Monday, December 08, 2003

From the Reading Pile XXIV

I am now a contributor to Zine World again. Materials can be sent for consideration to the address to the left. Here are the reviews I've submitted for the forthcoming issue of the reader's guide to the underground press.

Aprendiz #2: The True Story of a N.Y. Tattoo Apprentice.
Not every painter or cartoonist can be a tattoo artist, and not every tattoo artist can self-publish a comic book as awesome as this. Adam's art reminds me of a streetwise Jim Mahfood crossed with the psychedelia of Andy Ristaino, and his panel design is amazing. The comic details the terms-and tribulations-of his apprenticeship, his co-workers, how the job affects his personal life, and dealing with customers who are a "little flipped." Quite impressive. Adam Suerte, 335 Court St. #16, Brooklyn, NY 11231. [$3.95 US 28M :10]

Dwelling Portably (May 2003).
Published since 1980, this old-school typewritten zine focuses on shared, mobile, improvised, underground, hidden, and floating living quarters. This issue addresses cook stoves, water sterilization, improvised toilet paper, dental care, Chicago, and retrofitting truck trailers and vans. Comprising how-to tips and tactics submitted by readers, the folksy zine also includes a handful of news clippings, primarily from the Pacific Northwest. Also includes a two-page review roundup and back issue index for May 1999 to December 2000. P.O. Box 190-D, Philomath, OR 97370. [$1 16S :16]

Film Geek #9 (Winter/Spring 2003).
Almost a year in the making, this issue of the B-movie fanzine runs hot and cold. Despite a rambling editorial, strung-together article on movies made in New Jersey, and a questionable conspiracy theory about fascist propaganda in "Rocky Jones, Space Ranger," several articles impress. Billy Anderson's appreciation of the Colonial Theatre, Robert Freese's comprehensive look at disaster movies, and the seven pages of movie reviews make me want to track down lost landmarks and redo my Netflix queue. Alan Fare, P.O. Box 501113, Tulsa, OK 74150, . [$1 28S :15]

Lucky #2.5.
Drawn in a more realistic style a la Jessica Abel by way of Jordan Crane and Dave Kiersh, Gabrielle's new series of minis is also more realistic in its narrative and verbose in its dialogue. The main character, ostensibly Gabrielle, loses a sketchbook before boarding a plane, takes in some art, vacations with friends, sells comics on the street, and takes an impromptu yoga class. The pacing is excellent and the overall tone is gently bittersweet. Gabrielle Bell. [$3 US 36M :16]

The Nightmares of the Pawn #1-2.
While the small typeface and photocopied cut-and-paste collage nature of this zine poses a challenge to reading, there's some fine personal, poetic, and political writing in this example of small-town self-discovery. Jeremy touches on road construction, wage slavery, freedom, misleading memories, half-hearted holidays, self-improvement, suburbia, love, agism, patriotism, televangelism, and creativity. The addition of short fiction and a resource directory broaden the zine's scope, but I'd like to read Jeremy's political prose poems without the cluttered layout. Jeremy, N16343 Old Highway 13, Butternut, WI 54514. [$1.15 US, or trade, free to prisoners, 24XS :10]

Paper Rad: Wish You Were Here (2002).
Having just read the Comics Journal's package on the Fort Thunder arts community in Rhode Island, this post-Thunder collective comic is an appropriate read. Printed on multicolored paper, this anthology featuring Leif Goldberg, Ben Jones, P. Shaw, and Jim Drain-and perhaps others-touches on education, computers, trolls, robots, Garfield, musical dogs, pirates, and P. Shaw's cast of characters. The book, thicker than many Paper Rad editions, is a good introduction to the cute brut school of cartoonists. Paper Radio, P.O. Box 913, Providence, RI 02901. [$5 82M :20]

Rabid Transit: A Mischief of Rats.
The Ratbastards are a collective of writers specializing in what some term interstitial or slipstream fiction, or fabulation. Launched at Wiscon, this five-story chapbook includes work by Victoria Elizabeth Garcia, David J. Hoffman-Dachelet, Douglas Lain, Nick Mamatas, and Haddayr Copley-Woods. The latter three stand out, with ex-Soft Skull Press staffer Mamatas' blogosphere redux of Joan of Arc and Copley-Woods fragmenting perspective of statues and stone shining as most notable. Velocity Press, P.O. Box 28701, St. Paul, MN 55128. [$5.50 US, $6 Canada/Mexico, $6.50 elsewhere 56S :36]

Travel Report SPZ-24K10: Southeast Asia and Japan (Winter 2001-2002).
Marchette and Frank are active in the Monday Adventure Club, which celebrates the four-day work week by exploring the world. This zine collects the couple's email missives from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Japan, , as well as a CD-R of video footage. The writing, aimed at friends, tends toward the chatty narrative rather than the descriptive or informative, but the zine features several highlights: fables about mountains, meeting author Oum Sophany, a gay mall, and the story of Nang Nak. Citizens of Xee, P.O. Box 45636, Seattle, WA 98145. [$3 US/Canada/Mexico, $5 elsewhere, or trade 44M+CD-R :31]

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