July 27th, 2010

You Don't Get There From Here #14

[36 pages, half digest, $2.00 from Carrie McNinch, PO Box 49403, Los Angeles CA 49403, USA +++ cmcninch [at] gmail [dot] com ]
Carrie's latest issue of her awesome diary comic begins with her dealing with the death of her cat Jesse. She wakes up and says, "Good morning, Jesse!" which freaks her other cat Milo out. It's funny and heartbreaking at the same time.
Carrie likes jogging around the trails up in the Hollywood Hills and she often comes across native wildlife. In this issue a slow-moving rattlesnake delays her run. She almost treads on another rattler that she first thinks is a stick. Another day, an elderly couple warns her that they've seen a giant owl and to be careful because it could easily eat her little dog Munkey. And another day she sees a coyote peeing for the first time. Then it's a visit to the dentist for a root canal. She also gets her wisdom teeth out. Holy shit what a month for dental trauma!
Elsewhere, Carrie writes a sentence I have no idea what it means but sure sounds pretty cool - "This morning I drove to Dick Blick to pick up microns for Steve..."
A highlight of this issue is Carrie's trip to Oaxaca to celebrate Dia De Los Muertos.
I never get sick of reading about all the stuff Carrie enjoys, like her library visits, making and going out for good food, hanging out with friends, her song choices at the top of each daily strip, and even the not-so-enjoyable stuff like her struggles with alcohol and rotten old depression/anxiety.
YDGTFH rocks and I'm always totally jazzed to get a new issue.

[Send your comix or zine for review! >>> Stratu/Blackguard, PO Box 35, Marrickville NSW 2204, AUSTRALIA]

Night of a Thousand Tears

[16 pages, digest, $? written by Pasquale Barilla, illustrated by Mechelle B. >>> pat.barilla (at) gmail.com +++ mechellebee (at) gmail.com ]
First of all, this zine has a really neat handmade feel - it's bound with stitching like from a sewing machine. There's a cool red cover and cream interior pages with brown ink.
The zine begins with some statistics and history. We learn that Super Mario Bros. was the greatest selling game of all time (but has recently been eclipsed by Wii Sports). SMB has sold roughly 38 million copies.
Then some history about Atari and how they had no quality control which led to the bulk of their games being shit (the nadir of which no doubt was ET.) There was a huge videogame crash until Nintendo reversed this with the introduction of their 'Nintendo Seal of Quality'. These games were played through before being released.
The rest of the zine is about Super Mario Bros. 2 - not the US version but the Japanese version - which was so sadistically hard that it was referred to as 'Soul Crusher', 'The Drinker of Tears' and 'The Lost Lives'. One night Pasquale and Mechelle and their friends played this game, dying often then passing the controller to the next optimistic masochist.
'We died an average 22.34 times per level.
We used 147 Continues.
We lost approximately 715 lives.'

The game may have caused some violent hair loss, but the story does have a happy ending. That night brought these housemates closer than ever.

[Send your comix or zine for review! >>> Stratu/Blackguard, PO Box 93, Paddington NSW 2021, AUSTRALIA]

Wombat Blues One

[12 pages, digest, $? by Fran MacDonald >>> fran (at) lifecycles.com.au +++ www.franmacdonald.com ]
A real fast read this, the first chapter in a longer story.
A bunch of teens at an end of Year 12 party in somebody's house at 3:30 in the morning, drunk and out of it sit in a circle and start up a game of Truth or Dare. The most interesting part for me was when the group was asked their favourite fantasy, the first one to answer, Joel, told a story about a guy lost in the mountains, in winter, it's getting dark, he's gonna freeze to death if he doesn't find shelter. He does though. He finds a wombat hole and crawls into it. Then the wombat arrives, enters the hole and snuggles up to the freezing man. Then starts eating the man's food.
The chapter ends with a plea for a sexual fantasy. Well, that's more like it, right? Maybe we'll get some of those in Chapter 2.
Holy shit, I just checked Fran's website and she's got 27 chapters up there!
So, is this a litzine or what? There doesn't seem to be any point in getting the zine if you have a computer. If you like the story you can just download the PDFs. If Fran's gonna self publish her stuff in paper format it would be better to print larger chunks (at least 10 chapters) rather than one chapter at a time.
As for the writing itself, it's a bit light for me. It seems to be targeted at *young adults*. I wish her the best of luck though.

[Send your comix or zine for review! >>> Stratu/Blackguard, PO Box 93, Paddington NSW 2021, AUSTRALIA]