HIGH ON BURNING PHOTOGRAPHS #5/ASYLUM #1 (Pittsburgh, PA/Santa Clarita, CA)
This split between Ocean and her penpal Matt, who is incarcerated. Meeting through a prisoner book program, they compiled this zine without ever having met, and the result is a zine on a diverse number of topics. In her articles, Ocean relates an attempt by her boss to create a Jackson Pollock painting, revisits 1997, and provides haiku book reviews. Matt's contributions tend toward the philosophical, as he questions what it means for something to be counterfeit, opines on philosophical zombies, and writes a "love letter" to Folsom Prison. I haven't read very many zines by prisoners, and this one was an eye-opener, providing just a glimmer of insight about what it is actually like to be incarcerated, and the many trials Matt will have to face even when "released."
LETTERS I WILL NEVER SEND TO YOU #5 (Columbia, MO)
This is a really fun zine to read! Morgan's layout is intricate, with handwritten parts alternating with foreign advertisements and tons of random clip art. Eclectic both in visual style and in subject, Morgan talks about childhood memories of auction barns and bluegrass festivals, having the swine flu, getting her zine featured on the Readymade blog, and her fascination with teeth. Longer pieces are interspersed with paragraph-sized story chunks, and the effect is much like reading someone's scrapbook. This is an inspiring zine that will make you want to grab an illustration book and a Sharpie and write your own.
SHOW AND TELL #4 (Bend, OR)
Rachel's personal/comics zine combines both art and writing to create a comic that is crafty, personal, but most of all fun. Includes comics about odd dreams, fatherly bromance, and thrift shopping, and a longish story about the secret life of the robotic telephone operator Rachel and her friends tormented as a child. The highlight of the zine for me, though, is the comic about a real-life man from Rachel's town who was found guilty of impersonating a doctor, and the letters Rachel sends to him (although, probably not really). Hilarious! The mix of styles keeps things quite interesting and the "quick hit" stories are perfectly timed and punchy. This is the kind of zine that reminds me of why I got into zines (and comics zines) in the first place.
YOU CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE #13 (Los Angeles, CA)
The newest issue of TCGTFH is framed in loss, as it chronicles the last weeks and death of Carrie's cat Jesse. Having lost a very beloved cat to a long illness recently, this was a tough zine for me to read, but a moving one. Highly recommended for anyone dealing with the loss of a pet. Also: adventures in running, the anxiety of approaching fall, and a seemingly endless series of California wildfires.
RUM-MUFFEL: A RUM LAD/MORGENMUFFEL COLLABORATION (Nottingham, England)
This interestingly split minicomic is one story done on alternating pages by two writer-artists, Steve of Rum Lad and Isy of Morgenmuffel. Switching perspectives and art styles throughout, it follows Isy as she meets up with Steve to do some winter hiking (in tennis shoes...), then on to a DIY fest in Edinburgh. The zine concludes with an info section on sustainable food and Scottish mountain ranges. This punk rock comic book may be short, but it's got a lot of spirit.
Thanks for reading!