Welcome to the first edition of “Zines I read” of 2019! This year I want to write mini reviews of all the zines I’m reading again. So for this first edition I present you all the zines I read in the past two months. There’s a bit of everything again: zines in all shapes and sizes, comics, perzines (zines focussing on personal or autobiographical content), fanzines (about the Breeders, children’s books, metal…), zines about political issues (women in history, domestic violence…), travel zines, and more. I’m sure you’ll want to read (at least some of) them too!
I tried to mention webshops, social media or websites where you can find the zines whenever possible, but if you want to buy a zine that doesn’t have any web link, contact me and I might be able to get you in touch with the zinester.
P.S. Check out my zines too (I write about stuff like feminist activism, self-care, travelling, DIY culture, my stuffed bunny, and more).
Mini-zines: I define a mini-zine usually as a folded single sheet of paper into an A7 size little booklet. But any small zines (smaller than A6?) could be called a mini-zine. I got my hands on 3 such single sheet folded mini publications… Let’s start with Places of Interest by Susie Rumsby, a mini-zine filled with beautiful drawings of different places and buildings from around the world. It feels like a mini-travel sketchbook and invites to go exploring and drawing yourself. I had to get Socialist Heart-Throb #1: Ohhhh Jeremy Cor-zine (and an additional copy for a friend who’s a big Jez fan) by NOFUCS distro. This mini-zine is all about the only politician who doesn’t seem like a politician at all: inside there is everything from his hobbys to his side-eye skill. I assume everything is made up but either way it’s a fun read. WHAT??!! is a mini-zine that was made by a participant of a zine workshop I did last year. She kindly gave me a copy (there was a copy machine we could make use of – luxury!). Very expressive and fueled with feminist anger. I hope she continues making zines. 🙂
Comic zines: Team Girl Comic #11 is a great collection of comics by women and this issue’s theme is “lost in space”. It’s a great publication and kept me want to check out more. Unfortunately the collective put out their last issue in 2017 but you can probably still find their publications. I bought mine from Artificial Womb distro at Leeds Zine Fair last year. Nail Polish is an older zine made by Sophie Labelle of the Assigned Male comic series. I follow her on facebook and like all of her work. This comic zine about a sleepover, friendship, gender, and applying nail polish is immensely cute and talks about transgender issues in a funny and accessible way.
Perzines ( = personal zines): Alex #9 is about privacy, online media, and zines. I found it a very interesting read as it talks about some things I think about a lot and have also written about such as the advantages of (more or less) controlling your audience when you write zines (here and here) as opposed to writing online. Alex #9 could be considered a meta-zine too but it’s a very personal one. Along with thoughts about zines and social media, they write about keeping secrets and gender. I’d love to read more issues of this zine but don’t have any contact details. Jenna Freedman who writes Lower East Side Librarian Solstice Shout Out is my zine librarian heroine. She runs the Barnard Zine Library that collects mostly zines by women and girls and she writes zines herself. This 2005 issue of her zine consists of one half of diary entries and one half of book and zine reviews. The zine covers an entire year and has A LOT of pages. She writes about getting married, being Jewish, calling yourself an anarchist, and more. This issue doesn’t seem available anymore but you can check out her more recent zines. Hopelessly Devoted Tofu #2 is as much a travel zine as it is a (vegan) food zine. I love the positive attitude and enthusiasm of this zine. The author writes about travelling to the US with her boyfriend and about all the vegan cafés (and other places) they visit. I recommend not reading this on an empty stomach! 🙂 Growing Up (Queer) in the Nineties is Evie’s first perzine written in English. It talks about being a teenager in rural Belgium, school, the first computers and computer games, coming out, finding herself, and more, with the special place that music had and has for her woven throughout the zine. It’s a really precious story, often very funny, but also touching and it will no doubt offer support for people with similar experiences or nostalgia for the nineties. Missives from Murray Bridge #16, 17, 18 are the newest issues of the newsletter that Nyx of Sea Green Zines produces. As usual it contains life updates and feels like a personal letter from the author which I find very nice to read.
Fanzines: Fanzine: a zine about fans by Girl Gang Leeds is a collection of stories by different women who consider themselves fans. It criticises the common perceptions that exist about female fans, groupies, and fangirls, as well as the way female musicians are often treated. Interesting read, especially as I was writing about fandom myself for my fanzine YngWHO. Secret Knock #1 (I bought it from Pen Fight distro) is a zine all about the love and nostalgia for children’s books. Really good idea to make a fanzine about this and the result is so lovely and cute! A Secret Knock Book Club membership card is included! 😀 Reading and flipping through Vinyldyke #1 and #b-side felt like being thrown back into the early 90s. An era of great music as well as great fanzines. The author runs Vinyldyke Records and used to sing and play guitar in Make Music Not Love and is a great story teller as these zines show. They not only write about their experiences with making music and being a fan (of for example L7 and the Breeders) but also about gender identity and “lesbian feminist fashion”. I love their enthusiasm, the great layouts (entirely type-written!), and the entertaining and funny stories. Can’t wait for the next issue. 🙂 Raise Your Horns – subtitled “badass metal tales” – is a fanzine about metal made by Hadass of PMS Mess and Fallopian Falafel fame. I was so curious to read it and it didn’t let me down. There’s Hadass’ contagious enthusiasm for metal music, band concert stories, explanantions of metal subgenres that are more clear than what I found on wikipedia, obligatory lists, and much more… \m/
Feminist zines: The second issue of Riot Tea Club from Vienna focuses on stories about abusive interpersonal relationships as the members of the collectives realised that many of them and people they knew had had such experiences. It’s so important to share these unfiltered stories to raise awareness. Take care when reading it though! Trigger warnings apply. Illustrated Women in History #4 is a zine about cool women throughout history and across the world such as Octavia Butler, Alison Bechdel, Wilma Mankiller, and many others. It is similar in concept to books like Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls or Literary Witches but I would say that the chosen women in IWIH are a bit more radical and lesser known which is cool.
Other: Some zines are even less easy to categorise than others, so I couldn’t really decide how to label the last 2 zines: Which is Witch #2 (I ordered it from Portland Button Works) is – you guessed it – a zine about witchcraft. I’m not so much into spirituality so some of it felt a bit alien to me but there was enough for me to learn from and even apply as a potential secular witch. I also liked how down-to-earth and non-dogmatic the zine was written and I love the cover-art. Dear Diary #2 is a very varied read. The concept is a collection of unsent letters from various anonymous authors and the resulting contributions can be tough to read (trigger warnings apply) as well as hilarious. Like the Missives from Murray Bridge mentioned above, this zine is also made by Nyx, the great zine queen of Sea Green Zines. I recommend just checking any zines Nyx makes.
Happy zine reading!