Here are the final mini-reviews of the zines I’ve read this year! Some of these zines were bought from Pen Fight, Portland Button Works, and Antiquated Future in the summer. Others were purchased at Leeds Zine Fair or sent as trades or gifts. I’d like to thank all zinesters who sent me their precious booklets!
These past two months I’ve read zines about problematic idols, diabolical cats, human ghosts, crisps, and how to make menstruation underwear. Some of these publications contained lots of text and others lots of images. So I’m sure you’ll want to read at least some of them too! I’ve tried to group them according to genre / format but be aware that genres can overlap and zines are hard to categorise because they rarely stick to just one subject or style. Where possible, I’ve included links to webshops/social media/blogs. If no link is mentioned and you’re interested in a certain zine, let me know and I might be able to get you in touch with the zinester.
Perzines: Dear Anonymous is a collabzine of compilation zines filled with letters written by anonymous authors to strangers, themselves, life, their cat, and others. This original concept leads to touching, tough, funny and beautiful letters. In the summer Hadass made two zines, one for International Zine Month that has a page (or more) for nearly every day of the month, with daily life stuff, etc and another one I’ll mention elsewhere in this post. I like Hadass’ oldschool punky layouts and little metal drawings. Great diary-type zine! So many zinesters suffer from self-doubt and lack of confidence in their work, while that it absolutely not necessary. In Imposter Syndrome #1 Amy writers about writers block and self-criticism while her writing is great. There are also pieces on body image and reality tv (I hate reality tv but I did enjoy reading this). SRVIV III is a compilation zine with stories answering the question “what gets you out of bed in the morning?”. Some stories are hard to read, others comforting and inspiring. I ordered this zine from Antiquated Future distro because some of my favourite zinesters wrote a piece for it (Nyxia Grey, Jenna Freedman, Alex Wrekk) but the whole zine is a great and important project.
Fanzines: Local Lasses is a pink zine about some famous women (from Mel B to the Brontë Sisters) who were born and raised in West Yorkshire. It folds out into a map of Yorkshire with the towns/cities where they grew up. Nicely done! Yr Faves Are Problematic was a zine I really needed, having become a fan of a somewhat problematic rockstar lately… It was a pleasure and a relief reading about other fans’ guilty pleasures from The Fall and Tracey Emin to Garfield and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Fanzines don’t just have to stick to musicians or artists but can be about other things such as favourites foods too! What’s Your Flavour is a zine all about crisps! As a crisps fan, I couldn’t resist reading this!
Political zines: With Overvallen op de Kruispunten, a collection of columns she previously published on De Tweede Sekse blog, Evie proves she is one of the great feminist/leftist thinkers in Belgium (and beyond) today – I’m not exaggerating. Her ideas are radical (in the positive meaning of the word of course, as that is the ONLY meaning of the word for me), intersectional, non-compromising, and empathic, and the columns in here are often funny too. Most columns are written in Dutch as is her book, but she’s planning on making a zine in English that should come out soon. Artificial Womb keeps going strong with its 25 issue already! It includes a review of and interview with Amanda Palmer, a review of the Pussy Riot book, song lyrics, and more. Riot Tea Club is a zine I only recently discovered thanks to the Chocs et Ennui distro. It is a feminist zine and DIY collective from Austria (they recently stopped unfortunately 😦 ). There is a nice variation of topics inside including how to make a stencil, an interview withAmygdala, experiences with the pill, and repression against activists, as well as several collages. Worth checking out! At Leeds Zine Fair I got my hands on a copy of the special Shape & Situate issue made during the Leeds Queer Film Festival in 2015. Shape & Situate was a zine from the UK that collected a range of posters celebrating women from or based in Europe. This issue focuses on queer women and is again full of discoveries and great artwork.
Art/comic/photo zines: Purple Myrtle Squeegy #14 is the “silent issue” because there are hardly any words in it. Instead it is filled with photos, collages and drawings. Very colourful, joyful yet dark. Leeds Zine Fair 2016 is the compilation zine that was made during the zine fest that the title refers to. Not all compilation zines made in only a few hours are that great but this one makes me want to rip out so many pages to put on my wall that I wish I had bought two copies! Some of my favourites include pages about a winter survival plan, a collection of cactuses, Kristin Hersch, zine zen, biphobia kills, running bunnies, Dead Trees & Dye zine distro, and a lot more! Manolo #3 is actually not a zine but a magazine. Normally I don’t review magazines, but it was sent to me to review so I’ll make an exception just for this one time. It is actually a very fancy magazine, almost more a photo book with its glued binding and nice paper, and contains photos of (semi) nude men. I’m not a photography expert so not the best to judge/review this but it’s nicely designed and looks very professional.
DIY/how to: How to make your own Period Underwear by Clara is a simple and clear guide to make your underwear suitable for menstruating or to create period underwear from scratch. “Anyone can do it” it says on the cover and with a zine like this, that must be true. BUJO is a zine about how to make a bullet journal written as a bullet journal. It is incredibly beautiful with clear explanations so if you’re into notebooks, sketchbooks and planners like me, get this zine now! It’s made by Nyx, the zine queen of Sea Green Zines, who does so many cool and inspiring zine projects and is clearly very much into bullet journaling too.
Mini-zines: Zines come in all sizes and the folded one-page mini-zine format allows for a lot of creativity in only a small publication (easy AND fast to make!). For example Kimme Tigra’s new mini-zine Is my cat the antichrist? is a hilarious and very punk little publication that will appeal to both the witches and the cat lovers among us (and aren’t they often both?). The next mini-zines are all made by Crash Reynolds: The Ghostly Adventures of Goose The Human Ghost #1 and 2 are cute little zines about what a naughty little ghost is up to. How to Properly Read Other People’s Minds is a folded zine (not really a standard mini-zine but I’ll still include it here) with a little funny comic inside. Things to do after a long/hard day contains a long, helpful as well as funny list of self-care ideas.
And more! J’ai Perdu Ma Merde is a funny zine (written in French) about “formulations franglaises”: Frenchified English words or expressions that don’t exist in French. So, no, “I lost my shit” really can’t be translated into “j’ai perdu ma merde”! 🙂 And finally, we’ve come to the last zine of this review post and it’s not just any zine: Paper Currency #2 by Nyx is a zine all about zines, a meta zine! It includes articles by different zinesters (including yours truly 🙂 ), zine reviews, lots of flyers to advertise zines or zine projects, and at the end some “up for trades” ads. It comes with lovely cover-art too.