Fuck the internet. Once upon a time, if you wanted to get your thoughts on any given random-ass subject (say, for instance, comics) out there to a tiny sliver of the public, you had to go to the trouble of writing ’em down, constructing them into articles, essays, or at least rants, designing and laying out pages, selecting and/or commissioning illustrations, and then slapping everything between two covers and actually publishing what you’d come up with.
It took guts. It took determination. It took commitment. And it took cash that most ‘zine creators were sorely lacking. Fortunately, some folks still refuse the “easy out” offered by digital and continue to produce these labors of genuine love. For this week’s Round-Up column, I thought I’d draw attention to some notable recent examples —
Mineshaft #36 is the latest issue of Everett Rand and Gioia Palimieri’s long-running, idiosyncratic, expertly-curated (a term I usually avoid at all costs, but it really does apply here) small-press publication featuring a selection of illustrations, poems, correspondence, and personal observations/essays. Rand and Palmieri are essentially continuing a long-form conversation with their small-but-loyal readership at this point, who have come to expect nothing but the best both in terms of content and production values from this indefatigable, hand-crafted ‘zine. Mainstay contributor R. Crumb provides gorgeous covers this time out, with interior contents courtesy of a “murderer’s row” of counter-cultural talent including Justin Green, Billy Childish, Mary Fleener, David Collier, Noah Van Sciver, Denis Kitchen, and many others. A true artisan publication, well worth its $9 asking price and then some. Find out more by heading on over to : https://mineshaftmagazine.com/store.html
The Tiny Report #5 continues editor/publisher Robyn Chapman’s welcome trend of getting better and more ambitious with each issue, and while the exhaustive fold-out chart that is her annual “Micro-Press Yearbook” is something to behold, for this critic the highlights this time out were the interviews with one of the best cartoonists alive, Eleanor Davis, and one of the most disturbing and original cartoonists of all time, Mike Diana. Tons of mini-comic reviews round out the impressive package, but seriously — these are two of the best Q&A’s offered up anywhere in recent memory. $6 is a steal for anything this superb, so order one up at http://thetinyreport.storenvy.com/products/23781330-tiny-report-no-5
But Is It — Comic Aht? #1 is a newcomer to the fold, courtesy of our old friend, editor/publisher Austin English, and his Domino Books imprint. If the return of The Comics Journal to print felt a bit underwhelming to you, rest easy — this ‘zine has you covered, and it’s a lot cheaper. A career-spanning interview with the great (and sadly under-appreciated) Megan Kelso was my favorite thing in this debut issue, but a personal exploration of the Mexican indie comics scene by Ines Estrada was another standout contribution in a publication that, frankly, features nothing but. I’m working on an interview with cartoonist David Tea for the second issue, but until then you can get the first for the ridiculously low sum of $5 from http://dominobooks.org/comicaht1.html
The Holland Report #3 is probably the most specialized book under our metaphorical microscope this week, a true throwback in terms of both style, content, and format to the fanzines of yesteryear courtesy of publisher John Boylan, whose love for the venerable DC muck-monster known as Swamp Thing knows no bounds. In fact, he tosses in a fan club membership card and button with each order. Unseen Swampy sketches from one of his most beloved artists, Stephen Bissette, a terrific interview with arguably the most under-valued writer to ever work on the book, the great Nancy A. Collins, a mind-bendingly thorough look at the early history of John Constantine, and lots of cool fan art make this a sensational value at $10. Boyland and his collaborators are true fans and this is a true fan publication. Get more details at https://rootsoftheswampthing.com/hollandfiles/
The independent comics ‘zine is far from dead — let’s all do our part to make sure it stays that way by supporting these amazing folks and their amazing work!
That’ll do quite nicely for this week, which leaves me with just enough timeto remind you that this column is “brought to you” each and every week by my Patreon site, where for less money than a hit of acid cost when I was a kid you get exclusive thrice-weekly ravings and ramblings from yours truly on the worlds of comics, films, television, literature and politics. Plus, supporting me there keeps me sufficiently motivated to provide a steady supply of entirely free content here and over on my trashfilmguru movie site. Please take moment to check it out and consider supporting my work by following this here link : https://www.patreon.com/fourcolorapocalypse