March 22nd, 2011

Blackguard #2 Reviewed by Jason 'Media Junky' Rodgers

 
Jason Rodgers wrote some very nice things about Blackguard #2 in his latest Media Junky [#14]:

Adults only on this one. These comix push the boundaries of good taste, in a positive sort of way. Stratu is an excellent editor, providing a great balance of material. Darkness next to light, goofiness next to intensity. He balances goofy, old school underground comix boner/sex jokes material against ultra dark satire (which is often also funny). A good bunch falls between. Each issue of Blackguard has a theme and this one is 'Father', which lends itself to many tales of disturbed and fucked up childhood experiences. The exception is Chris Mikul's piece, 'True Tales of Jerry', which is actually a rather heartfelt biography of his father Jerry. Stratu's 'Inspection' piece has a sort of bizarre minimalism to it as he explains the hair combing regime he had to go through as a child. Josh Simmons's 'Monster' has a similar minimalism, which in this case adds an odd uncanny element to it all. And, of course, Mike Diana presents more tales of cycles of abuse in his unsentimental way. Diana, you may remember, is an underground comic artist who served prison time for the content of his comic zine (apparently he was found guilty of thought crime). I would strongly recommend this comic not only to anyone into the wide and wooly world of underground comics, but also anyone in general. It has excellent production value and content that is challenging and intriguing.

Copies of Blackguard #2 still available - $5.00 postpaid. Cheap!

SSEX

   
16 pages, magazine size, $?, trades OK, from Leon, PO Box 398, North Melbourne VIC 3051, AUSTRALIA
I know Leon from back in the Sick Puppy days (late '90s). Back then he did a zine called Battery Acid. One issue contained a razor blade which I found out only when it cut my finger. Haw! Like many of us, he took a break from zine publishing but is now back with an excellent music zine. Leon was always a hardcore audiophile with an encyclopaedic knowledge of extremely obscure bands, so it was no surprise to me that his new zine is fascinating to the point I got so absorbed in it I missed my bus stop.
First up, a terrific interview with Michael and Mitch from Aussie 'eclectro' duo Scattered Order. These guys have been around (albeit mainly underground) since the '80s. One of the highlights of the interview is where Leon asked Michael if his children play music:
Michael: When he is not skating or PS3ing my younger son Tom (11) had his own myspace site and a deathmetal/screamo band which he constructed on garageband.
Leon concludes the interview by asking for any parting advice, and Mitch's response is pretty cool:
Mitch: You don't need to be musically proficient, have heaps of money, the latest music software or the need to follow the latest trends to make interesting/challenging music. You need a passion and desire to create music. Music you yourself like. Somewhere out there is an audience. IT HAS TO BE FUN!
Next up, an interview with Douglas P. of Death In June. I've never heard any of their music (but do remember the name from '80s indie magazine Zig Zag, that milieu of bands like Bauhaus, Gene Loves Jezebel, Nurse With Wound, etc.) but Douglas certainly makes provocative statements in his interview. When Leon asks him about his visit to Australia and did he visit Uluru:
Douglas: Ayers Rock was a really good experience... Climbing the rock was really great and more difficult than I thought it would be. ... My main memory of that was how many Aboriginal sites were nearby - all distinguished by wrecked cars, burning tires and the general look of slum encampments. Ah, the noble savage!
It was surprising to find three comic strips in here (by Scott O'Hara). These three-panel strips are very raw and primitive, and each ends with some sort of fucking or sucking. I liked them. They were funny!
Then it's back to the music theme, and the final section is something truly great and unique. Leon tracks down three people whose names he found in old recordspurchased at used record stores or garage sales. The lengths he goes to to get in touch with these people is awesome. One of them spans two years of searching and waiting. When the former owner of the record agrees to an interview, Leon asks them questions like, "Do you remember how you came to purchase this album?; "What do you remember about it? Why you sold it?" and "Do you still buy music?" Fucking cool.
Get this zine for this section alone and the rest is a bonus.
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