August 11th, 2011

Comics Publisher Has Fear Issues

Blackguard editor and publisher Stratu expressed anxiety yesterday over late contributions and subsequent multiple deadline extensions for his forthcoming comics zine Blackguard #4 (the 'Fear' issue).

"I've had to triple my Zoloft dose," he said, before crossing the room and slamming his forehead into the wall several times.

Stratu’s fiancé, Jojo, appeared from another room and attempted to console the Australian ‘vanity publisher’, now sobbing and attempting to light a cigarette the wrong way around.

Blackguard, a themed anthology featuring comic strips, short fiction, and comics and zine reviews, has appeared annually since 2008.      AAP

The Zine Explorers' Notebook #1

4 pages, magazine size, $1.00 (or Trade / U.S. Stamps / Letter) by Doug Harrison, PO Box 5291, Richmond VA 23220, USA 
It was thanks to Randy Robbins's Narcolepsy Press Review #7 and his review of TZEN#1 that inspired me to send a trade for a copy, and I sure am glad I did. For a first issue this one is really something. It can't be Doug's first zine, surely!
Printing-wise, TZEN is old school (like Fred Woodworth's The Match!) - it's "produced using a salvaged Multilith offset press, a Multigraph letterpress, a Varityper type composer, and other pre-computer electrical/mechanical printing and graphic arts equipment."  It's such a pleasure to read, especially on the bus where many of my fellow busriders tear their eyeballs away from their iSpuds and stare at this awesome paper production with ferocious curiosity and envy. They want one! But how? Huh. It's not an 'app'... *brain short circuits, body falls onto aisle floor, twitching and smoking*
Anyway, this first issue kicks off with a terrific introduction about the birth of zines and the emergence of the internet and blogs, but ending with the good news that zine culture is still thriving.
Most of TZEN contains some of the best zine reviews I've ever read. Doug's writing is really great and utterly engaging.
There are a couple of diversions - one of which is a note on travel by Greyhound and Amtrak, and whether or not you need to show ID to purchase a ticket, and that for example one Amtrak service is known to be stopped in the middle of the night in New York state along the Canadian border and passengers questioned and identified by U.S. immigration and customs agents.
Doug also writes about good and bad things about computers - podcasts good; using computers to read stuff not good. I certainly agree with that. I find loads of stuff online that I wanna read, so copy and paste it into a Word document, reformat it to a smaller font, print it, then I'm free to read it anywhere without being tied to a machine.
What an excellent new zine The Zine Explorer's Notebook is. And Doug promises a letters forum in issue two.