Whatcha Mean What’s A Zine? The Art of Making Zines and Mini Comics

If you’re reading this review, chances are you’ve already converted to the zine cause. So can you get anything out of Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson’s book? Sure. The slender, but jam-packed volume is not just a primer for zine newbies, it’s also a celebration of the medium. The editors have crammed comics and essays from indie culture mainstays such as Eric Nakamura, founder of Giant Robot magazine, graphic novelist Anders Nilsen and Bust magazine publisher Laurie Henzel. There’s stapler-guru Chuck Johnson’s insane guide to those metal-pushing machines, a wonderful, tongue-in-cheek history of independent publishing, and thorough guides on everything from folding and collating your zine to distribution. There are also recollections from indie culture veterans on the inevitable pressures and accidental joys of bringing zines into the world. Writer and comic artist Martin Cendreda’s strip on producing and trying to sell his first mini comic will get nods of recognition from anyone who has frequented zine fairs and tried to convince passers-by to glance at their work for more than a split second. John Porcelino, a zine producer since the early 80s, describes the inspiration behind his first zine. Yet Whatcha Mean What’s a Zine? is an imperfect collection. For one, Canada barely figures in the book, and the book could’ve been twice as long without losing its energy, passion and love for independently produced volumes. (Ron Nurwisah)

By Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson, $12.99, 112 pgs, Graphia Books, graphiabooks.com

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