By Hyena
So a while ago I got an email from someone asking if I'd like a copy of their zine. This wasn't that unusual, what was unusual was that the persona asked me to "write a few bad comments" about their zine, because they "love bad reviews".

That was kind of weird, but after getting their zine I can understand why they expect me to write bad things about this. So let's get that out of the way first: I did not enjoy this zine.

Why? Because, as the cover says, it's full of offensive material like sexism, xenophobia, necrophilia, and lots of other stuff. It's satirical of course, and just because there are characters who are cannibals doesn't mean it's promoting that sort of thing.

I'm one of the people helping with the Zine Pavilion at the American Library Association conference in Chicago from June 27th to July 2nd.

You should check out the Zine Pavilion Tumblr which has lots of photos from last year's pavilion. That's also where we'll be releasing the schedule of readings and other zine events happening during the conference.

If you are interested in donating some zines to the pavilion please send them to:
Sarah G. Wenzel (ALA Zines)
University of Chicago Library
JRL 363
1100 E 57th St
Chicago, IL

By Ertito Montana

I kind of expected the worst from this zine based on the title and the cover. I mean, it was just going to be pictures of naked girls right? Well, not that I really have any problem with that, but there's always the concern (at least for me) that it'll be incredibly exploitative.

Surprisingly (to me at least), there's no actual nudity in this zine, though there are lots of pinups of girls in various states of undress (and how you feel about that is your own decision). Well, some of them are fully dressed, but there's also lots of fishnets, corsets, and tattoos (which is pretty much what you have to expect based on the title).

Montana has a pretty distinct style at work in their artwork, and many of the images feature stylized perspective and proportions. These definitely seem like purposeful decisions on the part of the artist, though for most of the art on display here I can't say the style appeals to me that much.

By Dan Archerwww.archcomix.com
It's interesting to think about your own biases and how the decisions you make don't really make sense. I don't remember the last time I ate at, or was even in, a major fast food chain location. Except Subway, which I've grudgingly eaten at while cycling somewhere or just when I forgot to bring lunch to work. Why? Because it's "healthy"? I have no excuse really, as it's the largest chain restaurant in the world, and while their wikipedia page is mostly controversy free I'm pretty sure that as a huge multi-million (billion?) dollar company, they're probably as bad as any other large capitalist corporation. (Though maybe that's my biases showing...)
This comic deals with some of those controversies that large companies frequently deal with (and which most people never hear of or care about). In this case it's slave-labour (or close to it) that's used to pick the vegetables that are served in these "restaurants". The comic communicates this information effectively, beginning with a (true) story about migrant workers trying to escape from the terrible conditions they're dealing with, and then tackling the way the corporations have dealt with these issues.

I  was asked to post about this event on my blog. So here are the details!

Alternative Press Spring Fair
Saturday, June 1st, 11am-5pm
The Albert, 1 Albert Road, London

There's still time to apply for a table, but the deadline for applications is Friday 17th May at 9am (tomorrow!).

By Eroyn Franklineroynfranklin.com
My first time through this comic I wasn't really sure what was going on. The story cuts back and forth between multiple people disjointedly talking into a video camera and telling about an event that happened one night. Like many eye witnesses to events they misremember things, get real events completely wrong, combine real memories with dreams, and come at things from incredibly bizarre points of view.

After I finished reading through the comic I thought about it for a while and tried to figure out what had happened. When it hit me, I went back and checked some stuff and suddenly everything clicked. The seeming nonsense that one person said actually made sense once you were able to filter it back to reality.

I thought this was a really interesting way of telling a story, one that I've seen before (usually in film), but which can be used really effectively by some creators. My only wish is that this comic was much longer. I feel like we get, at most, half of what was going on here, and that if there were more interviews with more characters we could get a fuller sense of the events.

By Laura Terrywww.bravesailor.com
This was a cute little story about a travelling itinerant who returns to LA to visit his former guardian, a bit shot lawyer. There's an immediate disconnect between the lives of these two people. One who is constantly dealing with huge piles of money, and the other who has all of their belongings strapped to their back.
The comic is about telling stories, and features the traveller telling increasingly ridiculous stories about some of the places they've visited on their travels. There's a city where the library is where you go for drug deals while intellectuals hang out in the playground providing answers for people, one where the railway tracks separate the mobile part of the city from the permanent part, and a city that was built to reflect the universe, but is now eerily empty.

By Denis St. Johndenisstjohn.blogspot.ca
So sometimes the problem with having piles of unread comics and zines around is that I'll pick up one like this, discover it's chapter five, read it and have almost no idea what was going on. There's are some nosferatu guys, and a girl has a nightmare, and what?

Except this time I discovered that I actually owned chapter's 1-4 as well! They were just in a totally different comic that didn't have the name on the cover. I'm kind of surprised I found it at all!

So does it make more sense now that I've been able to read the story from the beginning? Yes! Definitely! Chapter five picks up immediately after the previous one, and now I have some idea of who the characters are and what they're doing.

By Anna Anthropy

This isn't a zine, hell, this isn't even a book about zines. It's a book about the concept of video games as zines. And there are some interesting ideas in here concerning the video game industry in it's current form, how diversification of the type of people who make games would probably improve the industry, and how it's easier than most people think to make video games.

Anthropy brings forward the idea of DIY games that are distributed for free online as an equivalent of zines. They can be made by only one person, made with no commercial intent, and made just because you want to make something. In fact Anthropy says you don't even have to show people the games you make, but that by creating games (even terrible ones) you get a better idea of how games are constructed, and also become more creative yourself (something I definitely think is good!).

I think there's lots of really interesting stuff still to be said about video games, and while reading this book a quote from a video game creator came back to me: "a video game is the most effective way I can express myself." I thought that was really fascinating and shows a side of video games that most people don't realize exists.

By Mark Bilokur

Okay, so poetry (the written kind) isn't really something I get. I mean, I understand why people write it, but it's never really been something I've enjoyed that much. My eyes tend to glaze over while reading it, and I remember one time I was over a hundred pages into an epic poem by Aleksandr Pushkin (which one exactly I can no longer remember) when I realized that I had actually read it before. Over a hundred pages before I realized that. I'm amazing.

That's not to say I dislike poetry. There's some I enjoy, and I'm a pretty big fan of hip hop (which can be spoken word poetry with backing music), but overall it's not something I seek out.

Visual poetry is probably about the same for me. I can go "oh this looks cool", but at the same time I don't "get it". A lot of the art in this zine (people with hands for heads, burning skeletons, etc.) is pretty awesome, but I'm left with the feeling that there's something that I'm missing. Still, sometimes just looking at nice art is fine, and I enjoyed looking through this zine, even if I didn't really understand what the creator meant by the art.