Summer is over but luckily Autumn still has some sunny days where I live. It was nice to read zines in parks, as well as on the train, on my lunch breaks… I was fortunate to get lots of new zines recently from zine friends, trades, distros, and during a visit to the UK. So many in fact that my to-read box just keeps getting bigger. In the past two months I read plenty of amazing little booklets about a variety of subjects such as surviving Christmas, autism, lesbian movie drinking games, Murder She Wrote, crafting… and so much more!
This post is a list of all the zines I read in September and October. Wherever possible I’ll mention a webshop, website or blog. If you’d like to buy a certain zine but no web link is mentioned, contact me and I might be able to get you in touch with the zinester. Several of these zines are also available from Pen Fight, Portland Button Works or Antiquated Future.
Let’s dive into it:
These past two months, I’ve read two zines that were made in 24 hours and I’m so impressed with the results: The 24 hour zine thing is a beautiful super-creative full-colour zine by Nyx of Sea Green Zines about a variety of subjects such as kangaroos, cats, horoscopes, nostalgic snacks, and home. Here. In My Head #18 is made by Catherine Elms who is also a great singer/musician. In this cut-and-paste perzine, she writes about Tori Amos, equality, Doctor Who (and the sexist responses that the female Doctor got), and more.
I was happy to read several fanzines the past two months: For example Mixtape: A 90s zine is riso printed in beautiful nostalgic blue. This zine gives voice to several women looking back at growing up in the 90s and the music they loved (from Hanson to Hole). I loved reading this because I could relate so much. 🙂 I couldn’t resist Murder, she zined when Amber is Blue suggested trading zines. It analyses all episodes of season one of the television series Murder, She Wrote. I really want to watch it (again) now! Since her previous zine about films, my friend Evie seems hooked on zine-making, yay! Boeken: Een Eviezine is all about books. More specifically about the books that have had an impact on Evie’s life. She writes in a very personal way, making this both a fanzine and a perzine. And no worries, non-Dutch readers, Evie is currently writing a zine in English! About what exactly I’ll keep as a surprise… I had to get the zine Movie Drinking Games when flipping through it at Leeds Zine Fair and discovering some of the movies that are mentioned include “Bound” and “Foxfire”. No, this is not just any movies drinking games zine, it is a lesbian and queer movies drinking games zine and a very funny one too! Even though I’m not much into alcohol I did enjoy reading this. Faith in the Cure is a pure fanzine, created for the love of the band The Cure. Even if you’re not a fan (but appreciate their music or want to find out more) this is a very pleasant and passionate read, featuring a diversity of articles (from a quiz to an interview). It also gave me inspiration to make a fanzine too!
I read some great perzines too, these are all part of zine series which I recommend to check out: I look forward to each issue of Scorpio Moon. In #6 there’s a lot about moving house and everything related to it (co-ops versus living alone, poverty, accessibility…) as well as thought about being diagnosed with autism on a later age and the professionalisation of zine culture (I couldn’t agree more). Say Hi and Wave #4 is a riso printed zine about a trip to Madrid during Christmas time. A bit different from the previous issues but I enjoy stepping into the stories of travel zines so this was fun to read. I always welcome new issues of Athemaura with open arms. #20 is a mix of travel stories, organising her first concert, being a blind guide for her friend, and more personal thoughts. #21 talks about a horrible job the author recently got out of as well as other sad experiences. But even in the sad stories, I love how caring, beautiful, hopeful and radical this zine is.
Perzines can come in the format of newsletters too like Missives from Murray Bridge (#10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15), the more or less monthly free newsletter by Nyx. She writes about so many different things, from new neighbours and Etsy to PCOS and future plans. I don’t know if Summer Rain counts as a mini-zine or a newsletter as it is a single folded sheet of paper but it reads more like a spontaneous and poetic yet political letter which I like a lot.
Zines can be used to share skills, techniques, and other how-to resources such as Building: Reading the subtitle “a DIY guide to creating spaces, hosting events and fostering radical communities” you know this is an important zine for activists and organisers alike, mentioning safe spaces, promoting concerts, some tips for the sound, and how to deal with police. These zinesters of Sugar Paper (#13 and #14) love crafts and make amazing zines with lots of how-to-make-things. #13’s theme is the great outdoors and #14 focuses on Twin Peaks-esque crafts. Ideal for the upcoming winter! The crafts in here are so diverse you’ll always find something you want to make: from crochet to cakes and dressing up to travel journals and from treasure maps to DIY jewellery. I have this secret dream of wanting to do an anarcha-feminist radio show or podcast one day so I had to get this zine: How to Make Radio (#1, #2). It comes with so many useful tips explained in a clear and down-to-earth way (written by a woman so no mansplainy shit). #2 comes with extra podcasting tips. So these zines enabled me to gather more info to make my secret dream come true one day. In the meantime listen to the anarcha-feminist podcast Bloed aan de Muur (in Dutch).
I think zines are always creative but the following zines put extra focus on the visual aspect: Unabashed is one of the few photo zines I own! It has great full-colour photos of feminist protests, street art, cit architecture, and more. Gertrude Stein is issue 2 vol 1 of a series called “the life and times of butch dykes”. Cool, huh? It features a little comic story about Stein’s life and importance. Talking about cool… Life advice from cool girls looks extra cool with the gold on its cover. Inside there are nice drawings with little wisdoms. Dumb jokes about flowers by the same author/illustrator is a mini-zine with flower word plays. Very cute. A zine I grapped with the speed of light at Leeds Zine Fair is There’s no such thing as a bad drawing by Rachael House because I am a huge fan of all her work. It has most of the drawings she made for Inktober 2017 and wow, it’s impressive how much awesome, varied, funny, and feminist work she made in only one month! At the very end of Leeds Zine Fair I collected all my courage and asked to swap zines with Kristyna Baczynski. She said yes (yay!) and I chose One Monday. I love her drawing style and daily life stories a lot, especially as they contain snippets of her life as an artist.
I also read two zines that are collaborative zines (collabzines), zines that accept contributions to its pages. One was made during Leeds Zine Fair – Leeds Zine Fair 2018 Zine in a Day – with a range of contributions. There are comics, drawings, pages with stamps, cats, giraffes, mermaids… and it was printed during the zine fest on a risograph. The other collabzine is the first issue of the Amazing Zine, edited by the S_he’s Amazing concert booking collective based in Berlin, with texts, comics, collages, and drawings about what the contributors think is amazing (cats, pizza, Viv Albertine, Make Music Not Love… – I contributed a drawing of Team Dresch). Nice concept for a zine and they are now accepting contributions for #2.
Finally there are several zines dealing with mental health, self-care, social expectations and tabboos that I grouped together here. Some are like perzines and others more educational, or both. A Heart that comes true is “a suicide awareness and prevention zine” and honestly should be bought and distributed by all youth groups, activist projects, and mental health organisations. It is very practical, contains statistics, lots of tips (dos and don’ts), a safety plan, and more. By buying this zine you also support A Heart That Comes True, a nonprofit that raises awareness about suicide. I also think a lot of us need this zine: Surviving Christmas. Get it now, for yourself or your friends, because the end of the year celebrations aren’t fun for everyone. Barren, subtitled “a zine about being childfree”. Once in a while I read stories about women choosing to live and stay childfree and there really aren’t enough. There are personal stories in here, ignorant comments (ugh, so recognisable), and what it’s like getting a vasectomy. A is for Aspergers is subtitled “a personal glossary of a spectrumy life”. I would put emphasis on “personal” because this is not written from some random “scientific” outsider perspective but by someone who is “spectrumy” or neurodivergent themselves which obviously makes it all so much more valuable. It includes several terms I hadn’t hear of and also breaks away from the usual cliché stuff about autism. Dare to Care was made by the feminist band Dream Nails. It looks really nice visually, has lots of stuff about self-care inside (herbs, period tips, solo dating…), as well as band lyrics and their explanation for what “girls to the front” means for them, and it includes a download link for their EP.
So check out the zines I mentioned and enjoy reading and/or making zines during ZineWriMo!