Zines A-I

23 / $2.00 / 50g
Description to come.

Abstract Door #1 / $2.00 / 20g
Twenty-five years old and in the midst of an existential crisis – this is a great time to make a zine! Vicky Lim writes first about the anxiety and stress of job-searching and the transition out of student life, which quickly turns into an essay on her relationship with her mother. These are things that I’m sure many people think about, and Vicky writes them in a way that is engaging and a little bit magical. I’m particularly struck by the moment where she describes acquiring a brass key on a necklace at a Jens Lekman show (“the opposite of an abstinence ring, he said, but in a non-sexual way.”), the confession of guilt over buying expensive lunches knowing that when her parents arrived in the United States, they did it with literally only the clothes they were wearing, and the fact that she includes footnotes in a zine that is only the size of 1/8 of a page. The last page is taken entirely by an Anaïs Nin quote on the age of twenty-five, and this is the moment my heart was won over entirely. An excerpt from the zine: “At first I tried to escape the titles of ‘receptionist’ and ‘secretary’. I was afraid of being typecasted as this quiet, boring female who did menial work. I knew it was menial because my friend who had a similar job in another department would call it that. And as if my mother were training me for this type of job, she gave me a lesson book when I was nine on how to type without looking, which I practiced on my small, brown typewriter until I reached over ninety words-per-minute. That was the same time I followed my mom to work for ‘Take Your Daughter To Work Day’ and her cubicle was sooo boring. I watched her ‘do paperwork’ (she’s an accounting clerk). I melted in the swivel chair. I wanted to see what my dad did, but we never talked about him being a custodian.”

Abstract Door #2 / $2.00 / 20g
One thing I like about zines is that they inspire me to sit back and reflect on my own life, whether they help me to question, challenge, and develop my politics, to reconsider the role of various friendships and relationships in my life, or just provoke me to continue writing. This issue of Abstract Door makes me think about my material possessions – what they mean to me and what they say about me. Vicky begins by describing her bedroom in simple detail, from the view upon entrance to the items on her nightstand and windowsills. First impression would tell you that she’s an avid reader and a bit of a pop culture nerd, but it doesn’t take long to learn more through descriptions of her earliest memories, and the time she nearly moved into a closet, mostly to escape her sterile home and the feeling/appearance of being sheltered. There is a subtle vulnerability in this issue, which I’m very into. Beyond that, I think the activity of describing one’s home and material possessions makes for an excellent writing prompt. (What the two of us have in common is a collection of Anaïs Nin’s journals and an OkCupid account).

Abstract Door #3 / $3.00 / 45g
This series of zines is made in 1/8 size – smaller than a pocket! – but don’t let that fool you. Nearly one-hundred pages of honest, witty, and vulnerable writing is contained within. And the block-printed covers are a real nice touch. This issue is made up almost entirely of letters that detail a friendship that first began online, and sees the author traveling from Chicago to Budapest to bring their interactions into the realm of face-to-face. I pored over this zine over the course of an afternoon and was amazed by the absolute truth and vulnerability in Vicky’s writing. I feel at a loss for describing it, but I want to share the intro with you, if only because I think the list of keywords is a pretty cool idea: “A long-distance friendship between strangers developing through email exchanges until love sparks single-sidedly and takes one of them from Chicago to Budapest to meet the other, face to face. A story about not getting what one wants, feeling disappointed but eventually ok~ Keywords: Gmail, Gchat, OkCupid, Kafka poor appropriation, a week before sunrise, a week before sunset, lesbians, tossing a wish-bone-shaped tree branch into the Danube River wishing for a kiss.”

Abstract Door #4 / $2.00 / 20g
The first time I read this zine was in November, I was taking the metro from Place St-Henri to Beaubien and by the time I arrived at my destination, I felt completely lost in this land of dreams and nightmares. The second time was this morning, coffee by my side, listening to the Pixies and Sugarcubes on the radio and I became nearly as lost. Vicky writes of anxiety and fantasy, parties and dreams. She packs it all in to this pocket-sized zine that’s just a bit smaller than an iPhone, and juxtaposes bizarre Snapchat images with quotes on writing and death from Hélène Cixous. Beautiful and weird and otherworldly. From the intro: “It is October, fall, a time of dying. I feel afraid because I have an idea of what I wish to happen when I write. I let this issue brew for months. It was gonna be a reading of my birth chart with self-help language dedicated to myself at first, then a Xena fanzine, then scary stories for the blood moon. Now what is it? I just have to relinquish control. I have to print out what I have. What I most desire to do in text has thus far been a friendly ghost version of the horror I want to write about in which you can sense – but not always see – something that scares you.”

Abstract Door #5 / $3.00 / 15g
I am consistently amazed not only by Vicky’s writing, but by the sheer amount of handiwork she puts into every one of her zines. Each zine has an individually blockprinted cover, with a door opening to her stories – this issue has covers modeled after the doors to the Chicago Transit Authority’s trains, and opens to full-colour pages with stories written entirely while on the CTA. This is a love letter to Chicago, from skipping school to traverse the city by bus as a teen, to attending 2015’s INCITE! Color of Violence conference, and includes a hand-drawn map to her favourite bookstores and brunch spots. The themes here are community and home, and I totally love Vicky’s writing, which can feel at times serious and vulnerable, and other times just plain silly. Like a letter from a friend.

“To this day, you did not believe you were a writer or someone who creates, even as you know you have this desire. Now it seems so basic to announce, but the epiphany is that it is exactly like a crush. You are drawn to writing, you want to be near it, to do it, so as the desire pushes you forward, the doubt pulls you back. You only wish for this exposure to be double-sided.”

All I Want Is Everything #1 / $3.00 / 70g
How much do I love this zine?! This one is written by Caitlin Constantine, who wrote I Was A Teenage Mormon nearly a decade ago, another favourite of mine. So this was a really nice surprise to get in my mailbox, along with a friendly letter. It’s a pretty hefty zine at fifty-six half-size pages, and I’ll warn you that it could be triggering. Caitlin writes about spending part of her teen years and most of her twenties being married to an abusive man. She chronicles some of this abuse, and explains how she managed to finally leave him and forgive herself for staying with him for so long – she speaks out against victim-blaming in an excellent open letter to La Roux, who recently said some pretty harsh things about abused women in an interview, but also feels that there must have been something broken within herself for not having left him immediately when she was able to. Another great piece is titled On The Pointlessness Of Nostalgia, wherein she writes about her own nostalgic feelings for things like 1990s girls culture and her thoughts on recent calls for a riot grrrl revival, and reminds us that we have well-known women today like M.I.A., Janelle Monae, Beth Ditto and Gabourey Sidibe – women that the world of 1993 likely would not have paid much attention to. As well, she includes lists of inspirational things, stuff that she’s recently done for the first time and some words on author Joan Didion and runner Kathrine Switzer. I really could go on about this one forever, but this paragraph is getting long, so you’re just going to have to read the zine yourself.

All I Want Is Everything #2 / $2.50 / 50g
In this issue, Caitlin takes us across the United States with her partner and their love of running. Participating in marathons and exploring New York City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and more, we are treated to something of a travel journal as well as a portrait of both the breathtaking and grotesque sites of America. Caitlin’s talent for writing and enthusiasm for life are refreshing and inspiring.

All I Want Is Everything #3 / $3.00 / 60g
Caitlin’s grandmother dies, and her niece is born. This text-heavy perzine is a wonderful and well-written reflection on life, death, love, childhood, feminism, matriarchs, miracles and more. She tells the tale of a dramatic and powerful grandmother named Kiki, whose exciting life inevitably ends. We learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the other women in her family – her mother and younger sister, as well as herself. She writes about finally feeling like a Real Life Adult, and the kind of life that she would like to create for herself. Always open and honest, with a self-awareness and skill found in the best of writers. Such a good read.

Always & Forever: A Zine About Friendship / $2.00 / 60g
Description by Heather at Stranger Danger Zine Distro: “I had the honor of putting together this comp zine, which — in my honest (& biased) opinion — fucking rules. It’s filled with stories & comics about friendships lost, about the difficulties of making new friends as an adult, about creating solid friendships, about friends as intentional community, and so much more. Every one of them is brilliant. Get stoked on this killer lineup of contributors: Brittany Maksimovic (Playing Victim), Caitlin Constantine (All I Want is Everything), Celia C. Pérez (I Dreamed I Was Assertive), Heather (Dig Deep), Jamie Varriale Vélez (Sinvergüenza), JC (Tributaries), Jen T (Tongueswell), Jenna Brager (The Sinew That Shrinks), K (Lake Effect), LB (Truckface), Leslie Perrine (Sometimes the Sky Explodes), Lily Pepper (PALS: The Radical Possibilities of Friendship), Sara Bear (Grin & Bear It), Sarah McCarry (Glossolalia), with a cover designed by Marissa Falco (Miss Sequential)!”

Anarchism & Hope / $6.00 / 55g
Any zine with a picture of Godspeed You! Black Emperor on the first (okay, third) page is bound to win me over (it is also bound with staples SEE WHAT I DID THERE). But whether or not that means anything to you, this zine is both beautiful (half-legal pages with a screenprinted cover and crisp photographs throughout) and an excellent read. Aaron writes about continuing to feel hopeful in the face of despair – a specific kind of despair, the kind that comes from resisting capitalism, witnessing / experiencing police brutality, and working toward a more just world. We begin in the aftermath of the G20 in Toronto, and follow Aaron through his tales of hope – a friend successfully fighting deportation, resistance of Israeli occupation forces in Palestine, and the student strike in Québec in 2012. For those into personal writing on political struggles.

Arcane #4 / $2.00 / 30g
Description to come.

Awesome Possum Jet #4: Process Of A Sermon / $1.00 / 15g
In the spring of 2012, Timmy performed a spectacular sermon at a punk show. Instead of simply reprinting the sermon, they’ve written a short family history and tales of being raised in the Catholic church for context. It begins with their maternal grandparents who were a part of the Plymouth Brethren in a small England town, and their paternal grandparents, who raised a large Catholic family in Nova Scotia, and brings us to Timmy’s childhood and teen years – bible camp, Tooth & Nail Records, utter confusion when searching for the part of the bible where it says it’s not okay to be queer. Years spent away from home have given the time and space to reflect upon religion and ritual. The sermon was performed at (now-defunct DIY venue) Death Church, and I’ve excerpted it below.

John Waters, who art in Baltimore!
Hallowed be thy Shame!
Your queerdom come
Your dirty deeds done
Dirt cheap.
Give us this day a sip of your beer
And forgive us our debts
As we have not yet received our Welfare Cheques

The Barf Zine / $2.00 / 110g
If you can get past the unfortunate title of this zine, you’ll find interviews with four different people about their histories (and current struggles) with disordered eating, including questions on politics, gender identity, relationships, and more. For the second half of this zine, the interviewer turns the questions back to herself. It’s quite a substantial read at just over sixty pages, and while I definitely feel like it’s an important one, I hope that future issues will contain a wider range of contributors. Maybe this zine could be to people who struggle with disordered eating what Filling The Void is to people with histories of addiction.

SOLD OUT but you can read a PDF version here.
Betrayal: A Critical Analysis of Rape Culture In Anarchist Subcultures / $1.00 / 30g
In the few months that I’ve been stocking this zine, I’ve sold more copies than many other titles might sell in a year – I think this speaks volumes to the dearth of information on rape culture within anarchist subcultures, and the desire among us not only to read about it, but to analyze it, criticize it, and write our own stories. This zine is a must-read for anyone involved in punk, anarchism, and other collective efforts to dismantle the patriarchy. And hey, if the title doesn’t get you, the shiny gold cover certainly will.

Birthday Party #1 / $2.00 / 30g
Okay, this zine is so great! Khristina did the Fight Boredom Zine Residency in 2012 and wrote What To Keep, What To Give Away, and this is her followup zine, which pretty much picks up where the first left off. In the intro, she says that this zine is about her two-week residency (writing, “I found sustenance (both the soul-filling kind and the literal kind) in dinner parties, quiet hang-outs, and bike rides.”), her little sister, thinking about identity, and healing family trauma. There is quite a bit covered in this zine, from finding inspiration and complication in Loretta Ross and bell hooks, to intersecting identities of woman of colour and punk, to falling in love, and more. Intense and brutally honest.

La Bola De Cristal #1 / $2.00 / 40g
Description to come.

La Bola De Cristal #2 / $2.00 / 50g
Description to come.

La Bola De Cristal #3 / $2.00 / 20g
Description to come.

Broke Ass #2 / $1.00 / 40g
In the spring 2010 issue of this Newfoundland punk zine, Steve shares some silly stories (and comics!) about quitting Facebook, doing terrible things in public bathrooms, and being a depressed houseguest, plus a just plain weird tutorial on how to build a hyper reality chamber. Bonus: Minimum Wage Maximum Rage, where friends tell tales about quitting their jobs. Broke times / fun times.

Broke Ass #3 / $1.00 / 55g
Super sweet and funny zine by Steve, who’s living in Montréal by way of St. John’s, Newfoundland. It’s pretty classic punk rock cut-and-paste fun times with, you got it, stories about being broke. Highlights include postage scams, coffee scams, a tale of autumn wandering, a whole page on anxious scalp-pickin’, plus Virgil’s review of a Green Day show in 1995.

Broke Ass #4 / $1.00 / 55g
This zine is so funny that the first time I read it, I wound up reading entire pages out loud to my roomie. I was in the kitchen and she was in her bedroom, and I basically yelled these stories at her and she couldn’t even understand what I was saying because I was laughing so hard that I was crying and couldn’t finish a sentence anyway. I gave a copy to a friend a month later and they did the same thing to me. It was pretty great. My favourite parts are the comics, prank call stories, and a piece on being a good houseguest – some people really need to learn this shit! Bonus: Reprints of Upstairs Nooz, Steve and Hari’s short-lived newsletter from their St-Henri apartment.

SOLD OUT but you can get copies from Stranger Danger and Bus Stop Press.
Cheaptoys #10 / The Triumph Of Our Tired Eyes #2 / $2.00 / 30g
Giz and I made a split zine! I’d call Cheaptoys something of a punk-perzine, always full of tour stories and photos from various travels and shows. Giz begins by writing of his experiences in the suburbs of Monaco and Paris, and his desire to leave France for library school. Also documented are adventures from presenting at an academic conference in Utrecht, Netherlands, to playing Plan-It-X Fest in Bloomington, Indiana (up the scholar punx!), plus an interview with an anonymous graffiti artist, and more. In the second issue of The Triumph Of Our Tired Eyes, I’ve written about hitchhiking from Montréal to Halifax and the three weeks that I spent on Canada’s East Coast during the summer. Almost entirely handwritten (I have really neat printing, I swear) with simple illustrations throughout. If you ever wondered what a zine residency looks like, this is it. I stayed in the shed at the Roberts Street Social Centre for two weeks, then spent a few days in Sackville, New Brunswick for Sappyfest. Read along as I work through my syndrome de la page blanche and punch a dude in the face. Il faut remarquer que ce split-zine est écrit en français-anglais, un mélange de langues comme on s’écrit dans nos lettres. (It should be noted that this zine is written in a mixture of French and English, just like we write to each other in letters).

The Collected Scathings Of Ioana Poprowka / $2.00 / 30g
This is a collection of writing by a pseudonymous trans woman who wrote a column on transgender issues for The Skinny magazine from 2006-2008. Her general focus is the representation of trans women in mainstream media and pop culture, for example, critiques of trans characters on Coronation Street and Friends and in various films, the reception of trans Eurovision winner Dana International, etc., and then some personal writing on issues of sexual identity, “passing”, and more. It’s a concise read that I’d recommend to anyone interested in pop culture, but I’ll note that although 2008 doesn’t seem like that long ago, there’s some language that I’d consider outdated – then again, maybe that’s not up to me.

Contre l’Amour / 40g / $1.00
Voici un zine écrit par un collectif de féministes à Grenoble en 2003 sur l’amour, l’amitié, et la jalousie, qui contient un essai puis une conversation imaginaire entre la tête et le ventre (les croyances et les émotions). De l’introduction: « Je tends à quitter toutes relations fusionnelles; me sentir «célibataire», tout en étant capable de tendresse, de sincérité, de douceur, de sexualités. Je tends à être plus sujette dans mes amitiés et amitiés sexuelles. Je me rends compte que mes idées, mes constructions affectives sont en décalage avec les représentations courantes de l’Amour et de l’amitié. En particulier, cette séparation-opposition entre l’Amour et l’amitié, qui contribue à préserver le modèle dominant du couple marié-fermé. »

Copy Scams / $3.00 / 55g
This is not a zine! It’s a cassette tape! The Copy Scams are a band of zinesters singing super sweet pop-punk songs about zines. Featuring Alex Wrekk, Paul Burke, Marc Parker, and Steve Larder (and sometimes Giz Medium). I don’t think I need to say any more than that. Tracklisting: 1. This Is The Intro… 2. Stuff & Things 3. One*One*One*One 4. 24-Hour Zine Challenge

Critical Breakfast #1 / Telegram #38 / $3.00 / 20g
My twin & I made a split zine together! Telegram #38 by Maranda Elizabeth is about their Return of Saturn and turning thirty, learning how to interpret their birth chart, astrology as a method of self-exploration & healing, reconnecting with their past selves and memories of being a teenage witch, practicing Tarot in daily life, lost time, friendship & jealousy, fragmentation, learning how to love themself, and recovery with trauma and chronic pain. / Critical Breakfast #1 by Amber Dearest is about her Saturn return, synchronicity, a bad landlord, working as a lab rat, sobriety, learning to build self-confidence, and an auspicious Tarot reading.

Deafula #1 / $2.00 / 20g
In the first issue of this series, Kerri writes about her life as a deaf person – how her hearing loss happened, how deafness has shaped the person she is, and how hearing people treat her based on this knowledge – as well as the difference between being little-d deaf and being a part of capital-D Deaf culture, plus some basics for hearing people on communicating with a deaf person (first and foremost: do not make assumptions about how they can communicate!). She writes also about how being “mainstreamed” (attending public schools, being raised heavily immersed in hearing culture, etc), has informed her ideas of “normal”.

Deafula #4 / $3.00 / 35g
This is ‘the employment issue’ of Kerri’s perzine, which chronicles her life as a deaf person. Although employed at the time of making the zine, she writes about applying for disability in the United States and how that works (hint: it’s complicated!), job interviews and her constantly questioning when disclosure is appropriate, and the various types of accommodations that are available in the workplace, such as internet relay for phone calls, communication access real-time translation (CART – which is what was provided during the panel she participated in on health and disability at the Chicago Zine Fest in 2013), etc. An informative read.

Deafula #5 / $2.00 / 35g
This issue contains a transcribed conversation between Kerri and her mother, with Kerri wondering: What is it like to be the hearing parent of a deaf child? From the intro: “I wanted insight into what my mom’s perception of my hearing loss is like. When something is a normal part of your life, like my deafness is, you don’t talk about it much in everyday conversation. Doing this interview, it was enlightening for me to learn not only the struggles she faced as a young parent with little guidance, but how she viewed my place in this world as a child growing up with hearing loss. I hope you find it to be just as enlightening.”

Deafula #6 / $2.00 / 35g
In this issue, Kerri writes about going on a zine tour with a few pals. First they meet up with a tourmate in DC, then they make their way to various radical bookstores and punk houses en route to the Chicago Zine Fest. From there, she tables at the zinefest and participates in a panel on health and disability in zine writing – which I was present for and can assure you was great. Here’s a transcript. If you’ve ever gone on tour, you’ll probably be able to relate to some snippets of this zine, and you’ll be cheering Kerri on as she gets more and more confident in her readings. She also writes about the frustrations of missing out on conversations and feeling left out, being the sole deaf person in a car full of hearing people. Communication is key in all relationships, and I appreciated reading about the highs and lows in this situation.


TEMPORARILY SOLD OUT                                                 Deafula #7 / $2.00 / 60g
Kerri wrote this zine on accessibility and accommodation after participating in a panel titled ‘Health, Disability, And Accessibility In Zines’ at the 2013 Chicago Zine Fest, alongside Maranda Elizabeth and Dave Roche. Here is an excerpt: “It is important to remember that while providing accommodation does require logistics for implementation, disability access is not only logistics. True disability access means inclusivity – true inclusivity that doesn’t come just from providing this or that, but from working to reduce isolation. It means not treating others’ disabilities or other people as a whole as a burden and not patting yourself on the back for helping. It is resisting the cultural narrative and construction that isolates and others disabled people.”

Deafula #8 / $3.00 / 30g
This is the ‘relationships issue’ and features a sweet illustrated cover by zinester Sara Bear. Kerri writes about what it’s like to be a deaf person in a relationship with a hearing person, and interviews her partner as they approach ten years together. This zine begins with Kerri’s the story of her first long-term relationship back in high school, and the way things changed as her hearing took its final nosedive, preventing her from using the phone, watching movies without captions, etc. By the time she met her current partner, she had grown a lot (as we all inevitably do) and had come to identify as culturally Deaf. Together, they write about the challenges that arise in their relationship, navigating disclosure (especially in terms of the assumptions that people make about them when they’re together – that Andy is simply some jerk who is speaking for his wife, for example), and learning to effectively communicate. This is a must-read zine that isn’t just about challenging ableism, but also about existing as equals in romantic relationships, and learning to assert one’s needs.

Dig Deep #2 / $1.00 / 20g
The first issue of Dig Deep was one of the most sweet and thoughtful and interesting zines I read all of last year and this second issue does not disappoint. It’s slightly smaller than quarter-size (my math skills, or lack thereof, get the best of me in these kindsa descriptions) and Heather writes about things like an impromptu trip with a friend to England and France (making me relive my own wonderful memories of those countries), and includes a piece on her oldest t-shirt. Perhaps the most moving and thought-provoking is a piece on street harassment, documenting not only the ways that men have catcalled and even followed her home, but also the way this made her feel and how she changed her habits because of it (which, obviously, we shouldn’t have to do). This is countered with an empowering piece on a monthly women-only dance night that happens in Chicago and her experience with attending for the first time. “No boys, no booze, no judgement.” This is an all-around excellent perzine and I’m sure many people can get something out of it, be that a lesson, a book recommendation or a reminder of memories past.

Dig Deep #3 / Your Secretary #10 / $2.00 / 30g
A split zine by two of my favourite zinesters! Heather and Jami each write about being librarians, but have very unique voices. Jami can offer deadpan sarcasm and bittersweet tales where Heather writes lighthearted amusing anecdotes and heartfelt tales and lists. Both sides have moments that can be laugh-out-loud funny, charming… or anger-inducing (the things dudes do in libraries!). Heather writes about libraries as a safe space, creating a zine collection, and working with teens. Jami writes about leaving Detroit, working in a zoo library, and teaching people how to use the internet. She also shares tidbits about all the libraries she’s known. This is a really sweet and fun read.

Dig Deep #4 / $1.00 / 20g
I love Heather and I love Dig Deep! This is a pocket-size zine, all sweet and texty, about friendship – like the friend she’s had since they were born sixteen days apart, to the rad zine community in her city – and projects – like participating in Fun-A-Day and co-organizing the Chicago Zine Fest. Such a good read, the kinda zine that’ll make you write a letter to everyone you know, just to tell them you love them.

Dig Deep #5 / $1.00 / 15g
Heather and her way with words! The writing in this zine simple yet profound, with the barebones layout acting as a perfectly stark contrast to the emotion contained within. Never has a phrase as plain-jane as, “I felt good,” held so much meaning. Heather documents an eight-day zine tour which led herself and three friends from Chicago to DC, reading their zines aloud in backyards, houses, and bookstores along the way. What she couldn’t have known though, is that she’d receive devastating news from home halfway through the trip. Essentially, this is a tale of how important it is to face one’s fears, to value true friendship, and to appreciate the coincidences and little things in life.

Dig Deep #6 / $1.00 / 20g
Sometimes people approach my table at zinefests and ask, “Do you have any cheerful zines?” and I always hand them a copy of Dig Deep. Some running themes are friendship, growing up and creating a meaningful life, and maintaining a positive mental attitude. Out on time for the fifth annual Chicago Zine Fest, this is the sixth issue of Dig Deep – written over the course of the winter and documenting the past year of Heather’s life. She writes about the manifold ways that attending (and becoming a co-organizer for) the Chicago Zine Fest has changed her life, the eternal struggle to balance creative pursuits and social activities and alone time, a response to Inspirado (a zine about art and inspiration), a personally satisfying reaction to street harassment, and the discovery of a 66-page typewritten family history by her grandmother. It’s been fifteen years since Heather made her first zine, and she has got it down.

Dig Deep #7 / Tongueswell #3 / $2.00 / 20g
A common theme in past issues of Dig Deep is street harassment, and it comes up again here, as Heather recounts how the resulting fear has affected her to the point of avoiding being alone in public. This past summer, inspired by a friend, she began training to run a half-marathon – and of course had to learn to be able to run… alone… outdoors. She writes about the mental and physical processes of training, gaining both the physical strength and the self-confidence to exist alone in public, and does it in a way that is just so affirming and rad. In Tongueswell, Jen writes about another experience that can be common for women: working in the service industry. Dealing with entitled jerks, coming up with jokes and songs with her co-workers just to make it through the day. She uses an instance of overhearing a customer on the phone talking someone through the process of putting down a pet to tell the story of the adoption and eventual death of her own beloved cat. I love the way she weaves these stories together, and I’m so glad to see these two coming together for a split zine.

Doris #28 / $2.00 / 36g
Cindy Crabb did a reading from this zine in Chicago during the zine fest and I’m pretty sure half the room was on the verge of tears by the end of it. She read about the suicide of a friend of hers; a trans person and survivor of abuse, someone with whom she’d once discussed the pros and cons of killing one’s abusers. But that’s not all. She writes a lot about living on a farm with her dogs, sheep and miniature horses and the way that living off the land is a lifestyle that you have to slowly work toward. Some people make the mistake of getting chickens right away, she says, and then they can never spend a night in town because someone’s got to feed them. So she writes about sharing resources with the neighbours and her dreams for the future. The last half of the zine is about discovering anarchism as a teenager, confronting racism and quitting drinking. It’s a really good read, heavy on the text, with her signature drawings throughout. Readers will be pleased to know that a second anthology is set for release in the summer of 2011.

Doris #29 / $2.00 / 25g
From the intro: “The stories I like to read out loud are always so sad. I kept saying at every reading, ‘The next issue of Doris will be about how healing is possible and everything doesn’t always have to hurt so bad and love is possible and sweet.’ This isn’t exactly about that, but there are hints of it here. Each story holds a little hint.” In this issue, Cindy writes about coming to terms with her queer identity, which required processing things like internalized misogyny and self-hate, about Feminism 101 class and learning the ways in which the patriarchy functions in our society, institutions, personal relations, political movements and within ourselves… about the different kinds of queers she met in cities like Portland (“they were reading the SCUM Manifesto”) and San Francisco (“it was ‘sex-positive’ and whereas I’d always felt like a slut before, here I felt like a prude”), about Ida and queer inspiration… This is the main part of the zine, though she also tells stories of her miniature horses (Peanut and Sassy), farm-livin’, facilitating workshops at the Rock Camp For Girls, and includes a tutorial on how to fix a broken cassette tape. This issue feels a little disjointed and hastily-written, but likely reflects where her mind was at at the time (just about to leave for a book tour, I believe). Her writing keeps me going, makes me feel like I’m on the right path.

Doris #30 / $3.00 / 55g
In this half-legal sized issue of long-running and much-loved zine Doris, Cindy writes about a number of things, from learning about bee-keeping from her sister to forming study groups with friends; from what “community” really means to the important, difficult, and often questionable work of accountability processes. Beyond the highly vulnerable writing that we’re so used to, also included is an interview that she conducted with members of Support NY (originally printed in Maximum Rocknroll), and part one of a comic about doing a West Coast tour with her band Snarlas. This is one of those rare zines that gives me butterflies in my tummy while my brain is a-buzzin’.

Doris #31 / $2.00 / 25g
“Me and Elliott had a lot in common – a kind of potentially delusional hope – serious drive to do something. Neither of us drank too much back then. We looked a lot alike. We both liked to flee. He called it regroup, get away, get some perspective.” The bulk of this zine is the story of Cindy and Elliott – the beginning of their friendship, traveling and squatting together, learning about each other’s favourite authors. Like Dig Deep (just added above), some running themes in this zine are friendship and growing up. Also included is a piece called Reparations, about acknowledging white privilege and taking steps to indeed make reparations, which for the author includes not just educating herself, but also doing things like giving a percentage of her income to organizations run by people of colour. And on the note of growing up, Cindy also writes about becoming vegetarian at fifteen years old, and how her food politics have grown and changed – influenced partly by the fact that her sister has Crohn’s Disease and can only digest protein from meat and eggs. So they are raising sheep for food on their farm, and Cindy writes thoughtfully not only about food politics, but about the lessons she is subsequently learning about love and loss. And of course, there are the little things: drawings and book recommendations and questions for you to think about.

Fashion Zine: Coming Out Of The Closet / $2.00 / 50g
This is a really cool zine whose simple title does not say enough about how absolutely perfect Estelle’s writing is. In short, it’s a zine about femme fashion and about coming out as a trans woman, with writing that is powerful and funny and maybe even sometimes leans into the surreal. I’m going to excerpt from the intro here, because she articulates why fashion is so important:

“Maybe I wanted to try and make some really bad jokes in this introduction as an attempt to point to some of the ways that writing a zine about fashion immediately makes me feel bad, ha. There is this general idea that fashion is vapid and vain, or, at its worst, that it is little more than a leisurely pursuit for rich people. To talk about fashion or dress in a crowd often elicits serious groans as if the subject has no political or cultural implications whatsoever. As if fashion somehow exists in a bubble separate from our social world. As if it is not constructed, valued, and informed by the very same power structures which influence all other aspects of our lives. As if nothing is at stake when we speak about fashion or when we dress ourselves. As if it is not a site of both oppression and resistance. As if fashion has nothing to say about bodies, race, gender, sexuality, disability, desirability, or class. As if it has no personal merit. As if one person’s experience wearing clothes is translatable or universal. As if it is not incredibly important to everyone whether you care about fashion trends or not.”

Fergus #30 / Sour Puss #8 / $1.00 / 25g
This is a split zine on the theme of food; one half by Fergus, an omnivore, and the other half by Tee, a vegan who has medical issues that limit the sorts of food she’s able to consume. Each of them kept a food diary for a week, so what we get is an example of the kinda meals they typically eat, filled with stories of the day and memories around food. The side by Fergus sees her at the coffee shop at 6:30 every morning, musing on what it’s like to be a ‘regular’ – in that place where the barista fills your order before you’ve said it aloud, which can be lovely but also strips the writer of the anonymity she desires. She writes about airport food, her newfound interest in vegemite, having her home broken into, and a visit to the Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair. Tee writes a lot about childhood and teenage memories around food, the old fear of eating in front of people, and cooking meals for her family. She includes fun vegan recipes for all kindsa stuff, including burritos, basic scrambled tofu, pancakes, banana bread and more. She also recommends really excellent pizza topping combos, like pumpkin and spinach, and caramelized onion, mushroom and artichoke. Yum!

TEMPORARILY SOLD OUT                                                Filling The Void: Interviews About Quitting Drinking & Using / $5.00 / 100g
This is one hefty zine – nearly sixty half-legal size pages. It was compiled by Cindy Crabb of Doris and her sister Caty, and contains interviews with eight different people about their experiences quitting drinking (and using drugs, in some cases). I read it over the course of several days (I recently quit drinking as well), and found much hope and inspiration in the words of others. It was really nice to recognize myself in these words and feel less alone. You can watch my video review of this zine here.

Finale 95 #1 / $2.00 / 20g
I love this zine so much. It’s a perzine that also has the feel of a fanzine – it’s basically about being a weirdo teenager in the suburbs, surviving high school, and being into really sweet punk rock. It’s got funny interviews – like the one with her mother all about why she loves playing Internet Scrabble – plus posi tips, thrift scores, and reviews of all kindsa things. It’s a zine a lotta teenagers might make, but funnier and with way more self-confidence.

Finale 95 #2 / $2.00 / 20g
Every time I read this zine, I wish that I’d been this cool when I was a teenager. Finale 95 could be classified under perzine or punk fanzine, with a healthy dose of humour and weirdness. In this issue, Alanna interviews her friends about growing up in the suburbs and who their dream dates are, makes a comic about a trip to Cuba, reviews a whole bunch of books and albums, and then gets a bit more serious when writing about nostalgia and pop culture, her burgeoning interest in feminism (thanks to reading Shameless – a Canadian magazine for girls and trans youth), and frustration with having her feelings and interests written off as, “That’s something a teenage girl would like.” She says, “Teenage girls are smart and goofy and emotional and serious and mystical and sometimes we really just need someone else to talk to.”

Finale 95 #3 / $2.00 / 20g
This issue marks a turning point for Alanna, where she moves from quirky fanzine to full-on perzine, and it’s appropriately subtitled Bildungsroman I, defined as a “class of novel derived from German literature that deals with the formative years of the main character, whose moral and psychological development is depicted. It typically ends on a positive note, with the hero’s foolish mistakes & painful disappointments behind them.” Contained within are twelve vignettes from her last year of high school, which include going to prom, getting drunk, working in an ice cream parlour, and finally beginning university. Some staples of suburban living in Canada, written with humour and self-awareness – and a winter survival list thrown in for good measure.

Finale 95 #4 / $2.00 / 20g
This issue is brought to you by the letter D for dads, dudes, dates, death, and disillusionment. This time around, we see Alanna continue on to her second year of journalism school in Ottawa, negotiate her “Slutty College Years” and newfound relationships, and triumph over her feelings of disillusionment with punk.

Finale 95 #4.5 / $1.00 / 10g
I really love the layout of this zine, which is folded into the classic quarter-size, but unfolds to reveal a full-size letter printed on pastel papers, complete with heart and flower doodles. Subtitled Wherein Which I Get Dumped & Run Away From Mac DeMarco, this issue ends with Alanna swearing off dating for a season, so you can guess the mood of the zine. I had no idea who Mac DeMarco was before reading this, and I feel like I was better off for it, let’s be real. But I will always be into stories of punk shows and awkward makeouts.

FIT: A zine about sports, fatness, feminism & disability / $2.00 / 40g
So, the title makes the topic pretty obvious, but you must know how wonderful this zine is. Andrea made it as a creative project for her Feminist Disability Theory & Practice class at Concordia, but don’t be fooled – this is not an academic essay, it’s a zine through-and-through. Mostly handwritten, including illustrations and cut-and-paste details. She’s writing about fitness and various privileges as someone who is feminist, queer, and a cross-country runner. I’d recommend reading it alongside Get Fit For The Pit, also available via Fight Boredom Distro.

Get Fit For The Pit #1 / $2.00 / 25g
Such a good comp zine! This one is all about health and fitness, specifically viewed through a punk and activist lens. In the intro, Nicole says that she’d like to counter the romanticization of sleepless nights and drunken adventures. This first issue includes contributions by Maranda Elizabeth (of Telegram), who writes about joining their local roller derby league, Ramsey Beyer (of List), who shares a comic about crossfit (noting that her fitness friends are interested in her ‘punk life’ but her punk friends scoff at her interest in exercise), Ele (of Cats Teeth), who writes about hooping, as well as several pieces on running, rugby, yoga and more. It’s a pretty inspiring read and a creative theme.

Ghost Pine #13 / $3.00 / 35g
When I first moved to Montreal, I remember looking up at street signs and recognizing the names from stories in Ghost Pine. It’s probably been close to a decade since I started reading Jeff’s zines, and twice that since he started making them. Many of these stories were compiled in Ghost Pine: All Stories True, an anthology released by Invisible Publishing in 2010, and now there’s a new issue of the zine out. He sticks with some of his common themes of punk shows, touring, and friendship, including his first visit to legendary Ottawa punk venue 5 Arlington as a teen, and these are stories that come across as both earnest and self-deprecating. I think it’s great to be able to write about the past without veering too far into sentimentality or cliché. The last half of the zine is dedicated to vignettes of Jeff’s friendship with late artist and rad queer Will Munro (whose artwork graces the cover). We are also treated to a little bit of Jeff’s current life in Montreal, in a piece titled Austerity Blues. Read this zine.

Girl’s Guts / $1.00 / 25g
Clara is a magical human being who is full of wisdom, charm, and talent. In this zine, released to my great joy at the beginning of this spring, she writes (and draws) about her decision to remain celibate for one full year. She writes about the ways her own sense of desirability and value were tied up in relationships and sex, thus the need to take a break, and is careful not to turn this into anything prescriptive, shaming, or otherwise presumptuous about the sex lives of her readers. If anything, this is a story of learning to be one’s own best friend or dream date. It’s about creating the perfect sanctuary in her bedroom (or backpack), taking care of herself, and always being ready for an adventure. I’ve also embarked upon times of intentional celibacy, and so enjoyed reading about her own viewpoint and experiences, and I know that my life has been forever changed by learning how to be solitary.

“Lesley Gore’s You Don’t Own Me took on this special extra power when I learned that she was a lesbian who’d had to keep her long-term relationship (which spanned from her early 20s ’til her death earlier this year) secret as she instead sang about pining for the affections of men. I heard The Marvelettes’ I’ll Keep Holding On for the first time and was startled by the intensity, the toughness, the wounded barely-keeping-it-together chin-up-chin-up dignity of Wanda Young howling when there’s no place left to hiiiiiiiiide, sounding like an evil Disney queen on the warpath.

Even the sweeter themes of first love and dating and dancing and teenage romance sung by adult women who were facing very real, very scary hardships in their lives – often young women whose creative work was ruthlessly poached by abusive rich record execs – are kind of chilling. They’re beautiful and powerful and all I wanted to listen to. They became the soundtrack for learning to reframe vulnerability as strength; of finding fathomless toughness in what I’d previously only been able to perceive as weakness.”

The Happy Loner #4 / $2.00 / 35g
Description to come.

Heavy On The Mayo #2 / $2.00 / 15g
Description to come.

Huffin’ Textas / $4.00 / 75g
Description to come.

Hungry: A (Re)collection of Memorable Meals & Disordered Eating / $2.00 / 20g
What a wonderful zine from Clara Bee, whom you may know from I’ve Got Strange Powers and Radio Antarctica. Although illustration is her main means of expression, this zine is one of her more text-heavy efforts. Completed during a two-week residency at the Roberts Street Social Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Hungry chronicles memories of meals throughout her life – documents of disordered eating (consider this your trigger warning) as well as moments shared with friends and past lovers. It’s beautiful and unique and absolutely worth a look.

If Destroyed Still True #6: Iraqi Kurdistan Edition / $2.00 / 35g
“What makes Kurdistan different from the western environments I’m familiar with? The Peshmerga – Kurdish soldiers – patrolling with rifles, maybe, except I grew up in Northern Ireland so seeing this is not an entirely disorienting experience. Electricity cutting out on a regular basis, which nobody bothers to comment on because it’s too common, they just sit in the dark for a minute and then another generator kicks into action – that is, if they have access to one. Generators running on the street, so noisy it’s hard to hear the conversation you’re having as you walk by countless men standing around in the street seeming to do very little except contemplate the world around them, often while looking very stylish. The call to prayer, a sound I’d missed ever since my first visit to Istanbul. Arabic and Kurdish script, of course. In twelve days I only saw maybe a dozen Iraqi flags, mostly on government buildings or on the approach to Kirkuk, but the Kurdish flag is displayed everywhere, and as flags go, it looks quite friendly: a big yellow sun on a white background, with a horizontal strip of red above and green below. Chai all the time.” With that, Nine begins her hitchhiking stories and an outline of 2011’s protests.

Il y a des bonheurs réservés aux pouçeux / $3.00 / 60g [English title: Montreal – Vancouver and the Joys in Between]
Ce zine est extra. Élise raconte ses histoires de voyages sur le pouce, à travers le Canada, avec son partenaire. J’ai l’impression que plusieurs zines de voyage contiennent beaucoup de chialâge, – comme par exemple le fait de ne pas être embarqué sur le pouce ou bien de dormir dans une tente qui laisse passer la pluie- mais pas ce zine. Il raconte (presque) uniquement les moments agréables de leur périple. Elle écrit au sujet des chauffeurs et des familles qui les ont aidés à traverser le pays, les paysages bucoliques, et les amusantes conversations qui sont arrivées. Le zine au grand complet est écrit à la main avec grand soin, et est rempli de dessins supers cute. Ça donne envie de voyager. / This zine is awesome. Élise recounts the story of hitchhiking across Canada with her partner. I feel like a lotta travel zines document the worst parts of the trip – a failure to catch rides, the perpetually-leaking tent – not this zine. She writes (and illustrates) the most pleasant parts of their journey – the drivers and families who brought them across the country, the beautiful landscapes, and fun conversations. It’s entirely written by hand and filled with cute drawings. Totally makes me wanna travel. S’il-vous-plaît notez si vous voulez la version française ou anglaise de ce zine. / Please note whether you would like the French or English version of this zine.

Infecticitis #15 / $3.00 / 80g
Comet Crowbar completed this zine during her January 2015 stay at the Fight Boredom Zine Residency. She’d expressed interest in doing the residency so that she’d have a chance to be away from both her homes of Berlin, Germany and Boston, MA and have a chance to reflect on where she wants to be, especially as her Saturn Return approaches. There is a whole lot to read here – nearly fifty pages of writing and comics that combine the personal, the political, and the occasionally absurd (like illustrated re-tellings of silly stories we’d shared over the kitchen table), plus a full-colour poster foldout. This zine is informally divided into two halves, with the first half being more personal and the second half being more political. Two major mental blocks are focused on: one of them is “I can’t draw!” which she’s been working ton while reading Lynda Barry’s Syllabus and drawing comics and self-portraits; the other one is “I have nothing to hide!” which is touched on in the second half of the zine, the half about security culture, the NSA, Black Lives Matter, and more. She made a crypto-punk puzzle and a comic how-to on email encryption, and includes a resource list of writing and films by women of colour. She wrote about staging a die-in in support of Black Lives Matter, and later questioning what it means to perform such an action as a white person who is not likely to be a target of police violence, and while I appreciate her honesty, I wish she’d credited the people who planted that seed of doubt within her, as well as the people whose tweets on Black Lives Matter were reprinted in the zine. So while I do have some criticisms that I’d love to talk about, I did enjoy reading the zine and spending a whole month sharing my home with Comet. She’s inspired me to reconsider the information that I share online, to draw more, and to write for myself before I write for anyone else.

insitu1 In Situ #1 / $10.00 / 70g
In Situ is a great comic that’s created by rad human and pal Sophie Yanow. This one is perfect-bound and printed by Colosse / Export – I’ve sold out of subsequent issues, but you can order more from there. This first issue is a daily comic that begins in her hometown of Oakland, California, and follows her to Montréal. New adventures, anxiety, homesickness, punk shows, queer dance parties, books, bikes, and babes. Six panels per page, with a very recognizable aesthetic. Made me seriously love comics.

TEMPORARILY SOLD OUT                                                            It’s Down To This / $3.00 / 125g
Subtitled Reflections, Stories, Experiences, Critiques, and Ideas on Community and Collective Response to Sexual Violence, Abuse, and Accountability, this is one monster of a zine. It contains one hundred half-size pages of essays written from numerous perspectives, eg: survivors, support people, people who have been both abused and called out for abuse, etc. It’s about accountability processes and how they work (and how they often don’t work); about trauma, alienation, sadness, frustration; about logistics like working with support people and finding a therapist… I could go on and on. Be warned that it’s quite an intense read, so give yourself the time and space to read it, take it all in, and take care of yourself.

From the intro: “I wanted to see this zine happen because I knew myself and many others to feel stuck or dissatisfied with what we understood to be emerging norms for aggressor accountability and survivor support models. But as for the people I had worked with and with whom I shared a mutual investment and dedication to anti-sexual violence work many of us felt unable to voice criticisms or were afraid to admit that we had criticisms.”