From the Library: Some Favorites from the PDX Zine Symposium
This past weekend, we were lucky enough to table at the 11th Portland Zine Symposium. We love the PDX Zine Symposium because we get to meet lots of rad people who are into independent publishing and we always end up with a big pile of zines at the office come Monday morning. Kjerstin, Ann, and I decided to share some of the zines that piqued our interest at the zine symposium this year. We hope that you'll decide to pick up some of these zines yourself.
I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy of Radicool Feminism right as the zine symposium was wrapping up. This zine chronicles Emma Bagley's journey towards radical feminism. Bagley's story includes lots of abstract drawings that represent what was going on in her mind while having feminist "Ah-hah!" moments and coming to terms with privileges she hadn't realized she'd been afforded. The drawings are super entertaining (patriarchy monsters! trips to space! an appearance from the Spice Girls!) and the story tells of a complex and loving relationship between Bagley and radicool feminism. This zine can be purchased through Friends For Life Records.
My roommate actually bought this find of the day, in my opinion (color me covetous). The F-Bomb (no relation to the blog of the same name) is a cut-and-paste zine out of Tacoma, Washington all about, from what I can tell, creativity and free expression. Spring 2011 is the Gender Issue, which features a double cover, the Masculine Side with Ben, a bespectacled man in a collared shirt, and the Feminine Side with Ben as Sylvia O'Stayformore, "one of Seattle's most original and entertaining drag performers." The two halves of the zine, both filled with comics, stories, and personal reflections on sex and gender, meet in the center to form the Androgyny Section, which features an interview with Sylvia O'Stayformore. The interview was, no doubt, my favorite part of the issue. Ben opens up to interviewer Captain Rock of the Future Shock all about his conservative Mormon upbringing, the origins and development of Sylvia O'Stayformore, and her signature show Bacon Strip. While I did not agree with everything the F-Bomb writers had to say, the issue as a whole presented a fun but complex compilation of several different perspectives on sex and gender. Overall, I'm so happy to have gotten a chance to discover this zine at the Symposium, and I can't wait until their next issue comes out. As for the AMAZING covers, they are forever imprinted on my memory.
I picked up Goodbye Turtle by Yumi Sakugawa at the Sparkplug table. The plot is not complex: one day, our narrator meets a girl holding a paper sack full of origami paper turtles at a bus stop, and learns about the girl's blood orange-lipstick-wearing ex, Kiki. But Sakugawa deftly blends comics, illustration, and short story writing so well that every page is rife with hope, humor, and heartache. According to her website, she's working on a 100-page graphic short story collection that I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for!
When Language Runs Dry: A Zine for People with Chronic Pain and Their Allies is the first in a series of now what is three zines (it's from 2008) collecting accounts by people living with or affected by chronic pain. From Claire Barrera's account of the intense erasure she feels as a queer Xicana with chronic pain, to Cindy Crabb (of Doris) talking about providing support for a loved one, the zine is an honest and needed read on understanding chronic pain. If you'd like to learn more or contribute, you can reach out to the editors at chronicpainzine [at] gmail.com. And you can order copies of all the When Language Runs Dry zines here.
Which zines have you been reading lately?
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