were born into, and for the right to be validated, to forge community and to find home where ever we see fit."

What I particularly enjoy about this zine is its sense of multitudes; there are pieces by a number of different authors, all with their own experiences, looking at experiences as varied as how you're treated in school to how people talk to you when they assume they know your full identity just from the way you wear your hair, how your nose looks, or the words which come out of your mouth. It addresses queer culture, includes as many different perspectives as there are contributors, and each piece feels as honest and as immediate as if you were simply sitting down to have a conversation with the contributor. Ultimately, Borderlands #2 is an important, engaging read that's well worth your time; I've come to expect such things from Nia and I'm very glad to see another issue.

Borderlands #2 (formerly titled MXD)
Nia King
AVAILABLE THROUGH STRANGER DANGER DISTRO:
http://strangerdangerdistro.wordpress.com/catalog/


Submissions are welcome at the email address above. "You are eligible to submit if you are a person of color who is mixed-race, bi-cultural, and/or transracially adopted. Please send your non-fiction personal stories and art about how your racial/cultural identity relates to your experiences (work, school, family, relationships, etc.) or other aspects of your identity (gender, sexual orientation, class, ability, immigration status, religion, etc.)." Due June 1st, 2008, no longer than 600 words, no poetry.

Another Review

600 RUBLES- This zine opens with Jennifer's boyfriend of 2 years apparently attacking her, giving her a concussion about a week before she's set to fly to Russia to perform with her junior college dance team, the Cardettes. And it all goes downhill from there. First she flies against doctor's orders (having spent a couple thousand bucks to take the trip I can understand why she'd be reluctant to not go.) then her luggage gets lost. Combine that with the generally unpleasant nature of the other members of her team and it all becomes a rather harrowing ordeal that she still feels the ramifications of to this day. I've always been a sucker for a good personal zine and this is a great example of the genre.

Send $3 USA, $4 Canada or $5 everywhere else to

Jennifer Manriquez
c/o Sample Press
PO Box 471159
Fort Worth TX 76017

Or pay via Pay pal at

samplepress@gmail.com

www.samplepressonline.com

Kids and Zines

So lately I've been thinking about kids (obviously, since I'm a mom) and zines (obviously, since I'm a zinester). But I've been thinking about how to reach kids that have never heard of zines, because believe it or not, some haven't. And if their parents were not involved in zines, chances are the kids aren't either. Thinking about alternative media-kids are important too because they are the ones who'll be making the media we talk/object about.
So...here are my two kids talking about zines. River is eight. And Winter (the girl) is 4. River made his first zine when he was about five.









Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Reviews

A free joke for anyone who's going to see the IRON MAN movie- as soon as Robert Downey Jr. appears on screen say "Gee whiz, he sure looks different than he did when he hosted that talk show 20 years ago." Because you'd be confusing Robert Downey Jr. with Morton Downey Jr. and everyone would laugh their asses off because... well, who doesn't remember Morton Downey Jr.? For a bonus laugh when you see the HULK trailer and you see Ed Norton you can say "Wow, he sure looked different when he was on the HONEYMOONERS." and that'll be another huge laugh. Because the only thing more popular than 20 year old talk shows are 50 year old sitcoms. Just doing my bit to make you a funnier person.

NOT MY SMALL DIARY #14- I was listening to the radio the other day and the hosts were reminiscing about the days when saying "not!" at the end of a statement was considered to be a funny joke. It occurred to me that if it was still 1988 this zine might be called My Small Diary... Not! How funny would that be? It'd be very funny... not! See, it still holds up. From here on out whenever anyone speaks to me my reply will be either "Not!" or "That's what she said!" One of the 2 is pretty much guaranteed to be funny. See, this is what happens when I'm not dealing with paper. Since no one's footing the bill to print it up I feel like I can babble. Especially since my review of this zine can be summed up in 2 words- buy it! Seriously, it's great. It's a 2 volume set, a grand total of 138 pages of various small press cartoonists telling short stories about dating. Some of the stories are happy, some are sad, some are creepy. Some of the contributors are great artists, some can barely draw at all but still manage to tell their story in pictures. Some of the contributors are old favorites (seriously, I haven't seen anything from Sarah Oleksyk in years. And it's always nice to see work from Androo Robinson and John Porcellino) some are new favorites (Nicole Georges, Noah von Scriver, Richard Cowdry to name a few) and one artist whose work I've really never liked at all. But one dud out of 53 ain't too shabby. Recommended.

Send $6 + $1 shipping to

Delaine Derry Green
1204 Cresthill Rd
Birmingham AL 35213

delangel3@hotmail.com

http://www.myspace.com/3446044

Tomorrow I'll post my review of 600 RUBLES and maybe more if I'm in the mood.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Review: Let's Make a Zine!

In 8 short pages (1/8th zine mini) Jaleh manages to poke fun at ever zine sacred cow. I actually laughed out loud at the vegan recipe. Also included are DIY tips, whom to worship and quote, and things to include in your zine (i.e. headings in distressed type).

Price: Free
Trades: "I'd love that"
Size: 1/8 mini
Pages: 8

Contact: Jaleh Afshar
email: jaleh@jalehafshar.com
web: www.jalehafshar.com

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Little Joys of Zining...

Let me ask you people something- is there anything more exciting than when a total stranger sends you a folded up dollar bill in an envelope? Doesn't it just make your day? And yesterday someone sent me a $2 bill which was really cool even though I hate to spend it.

And I have the next week off from work so if I don't find the time to get some reviews posted here it'll be really sad.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Envelope Rage

It's pouring rain here in Hoboken today, so instead of wandering the neighborhood searching people's trash for usable items and being physically ejected from local businesses, I guess I'll do some of my rainy day activities and post here. Such is the glamorous life of the piddling published author.

I have often referred to my disdain--hatred, really--of zines that arrive in the mail sans envelope, usually just taped or stapled shut with the address and stamp directly on the back cover. Oh how I despise this. I can see that you save some money; if you need 6x9 envelopes you save a whopping 7.2 cents an issue. So if your print run is 500 issues, you're saving like $36, which for some folks is a significant proportion of their rent or food budget that month--and let's face it, DIY publishers tend towards the poor side of existence, since we obviously have absolutely no concept of the value of our time.

Ah, but consider what you lose: You might as well take your freshly printed issues, crisply folded and professionally saddle-stapled, and burn the whole damn lot of them, because the chances that they will get to their destination in one piece is roughly the same as me being sober as I write this. Which is to say, none.

Maybe the postal handlers in my town are more range-filled than other places; I've never received a zine mailed without an envelope that didn't arrive tattered, stained, and, in many cases, apparently chewed on by rabid animals. Seven cents seems a small price to pay to ensure that your zine doesn't arrive missing pages, or with a dozen pages stuck together in a brick-like consistency that rivals the most advanced polymers for tensile strength and hardness. It also seems like a cheap way to avoid having water damage make your zine completely unreadable, which has happened several times.

Every now and then a zine without an envelope does arrive in pristine condition, I admit, and it is always a cause for rejoicing. We have a little feast and some dancing here at Swine Compound when this happens--though it often turns tragic when we attempt to actually undo the tape or staples holding the zine shut, usually resulting in damage to the zine, and occasionally damage to my fingers.

Then again, I am frequently drunk when attempting to open these zines, so it may be my fault. And it's been said that bursting into tears and violently flinging the zine against the wall because of a paper cut is not exactly manly behavior, which would explain the pointing and laughing I have to endure from time to time. Manly or not, it's damned annoying. The best is when the zine is sealed with more than one piece of tape, resulting in an epic battle that I usually only win in the sense that I prove my dominance over inert paper products by throwing the whole thing into the trash.

Naturally, I don't expect anyone to pay any attention to me at all, continuing an unbroken trend of 10+ years of the zine community, such as it is, ignoring me more or less completely. I certainly wouldn't care what anyone had to say about the manufacturing process of my own zine, and being lectured on something about it weould probably result in me doing the exact opposite, because I'm that brand of stupid that thinks being contrary = being smart. If that were true I'd be a freaking genius. Don't say anything, you bastards.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

New Postage Rates

They are going up again. Zine World has complied all you need to know:
http://www.undergroundpress.org/pdf/postalrates.pdf
(http://www.undergroundpress.org/zine-resources/)

Letter to the Editor

It was good timing that we received this letter to the editor as we shifted to the web. While we prefer paper, this blog is offering speed, fewer dead trees, and crikey the postage rates are going up again on Monday....

*****************

I read your call for opinions in Issue 22 of XD.

Personally, I prefer the paper format. But, as you said, the cost of postage (it now costs 97 cents to send a little half size, 24 page zine across the U.S.) has risen to a point that, if you want to recoup your costs of printing (which are also outrageous!) you have to charge more than folks are really willing to pay for a zine.

The way I handle the problem is this:

I print my perzines the old fashioned way. Black and white photocopy all the way!
People who love zines will buy a perzine. I, myself, don't even bother reading personal blogs. For the most part I find them boring. I don't care that you went shopping with your boyfriend today and I really don't care that you ate a hot dog. I'd rather read the perzine that's been filtered down to just the juicy stuff. Plus, I like to see people's drawings and pictures, and the way they mesh it all together on a page.

But my cultural zine - the one in which I review other zines, publish personal essays, interview artists and support local activism - has moved strictly to the web at samplepressonline.com.
I had printed eleven issues over the course of three years and I found that, as blogs became more popular and big magazines were printing every article on the internet, people did not want to pay for paper zines. My subscribership dwindled while my web hits kept climbing
When I finally printed issue eleven, I couldn't hawk that thing to save my life. So, I called it quits on the paper game and transferred everything to the website.

I'd love to start printing it again, but unless someone is willing to pay for it, there's no point.

In the interest of environmentalism, though, I have to say that the internet does provide a nice waste-free haven for underground authors.

But, dang it, there's something so nice about the tangibility of a paper zine!
You can collect 'em, trade 'em, buy 'em, sell 'em, draw on 'em and keep 'em in your pocket or purse to read while you're getting your oil changed.

And, you know that some effort went into the deal, that someone sat down and wrote and cut and pasted and fretted over that zine, just so they could share a story with you.
And that's really cool.

Jennifer Manriquez
--
SAMPLE Press
www.samplepressonline.com

Thursday, May 8, 2008

In My mailbox Repost

Yello,

I'm Jeff of The Inner Swine, who also writes a column for XD and thus, against all logic and good sense, is allowed to post here. Since this blog was started I wondered what in the world I should post, and was encouraged to post ANYTHING. One suggestion was to repost the "In My Mailbox" posts I usually put up on alt.zines. Don't know what alt.zines is? Good for you. You're better off.

Anyways, IMM is just a list of zines I got in the mail that day. It's not meant to be formal reviews, even if a stray opinion sneaks in sometimes.

-------------------------------------------------
IN MY MAILBOX 5-5-08
Hola,

Happy Cinco de Mayo. I will be drinking my weight in beer later in honor of this largely corporate-created holiday. I love the corporate holidays because they always revolve around drinking irresponsibly.

Anyways, over the course of some time I have received the following goodies in my PO Box:

- Maximumrocknroll # 300 ($4, mmr, POB 460760, SF, CA 94146-0760; maximumrocknroll.com). If they ever change a single thing about MMR, I will weep--it is perfect as it is. Included in this issue is the standard bad review of TIS.

- OFF-Line #43 (free, Claire E. Cocco & Vincent J. Romano, 35 Barker Ave #4G, White Plains, NY 10601). This is the "White Plains: City of Dreams" issue, where they take an in-depth look at their adopted home town. I like that idea, to be honest. If I did that in Hoboken it would be all about the bars. I'm not even sure if there are other types of businesses here.

- Zine World #25.5 (free to subscribers, POB 330156, Murfreesboro TN 37133-0156; www.undergroundpress.org). This is a cool idea, keeping those reviews fresh. There's a good one of TIS in here too. The Singularity will be the day when every zine in the universe contains a review of TIS simultaneously, and we will all rise up into heaven.

- Fringe Five (No price, Lane Robbins, 12908 Borgman, Huntington Woods, MI 48070). Note that the letter I received with this zine has a different address on it, so I can't be 100% sure which one should be used. The inside cover declares that this issue "...covers my travels in New Zealand and Australia, as well as the time I spent at Green Gulch Farm..." It's bound with the simple expedient of wrapping a rubber band around folded pages, which I've never seen before and which appears to work nicely.

- The Ken Chronicles #7 ($2, ken Bausert, 2140 Erma Drive, East Meadow, NY 11554-1120; passscribe@aol.com). Another digest-sized blast of perzine goodness from Ken.

That's it! Aside from a letter from a prisoner who's been trying to get a copy of TIS for months now, with each issue returned for various reasons. I find this eternally frustrating, especially in those rare occasions when a prisoner has actually given me stamps or money, as this guy has. I mean, damn!

L
J

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Mini-Comics Reviews in Library Journal

Hi all-

As you may know Library Journal has started reviewing zines. Superlibrarian Jenna Freedman edits it. I wrote this month's column, which reviews mini-comics.

I'm putting it here so it's still up after LJ takes it down. Sorry it's so long that it pushes other stuff pretty far down the page. If anyone can tell me a quick and easy way to create the equivalent of a LiveJournal cut (to create a "Read More" type link) here in Blogger, let me know. For now I may mess with the time-space continuum to put it below Davida's first post.


Zines
Edited by Jenna Freedman -- Library Journal, 5/1/2008

Mini-comics—self-published comic books that can be any size and vary greatly in terms of aesthetics, content, binding, and printing techniques—constituted only a small part of my library’s zine collection holdings, at Baltimore County Public, when the collection was established in 2005. It quickly became apparent that readers liked the comics, borrowing them 30–60 percent more often than other zines. We responded by moving the collection closer to the adult graphic novel section and shifting most of our purchases to a local, independent comics store and the annual Small Press Expo comic convention.

Now over half the titles in our zine collection are mini-comics, and we intend to keep circulating other zines as well in order to feed relevant materials to the tech-savvy and format-omnivorous Generation Y, a frequently overlooked core of library users. Unless otherwise noted, the following mini-comics recommendations are for adults. [Visit the library’s zine collection online at bcpl.info/zines or email bcplzines@gmail.com.]

Gauld, Tom Hunter & Painter Cabanon Pr. 2007. 24p. 9½" x 4". $4.95. buenaventurapress.com/books/index-BPB.php.

Painter, a caveman, agonizes over creating a new mural for his clan. His friend Hunter counsels, “Do another Bear Hunt, they lapped that up last year.” But Painter has a creative block and must find his own inspiration. The resultant painting and the clan’s reaction are a brilliant satire on art politics. British cartoonist Gauld’s comics often involve two nearly identical characters engaging in dry, hilarious, and thoroughly contemporary banter that contrasts to their ancient milieu. The melancholy visual sensibility, prehistoric setting, and leisurely comedic timing evoke B.C. as drawn by Edward Gorey. Yet Gauld’s own art is trenchantly original, without attracting any spear-wielding mobs.

Longstreth, Alec & others. The Dvorak Zine 2005. 24p. ½ size. $1. Free to download. dvzine.org. Distro: C, M

On graffiti, traveling, self-publishing, or typing, Longstreth’s mostly autobiographical comics have a laid-back and engaging style and art that’s precise, humorous, and easy to follow. Longstreth draws daily and participates frequently in group projects; he won an Ignatz Award for his work guest editing the sixth issue of the mini-comics anthology Papercutter (normally edited by librarian and zine publisher Greg Means). The Dvorak Zine is about retraining yourself as a typist on the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard layout. Written with Michael Cardiff (Frunch) and Gabe Carleton-Barnes (GCB), it includes fascinating typing history. Longstreth’s trademark überenthusiasm is apparent as is his frequent theme of the transformative experience of finding something that interests you and really getting to know it. Dvorak and Longstreth’s Phase 7 series installments are highly recommended.

Novgorodoff, Danica A Late Freeze 2006. 48p. ½ size. $6.50. danicanovgorodoff.com.

This near-wordless love story features a robot and a bear who meet after the robot escapes from its manufacturing plant. At the end of hibernation, the bear (pregnant with their child) leaves the cave for the local Cracker Barrel to satisfy a craving. There, she rescues a half-price stuffed frog who is weeping on the sales shelf. The gorgeously composed pages portray an almost cinematic reality where nature and development, past and present, simultaneously clash and mix. Imagine covered wagons juxtaposed with Chevron stations or the beautiful curve of a river filled with trash. The expected cuteness of an animal story is turned on its head by the dangers the characters face in the borderlands between forest and society. This slim, full-color booklet’s epic scope makes a great case for how a mini-comic can, like good poetry, benefit from an economy of words.

Mini-Reviews:

Jess S. On Being Jealous of Invertebrates Nos. 1–3. 2004–06. ¼ size. 50¢. myspace.com/skirtmuseum.

This funny and wistful mini-comic is very mini indeed—the first one is just six pages. Each new issue is a bit longer than the last, and all feature a mix of simple drawings and clip art, scientific facts about invertebrates, and oblique references to the emotional life of a twentysomething human female.

Kulik, Missy Ahoy There! 12p. $1. missykulik.com. Distro: L

Zine star Kulik has created dozens of other charming, tiny comics with titles like Half Boy/Half Stupid, Story of an Elephant, and Kneehigh Cats I Know. Most are appropriate for all ages. They are a great example of how mini-comics don’t have to be complicated to be satisfying.

Porcellino, John King-Cat Comics Nos. 56–68. 1999–2007. ½ size. $2–$3. king-cat.net. Distro: A, M, PP

Porcellino has been publishing King-Cat Comics and Stories since 1989. It’s not just the longevity of the series that accounts for its renown—Porcellino’s understated work has a Zenlike elegance that only improves with time.

DISTROS

A Amazon www.amazon.com

C Corndog Publishing corndog.co.uk

L La-La Theory thelalatheory.com/distro2.html

M Microcosm Publishing microcosmpublishing.com

PP Parcell Press parcellpress.com

You can usually buy the zine directly from the creator.

This column was contributed by Miriam DesHarnais, a librarian at Baltimore County Public Library. DesHarnais also reviews zines for Xerography Debt (leekinginc.com/xeroxdebt), a review zine with perzine tendencies.

Author Information
Jenna Freedman (ljzines@gmail.com) is Zine Librarian and Coordinator of Reference Services at Barnard College Library, New York. She is also a librarian zinester (Lower East Side Librarian, among others)