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.

Monday, September 26, 2011

review by Anne: Another Whit Taylor two-fer!

Grab Bag (2011) 5 x 6, 20 pages, B&W
$2 US, $? Can/Mex, $? world, contact to trade
Whit Taylor
WhitLTaylor@gmail.com
http://whimsicalnobodycomics.blogspot.com

Watermelon…and other things that make me uncomfortable as a black person (2011)
8 x 10, 44 pages, B&W with full color cover
$4 US, $ Can/Mex, $? world, contact to trade
(same info as above)

I was at this year’s Small Press Expo in Bethesda recently and discovered that Whit Taylor was tabling in the same group of tables that I was! How awesome and unexpected! She’s got new work (all of which I think is available through her website) and it’s worth reading. GRAB BAG is this fun mix of random pieces – a trip to the Jerry Springer show, Bad Inventions (they’re really funny), some riffing on Britney Spears (yeah, you know you love it), and some interesting business ideas. WATERMELON has that same sense of fun to it, even as Whit herself says in the introduction that “this comic is my attempt to deal with these issues” – the things that make her uncomfortable. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s a really well-done personal comic about some very important issues. You get Whit’s perspective, and she’s clear that she’s just speaking for herself, but it’s very well done and tackles some heavy stuff in a way that’s both heartbreaking in places (be sure to read her story about Africa) and at the same time very funny in places. Highly recommended.

review from Anne: BROOKLYN #72 and BROOKLYN! #73 Special Issue: Abandonment 3

24 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 $10 for a 4 issue subscription
(PAYMENT IN CASH!)
Fred Argoff
Penthouse L
1170 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn NY 11230

More Brooklyn reviews! Say it with me, people: “The name of this zine is BROOKLYN and that's also what the zine is about, Fred's beloved borough of Brooklyn." History, photography, you name it and it’s in here…provided it’s got something to do with Fred’s favorite borough. #72 is mostly to do with baseball and baseball history in Brooklyn, though there are some non-baseball components, including Highland View Avenue and Bath Beach, as well as the always-appreciated Brooklyn Lexicon & Pronounciation Guide #57. #58 is in BROOKLYN #73, which is all about abandonment – buildings, bridges, subway stations, and even ideas and streets. It’s a really interesting issue and very evocative; it’s sort of the hidden Brooklyn, off the beaten path. Lots of photographs; even those of you who are not familiar with Brooklyn are most likely going to enjoy what you read! Get yourself some BROOKLYN already!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Xerography Debt #29 - Available from Microcosm August 15, 2011

Cover Art by Bojan (Rigor Mortis)

To order a copy of this issue, please send $3 +s/h (order online, or send cash, stamps, money order, or check) to Microcosm Publishing


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction
Basic Stuff You Should Know
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, It Is Being Published by Davida Gypsy Breier
Defining Ourselves To Death by Dread Sockett
It Means It's Wank by Jeff Somers
Gloomy Sundays by Gianni Simone

THE REVIEWERS
Anne Thalheimer
D. Blake Wert
Davida Gypsy Breier
Eric Lyden
Fred Argoff
Gavin J. Grant
Joe Biel
Julie Dorn
Kris Mininger
Liz Mason
Maynard Welstand
Stuart Stratu

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, It Is Being Published

This column appears in the forthcoming issue of Xerography Debt (#29). Order now!

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,
It Is Being Published

by Davida Gypsy Breier

What is a zine? No, seriously. I’m not trying to sound like an MTV reporter in 1996 trying to hype a “youth fad,” I’m genuinely questioning how the combined loss of generational history and the massive rise in independent publishing over the last five years has blurred lines and broken down walls. When I got into zines it was a culture of barter, freedom of expression, and rebellion against established media. We published zines because we wanted to communicate and because what we had to say and how we wanted to say it was of no interest to commercial publishers. That was fine, they had their world and we had ours. Zines that got big enough to carry ISSNs or barcodes of any kind were scorned. And anything with an ISBN might as well have carried the mark of the beast. We were in a culture war of sorts, defying the commodification of art and ideas. Many of the people I knew and traded with at that time were in their teens and twenties. We were figuring ourselves out and zines were how we did it.

In many cases zines actually lead (or even helped) us into careers as librarians or in publishing. I fall into the latter camp. I started out working for a non-profit that supported itself through publishing. From there I went to work for a distributor that specialized in small presses. In some cases, the small book publishers I worked with were like zine publishers – only they were older and had the capital to fund their projects. They had something to say, wanted to connect with readers, and commercial publishers weren’t interested. It has often been said that zines are defined by a lack of financial gain. Well, if that is the case, most book publishers I know are actually zine publishers. 

I watched the struggles these small publishers were experiencing and they mirrored some of what we faced in zineland. Up until 1998 we had Factsheet 5 to help readers and publishers find each other. Small book publishers had no such vehicle. Other zine review zines sprang up, but none of us ever had the distribution into the retail market that F5 had. Speaking of distribution, it is very hard for small presses to get distributed and when they do it can be expensive.  Again, this is a similar barrier in zines. How many of us remember zines that just disappeared – how many of you realize that some disappeared because their distributor (anyone remember Desert Moon? Fine Print?) went under owing them money, which meant that print and postage bills went unpaid and the publication was compromised or ultimately folded. How many of us had to scale back after Tower went under?

I was working with these small presses as POD (print-on-demand) technologies started really developing. At that time stores didn’t want to touch anything they thought was POD because they felt the supply was limited and the quality was poor – sound familiar zine people?

Let’s flash forward a few years. In 1995, 113,589 ISBN’s were registered with Bowker; in 2010 there were 316,480. What happened? Fucking independent publishers happened! We all talk about the death of print (both zines and books), but look at those numbers. More books are being published than ever before. We act like blogs are killing zines. What if books are killing zines? What if the people, faced with all the barriers we faced in 1995, wanted to publish and couldn’t. Chances are some of them would be making zines. Instead, in 2011 the barriers between the worlds of book publishing and zine publishing are disintegrating. If I wanted to create a book today there are companies that will help me do everything from registering an ISBN (I don’t have to buy an expensive block of 10 or 100 now), do the layout in an automated template, and set my file up with a POD printer. Imagine something like that existing in 1995! Is what you have created a zine? A chapbook? A book? What the hell is it? And does that matter?

Within the book publishing world there is a lot of identity crisis going on right now. Digitization and the easy access to the industry have broken down so many walls that used to exist. I mean, even the term book is being challenged by the larger notion of content. Here’s a question to exemplify how things are changing: What is your favorite recording artist or song? Did you hear the music or picture a band or person? Or did you picture a CD, LP, or MP3 file? If you pictured the recording artist you are interested in the content. If you pictured the CD you are interested in the format or media. The term book or zine defines how you will read, not what you will read. It is the media, not the content. What matters more to you?

These days I wear several hats in the land of publishing (and a few in zineland) and some of my focus is digital content. I have read on an e-reader and on a laptop, and I can see the potential value of this media, but as you can see by this zine in your hands I have not given up traditionally printed zines or books. One thing I see ebooks doing is something we all were doing in 1995 – independently produced ebooks are challenging the establishment.  They are providing readers with alternatives. They are often cheaply produced or free and filled with typos and poorly rendered design. But are they zines? No, of course not. But they sound a hell of a lot like a zine, don’t they?

So this brings me back to my original question? What is a zine? Is a definition created to try and explain the “fad” to the uninitiated in 1995 still accurate? I don’t think so. I think that zines, like publishing, have undergone a few changes and that we should keep our community open instead of trying to hold onto established labels because we are fearful of change. Does that mean I think a blog is a zine? No, I don’t. But maybe you do. Does that mean I think a paper zine created by cutting and pasting directly from a blog is a zine? Well, yes, technically, but I also think it is hella lazy.

If we are going to have the label talk, let’s step back in time a moment and discuss how we got here. Current nomenclature stems from the term “fanzine.” When I was a wee geek I actually subscribed to a few SF fanzines, but didn’t really think about their relationship to zines until I was firmly entrenched in zine culture. “Fan magazines” are another thing entirely. An example would be Sports Illustrated – this is created as a for-profit venture and caters to the interest of fans. So back to fanzines – these were everything from DIY to semi-professional publications that originated in science fiction circles. In many cases they were modeled after existing professional publications. These were generally genre specific to a largely homogenized audience. Existing publications provided a blueprint. Not a lot of boundaries being pushed here.

People like to write about their obsessions, so early SF fanzine culture lent itself to other fan-based genres, such as horror, music, and sports (note that these were traditionally “male fan” genres – we’ll get back to that in a minute). Music will become an important one as independent music gains a foothold, but commercial music magazines and radio stations refuse to cover and play these underground bands. Sub-cultures form around these marginalized arts.

For early fanzines, there was an attempt at aesthetic – again emulating professional magazines. Remember, we are talking about the ’30s-’50s here, so these were being printed on mimeographs and ditto machines. These took time to set up and were labor intensive. So what happens to bring modern zines to the fore? Two things: 1) technology – photocopies become cheap and accessible and 2) the cultural revolution of the ’60s leaves people realizing that mainstream media is not addressing their interests or culture. That thread of individuality flourishes in the ‘70s and people start documenting their own lives and cultures. This is passed onto the next generation and participation in zine culture peaks in the mid-‘90s. So to get back to the idea of fanzines covering “male dominated” genres – the rise of the women’s movement allowed for societal changes to begin in the ‘70s and one interpretation of those changes led to the rise in Riot Grrrl zines in the ‘90s. Unlike with fanzines, zines as we know them today were very inclusive of people and sub-cultures that had little power in mainstream society. If you were LGBTQ, dealing with mental health issues, or just the class weirdo, zines were a relatively safe place to call home.

Zines were filled with raw emotions and gritty personalities. Again, a huge difference from fanzines. People were learning to talk and write and it felt anonymous because often the only interaction writers had occurred months after they finished a zine and dropped it in the mail. People talked about obsessions, traveling, bands they liked, abuse, politics, and their personal experiences. Aesthetics were often not a high priority and legibility seldom taken into consideration (margins, what are margins?). Cut & paste was done because it was all we had in the old days. And it can be done in a way that is legible. Sloppy is just sloppy.

When I got into zines there were a few basic criteria used to define what a zine was (and none of them really worked). 1) it was created without intent of monetary gain and was bartered for other zines; 2) fewer than 500 (or 5000 – depends on who you ask) copies were printed; 3) zines allowed voices who had no other outlet to be heard; 4) no ISSN or ISBN (ironically, this means that zinedom’s sacred cow, Factsheet 5, was, in fact, not a zine). So did zines that started out small and grew get grandfathered in? For some people, yes. For others, ridiculous indy creed was more important. And truthfully, a lot of us were just in it for mail and could care less about debating Bust’s standing as a zine.

The boom period in the ‘90s saw a lot of zines born and die. Much like the early ‘00s saw a ton of blogs born and die. Many of the same reasons that drove people to create zines drove them to create blogs, only blogs were faster, easier, cheaper, and allowed for immediate gratification. Now, headed into the 10’s, some of us see where a blog can in fact be useful and compliment a paper zine without cannibalizing it. Technology has, in many respects, helped push forward the agenda of book and zine publishers and to not use tools that are within our reach to help us complete our ultimate missions seems self-defeating. How many people reading this learned about the Revenge of Print project online?

So how do the early definitions of “zine” and “fanzine” hold up in 2011? Well, email has pretty much killed my neurotic compulsion to stop by the PO Box regularly. Instead, I neurotically check my email. The Internet now allows for a din of individual voices to be heard and finding likeminded souls is not the same weird crap shoot of putting your zine in an envelope and sending it off to a PO Box wondering if you are about to meet someone who will become a part of your life. (A brief tangent – remember how it used to be weird when people said they met online? Now try explaining to people that you met your best friend through the mail and you have never actually met in person. )

I think the original ideas behind the labels “fanzine” and “zine” are dated. I think fanzines could learn from zines by opening up to more diverse, personal, and critical content. Similarly, I think that zines could learn from fanzines and start making publications that are easier to read and dare I say it – actually interesting to look at. Do we hold to the old definitions and try and work within those boxes? Do we create new terms to explain what is going on now? I don’t have any answers. Here is a good example why – someone uses a library computer to create a publication. She cannot afford a computer, internet access, or copies, so she creates a PDF and emails that to people or posts it to a site like Scribd. She is giving it away and soliciting people to send her their zines (via email or mail). Her motivation and content are very much in line with old-school zine ethos, but her method of delivery is new-school. Has she created a zine?

Personally, I would love to read more international zines, but postage is often a barrier. Is a PDF of a zine created and printed in New Zealand, but emailed to the rest of the world any less of a zine? These are the questions I am asking myself as a zine writer, zine editor, zine reviewer, book publisher, and book distributor as I continue to move forward as a creator and merchant of words and content.

As I see it, what matters is intent. The how and the why are more important to me than the what. I view myself as an independent publisher, who enjoys zines as a culture and medium. I edit and manage Xerography Debt for the community and co-edit Rigor Mortis to fulfill my creative needs. My monetary goal is sustainability, which pretty much means attempting to break even based on content. I don’t sell ad space, nor do I sell my mailing list (again, F5 is held aloft, but there were a lot of rumors about Seth Friedman bartering and selling the F5 mailing list. Our culture wasn’t what held value, but what we could be sold.). I define XD and RM as zines to those who understand the term and to those who don’t they are “small press publications.” Many reviews have defined RM as a fanzine (which makes my co-editor apoplectic). None of these labels change the content. 

So these are my truths. Your truths may vary or settle during shipping. And the truths of today may not be the truths of yesterday or tomorrow. If you must have a label and can’t find one that suits you, make one up. The important thing is that we each examine the what, how, and why and make sure they are in line with our intent.

In the words of The Dude, “Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man,” so I say to you, dear readers, what is your truth? What is your opinion on the state of zines? Why do you or did you publish? Do you publish looking forward or backward? Is it about revolution or nostalgia? Or both? Please send me your thoughts – roughly 250-500 words – with a deadline of October 15, 2011. This will become a new series called, “The Voices of Zinedom.” In this instance, I embrace modern technology as a time-saver and would prefer to receive responses by email (Davida@leekinginc.com). 

Just keep reading – no matter what, no matter how.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Borderlands #2: It's a Family Affair (2008)

Borderlands #2: It's a Family Affair (2008)
edited by Nia King
$2 USD, no trades, 1/2 size, 36 pgs, FTP.

Described as "a collection of stories about growing up in multiracial
families from mixed folks + transracial adoptees," Borderlands is one
zine I'm always excited to see in my mailbox; everyone's writing is
crisp, smart, and true in a way which feels really immediate. It's a
well-built anthology (clean layout, easy to read) with a range of
perspectives and is an ongoing project. This issue also
includes "Recommended Race Blogs" which I thought was a particularly
good choice, both to include and in the range of different blogs,
people, perspectives, and experiences. Just get this zine already.
It's worth your time.

available through STRANGER DANGER DISTRO:
http://strangerdangerdistro.wordpress.com/catalog/

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

CALL for ENTRIES Meta Comics Issue! Deadline: 6/30/2011

 
 
ABSOLUTE DEADLINE: JUNE 30, 2011!!

CALL for ENTRIES
Syndicate Product: 
THE META-COMICS ISSUE

The META-COMICS ISSUE will include comics and essays ABOUT comics and sequential art. You certainly DO NOT have to be an artist to contribute – essays are very much welcome and encouraged!

Some potential ideas:
  • The creative process of drawing comics: Where do your ideas come from? Why do you draw comics?
  • Comics-related disasters: From the cat knocking over the ink bottle to basement floods that resulted in floating longboxes.
  •  __ broke my heart: As a comics reader, the most soul-crushing, genre-destroying, why-the-hell-am-I-still-reading this storylines you’ve endured in mainstream comics. Why did you stop reading some titles?
  • Creative space: Where do you draw? What rituals do you perform? (E.g., Lynda Barry always begins a drawing session by writing out the alphabet a few times with a brush and ink.)
  • Reading comics: Are there comics that left you so emotionally wrecked that you’re scared to read them again? Flipside: are there books you have to re-read every year?
  • Collecting comics: Are you a Wednesday regular? Did your mom throw out your collection when you went to college? Have you ever sold off parts of your collection for rent, food, or more comics?
  • Comics and relationships: Friendships and romances found or lost over comics.
  • Memories of stores past and present: Good and bad stories from the comic shop. Did/do you work in a comic shop?
  • Inspirations: Artists, teachers, storytellers?
  • Tangentially related ideas: Terrible, little-seen comic book movie/TV adaptations. Tales from actual comic book conventions.
  • Previously self-published comics (either print or web) are welcome if they relate to the topic.

SPECIFICATIONS

Comic artists: Final art size should reduce to around 4.5 x 7.5 inches. Four pages maximum (but if it’s really good, this can be negotiated). B&W only. Send art as 300dpi TIF files if grayscale scans, 600dpi TIF if bitmap scans. Also, once entries are in, I may be looking for small illustrations to accompany some of the essays.

Writers: Between 400-1200 words is acceptable. If you need to go longer, please do. If the writing is good enough, people will want to read it to the end. I'll let you know if a piece is simply too huge, rambling, unwieldy, or needs editing. Send essays as OpenOffice, MS Word, or plain text files, or paste the text into an e-mail.

Contributors will receive a copy of the final project.

Due date and where to submit: Deadline is JUNE 30, 2011. Submit your entries to syndprod@gmail.com. If you want to mail them, send them to: A.j. Michel, PO Box 877, Lansdowne, PA 19050.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

HANDMADE & BOUND NASHVILLE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCED


We received the following from Zine World:

Handmade & Bound Nashville is a festival celebrating independent publications and printed matter, featuring artists’ books, zines, and mini-comics. This is an event for publishers and artists (as well as zine distros) to come together to sell and/or trade their handmade and affordable publications and creations.

Handmade & Bound Nashville will be held on Saturday, October 1, at Watkins College of Art, Design, and Film (2298 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.) in Nashville, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission will be free. Additional activities may be scheduled for Friday, September 30. We plan for the festival to include workshops, a documentary screening, and a zine reading. Details TBA.


In addition to the festival, Watkins is sponsoring a juried book arts and zine exhibition, on the theme Encoded Structures: Interpreting the Story, which will be held in the Watkins gallery during the month of October. Submissions for the gallery exhibition will be accepted through August 1, and prizes will be awarded. The exhibition is open to book works in the form of artists’ books, zines, and comics, and will focus on works that use form, content, and context within every aspect of the object’s structure to convey a message and theme to the reader. 


Table registration is now open. Tables are $7 for a half-table, $15 for a full table. Register for a table or find the rules and guidelines for submitting to the gallery exhibition at
handmadeboundnashville.com. You can also find Handmade Bound Nashville on Facebook. We will be seeking volunteers to teach workshops and lead discussions, and folks to help out during the festival. We hope to see you there!

 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Donations to the Salford Zine Library Requested

 
I received this email from Craig Barr:
 
I recently came across your website and thought you and your friends may be interested in donating to Salford Zine Library, an archive of self-published work. Below is our information and hopefully you'd like to submit. 
Salford Zine Library will be at Salford Art Gallery from 15 October 2011 to 29 January 2012 showing the archive along side some original artwork, film showings and workshops.
 
Salford Zine Library is a non-profit venture which aims to create a library of self published work from around the world for all to access. The Library is based at Islington Mill, Salford (www.islingtonmill.com), home to over 50 artist studios. The library also tours the UK visiting schools, universities, public art galleries and book fares.
 
We are looking for new contributions all the time and If you would like your self-published work be to be featured in this upcoming exhibition then please post your contributions to 

Salford Zine Library
48 Landos Court
Gunson St
Manchester
M40 7WT
U.K

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Maynard Reviews some zines (May 2011)

Anarchist Bicycle Rally
Joe Biel
PO Box 14323
Portland, OR 97293
www.cantankeroustitles.com
$4 US

One wouldn't normally associate biking with conspiracy theory, but this scary and amusing zine presents the over-the-top reaction that Critical Mass (a biking movement started in the early 90s to bring awareness and respect to cycling on city streets) evoked from Portland Oregon police.

Police reports, obtained by the Freedom of Information act, do not show the cops in the best of light. To add to the mockery, some nouns and verbs have been expurgated in Mad Libs style for the amusement of the reader.

This is edutainment at a whole new level.

Les Carnets de Rastapopoulos issue 7
Robert Gauvinov
2-7 Larch Street, Ste 2
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada KIR 6W4
Free upon request to all in the world
lescarnetsder@hotmail.com
Yes to trades

A master of the perzine! Les Carnets is a non-computerized production done the old-fashioned way with typewriter and scissors. It is a marvelous collage of images and text that is casually encyclopedic in tone. Gauvinov has a gift for making history and biography irresistible fun. He does an essay on William Topaz McGonagall that is full of facts, slapstick, pathos and a sense of who this oft-quoted, strangely unsuccessful creature was.

If Gauvinov were writing history books for the school system, most kids would decide to be historians, his prose is that accessible and engaging.

Dudes, this shit is free!

Abort! #21 Bedtime Stories
July 2009
If you are out there, author of Abort, PLEASE contact Xerography debt with your contact information.

This short fiction and B&W ink artwork zine is a collection of stories, written in an engaging and most excellent manner, mostly set in New York City, where scenes of normalcy take sudden macabre twists. It's good, gruesome fun and the quality of writing is top notch. One step beyond the Twilight Zone.

No Hope #5
Jason Dean
Summer 2010
5 St. Dials Rd
Old Cwmbran
Gwent
NP44 3AN
UK
deanjason143@aol.com
Price info not given

This zine comic has it all, great artwork and equally great stories for the demented and morbidly obsessed. Themes of death, violence and suicide predominate, all done in fanciful, strangely friendly ways.

One story, “The Loneliness of Arthur Body: half a tale of half a man” is about a man who wakes up to discover that his left half has vanished. A voyage of self-discovery ensues. The artwork is so funny and dark at the same time.

“Let's have a Picnic” is a tale done in the style of a children's book from the 1950s about a picnic that goes horribly, bodies-ripped-apart wrong.

Yeah life is empty; yeah we are essentially alone; yeah we really don't know anyone – not even ourselves; but just have a cup of tea, and it will all make sense in the morning.

Rigor Mortis, Vol 4
April 2011
ISSN 2159-4066
72 p.
$3.50
Send all review copies, free shit and cash to
Davida Gypsy Breier
PO Box 11064
Baltimore, MD 21212
zombie@leekinginc.com
www.leekinginc.com
livingdeadzine.blogspot.com

Perzine focused on the horror genre in film, especially zombies. A thoughtful, playful zine that takes its subject seriously enough to feel substantial and well-thought-out, yet off-the-cuff enough so it is effortless to read.

In this issue, our ghouls in residence tackle the tough subjects in horror – race, nudity, sexuality, and other topics. I'll just touch on 2 articles to give you the flavor.

“Race, Revisionism and Vodoo Zombies” - Race in horror is something I've thought about, but not in this depth and detail. A thesis is made, arguments are supported with detail and film titles. This really is film crit, not just fans spouting off, but it's fun and will make you think and add stuff to your Netflix queue. If you are new to horror, be careful, there be spoilers here as the authors have seen it all and are expert in the horror niche.

“Queer Horror” – Horror as a vehicle to dramatize gay exclusion from hetero family and relationships. Gayness in horror is explored with warmth, humor, irony and gore. Dracula and the Bride of Frankenstein are deconstructed and viewed as vehicles to express the homosexual's alienation from “normal” society. Yep folks, it's fun lit crit. It DOES exist.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Charity Book for Japan

I'm posting this on behalf of Adam Pasion, Sundogs Comics http://sundogscomix.blogspot.com/, via Stuart Stratu. Please check out the website: http://aftershockcomic.blogspot.com/ and if you have questions email Adam at biguglyrobot@gmail.com

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

Fellow cartoonists,
As most of you know, I am a cartoonist living and writing about life in Japan. Living in Japan and watching this disaster unfold first hand, I have never felt more helpless in my entire life. Everyday seems to be getting worse, and at times it seems nearly hopeless. My area has not been affected by this disaster, and yet I feel compelled to do anything I can to help. But what can I do? The news and relief agencies give priority to those with experience in search and rescue, medical professionals and logistical experts. What skills do I have to offer? What is the role of an artist in the face of such disaster? I have donated some money, but compared to the overwhelming need it seems like nothing. I have been racking my brain to come up with something more sustainable that will be able to generate support into the foreseeable future, when the spotlight is off Japan. What can we do that will extend beyond when the next disaster strikes somewhere else in the world, when the attention fades and the media coverage dies off? Then an idea struck me.

Arguably one of Japan's greatest gifts to the rest of the world are comic books. How fitting then if cartoonists from around the world can show support for Japan by making a comic book. I want to make a book where various artists make anywhere from a page to a few pages explaining their interactions with Japan, their feelings, their experiences and memories, anything on their heart, and share it with the world. Then a portion of the proceeds, as much as possible, will be donated to continuing relief efforts in Japan. It will take years and years to rebuild things up there and any support we can continue to generate will make all the difference. My planning is still in the infant stages - I literally rushed out of bed when the idea came to me, and am now sending this off to any and all cartoonists I know. If I can rally up enough people to join in, I will start looking for somebody who may be interested in publishing it as well.

Please consider this seriously. The more people we can get on board the better the chance of it materializing into something. Also, my network is quite small, so please consider forwarding this to as many other cartoonists you know. I really hope we can make this happen, at present it seems like the best we can possibly do to help out. Please respond to this mail if this sounds like something you can commit to.

sincerely,
- Adam Pasion
biguglyrobot@gmail.com

Monday, March 28, 2011

THREE #1

THREE #1 (July 2010)
Rob Kirby
curbside2@earthlink.net
www.robkirbycomics.com (orders via paypal)
$6.25 US / ? Can/Mex / ? World / ? trades
Half-legal/ 32 pages / color!

So, before I get to the gushing about how much I dug this collection, let me give you the basics: THREE is a limited-run anthology (I don’t know how limited or how many issues) by queer comic artists edited by Robert Kirby. I haven’t seen #2 yet but I know I’m going to love it if this first issue (clever cover and all) is any indication of the series to come. The plan is for each issue to have three stories by three creators or teams of creators, and the first issue is a standout. Joey Alison Sayers contributes a funny full-color piece called “Number One” (yeah, it’s about what you think) and Robert Kirby’s beautifully done story “Freedom Flight” follows a character called Drew on part of a trip through New York City (it has this soft blue background that gives it a little bit of a dreamlike, contemplative quality). But I found myself returning to the first piece in the collection, Eric Orner’s “Weekends Abroad.” It’s an atmospheric story set in Tel Aviv; the narrative follows a man and a lovely little piece of graffiti (which I now kind of want to put all over the place), and it is superbly done. All three of the stories are well-done and they’re a nice kind of sampling of three different artists. Overall, this title’s a standout; don’t wait to get your hands on it. (I can’t wait for the next issue.)

two reviews!

NINJA SUSHI #2 (Nov 2010)
Yves Albrechts
Postbus 100
2000 Antwerpen 1
Belgium
kapreles@gmail.com
http://talkingarmpit.blogspot.com
? US / ? Can/Mex / ? World / ? trades
Half-size/ 20 pages / bright yellow cover

Lots of bold line work, mostly single images rather than sequential storytelling. The drawing style reminds me a little bit of Kaz (kinda surreal) but with heavier line work. Also, if you’re into mail art it might be worth checking out (the back cover reads “mail art matters –DIY zine – comic art—global communication”); if you’re into kind of weird, surreal art you will most likely enjoy this zine.

“Herbal Healing for Piercings and Tattoos: Organic Aftercare for Everyone”Stacy
4712 Elbow Drive SW
Calgary AB T2S 2K8
weedsmith@live.com
blog is at anastasiaweedsmith.wordpress.com
$3 US / $3 Can/Mex / ? World / ? trades (email and ask?)
Half-size/ 36 pages

From Stacy: “My zine is a thorough body art aftercare zine that includes vegan and non-vegan recipes on how to properly care for and heal your new piercings and tattoos.” It also “includes information such as how the skin heals, herbs to use, ingredients to avoid in aftercare, recipes on making your own aftercare products, and organic jewelry.”

It is very clear that the zine is intended for aftercare only and only for educational purposes. (She’s upfront that she is not a professional piercer or tattoo artist, or a physician or a naturopath, so she is not giving medical advice.) My favorite piece of this zine was an explanation of the LITHA method for healing (which stands for LEAVE IT THE HELL ALONE). Pretty simply to follow, she says: Don’t touch it! There’s good information in here about hygiene (common mistake with new body art? Not washing your hands before administering to your new tattoo or piercing) and recipes involving herbs. Overall, a number of good things to consider—especially for someone who has not yet gotten that new tattoo or piercing!

Monday, March 7, 2011

It’s a Whit Taylor two-fer!

Field Guide to Official State Haircuts #1 (2010) 9.5 x 7.25, 14 pages, color cover
$4 US, $5 Can/Mex, $5 world, yes to trades!
Whit Taylor
WhitLTaylor@gmail.com
http://whimsicalnobodycomics.blogspot.com

Attic #1 (2010) 5 x 7.5, 20 pages, B&W
$3 US, $4 Can/Mex, $4 world, yes to trades!
(same info as above)

FIELD GUIDE is billed as the definitive guide to “official” state haircuts (and can be used as a coloring book; the shapes of the states as well as the state flower are represented), and it’s pretty funny. Maryland! Your state haircut is the BUZZCUT! It’s okay; we up here in Massachusetts got some prim lookin’ thing called the “Ivy League” while Delaware got the “Devilock” (note: not once in the seven years I spent living in Delaware did I see that haircut.)There’s also a Bonus Section for the US Territories (poor Guam is all I’ve got to say about that.) I can’t wait to see what Issue #2 is going to be about. ATTIC is a collection of online slice-of-life comics from Summer 2010; humongous hickey coverage, Facebook, commercials, ebay, and what happens to old soda are just a few of the topics that appear. Fun read for sure.

review from Anne: BROOKLYN #71

BROOKLYN! #71
24 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 $10 for a 4 issue subscription
(PAYMENT IN CASH!)
Fred Argoff
Penthouse L
1170 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn NY 11230

Another Brooklyn review! Say it with me, people: “The name of this zine is BROOKLYN and that's also what the zine is about, Fred's beloved borough of Brooklyn." History, photography, you name it and it’s in here provided it’s got something to do with Brooklyn (even if that Brooklyn is a section of Wellington in New Zealand). My favorite thing in this issue was the (ahem) Idiotarod, an annual race through the streets of Brooklyn in crazy costumes with shopping carts. Who doesn’t love that? Here’s what I learned this issue: what “cancellation shoes” are and that the first bike bath in the United States is in Brooklyn and runs along Ocean Parkway! (And now I wanna bike it!). Get yourself some BROOKLYN already!