And now a look at four other local zines in preparation for the Ottawa ‘Zine Off. Feast off the inspiration like a Kinkos vampire.
Nightshift – JM Francheteau & Abigail Kashul (2013, 14 pages)
I was walking home one night back in March when I saw a dark half-a-poster taped to a flagpole on Gladstone, not near much of anything to speak of. It outlined what a zine was and ended with a line I quite liked: “You don’t have to make a zine to come to the party… but wouldn’t it be cool if you did?” And, being easily marketed to, I was all, “Man, it would be cool!” So I phoned up my friend Abby, dropped by her place, and she’s was all “Ya, I’m down” even though there were only five days left before the event because we’re not big pre-planners anyway. And then I went to work because, natch, nightshift. But after that, we made a zine together.
Our mag came out alright, I think. We didn’t really communicate very well at the beginning, so we ended up doing a lot of scrambling the night before the event; Abby’s a talented visual artist and I mostly write poems so it seemed a good match, but we were each waiting for the other one to start doing something so we could respond to it. What ended up happening was that I just slashed out chunks of failed poems, decent bits that had previously been surrounded by suck. I sent these excerpts to Abby, who cut graphics out of old, shitty books around our workplace (where we alternated nightshifts), sketched out some cryptic graphics and then used a scanner to create random layers and smudges of black to set the text against. It worked out though!
The day of the event we ran to Staples and photocopied a bunch of copies; I then watched Abby fold and staple them, because I’m crap at that sort of thing. This is the value of collaboration. And then we gave our zine away to lots of interesting people and now, six months later, we’re excited to do it all again.
Notes on Leaving – Carmyn Joy (2013, 11 pages)
Carmyn Joy’s ‘Zine Off contribution is charmingly simple. 11 quarter page squares held together by a corner staple; handwritten, minimal graphics. Notes on Leaving has ten tips for getting along after moving far from home, ranging from taking up new hobbies to CALLING YOUR MOM. It’s mostly commonsensical stuff, but it works.
Joy has made more elaborate zines before (which you can see on her tumblr), but on ‘Zine Off-imposed short notice, there’s nothing wrong with a basic idea/design.
Les Carnets de Rastapopoulos #9 – Robert Gauvinov (2013, 14 pages)
Gauvinov (or Gauvin? I might’ve fucked his name up) has been doing zines for many years now; his usual method of distribution is simply mailing his zines out to random addresses, like so many photocopied dandelion seeds scattered by the wind (ugh, that was a pained simile). Anyway, he showed up at the last ‘Zine Off with a mailing list which I signed up for, and since then I’ve received two issues of his Les Carnets de Rastapopoulos (named for a Tintin villain). I love these zines. In the first (#8), he tells a moving story about his youth during the Cold War when he sent letters to youth magazines in the Eastern Bloc hoping to find a penpal or two. The response, it turned out, was overwhelming, and before long his P.O. Box was bombarded with letters from children on the other side; he excerpts a number of them in the issue, and the total effect is oddly beautiful and sad. In the second part of the story, he details his efforts to reach out to these former penpals 25 years later by sending letters to their former addresses.
The format is wider than the other zines I’ve shown here; there’s a mix of excerpted, handwritten letters, standard type and various cut & paste era-appropriate graphics.
If you’re interested in this zine, you can mail Robert at:
Les Carnets de Rastopopoulos
2-7 Larch Street
Quest – Rebecca David (201?, 12 pages)
Rebecca was kind enough to give me a copy of her mini-comic zine Quest at the last Small Press Book Fair. David has that modern large-eyed figure, minimally-detailed background style I associate with quirky web comics, and Quest is certainly quirky; there are some good visual gags, and I enjoyed the design of the muse-monster who appears toward the end of the story.
She uses a nice, firm paper for the interiors and a coloured exterior stock as well, which helps her book to stand out. I’d be psyched to see more comics at the next ‘Zine Off. *hint hint* Anyway, follow her on twitter. She’s fun.
So that’s it for the local zine round up. I hope it helped some of you come up with ideas (assuming you’re from Ottawa, faceless reader person), but there are a million and one options other than those listed here. Show me some of them.