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Megaskank Mansion : Megacon

36 pages, 8.5" x 6", by Curt Sibling, Biesuiss, Relhok, Wicked-at-Heart, and Corelle Vairel --- No contact info whatsoever [fuck you]

"When super-spoiled zombie queen Foxxxy decides to host a huge comic convention at her Megaskank Mansion, every troll, brony and freak in town soon attends! Chaos erupts as Feminazis try to close down the event. Can the fandoms unite for once to save Megacon?"

Here at long last is the second issue of MM [I reviewed the first here] - and the wait has certainly been worth it.

Sure, one can enjoy the skilfully-executed drawings of "kickass cosplay queens ... dropping more sex bombs than ISIS", and I do love those, but what I love most about this series are the many references which I don't get, but since it's a word I've never come across, of course I must immediately look it up. [Example: the first issue's 'Weeaboo' - see review]

With this issue, it was a name. Tom Preston. Who the hell is Tom Preston? I didn't know, but I sure as shit had to find out right away! And then finding out who Tom Preston was led to my learning about the phenomenon of 'inflation artwork' - a fetish in which characters are artificially pumped full of air so that they expand.

Tom Preston

My only gripe is the complete absence of contact info. For a printed comic, that doesn't make any sense. How do I let people know how to get their own copy? There's not even a friggin' email address in here! There's nothing! No postal address, no email address, no URL... even that Art Zine I received the other day had a Tumblr address. Well, maybe you're supposed to Google it. But that's bullshit! If you make a printed work, put a goddamn physical address in there so people who live in the hard copy world and not the fucking e-cloud can enjoy your creation, too. Cuuuntz!!

[Thanks to Shaun Craike for sending me this!]

Strenuous Stilts Art Zine issue one

16 pages, 5.5" x 8", by David Sait, 43 Grange Drive, Brampton, ON, L6X 2H1, CANADA + strenuousstilts.tumblr.com

It's always a real pleasure to receive something unexpected in the mail. Like this Canadian art zine! Every page is printed in full glorious colour. What a treat for these eyeballs! And yours, if you go ahead and write to David. Trade your own art zine with him. I'm sure he'll be up for it. There's collage art in here, along with line drawings that seem to be coloured using a computer application. They are very nice, especially the centrefold of the icy river scene with forest and mountains and twilight horizon. At work today I went across the road and stood in the park, lit a cigarette and looked at this. I looked and looked, and really was drawn into it all. It took me far from my workday.

22 pages, 11" x 8.5", $2.00/Trade/Stamps/Letter >>> Doug Harrison, PO Box 5291, Richmond VA 23220, USA

"Letters, reviews, editorials, real mailing addresses, typographical refinements, art & illustrations, esoteric notions" it says in a box next to the title on the cover. We're in the Zine Zone of No Computers here - a world also populated by Fred Woodworth's The Match!; Anthony Walent's Communicating Vessels; and Jason Rodgers's Media Junky. The format, size, and level of 'slickness' of these zines may differ, but one thing they all share is a passionate opposition to modern technology, especially the internet. These guys may actually even use the internet sometimes, but it sure doesn't take centre stage in their life. To put it another way, don't hold your breath for them to switch to a blog format; or a downloadable PDF.

The Zine Explorer's Notebook has come a long way since I last reviewed it [tZEN #3] - doubling in size, for one thing. The letter column is also a treat, and one letter in here especially - the one from a prisoner who admits to beating an 'alleged' pedophile and leaving him for dead, and being proud of it. In his response, Doug objects to this guy's self-righteous braggadocio.

Another fascinating letter is from Al Fry, who seems to be some kind of militant gardener, with his vigorous writings on weeds, Monsanto, and fluoridated water ["rat poison"].

I really appreciated the zine reviews too. Every zine really should contain reviews of other zines. You've probably heard that before, but for those who make a zine and don't include zine reviews in their zine, they need to hear it a few more times, at least until they wake the fuck up and start putting zine reviews in their own zine. Wake up! Grab a brush and put on a little make-up!

Xerography Debt #38 [January 2016]

68 pages, 8.5" x 5.5", $4.00, Davida Gypsy Breier, PO Box 347, Glen Arm MD 21057, USA + davida [at] leekinginc [dot] com + www.leekinginc.com

In her introduction, Davida gives us a history of her PO Boxes, from her first at a small town post office in northern Maryland [where she received one of her all-time favourite pieces of correspondence - a paper cut-out inserted in a plastic bottle, mailed with a few stamps on it], through the problematic Baltimore City period [PO Box 21212], up to present day in Glen Arm, Maryland. This post office was tiny - it was love at first sight. Second visit they even recognised her before she said anything! A stark comparison with the former 21212, where even after ten years she was still asked to show ID. ... A terrific Introduction for us PO box-renting die-hards, then it's on with the rest of the show...

This issue welcomes new reviewer David LaBounty [The Vellum Underground and The First Line.] Welcome aboard! We look forward to your mandatory Watch the Closing Doors/Brooklyn! reviews!

Another lineup change this issue - William P. Tandy is warming the bench, however I note that last issue he only contributed one review, so perhaps he simply needs to re-charge the ol' batteries.

Yet another noteworthy development in #38 - in her column 'Where Are They Now?', a snowed-in Davida found herself wondering what happened to people she used to trade zines with. One of thos was TR Miller, a '90s-era cartoonist with an almost too-weir-to-be-true innocent, naive, hopeful style of single panel cartoons. Yet nobody seemed to know anything about this person. But one zinester did manage to interview TR Miller, only for it to come out as mocking and disrespectful. After that, Miller vanished. Davida decided to see if she could make contact with the elusive one! And she did! [Don't for a split second think I'm gonna spoil the ending to this story here! Buy your own copy! You can't Google it! Haw!]

There are more terrific columns here too! Gianni Simone interviews Cool Japan Guide author Abby Denson; Jeff Somers explains why he stopped publishing his zine; Joe Biel writes about living and publishing with Asperger's [sort of...half of it is about the twenty-year History of Microscosm he has been writing]; Josh Medsker interviews Mike Diana; and Ken Bausert reveals how he recycles zines he no longer wants. I know a little about that too! It ain't easy! [You can bet I was taking notes throughout Ken's column!]

Then follows over 120 reviews! I've already circled the ones I'm gonna send away for!

One final thing I'm going to comment on, at the risk of seeming like a big meanie... DJ Frederick in one of his reviews criticises the overuse of the word "awesome". Well, one of XD's reviewers in this very issue would appear to be guilty of a similar crime! Carlos Palacios seems to be obsessed with 'the perfect fit'! Here are examples from 3 of his 6 reviews: review of Philistines Vol 1 - "...nice cut and past work that fits perfect with the old school vibe..."; review of Phantom Billstickers Cafe Reader Vol 5 - "...nice photo work that fits perfectly with the words."; review of Mad House Jump - "...a very old-school vibe going on and that just fits perfect with the style of music..." I was on the bus reading all this and thought it was funny enough that I grabbed my pencil out of my bag and circled and underlined it all. That's why I had to mention it! I'm not a big meanie after all! It's just that I'm on the Autism Spectrum!

P.S. Comment from Davida: "Carlos speaks and writes at least three languages and English is not his native tongue. He gets props from me, as does Gianni, for his language skills."

Reply from me:  "Davida, understood. It's not the same thing as overusing the word "awesome". ... I can only speak/write/read one language! Props to Carlos and Gianni from me too!"

Reviews? Back Soon!

I know my usual comics and zine-reviewing activities have slowed to a standstill lately, mainly due to our [David Puckeridge and myself] 2015 Diary Comix Challenge, and even though I'm a bit behind even with that, I'll be getting back to the reviews sometime in January 2016.

There might even be a new issue of Blackguard!

Happy New Year!

Making Jamie

[Note: I couldn't do this one, I started writing mean things in the margins, then realised this could end up just coming across bitter and twisted. Maybe it's just me? I mean look, I haven't had kids and certainly don't plan to, but my d-comix pal David Puckeridge actually HAS been through that nightmare... i mean, wonderful, joyous magical part of life! ... so I passed this one to him. So, here's our Special Guest Review! Thanks David! *Phew!*]


"Making Jamie" is a diary comic about having a baby.  Artist and teacher Kyle Bravo documents the journey daily over six months, climaxing in the inevitable birth and all the challenges that come with the momentous event.
Kyle's loose drawing style is appealing, and there's a lot to relate to in the story if you've gone through the same thing yourself.  Everyone else should stay away, unless you WANT to hear about lots of "poop" and pee and amniotic fluid.
Even the breeders among us might be turned off by Kyle's cutesy style ('cute' is a word he uses a lot.)  Still, it's interesting to see the babymaking process from another perspective, whether you warm to Kyle or not.

Envelope of the Month - December 2015

Hardly anybody these days seems to put real actual postage stamps on their envelopes, so it sure was a pleasure to receive this one today - from Doug Harrison, containing the latest issue of his zine The Zine Explorer's Notebook.

Look at all those stamps! And check out those great circus stamps!

Envelope o' the Month - August 2015

I was really looking forward to this, but didn't expect anything from the envelope. Recently the latest Xerography Debt arrived and in it there was a review of a comic by Chris Sabatini [MaybeParade]. It was called I Beg To Differ : My Response To Reviews Of My Work, That Appeared In Xerography Debt or Would Joe Biel Know A Good Comic If It Bit Him On The Ass?

Naturally that was the first comic I sent away for - I sent one of my diary comix for a trade. I was beginning to think he wasn't gonna bloody send anything until I checked my PO box tonight.

The envelope is cool because Chris has copied the rubber stamp owl I put on every envelope I send out. He even copied my Printed Matter stamp.

Inside, apart from the comic I originally wanted, and a couple of his other comics, was an amazing letter Chris wrote about his PO box which he thought he had let lapse, but that post office kept him registered and even had something for him. [They told him this when he went in there recently.] What was there was my letter and comic asking for a trade! [...I think I may not have captured the 'amazingness' of the story in the letter, but I'm in somewhat of a rush...]

Anyway, what a Great Mail Day! Thanks Chris!

The Trivial Tales of Luna Lesser

40 pages, 10" x 6.5 ", by Gordon Lindholm, trivialtales [at] gmail [dot] com

Shaun Craike sent me this comic to review. It's by one of his Deviant Art friends. Having just finished reading it, I have to say it's hardly 'deviant art'. It's tame! And lame.

First of all, it's standard comic book size, and I soon noticed the 'joke' on the cover below the title - "It's issue one! Buy 20, seal them up, and never read them!" On the one hand, that's good advice. If you don't read it, that means you can use the time to read something else. Just about anything you find laying around would be better, even something lying in the street. On the other hand, it's bad advice because if you did buy twenty copies, at some point beyond that you would be obliged to kill yourself when you realised what an idiotic thing you did.

What's inside,eh? What's it all about then? Well, Luna lives in Dystopia with her parents. She's got a friend called Maple and she's an idiot. Luna isn't an idiot, she's worse. You know of the 'anti-hero'. Well, Luna is an 'anti-anti-hero'. She's unlikable in an unlikable way. Example: When an old lady's cat ends up in a tree, Luna helps out by driving a car into the tree, the tree falls and squashes the cat. Luna is offended when the old lady doesn't seem grateful. Yep. She's just a turd. And sadly, [spoiler alert!] she doesn't die by the end of the issue.


XD's new address: PO Box 347, Glen Arm MD 21057, USA

68 pages, 8.5" x 5.5", $4.00, PO Box 347, Glen Arm MD 21057, USA + davida [at] leekinginc [dot] com + www.leekinginc.com

[WTF I just noticed I hadn't posted anything about issue 36 the last issue of XD. Slack bastard.]

This issue was held up by some technicalities at the printer, but here it is, at last! And it's one of the strongest issues in memory. That's mainly due to the quality of the columns. Following Davida's editorial where she tackles the sometimes controversial decision - that she made early on - to only feature positive reviews, Anto Loserdom writes about the Irish zine scene [and this is a tiny fraction of what he's written about them - his final thesis at college was on zines]; Gianni Simone interviews dojinshi/manga creator Kacho 'Chicken' Hashimoto - published in France but still without a contract in Japan]; Jeff Somers discusses the 'zine safety valve'; Joe Biel writes about a zine workshop in Colombia [Columbia, South America, that is]; Josh Medsker writes about a recent prized acquisition - a late Beat-era literary journal called The Floating Bear; Kari Tervo takes us backstage to the zine-making life, with 'Things Nobody Tells You When You Start Zining', like "You're probably gonna have to get a long-arm stapler.'; and Ken Bausert elaborates on his idea that "...many zinesters conduct a sort of Trading Post with each other."

The rest of the issue features zine reviews grouped by author. I was going to write "the usual gang of idiots", but this gang subtly changes from issue to issue. For example, the difference between this issue and last is that Donny Smith is on the bench but William P. Tandy joins the team (albeit with only one review. I thought three reviews was the minimum required! Isn't that right, Lyden? Haw!)

One last thing I must mention is the name of one of the zines reviewed in here - I Beg to Differ: My Responses to Reviews of My Work that Appeared in Xerography Debt or Would Joe Biel Know a Good Comic If It Bit Him On The Ass by Chris Sabatini/Maybe Parade. Naturally that was the first zine in this issue I sent away for. You better accept my diary comic as trade, Sabatini, or I'll give you a bad review! [...Although I don't know how I'll do that if he doesn't agree to a trade... Hmmm, maybe I haven't thought this through... etc.]



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