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, April 22, 2018

Through A Basement Window: The Collected Comix of Clark A. Dissmeyer 1984–1986

Through A Basement Window: The Collected Comix of Clark A. Dissmeyer 1984–1986 published October 2017
156 pages, 7.5 x 9.25 inches, 7.99 US (pretty sure; see below)/ ?CAN/MEX, ? World, no idea about trades (I'm guessing probably not?) 
by Clark Dissmeyer (author), Marc Myers (editor), and Richard Krauss (designer)

Clark Dissmeyer
917 E. 25th St. Apt #5
Kearney, NE 68847
Marc: muckmires@hotmail.com
Richard: arkay@larquepress.com

This submission for review came in without a review sheet, so I'm not sure how much it costs. Some googling led to online outlets (it's on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for $7.99, so I'm going with that), which is probably where you'd need to order it as well. It's a perfect-bound book done in black & white, featuring stories that have never before been published. Most of it is pretty squarely placed in the horror/Twilight Zone genre, spooky stories, dark thoughts, death -- if you're into horror, you'll dig this collection. The construction of the comics themselves are bold and the book is clearly organized, including an introduction about Dissmeyer's work and the period of time in which he composed these works (I mean, over a span of two years, this is a lot of work!). It's a solid book with a substantial amount of material.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

BIKEQUITY: Money, Class, & Bicycling

BIKEQUITY: Money, Class, & Bicycling

Edited by Elly Blue
128 pages, 4.25 x 6.5 inches, $9.95 US (? Can/Mex, ? World), ? trades
Microcosm Publishing
2752 N Williams Ave.
Portland, OR 97227

This collection is the 14th issue of Taking The Lane, which is a rad series that I've always enjoyed reading; this issue has much to do with money, class, and bicycling -- why folks are on bikes, folks who go car-free, surviving a biking accident, stolen bikes -- and digs in to some fascinating ideas through the various pieces in the collection. There's fiction and a recipe and a bunch of different pieces (Blue writes about this in the introduction and explains a little about why these pieces are in this collection and why it follows more of a zine format), but most are essays.  "Ultimately," Blue states, "this zine is about ways people negotiate power, and the various wedges that the powerful can use to separate us from each other." Do Jun Lee's piece "Han-ted Riding" is particularly exquisitely composed, by turns tragic and heartwarming and empowering, but all the pieces in this collection are fascinating and worth your time to read. These collections are always so carefully assembled, with pretty amazing production values, and always leave me thinking after I'm done reading them. Highly recommended -- whether you're into biking or not.

Friday, April 20, 2018

This is Your Brain on PTSD: Trauma Recovery Using Brain Science (Oct. 2017)

This is Your Brain on PTSD: Trauma Recovery Using Brain Science (Oct. 2017)

42 pages, b&w, 5.5x8.5 inches, $5 US (? CAN/MEX, ? World), ? trades
Faith G. Harper, PhD, LPC-S, ACS, ACN

The first line of this zine reads: "If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (or if you suspect that it might be an accurate diagnosis, this zine is designed to help you get a handle on what that is and what to do next" and I would say that's a fully accurate description of what follows. The zine explains what PTSD is and how that's different from a trauma response as well as talks about what a trauma is (it doesn't have to be huge and dramatic, either; "any kind of life event that kicks your ass" falls into this category) including things that are sometimes left out of how we think about trauma: bullying, school and community violence, impaired caregiver, forced displacement, systems trauma, and others. There's some discussion of the brain science of trauma, what trauma can look like on an ordinary day, as well as some exercises for, as the author puts it, unfucking your brain. It's an interesting reading and well worth your time.

SMEAR Magazine #3 and #4

SMEAR Magazine (#3 -- March 2017 and #4 -- November 2017).24 pages (both), full color cardstock, 8.5 x 5.5 inches, $5 US (? CAN/MEX, ? WORLD), ? tradesavailable at: http://www.smearmagazine.com/shop/smear-issue-4-new

Okay, these magazines are some of the highest production quality I've seen in a while; they're substantial and the design/construction elements are impeccable. They're a combination of interesting interviews, photography, short pieces, and other things (#4 has comics, #3 has an advice column), each issue has pieces cleverly organized around themes describing what they are ("one-on-ones" for the interviews, "visuals" for comics and photography, "moody musings" for a variety of other things, etc.).  They use these same tags to sort work they're posting online; this same content can be found there for the first four issues, but starting with the next issue they're moving into print only. The work inside is interesting and they often list open calls for work on their facebook page (the next issue is due out pretty soon and I'm interested to see it; you don't have to be in their geographic part of the world -- Austin, TX -- to contribute). These are pretty comprehensive as far as zines go, and they look very professional (no joke, seriously, on the production values). Highly recommended. 

SWIMMING (People Make Plans #3.5 / August 2017)

SWIMMING  (People Make Plans #3.5 / August 2017)

32 pages, zine is 4 x 4 inches but full color cover is 8.5 x 4.5 inches, $2 US ($3 CAN/MEX / $3 world), maybe trades

Nicolle Jennelle
POB 791802
New Orleans, LA 70179

Described as a mini-zine memoir about the 8/5/2017 flash floor in New Orleans with themes of friendship, love, grieving, cats, PTSD, and flooding, this zine has a hand-rolled ink cover (blue) with fingerpainted gold smears; the zine itself is printed on ivory colored paper. Of all the zines I got in this review batch, this is the one I looked at first because the construction is different from anything I've seen before; it's basically this tiny little zine tucked inside an art print, which is cool. The zine itself is well-written; I won't give away what happens (you should get it & read it & find out for yourself!) but I will tell you I couldn't put it down. It's a fast read and an important one; the writing is vivid and you'll be compelled to read through start-to-finish. Interesting, innovative design; this one is worth getting and reading; it's also lovely to look at as a design object. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

SUBMERGING (#2 -- 2017)

SUBMERGING (#2 -- 2017)

Brett Essler
24 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 inches, B&W (full color cover, cardstock), $3 US / $? Can/Mex $? world, trades maybe
Submerging is a zine/chapbook featuring personal essays, fiction, and photography; available from Quimby's, Atomic Books, Razorcake, and on Etsy. It is really gorgeous; there's glossy cardstock paper that feels good in your hands, and the writing's surprisingly compelling. It's about corporeality, about bodies and medicine, about getting older. Clean, clear, crisp layout; everything in the right place. One of the essays is about surviving an unexpected heart attack; another about delicate bodies growing older with all the attending aches and pains. Four different writers make up this issue; there's photography and interesting visual elements, and for $3 it seems like a steal for the quality of not just the writing (which is quite good) but also the object itself (I haven't seen a lot of slick, glossy paper zines lately, so this is an interesting change). For $3, it's worth getting; check it out.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

ASK A CAT DIGEST #5 (Feb. 2018)

ASK A CAT DIGEST #5 (Feb 2018 )

8 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 $2 US (? CAN/MEX / ? world), yes trades
Charles Brubaker
247 Redbud Cir.
Martin, TN 38237

Fifth mini-collection of the "Ask a Cat" comic strip. Questions range from how cats celebrate New Year's (I was surprised...) birthdays, raccoons (basically bootleg cats?), and more. Basically, the "Ask A Cat" comic strip series is, unsurprisingly, a cartoon cat answering letters sent in by readers. 
 You can get it on the fun by emailing cbrubaker@gmail.com with your Ask A Cat questions as well. It's a quick read but it's fun; it's a collection of various comic strips on various questions that readers have sent in to Cat. It's obviously also part of a longer series, but if you're into comics and gag strips (it very much follows a traditional introduction /set-up / punchline format) you'll dig it.

NICKNAME #1 (Oct. 2017) and #2 (Jan. 2018)

NICKNAME #1 (Oct. 2017) and #2 (Jan. 2018)

20 pages (#1) and 24 pages (#2), both 5 x 7 inches , $4 ppd in USA (? Can/Mex, ? World),  trades maybe 

Hurley Winkler
3948 3rd St. S #183
Jax Beach, FL 32250
trades? better write and ask first

Described as "a conversational/confessional/collaborative zine by two friends" NICKNAME is by Hurley Winkler and Aysha Miskin; it's a 5x7 zine with clear layout and crisp images; it's a combination of cut & paste & xerox and original drawings, notes written on guest checks (both of these folks have exquisite handwriting, btw), and one really weird drawing of sea waves with the c-word written all over them. Both issues are a weird mishmash of images and words, but they're neat to look at. I'm interested to see how they develop; they don't read like a conversation, but who knows where they'll go in further issues. They're worth checking out, and I'm not sorry that I read them; they aren't linear storytelling but the composition is compelling -- if you're into cut & paste, these are worth your time. (Email and see if they're up for a trade!)

COPY THIS #44 (Oct 2017)

COPY THIS #44 (Oct 2017)

44 pages, 4 x 5.5 inches, cost?, trades ?

D. Blake Wertz
12339 Chesley Drive
Charlotte, NC 28277

COPY THIS is an info/news zine assembled by and for mini-comics fans; this issue came with a similarly-sized minicomic called COPY by Brad W. Foster, who is the subject of the in-depth interview which makes up this issue. It's a comprehensive interview and makes for interesting reading. There are three pages at the back of the issue with updates from other zinemakers, and the issue is meticulously laid out with clean and crisp design. Heads up, though: it's a smaller-sized zine and that means smaller-sized print; it isn't unclear, but you might need to be pretty close to the paper to be able to read it depending on your eyesight. There's apparently (?) an upcoming issue that is the annual ALL ART issue, which sounds rad; I'm not yet sure if it's in print since I don't know how often issues are published (monthly, maybe?). If you're interested in illustration, or you enjoy reading interviews, check it out!

Monday, April 16, 2018

THE ZINE COLLECTOR - Column by Carrie Mercer (forthcoming XD #43)


A New Zine Podcast by Jaime Nyx

Jaime Nyx may already be known to some of you from her zine review blog, Sea Green Zines (seagreenzines.com), which she has been writing since 2011, an eon in zine years. She also writes the zine “Don’t Call Me Cupcake.” At the beginning of this year, she started a podcast/videocast called The Zine Collector, and has posted seven episodes to date. It’s obvious from the start that Nyx has put research and thought into each episode. The sound quality is fantastic, Nyx comes across as friendly and welcoming, and there’s even nice intro music. Overall, it’s a real pleasure to listen to.

Nyx spends the first couple episodes introducing herself and zines—yes, that basic question of what a zine is, which I’m sure you reading this already know, and yet, she finds definitions from several different sources that might make you think a litter harder about it. Nyx has a great love for zines, and that is the most appealing part of listening to her podcast. She appreciates the “generous community” of zinesters, and emphasizes the zine ethos of not being competitive, but cooperative—that we are all (for the most part) supporting each other. In this spirit, she then talks about several other zine podcasts that she listens or listened to and gets inspiration from. Her thorough show notes are a treasure trove to investigate further zine resources, with links to other podcasts, zine distros, and individual zinesters. Her segment “sharing is caring” highlights zine communities, like WeMakeZines.com, where listeners can get more involved and connected in the zine community.

Creating conversations in the zine community is very important to Nyx. When I asked her about it, she said her main motivation in starting the podcast was “extending what I was already doing in regards to connections/conversations and bringing that to new platforms.” Now that it’s up and running and she’s getting feedback, she wants to focus on “making people feel welcome.” She wants more people to feel like they have permission to make zines. Nyx struggles with anxiety issues and says she is “made of marshmallow fluff,” which I think somehow makes her the perfect fairy godmother for zinesters. She will always cheer you on, and remind you that “there are no gatekeepers in the zineverse, nor should there ever be.”

In later episodes, Nyx discusses specific issues in more depth, like zine pricing, consent and copyright in perzines, and to risograph or not to risograph. Episode five is a long interview with zinester Sober Bob, in which they discuss the disturbing trend of young people merchandising everything they do, believing that something is not worth doing unless it is financially viable. Episode six is like a meditation for zinesters, in which Nyx gives zinesters 5 tips, including remembering to breathe, have fun, and not get overwhelmed. I’ll be listening to that one repeatedly.

I highly recommend this podcast for its positivity and supportiveness of the zine community as a whole. Nyx responds to feedback and listens to what zinesters are interested in discussing. The easiest place to find her is on You Tube, but she’s also on Pippa, Spotify, Pocketcasts, and Castbox.