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20 pages, 8.5" x 7", free upon request, Rob, Les Carnets de Rastapopoulos, 2-7 Larch Street, Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA K1R 6W4

Rob's tenth issue [his first issue was born twenty years ago!] is a 'best of' collection, "...a collection of excerpts, short stories, and sketches from the first ten issues." These include a piece on Czech pop queen Hana Zagorova [one source for information on Hana turned out to be Cyndi Lauper's website - Cyndi was also a big fan!]; 'Welcome to Rockall', about the tiny island in the North Atlantic Ocean; this is followed by 'My Choice of Favourite Hard to Get To Islands' [including Starbuck Island, which due to being a young fan of the TV series Battlestar Galactica, became the favourite make-believe place for Rob and his friends. Starbuck Island has been described as "a deserted island surrounded by hordes of stingrays and sharks"]; 'bad girl of Czech pop music' Jana Kratochvilova; Pope Alexander VI [1431-1503] "...he shunned modesty and discretion, revelling in gold, women, and murder"; 'Excentric? Or just Wierd?' about Royal Astronomer George Biddell Airy. ... I also really liked what Rob wrote on his last page... "Participating in zine culture is like being in a secret society. Rarely do you meet ordinary people who know what a zine is, nor are you able to point out a zinester in a crowd."

[Note: It's rare indeed to meet those you trade zines with, especially if you live on different continents, but that's exactly what happened yesterday at Sydney's Other Worlds zine fair at Glebe Town Hall. Rob had emailed me about six weeks earlier to say he would coincidentally be in town at the same time our May zine fairs are held [MCA and Other Worlds] and would I be attending? I told him me and my comix zine friends would have a table at Other Worlds, and sure enough Rob dropped by to say hello and to buy and trade some comix and zines! It was good to meet him. We compared our respective zine scenes - according to Rob, ours is much healthier and vibrant than that of Canada. And on a more personal note, Rob assured me that people out there in the world do actually read and appreciate these comix and zine reviews I post up here at Blackguard! [Sometimes it sure does seem otherwise!] Thanks Rob, and it was a pleasure to meet you!]

Extra Mild Comix #2 [May 2015]



20 pages, 11.5" x 8", $5.00, comix trades welcome, David Puckeridge, PO Box 491, Freshwater NSW 2096, AUSTRALIA

Specially prepared for the May 2015 Other Worlds zine fair, it's Extra Mild Comix #2! Featuring a violent, toad-licking David Attensnooze; cooking with Jamie O'Liver, Nigelly Lawson and Heston BlueCheese; 'Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions for Posties' [This three-pager contains real actual questions asked by people on David's postal run. Example: "Do you know what time the bus comes?"]; 'The Madprentice' with Donald Trump; new TV sit-com 'The Prawns'; and a bunch of David's fake ads, two of which are for Bunnings, which lead me to suspect that David must be a regular at these aircraft-hangar sized hardware megastores.

The Vellum Underground #1



28 pages, 8" x 5.5", free! just ask for a copy, David LaBounty, PO Box 250382, Plano TX 75025-0382, USA + info [at] thevellumunderground.com

Some terrific writing in here about zines including Zine World [and the passing of], V. Vale's [RE/Search] ZINES!, and David's transformation from a "review zine snob" into somebody who drops everything to read the latest issue of Zine World. There's also David's thoroughly absorbing account of his 'writing life' - when he started, University experiences, first sale of a poem, his friend Jeff Adams [editor of Equipment World, "a glossy publication about the construction industry"], his discovery and obsession with 'Father of Children's Literature' John Newbery, and reading Yates, Keats and Byron, and in particular, Byron's Don Juan which contains this wonderful stanza:

But 'why then publish?- There are no
      rewards,
Of fame or profit when ther world grows
    weary.
I ask in turn, - Why do you play at cards?
    Why drink? Why read? - To make
      some hour less dreary.
It occupies me to turn back regards
  on what I've seen or ponder'd, sad or
    cheery;
And what I write I cast upon the stream,
To swim or sink - I have had at least my
      dream.


David also writes about his discovery of Kathy Moseley's zine SemiBold - "...this 16-page perzine blew me away. ... After reading it, I realized that this was what zining was about. You put everything out there and it doesn't matter if no one reads it or if a thousand people read it." This is followed by a piece written by Kathy about how she came to publish SemiBold, and sending the first issue to Factsheet 5, hoping for a review. Not only was it reviewed, but it was in the EDITOR'S CHOICE section!

Great zine. Write for your copy now!

The Ken Chronicles #35 [May 2015]



32 pages, 8.5" x 5.5", $3.00, fair trade or letter of comment, Ken Bausert, 2140 Erma Dr, East Meadow NY 11554, USA + PassScribe [at] aol.com + thekenbausertchronicles.blogspot.com

Is Ken Bausert 'rich'? Correspondent Rodney seems to think so. In this issue's letter column Rodney writes that it's weird that at the same time Ken is "rich", he also "messes about with salvaged envelopes in order to save a dime per copy mailed". In response, Ken sets the record straight. The answer [spoiler alert!] is no, he's not rich, simply "one of the few remaining 'middle class' Americans and I am trying very hard to stay that way."

Also in this issue: Ken's war against brown field crickets; home-made iPad table for plane flights; Ken's battle with CitiBank over unjust fees; my [and everybody else's, it seems] favourite section, 'What I've Been _____ Lately'; and the feature for this issue, 'It's Not Just A Game' where Ken interviews two people he knows, both self-confessed 'sports fans', in order to try to understand this bizarre obsession [that plagues Australia, too]. As somebody who also finds sports obsession incomprehensible, I really enjoyed this piece. Although I couldn't help noting that one of the interviewees [Ken's good friend and neighbour Doris] abuses the use of exclamation marks, and loves it when "...players give 110% of themselves..." And I found it hilarious that the other interviewee [Mike, a friend of Doris's son] frequently referred to "rooting". Example: "...rooting is what we do..." In my defense, "rooting" is classic Aussie slang, and it doesn't mean what these sports fans mean when they use it.

I really like this issue's cover, which is a detail of an old painting Ken found in someone's trash back around 1970.

Envelope of the Month - May 2015



Thanks to David Puckeridge for this envelope [containing four pages of his latest diary comix]!

All other potential Envelope of the Month contenders at this point decide to hold off on sending me their stuff until June.

Not My Small Diary 18 : The Pet Issue



148 pages, 8.5" x 5.5", $8.00 postpaid [US] order from mysmallwebpage.com edited by Delaine Derry Green, 459 Maine Street Ste. 101-263, Trussville AL 35173, USA

Wow what a Super Ultra Mega Great Mail Day it was a few days ago when this arrived in my mailbox! Delaine's themed comics anthology is so great, and this issue has the theme of 'Pets' which, you have to admit [unless you're one of those potential-serial-killer types who hates animals] that this is easily one of the best choices for a theme that could be chosen. Does anybody not have a pet story? ... There are many great pet strips in here, but today at work I found myself wondering what the breakdown was for each animal. Being a cat person, I sure hope cats beat dogs! ...

Here are the results:

Cats - 24
Dogs - 18
Rats - 2
Fish - 2
Toad - 1
Chameleon - 1
Snake - 1
Bird - 1
Guinea Pig - 1
Hamster - 1
Mouse - 1
Rabbit - 1

It didn't surprise me that there were more cat strips, since the finer, creative, sensitive qualities of 'the artist' is more in tune with cats. It wasn't a clearcut exercise, however. Some contributors made it impossible, like Jim Siergay who's strip was about the animals he had that died prematurely, until he gave up and got a Chia Pet.  Also, Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz made her strip about a cat and a rat! And Sam Spina (his strip is one of my favourites in here, and so was his in the last NMSD if I remember correctly...], the first half of his strip was about his many short-lived goldfish as a child while the second half was about his beloved black labrador, Becca. Finally, Maximum Traffic's strip didn't count because it was simply a viaual gag with a fish in it, not a pet story at all. Not only that but Maximum Traffic commits here one of the great anthology contribuitor sins! At the top of the page he notes "From the Max Traffic archive". Laziness and arrogance! What an unpleasant combination! He might as well be saying, "My time is too important to come up with something new for your anthology, so here's some old shit that vaguely connects with your theme. Don't mention it!"

Delaine has really made NMSD into something special indeed. Comics anthologies can be irritatingly hit and miss but NMSD always has far more hits than misses, and not only that, but it has something indescribable, something 'alchemical'!

Zenyaku #2



32 pages, 8" x 6", Art by Shaun Craike; Story by Susan Torre, for ordering info email Shaun at scraike81 [at] hotmail.com >>> you can also Like Zenyaku on Facebook www,facebook.com/Zenyaku

I can't believe nor understand how it happened [or didn't happen!] that I never posted a review of the first Zenyaku up here. What the shit!? What happened?

In Zenyaku #1, angry teenager Drake is going about his shitty life - he just got fired from his job for coming in late once too often. Suddenly he is surrounded in the street by a gang wearing all black. He puts up a fight but against overwhelming odds he is beaten unconscious, and later comes to in a strange room and sees more of those black-clothed dudes. One of them announces he is the King of the Black Clan, and that Drake's father had been a member. An assassin! But he was killed when he dared to challenge the King. So whether Drake likes it or not, he has been dragged away from his former life in order to replace his father as a member of the Black Clan!

Now, in the second instalment, we soon find out that Drake's mother is being held hostage here, unbeknownst to Drake. The early scene of the Black Clan goon taunting her as she is bound and tied to a chair was hilarious, but I'm uncertain whether purposely so, since he subjects her to that bad guy/monster cliche of licking her cheek. He tells her that she could have had it all! Yet she chose to run off with another! We the reader might assume she ran off with another, nicer bloke, one who wasn't the type of bloke who creepily lick women on the cheek as they are gagged and tied to a chair.

I'll not give away any more of the story, since it's really building up nicely and I must admit that I am in suspense and looking forward impatiently to the next chapter.

If I had have written a review of the first issue here [like I was sure I did!] I would have mentioned the appalling typos/lack of proofreading. This flaw continues to be a problem in this issue. The best example is this: Zenyaku #2 has a subtitle. Three words, and each of them is misspelled! It should read:

Zenyaku Part Two : Preparation, Planning and Persistence

but it's written this way:

Zenyaku Part Two : Prepreation, Planing and Persistance

It's a shame that alongside Shaun's often meticulously detailed artwork, and Susan's fascinating and suspenseful plot set-up and introduction of characters, the easily-solved problem of bad spelling and bad grammar really get in the way of proceedings in a jarring manner.

Phatsville Comix 19 [April 2015]



52 pages, 8" x 6", for ordering info email fatankle [at] yahoo.com or find them on Facebook

Bloody hell! I didn't realise it had been two whole years since the last issue of Phatsville, but there it is in editor Giles's introduction. He explains that part of the reason for this was he and co-editor J-Stew had also been doing Keeyok Tales. The other reasons are too convoluted to go into here, and I don't believe them anyway. Haw!

The new issue gets off to a wobbly start with "a chapter" of Battlefart's 'The Protectorate' [Oh boy! An ongoing story in a comix anthology! ... I fucking HATE those!] Giles in his intro was really excited and thrilled to be publishing this, but I don't see anything to get excited about. The 'story' and dialogue are a snoozefest and the awful art reminds me of the worst of DC Vertigo. It seems completely out of place in this kind of comix anthology. On the other hand, for example, check out Brett Weekes's 'Hipsters : A Visual Guide' above, for something that perfectly fits into this kind of comix anthology.

However, once you have flipped past [or suffered through] that garbage, things really start looking up! J-Stew reveals the healing powers of the 'Fart Jar'; Glenno mourns the death of the last Ramone while noting with disgust the proliferation of Ramones t-shirts worn by kids whose creative vision amounts to another selfie; J-Stew's tale of his champion spitting father and grandfather; Giles and his Hitler-shaped poo; a re-run of Giles and Brett Weekes's excellent 'Science Fucking Sux!' from Blackguard 5 ; an extremely weird strip called 'The Car Sale' by Ross Radiation; some blatant self-promotion from Giles in the form of a strip about his and his missus Sharon's op-shop bric-a-brac project 'No Guts, No Glory' where they take daggy old figurines and transform them into disembowelled monstrosities [great stuff!]; ...aw man then another two pages of Battlefart ... I'm gonna call him Brainfart, which seems more appropriate...; a page of three three-panel strips by Kerry Nelson that I can't describe, and the third one I don't even understand [!] and whose work I hope to see more of...; and finally [well actually 'Hipsters' is the last strip] Giles's Rodney Rant in 'Barmy Swami" in which phony spiritual medium Rodney attempts to exploit a customer by claiming her dead boyfriend wants to enter his body to be with her for a final ten minutes...

Good to see the editing tightened up in this issue. So what if I don't care for Brainfart? I guess it's a possibility that others might. And of course there are one or two others that don't rate a mention [but what the fuck do I know anyway, amirite?], but this issue is pretty solid. And Giles and J-Stew have introduced an Index so the reader knows who and what he or she is reading! Hallelujah!

One final thing I want to note that I found funny - right at the beginning with the contact info, it says "Find us on Facebook by searching 'Phatsville Comix' or go old school and email fatankle [at] yahoo.com" Go 'old school' by sending an email! If email is old school, what the hell would postal mail be? Haw! What a world...

Doomed and Cheery



8 pages, 6" x 4", Neale Blanden, PO Box 1173, Huntingdale VIC 3166, AUSTRALIA + nealeb.tumblr.com

Yes it's true that life can be a damned bother. It makes one wonder if there's a point to getting up some mornings. But wait a minute! There's always an alternative, like pissed-off Polly here finds out. Maybe he just needs to hang out with this guy...



Look at this happy idiot! He would get along great with Stimpy!

Why not write Neale a nice letter, even a short note, and tell him you saw his funny minicomics on that bastard Stratu's blog and could he please send them to you. He will for sure! Or, just sit there and press a few more buttons and take a peep through his tumblr! Or do both!

Envelope of the Month - April 2015





Neale Blanden just squeaked in to make an Unholy Trinity of Envelopes o' the Month.
And this envelope also had cool stuff inside! Two minicomics that will be posted up in a minute!
Thanks Neale!

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