Abstract Door #6 / Let It Sink #9 / $3.00 / 10g

Chicago is lucky to have two such brilliant writers in its presence, I am always in awe of both Vicky’s and Jim’s way with words. In this issue, Vicky begins with a short history of gargoyles, which brings us to a university setting and into a horror story on the drudgery of clerical work, peppered with jokes and plays on words. And I find it difficult to describe Jim’s stories, which meander through teenage and adult tales of witchcraft, The Doors, pickup trucks, and all manner of drinks. The covers are beautifully printed in orange and black for Halloween.

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.

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.

Cultural Appropriation In Spirituality / $5.00 / 100g
This is a mighty resource from the Witches* Union Hall, sent to me by Aja who made Home Body, a comic so incredibly beautiful that I sold out before I ever had a chance to list my copies online. This zine begins with multiple definitions of cultural appropriation and a glossary of terms, then is divided into five parts: Connecting to ancestry & setting up the space to do this magical work; Working with whole time & descendants to investigate ongoing effects of colonialism; Exploring entitlement, privilege, and giving & taking; Unmasking guilt & shame & sharing possibilities for hope; and finally, Identifying and committing to the work of anti-racism and decolonization in earth-based spirituality.

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.
Support For Top Surgery / $3.00 / 85g

Jake wrote this amazing resource on herbal support for top surgery, which includes an alphabetical list of herbs, fruits, and veggies, and their uses pre- and post-surgery, ie: pineapple contains bromelain, which is an anti-inflammatory! Lemon balm is good for menstrual cramps, headaches, nervous stomach, and anxiety relief, plus it’s an antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant! As well as this kinda mini-encyclopedia of info is Jake’s own experience with top surgery, plus worksheets, a glossary of terms, and a list of trans-friendly herbalists.

SCAM #9: Damaged – The Story Of Black Flag’s Classic First Album / $3.00 / 90g
Description from Erick Lyle himself: “Here at last is the long awaited new issue of SCAM, the story of the making of my favorite record ever, Black Flag’s classic first LP, Damaged. Based on an expanded version of a story I wrote for the LA Weekly last winter to celebrate the record’s 30th anniversary, the zine includes primary interviews with Black Flag members, Henry Rollins, Greg Ginn, Chuck Dukowski, Dez Cadena, Kira Roessler and others around the band, including Mike Watt, Joe Carducci, Raymond Pettibon, Ed Colver, and Dave Markey.”

Skinned Heart #3 / $3.00 / 40g
I’ve read this zine several times, most recently at my kitchen table on an autumn evening, with a cup of tea by my side. It’s one of those zines that you can spend a lotta time mulling over, you know? There are a few main themes in this one – female friendships, jealousy / competition, open relationships, and being a person of colour in a predominantly white punk scene. Really thoughtful and honest writing, with a cut-and-paste layout. Total favourite.

Skinned Heart #4 / 40g / $3.00
In this issue, Nyky documents her moves from Texas to Arizona and most recently to Seattle, Washington, while also navigating the complicated effects of colonization – including feeling like an outsider to both Mexican culture and to radical-feminist-punk subculture. Other topics include learning to take care of herself in regards to chronic illness, dealing with the fallout of being involved in an abusive relationship, and learning how to communicate within an open relationship. “They [the author’s family] had a lot and they lost a lot chasing the American dream. Slowly but surely we chased and assimilated to that American lifestyle in the Arizona desert looking for a life full of respect and status. This is where those cracks in my identity began, where there was a Mexican me and an assimilated me, where I began and learned to tolerate a life of duality.”

Unkissed #2 / $2.00 / 30g

To become the human embodiment of a breakup song, is Sadboy’s goal with this issue. My gosh this is some excellent perzine writing – all about bodies, bodies in transition, bodies in mosh pits, bodies in and out of states of intoxication, bodies abused and survived. Pop music and hardcore, burning bridges and building new ones.