Zine Reviews: Febuary 2011

Posted by blatantblithe on February 17, 2011 Blog posts | zine reviews | Zines | | One comment

Little Grrrl Lost & Found #5: Visions of Change
Riotgrrrlaz, US – riotgrrrlazAThotmailDOTcom

This zine was a case of “never judge a book by its cover” for me.  I saw the cover and thought “meh, maybe later”, putting it away in my zine box with the intention of reading it eventually.  Three months later, I finally decided I should read it, seeing as Riotgrrrlaz is always so nice to me on Twitter.  And I was pleasantly surprised!  Sorry it took me so long!  Anyway, the general theme of the zine seems to be ‘survival’, particularly survival from abuse in the first half.  She lists different forms of domestic violence and abuse, including some US statistics on domestic violence – for example, one in every four women will experience abuse in her lifetime.  She discusses the difficulties that women face trying to escape abusive relationships, encouraging the reader to be fearless enough to regain their life and view themselves as worth saving.  After this section there is another inspiring piece on the phrase “a diamond in the rough” (it mainly makes me think of Disney’s Aladdin, but I’m silly like that!) and how we should all reflect upon our good qualities and our qualities that need “polishing”.  There’s also a fairly sad piece on her dog Winnie having a false pregnancy.  There are a couple of little perziney bits in there too, like poetry, creative writing, rants and raves, and inspiring aphorisms (e.g. “in the eyes of every woman shines the soul of a Goddess”).  The whole zine is very well-written, with a plain layout, but the interesting fonts and pictures used make up for that.  It definitely feels too disjointed for me though – the opening section on abuse was very informative and useful, reading more like an info booklet than a perzine.  But everything else in the zine was very personal and at times quite artistic.  I think it should’ve been one or the other rather than both styles jammed together.  Nevertheless, I really enjoyed reading this zine, and think that Riotgrrrlaz’s zines are going to keep getting better and better.

Mew #2 & #3
Chelsea, US – www.kawaiicupcakes.etsy.com
I’m reviewing both, as they came in one package, and are both fairly short (16 pages each)!  This is a small, sweet, hand-drawn perzine.  Both have a general cat motif running through (I should’ve guessed, since the title is the noise a cat makes, and there’s a cat on the cover of #3, heh), with lots of cute kitty drawings, how to apply kitty make-up, and reviews of pet-themed Nintendo DS games.  However, both zines have their own general theme.  Mew #2 is “the issue issue”, because it contains pieces that deal with ‘issues’, including the division of body and soul, being active and creative, feeling caged, and gendered language.  In the intro, Chelsea mentions that she’s been thinking a lot about feminism, and implies that she’d like to include more feminist discussion in her zine.  I would’ve liked to read a little more of her feelings about being a feminist and what issues she’s interested in, as there were only little snippets of feminism and gender throughout the zine.
Mew #3 is “the spring issue”, with pieces on what she’s been up to this spring, the evil of water chestnuts, and how unfortunate that the rise of the internet seems to have killed the art of penpaling (especially when it comes to privacy issues).  There’s also a minizine attached in the middle of Mew #3 with drawings, fiction, and things spring makes her think of.  They’re both very fluffy and silly zines, but I really enjoyed reading them!  It seems as if Chelsea has a great sense of humour, which I love to read about. A lovely little zine to cheer you up when you’re feeling a bit too serious, I think.

Rhetorical #2
Chiara, Australia – rhetoricalzineAThotmailDOTcom
A nice little quarter-sized zine from Chiara, the same girl behind minizine ‘Blixa’ that I reviewed here a while ago.  As it’s by Chiara, ‘Rhetorical’ is packed full of her awesome hand-drawings and cartoons, as well as some interesting (although messy) cut-and-paste layouts.  This zine has a lovely look/feel, and the messiness kinda adds to its charm.  Inside, Chiara writes about role play gaming, Buffy drinking games (hell yes!), her favourite stylish women, her love for singer-songwriter Nina Nastasia, Tom Hodgkinson’s self-help book How to be Free, and her fave idle pleasures.  Not all that well-written, but nevertheless I had lots of fun reading this, and I think you would too. :)

Functionally Ill: Adventures With Mental Health #6 & #7
Laura-Marie, US – robotmadATgmailDOTcom

Another double-review – Laura-Marie and I had a huge trade a few weeks ago and I ended up with 4 issues of her zine (yay!), so I’m reviewing my two favourites.  Both are 1/4 sized and 10 and 18 pages long respectively.  Both are mental health zines that deal with Laura-Marie’s experiences of bipolar disorder.  Issue 6 focuses on the logistics of care, including losing services due to budget cuts, high medication costs ($688 for a month’s medication at a regular pharmacy?!), the difficulties getting hold of certain medications, the dispassionate and brisk health workers she encounters, and clinic appointments.  This one is written in a kind of diary-style, with different entries under different dates.  It’s very well-written and straightforward.
Issue 7 focuses on Laura-Marie’s mental health taking an unexpected dive a year ago.  She discusses the symptoms she experienced, and her return to taking Abilify, which thankfully has made her feel much better.  We also read what radical mental health means to her, her fascination with suicide and suicide notes, where she mentions wanting to make a chapbook of suicide notes (which has now been written, and is available here!), her suicidal thoughts,  the shame surrounding suicide, and how her long-term partner Erik has helped her get through difficult times (it’s always so lovely to read about those supportive people in a zinester’s life).  I really enjoyed this issue of Functionally Ill – if I’m honest, I would’ve preferred both zines to be much longer, maybe by combining the two, but that’s the only complaint.  Plain interior layouts – black text on white background throughout – with really interesting covers, especially #6!

Feels Like Friday #12
Ivana Stab, Australia – ivanaforpresidentAThotmailDOTcom

LOVED this zine!  For me, it’s got all the elements of a great perzine – interesting cover, fairly substantial length (40 pages),  amazing layouts (seriously, they’re so creative), and angry feminist content!  I also love the fact that it’s 4″ x 4″ – different, I like it.  In this issue, we read lots about feminism – gender roles, being expected as a feminist to have all the answers, violence against women and victim-blaming, and being unapologetic – but Ivana also touches upon subjects of death, sexuality, and her Serbian mother tongue.  Ivana’s zines are almost poetic, with a stream-of-consciousness feel to them.  This is mostly a good thing, but it did mean there were many times where her thoughts drifted off the page where would’ve liked to read more.  Ivana has since stopped writing Feels Like Friday, and has now started a new perzine, Watch Him Bleed, which I must make an effort to get hold of soon!


1 Comment

  • Laura-Marie said on Nov 7, 2011 5:07 pm

    Thanks for the great review–I only found it today while googling functionally ill. Thanks for a fantastic trade.

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