Signs You Were Born to Enter The Indie Writer’s Deathmatch

The Deathmatch deadline is coming up on December 31, 2017, and even though the prize this year is bonkers some people might still be on the fence about entering. So Broken Pencil has broken down a life history of probably all Deathmatch competitors to help anyone with their hemming and hawing.

1. As an infant, you were a sucker for tragic nursery rhymes. The bough breaking and cradle falling during Rock-a-Bye Baby brought you to fits of giggles and spit-bubbles, whereas hearing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for the millionth time coaxed out your first word – vapid.

Read more: Signs You Were Born to Enter The Indie Writer’s Deathmatch

Art Holes: Bug Cru

Art holes is a column where artists diagram their workspaces. This issue, illustrator and tattoo artist Bug Cru gives us a look.


My art space is a desk that is made from an unhinged door underneath a loft bed that a friend built for me for a skill trade.

It hides in my bedroom, which is also my studio, nestled up in the attic of a punk house called Lost Cause in south Vancouver. It’s by far the nicest space I’ve ever worked or lived in, so it feels like a blessing to capture it for this column.

I am a queer and trans visual artist from the West Coast. My media include drawing, illustration, permanent marks on skin, comics, posters, textiles and zines. I identify with Outsider Art, and aim to build relationships with that which is wild, ugly and abstract. My practice is an invitation to a navigation of gender, bodies, magic, trauma, human connection, capitalism and oppression. I draw because self-documentation is a vital tool for survival and empowerment, and sometimes it helps pay for groceries.

Zine Review — Quitter: Good Lucky Not Dying

Quitter: Good Luck Not Dying

Zine, Trace Ramsey, 64 pgs, Pioneers Press,, $6

Trace Ramsey’s Quitter zine is still being produced — in defiance of its name — 12 years after it started. Good Luck Not Dying collects the first six editions in a quarter-size paperback.

With several issues side by side, it’s easy to see how both the zine and Ramsey’s writing evolved over the better part of a decade. Self-deprecation ran rampant in the beginning. He even calls himself a “prick of misery” at one point. The use of unnecessarily complicated language went unchecked as well: as he shuffles through a line-up for a pretzel, his blood-sugar low, he describes his “knee generators” starting, his legs filled with “weak blood picking up the tailings of diminishing pancreas secretions.”

Read more: Zine Review — Quitter: Good Lucky Not Dying

Non-Fiction Review: Cats I’ve Known

Cats I’ve Known

Katie Haegele, 192 pgs, Microcosm Publishing,, $14.95

Have you ever known a cat who mattered so much to you, or who was so ubiquitous, you couldn’t imagine a life without them? Katie Haegele has known dozens. In Cats I’ve Known, she offers engaging, humorous and touching chronicles about them, with a rich illustration of the subject accompanying each of the accounts.

Read more: Non-Fiction Review: Cats I’ve Known

Comics by Gord Hill: The Tar Sands Pipeline

Gord Hill’s comics appear in every issue of Broken Pencil. Click the image to view it in a larger format.

Gord Hill is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation on the Northwest Coast. Writer, artist, and militant, he has been involved in Indigenous resistance, anti-colonial and anti-capitalist movements for many years, often using the pseudonym Zig Zag. (Bio from

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