For this edition of “Zines I read” there are zines about birds, touring, witchcraft, anonymous letters, roller derby, anarchist dumpsters, Brexit, and much more. So I’m sure you’ll find some zines here you’ll like! (You can also check out the zines I make).
I sorted the zines I read according to genre to make it easier for myself (and you?) but remember that zine genres often overlap and zines often combine genres/subjects so these categories might be blurry and incomplete. I added websites/shops where possible and you can contact me if you’re interested in a zine that doesn’t have any web link. Maybe I can get you in touch with the zinester.
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Perzines (personal zines): As usual I read a lot of perzines because I love them so much. Let’s start with Scorpio Moon: #7 talks about magic and witchcraft (for more witchy zines, scroll down), wishes and dreams for the future, friendships and community… These were all topics that I’ve thought a lot about lately so it meant a lot to me to read about it in this zine and to be able to reflect on it from different perspectives. Purple Moon Spawn – the new name for Purple Myrtle Squeegy – is the quarter-sized perzine made by Hadass of PMS Mess. #15 is about the power of the moon, creative things Hadass did in 2018, writing, and more, in cool dark metal-y and witchy layouts. I recently ordered and received the books Ragdoll House and We are the Weirdos by Maranda Elizabeth. I’ve just finished reading the first one and look forward to start the other. I also read some more of Maranda’s Telegram zines which I always love. #40 is about borderline personality disorder, using new words to describe oneself, belonging, madphobia, and lacking privilege to participate in disability studies, #41 is about poverty, disability, and dealing with horrible bureaucratic, controlling, and paternalising institutions that are supposed to help but just add to stress and insecurity, and #42 shares various thoughts about ableism, writers who didn’t go to school, loneliness, and recovery. These are writings I wish everyone would read. I recommend supporting Maranda’s writing, buying their books and zines, and/or booking a tarot reading. Being Unusual is a split zine (two zinesters each make half of a zine) about being seen as weird and unusual which inspired me to maybe make a (mini)zine about the same subject some day! (And zines that inspire creativity are the best). Sticking Around #2 is a nice little perzine that reads like a letter of a good friend. The author looks back at bad things that recently happened, and shares thoughts about moving house and about making music and finding the courage to “put yourself out there”. I stopped drinking and I hate you all tells the personal story of the author getting sober. It might be hard to read for people who love to drink but I really appreciated their honesty and determination and I think it can be helpful for readers struggling with their sobriety. CRUSH is a perzine about crushes. The drawings, hand-made designs, and hand-written fonts make it very pleasant to read and add to the personal story of struggling with crushes and unrequited love. Not only does the zine cover personal experiences and thoughts of the author but it also delves into interesting political, philosophical and psychological ideas making this a zine you will keep thinking about for long after you’ve finished reading it. It even includes a quiz!
Music zines: Sistahs #1 is not really a fanzine because it’s not just about the band Big Joanie but made by Big Joanie. It’s a limited edition print-run that was included in their LP. So it was a nice surprise to find it inside the LP sleeve when I recently bought it after their concert in Ghent. The zine includes stories about how each of the musicians started out making music and joined the band, the meaning of the band name, lots of photos, and all the lyrics. Zinester and comic artist Henna Räsänen made All Cats Are Beautiful: Touring Adventures with Respect My Fist. I love Respect My Fist’s music and have seen them play twice so I absolutely wanted to read this zine. The images are very recognisable if you play in a band or have spend some time in squats in Europe (toilets! sleeping places! zines everywhere!). Henna has a style I would describe as wild and very punk so it fits well. 🙂
Political zines: Working for you, me, we, us, and them is a critical activist pamphlet zine about the non-profit industrial complex, explaining how NGOs depend on dubious funding and how we should be looking for different ways to organise our social justice movements. Besides the interesting and thought-provoking content, the layout and graphics are very nicely done and made me enjoy reading it even more. It was reprinted by Paper Jam from Amsterdam. Hex It was made as a response to the whole Brexit situation (Brexit = the UK is exiting the European Union). Printed on nice lavender-blue paper, the various contributors share their thoughts, worries, and spells. Brexit is Brexit, and Brexit is also shit, but reading this zine might feel comforting and supportive for those who are going to be affected by it, knowing they are not alone. (Could also fit into the witchy zine category at the bottom of this post obviously).
Comic zines: I read three issues of No Filter: Comics about Body and Beauty Norms made by Henna Räsänen and also available from Zineklatsch distro based in Germany. It’s a collection of rebellious drawings, cartoons, and comics looking critically at imposed body norms in our society, created by the participants of various workshops that Henna taught. The Wall #1 is a comic zine about a rat and a mole who suddenly find their homes to be surrounded by walls which it seems to be impossible to escape from. The Land of the Willows has its own dystopic occupied West Bank scenario! I bought this little comic from Active Distribution. Do you know the stick figure comics of Super Happy Anarcho Fun Pages? Do check them out! You can start with this comic Rolling Dumpster #1 about a dapper dumpster who wants a more meaningful and revolutionary life. Especially funny for self-identified activists/anarchists!
Art/lit zines: ESCzine is a mix between an artzine and a literary zine, including photos, poems, collages, and more. I read several issues but they aren’t numbered. One is called PhotoESC and focusses on photography (duh!), another is called PostalESC which is filled with mail-related pages (which I loved the most as a snail mail fan), and the rest can be distinguished by their covers (green exit sign, ostrich…). It adds some mystery. 🙂 Sniffing Flatlines is a mini-zine written in stream-of-consciousness writing style, proving that just sitting down and starting to write anything can have fine results. Jip en Janneke spelen anarchistje [Jip and Janneke play anarchist] is a parody story starring Dutch children’s book heroes Jip and Janneke who visit their anarchist uncle. Really fun, especially if you devoured the J&J stories as a child like me. I hope they’ll make more of this!
Witchy zines: These days zines about witchcraft, witches, and magic deserve their own category. MissMuffCake made a bunch of zines related to witchiness that I got thanks to a trade with her. Wishing lists different ways (or spells?) to wish for things to happen and Witch Shit to Help You Deal with Anxiety gives some examples such as crystals/stones and essential oils that may help you calm down and relax during anxious moments. Both are in mini-zine format but she writes bigger zines too: Meowoscopes is a funny zine with horoscopes for cat people to see “how the signs interact with cats”. The Stay at Home Girlfriend is MissMuffCake’s ongoing perzine and #29’s theme is Halloween so I had to have it. 🙂 It includes recipes, witchy essentials, thoughts about being an older goth, thinking back at how she got into witchiness as a teenager, song lists, and more to make this a perfect witchy perzine.
Metazines (zines about zines): Zine Ammo is a collection of photos of zine materials (f.e. type writer, washi tape…) in mini-zine format made during ZineWriMo2018 by Hadass. Reading it makes me want to do something creative right away! Lunchtime for the Wild Youth is a zine that depending on the issue talks about gigs the author went to in the past, animal themed-songs, Britpop, and more. So most issues fit more into the “fanzine” category. Its 16th issue covers what the year 2018 was like for them including going to several zine and comic fairs (which I really like to read about), a reading list, and more. What makes this zine extra special is that the cover-art is always done by the author’s little daughter. She often goes along to zine fairs too, even selling her own creations.
Other/various zines which I found hard to categorise: Birder Beginnings introduces the reader to bird watching, from developing skill to bird watching activities. It’s a very informative riso-printed zine and you can tell the author is passionate about the subject. I bought my copy from Penfight distro. What Color Means is a mini-zine by Hadass about the connections she makes with different colours like red = rage and yellow = pudding. Of course printed in full colour with cute images and cool hand-written fonts. Hadass also made a mini-zine with her baby daughter – such a nice idea! – called My First Zine. It’s full of “abstract” drawings by her child. 🙂 Another zine by Hadass is Tips for Fighting the Winter Blues, with several useful self-care tips. I started collecting little self-care zines and this one is a nice addition. These past two months I continued reading the compilation zine series Dear Anonymous (#3 + 4) edited by Nyx, which contain letters written by anonymous authors for anonymous readers (not always humans), including family members, apartments, doctors, stuffed animals, and so on. The letters are a nice varied mix of personal, political, funny, and sad. You never know what to expect of the next letter! Hit like a Girl is a personal zine about roller derby and its influence on female body image and movement. I really enjoyed reading this and can recommend it to any roller derby fan or feminist who’s interested in body issues and/or sports. ANNUAL Pocket Thoughts #1 was recently published and features a lot of zinesters’ contributions in the form of cool comics, collages, poetry, and short texts. I recognised several of the zinesters’ names making this extra special. Also produced by the Pocket Thoughts editor is the zine Misuses of the Word Vagina. It’s a silly/funny zine which aims to normalise the use of the word vagina by putting it in different hilarious contexts.
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So that was it for this time. Keep reading (and making!) the best kind of paper media and do send your creations to me! 🙂