Welcome to my monthly zine recommendations aka the list of zines I read in the past month! This time I found reading pleasure in publications about gardening, Star Trek, mental health, witchery, the pandemic, and more…
Let’s start with Laura-Marie’s zines. She’s such a prolific writer, both for her zines and blog – be sure to check it all. Hat Genius shows Laura-Marie’s poetry genius with poems that speak her truths and reveal parts of her life and thoughts in clear but beautiful language. Every time I read one of Laura-Marie’s zines I fall in love again with her writing. I love her ideas and her loving and critical politics as well. A good example of this is Permaculture for a pair which inspired some reflecting on my own, for example thinking about my own list for an ideal home.
All in My Head is as a personal zine about mental health. It shows the power of zines when combining personal experiences with social justice subjects. I’ve read several of Jacq Applebee’s zines and can highly recommend them all. Inside this one they talk about anxiety due to trauma, dissociative idetnity disorder, experiences with mental health care, and whether or not to let others know about mental health conditions. There are resources and poetry as well. Fun little extra are the shiny beads glued to the cover page.
Wanderer is another zine with a personal focus aka a perzine (probably my favourite zine genre) that has strong connections with DIY subcultures. The author Alyssa Giannini writes about their favourite albums, relationships and friendships, and what cis men can do to make DIY scenes better -> see below for an excerpt. There’s a gorgeous drawing on the cover that puts you right in the mood for the writing inside.
The latest issue of Manifest (Zine) focuses (or should I say “zooms in”?) on the word “zoom” and the evolution of its meaning(s). Visually the zine feels like a scrapbook or travel diary, with typewritten text on lined paper, photos, and other images throughout. Like all Manifest zines, this is another treasure that I’m happy to add to my collection.
Antek usually makes zines filled with curious retro-style photo-montages but Brussels Toy Museum is full of his sketches which he drew in the now closed toy museum in Brussels. It’s cool to see this other creative part of him. His comments on the museum that are included in its pages make this an entertaining zine beside being beautiful to look at and a valuable personal archival document.
Last month, I read a few witchy zines again. First there’s Magickal Home which was part of the online HomeKraft course by Molly Roberts. Unfortunately you can only get ahold of the zine if you follow(ed) the course but you can find more of her work on her website. This small zine includes ideas for spells and home-based magick with Molly’s amazing artwork.
When I was at Zine Happening, a yearly zine fest in Ghent, last month I bought Long live the witches and El pajarito de cristal, two witchy comic zines by Valentine Gallardo. The latter includes an English translation. Valentine is one of the Zine Happening organisers and I’m a fan of her drawing style. It’s rough, a bit experimental, and still fits well for comic stories which often have a feminist twist.
At the Stach’fest, another zine fest or festival for “micro-éditions”and small press that I visited in Brussels recently, I found a few newspaper/newsletter style zines by the Koven collective from Brussels. The Koven Journal newsletter has two issues so far which are structured around the full moons. They include a vegan recipe, artwork, and witchy information and have amazing bonus (A3 size) posters on the back!
Another newsletter but one which I’ve been familiar with for several years and love finding in my letterbox is Silver Nyx of Sea Green Zines’ Missives from Murray Bridge. This newsletter includes personal writing and life updates as well as a sudoku, yay! #34 looks back at 2021 and welcomes the new year and #35 tells you what’s going on in Silver Nyx’s life in the beginning of the year. Silver Nyx also made an enthusiastic geeky and cute mini-zine about mushrooms.
More (mini)zines from zine fests: I swapped Intimate Conversations with Strangers at Zine Happening. Zine trades/swaps are the best! These mini-zines are part of an entire series and include wisdoms and collages related to love and life.
If you like music and colourful stylish designs, then check out Mäd Mäm. #2, the “free Britney” issue includes interviews with the bands Charmpit, Lügen, and Jealous, two in English and one in German, with (Britney-themed) artwork and creative typography throughout the zine.
Other zines I read in May include Good Tsar Familiar Stink, a goth-looking personal and dark view on the situation in Russia and Putin’s influence on it, Red Alert, with black-and-white drawings of Star Trek characters (I’m watching Discovery and Deep Space 9 right now and am hooked 🙂 ) and a nameless zine by the same artist with cool artwork that would fit very well for tattoos (but maybe it’s already being used for that). I got all of these at a queer craft fair / flee market in Ghent organised by the queer bar Blond.
Finally, I stumbled upon Tweemaal Zeven Bloemen (“Twice Seven Flower”) at MSK, the fine arts museum in Ghent. Not sure if it counts as a zine because it’s published by a (small) publishing house as part of a series called “Kakkerlakjes” but it gave me a bit of a zine-vibe as the illustrations that accompany the poetry are made by zinester Julie Van Wezemael. I love her colourful and unique art style so couldn’t resist buying this beautiful booklet and wanted to share it here too.
PS. I would like to shed some light on the work of Mawy Spencer who was an amazing zine maker, comic artist, illustrator, and visual artist and passed away last week. I’ll miss you, zebra zine friend! Find Mawy’s comics here.
PPS. an excerpt from Wanderer that I wanted to share: