Zine Review: Instagerm,: A zine about sickness and technology

ZINES_InstagermHailey, blitzandpieces.tumblr.com, $2

18 year-old Hailey offers up a guide for comforting yourself during winter’s sick­nesses with tips on things to have around you, special snacks, and a list of sickness commandments, including “thou shalt not cough into your hands” (ew, just don’t). She reminds readers, in a kindly but not patronizing voice, that with the same hands you’re using to hold the zine you also type, swipe, pinch, scratch, itch, and pick — so wash them, regularly! Although the zine gives advice on how to take it easy, the author has not done that with this comic. The pages are intri­cately drawn and every spare bit of space is filled with panels, borders, and designs. You won’t find many open spaces but, then again, when you’re moving between loneliness and heartbreak there isn’t much space for quiet either. On some pages the lettering is huge and sprawling and on others the story panels are small and the writing is minute. At times it feels frenetic with unrelated stories, very much at odds with the low-key lazy pace of sick days. Yet the zine’s pacing works because the author’s excited and optimis­tic voice comes through despite her con­tinued dealings with snot and slime. I also very much appreciate a good pun, of which there are several. The last few pages of the zine switch gears entirely with an ode to Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer pro­grammer. Hailey is taking a computer science course that has exposed her to coding for the first time. The whole zine feels like an ode to the author herself, for knowing how best to take care of herself, for being self-aware, and for mostly rep­resenting her experiences with optimism and joy. (CJ Blennerhassett)

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