Category Archives: reviewers

Reviewer Revue – Nicholas Burman

Find him here – website

Header art by Sander Ettema

ZL – Hi, thanx for agreeing to talk to us!

NB – No worries at all. Though I’m more used to asking the questions, so this is definitely an odd experience. I wrote much of this before reading Ryan Carey’s interview you’ve already posted. If people want less rambling – or more concrete – ideas, I’d say definitely go to your chat with him.

ZL – Hah, I’m sure you’re equally as cogent!
Let’s start with a bit of an introduction, can you tell us your name, where you live and on what site(s) and how long you have been reviewing?

NB – I’m Nick, from the UK and currently living in Spain. I’ve been writing about comics since about 2018-19, although I did do some zines in my teens which featured comics on the back cover (not by me, but by some very generous folk who were self publishing around that time). I actually write about arts and culture more broadly for a range of places, though about comics specifically I contribute to The Comics Journal and SOLRAD on a relatively regular basis.

When relevant, I also write about comics for The Quietus. Additionally, I’ve done some work on comics in the academic sphere. I was a student assistant for a comics conference in Amsterdam in 2018, had an article about Martin Vaughn James’s The Cage published by the FRAME Journal of Literary Studies and have also contributed two definitions to the forthcoming Key Terms in Comics Studies, published by Palgrave this autumn and edited by three great comics scholars: Erin La Cour, Simon Grennan and Rik Spanjers.

ZL – When and where did you publish your first review?

NB – I believe that my first published review was of Sander Ettema’s Friends in Many Places for Daniel Elkin’s old Your Chicken Enemy site. I’ve discussed Ettema’s work in a couple of contexts now and brought him on board to do the art for a magazine I recently published Focus. When I say “brought on board”, I mean he very kindly offered his time and attention and talent and risograph skills to make the cover better than I’d wished for. I massively appreciate the time and energy he spent on that. I really like the themes of isolation and bodily confusion that crop up in his strange character designs and impressionistic, wild worlds. Was great to have that review up, also because it was my first interaction with Elkin, who is now my editor at SOLRAD. Elkin is someone I enjoy getting feedback from, he always tightens up my pieces. Nothing is more valuable to a writer than a considerate and precise editor.

ZL – Now, I’m always pleased and surprised to hear anyone say this in small press circles! There’s generally an idea that floats around in small press and self publishing that editors are the enemy of good work. So, do you consider that as something that matches your opinion of what you want to read or are there times where you’re sat there thinking ‘Argh, if only someone could have spoken to them about … this would be better/achieve more?’ and has publishing something yourself changed or made you double down on that opinion?

NB – I guess there’s a difference with artistic work and non-fiction writing. They serve very different purposes. The main point of nonfiction writing is to make a point of fact or opinion very clear and – usually – persuasive. Artistic work in the broadest sense doesn’t have this as a limitation. I guess it’s hard for an editor to always edit with the artist’s intent in mind? But for everything and everybody, as far as my experience tells me feedback from knowledgeable people is always beneficial. In terms of written work, I think it’s usually obvious when writers haven’t had an editor or put their work through a self-editing process.

The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott Zoe Thorogood

Whether I double down on an opinion or not depends, I hope, on the strength of an argument. A perhaps relevant case in point: I reviewed Zoe Thorogood’s recent book for TCJ, one of its themes is disability, specifically blindness. One of my points was that I read this as a metaphor rather than something aiming to be documentary or real life-inspired, and I subsequently found this “theme” underdeveloped. A later review in SOLRAD, by a writer who I understand to have lived experience with disability, which I don’t, countered my point and said that the fact that the way blindness is dealt with in the book is much closer to how people with disabilities experience them, i.e.  it’s not their one defining factor; or shouldn’t be, of course. Not much to do with editing, but I definitely learnt a bit about “how I read” from that interaction.

One (by which I mean me) needs to learn to take constructive criticism and feedback, even if it’s not directed directly at you – otherwise you risk becoming like Frank Miller’s online fanbase.

ZL – What kind of work do you review and what would you say are your two or three biggest comfort spots for work when reviewing?

NB – I guess a speciality of mine is reviewing indie European work for American platforms.

Mostly, I review work if it’s an artist I think deserves some attention or if there’s something in there that I think can be teased out and that will make for an interesting piece. I really subscribe to the idea that a review (of anything!) should be interesting in and of itself. Perhaps because of my recent schooling, during reviews I tend to veer off to theories or wider social contexts or concerns that I think a work is interacting with – or part of. I’m not an artist, and I’m not sure if artists would like my reviews. Primarily, I am a reader, and my writing about stuff is a way to engage in the discourse with other readers about the times we’re living in and how the art that is being made and surrounds us corresponds with these realities. My big hope would be that good writing about comics brings more people into the fold without gentrifying it. That’s also why I’m very keen to do long form reviews of zines and other non mainstream formats, and also fill up my end of year selections with zines and bilingual anthologies and what not.

ZL – Very interesting, but I’m not sure I’d agree.

As someone that’s done some reviewing and someone who’s had reviews of his own work, I have to say that I think reviews of the kind of work Solrad is covering definitely matter to the creators, it’s often the only time they’ll get any kind of engagement and feedback on what they’re doing.

Certainly your review of the second season of Colossive Cartography that included my own zine made me assured that I’d communicated exactly what I wanted to communicate and in the way I’d hoped to. For something that’s never going to sell lots and make me rich, it’s gratifying to know that the effort mattered and that the work was understood.

I’ve also similarly received feedback on some of the reviews that I’ve done and people are always grateful to see someone reading out of them what they have put in, if that makes sense.

NB – That’s very nice for you to say, and I’ve definitely experienced other artists liking when I’ve said positive things about their stuff, and even when I’ve offered light criticism. I definitely don’t want to sound dismissive or rude. For me it’s about finding a balance between not wanting to write for artists (being a brown nose) and also not feeling arrogant enough to think I have anything to offer artists, because I don’t! At most I only have skills other writers may find useful. That’s why I centre the reading community in my thought process. If I ever get round to making a zine or comic in the future, I guess that would change and those worlds would start getting more fused.

ZL – Just to go back to your first statement, because my knowledge of interesting European creators is pretty poor, what countries/scenes do you see as being vital and interesting in Europe at the moment, as a critic that is. By which I mean, critics of the avant garde are often there to search out work that’s trying new things or doing old things in original ways maybe and I wonder if there are any scenes or countries where you can feel the shock of the new more than others right now?

NB – There’s way too much! One thing with Europe is the language barriers. This makes selling across borders difficult, and thus an artist’s market is limited to their domestic one. Apart from France and Belgium, I don’t think there’s many, if any, other EU countries which take comics very seriously, or where they’re seen as something normal to read. 

Spain of course has a really fascinating and diverse scene. To the best of my knowledge, it’s the only European country to have a country-specific anthology out in English: Spanish Fever. However, that book is actually a bit unrepresentative. For one thing, it misses out the tradition of gross-out, sexed up comix from Spain that started under and boomed immediately after the Franco regime. There’s also a huge amount of vocally feminist and queer theory inspired female and LGBTQ+ artists coming up these days as well. If you want to dip into as many contemporary Spanish artists at once, I’d recommend getting hold of copies of Genie Espinosa’s Raras, Tmeo, Fracaso Total and Auto Bulling.

I’ll also draw some attention to some work from my previous home, the Netherlands. Kutlul is a Rotterdam-Berlin comix anthology zine well worth everyone’s time. Aline is a large format, glossy art-comics anthology. It has featured headline contributors such as Wasco and Typex and also a bunch of emerging Dutch talent. Exciting.

Scandinavia always has loads going on, too. I guess a lot of people are already aware of Tommi Musturi’s ongoing Future series. I recently got my hands on the latest copy of RADBRÆKKET, haven’t dug into it yet but looks really promising, despite the language barrier.

There’s books from across Europe which I wish were available in English. One of them is Ugo Bienvenu’s Préférence Système,

another is Kraut by Peter Pontiac. Nazario’s Anarcoma was available in the 1980s in English but that edition is near impossible to find outside of the US I think.

If anyone has any leads to a copy of that, hit me up. Funnily enough, a lot of these are available in Spanish, French, Dutch, German, whatever, but not English. I think the UK’s metaphorical distance from the continent’s cultural influence has a lot to do with that.

There’s a few EU based publishers putting out translated work. Europe Comics are probably the biggest, although their typical style isn’t my thing. Centrala has really gained pace recently, they have some exciting things coming out in various languages. I think they split their time between translating into Polish and English.

This answer could be as long as a book. To keep it short I’ll finish by shouting out Stripburger, a crazy affordable comics magazine and a stalwart of the Eastern European scene.

ZL – Describe your approach to a review. 

NB – I do try and summarise a plot without including spoilers. Though it is hard to properly analyse something if you can’t fully delve into the conclusion. In the most part I’m interested in a work’s effect and context. One can definitely negatively criticise something while liking it. You can also just totally rip work apart if it deserves it, or if a negative voice on a particular artist or book deserves to be heard. In the main, however, I’m not too interested in “I like this” or “I don’t like this” criticism. So what? Tell me what’s going on with the thing, and why.

ZL – What would you say are the key things a creator should do or think about when asking for reviews of their work?

NB – One issue with comics is that because the scene is so small it’s hard to have distance with work and artists. I’ve rarely been assigned things to read; it’s almost always been me pitching, and that creates a weird relationship with the work if I’m having to get hold of it beforehand. From bigger publishers it’s fine because you’re dealing with PR people, for smaller things I purchase them if they look interesting and then I’ll sometimes reach out to an artist if I’ve really liked what they’ve done or if our paths cross serendipitously. One reason for this approach is because I don’t expect small press and indie artists to send me stuff for free. I know covering the costs of this sort of thing is a struggle and as I said before, I’m primarily a reader, and being a fan of the medium means that I think I should financially support artists when I can buy giving them some of my money sometimes. This approach also means that I don’t actually review stuff too often because my budget and space for comics is perennially limited.

Do feel free to get in touch with editors at sites from Broken Frontier or TCJ or SOLRAD, et al. They might distribute your work to someone relevant, or include it in a summary review column. Asking to have a snippet of your work “premiered” on such sites is a good way to go. Unless you’re talking about getting coverage in The Guardian or the New Yorker, I’m a bit suspicious of the idea that it’s that important or necessary to get your work reviewed – certainly so if you’re interested in material gains (this also relates to what we’ve already discussed in terms of the point of getting reviewed). (My hunch is that it’s more important to the audience than to the artists. The reviews I see getting the most traction are of works from artists who already have profiles. Although for sure reviews can give you some cultural capital.) Having said that, I do know one guy who makes mini zines who sold a handful after I briefly reviewed his work in the Quietus one time.

It’s a tricky subject. My thoughts right now are: just let whatever you’re doing grow organically. If someone like me wants to review your work, then great, hopefully they say something nice about it. 

It seems to me that sending work to other artists is a more useful way to spend your time and money. Comics is dominated by its practitioners.

Send it to stores which stock work similar to yours, or of artists which you really like. Nothing has been more important in my discovery of artists than the stores I have visited.  I should also mention comics fairs and conventions, so there it is.

If I was writing for more mainstream publications I would probably have more useful things to say about this. Probably because of my own work situation and my developing politics, I find the hustler mentality increasingly depraved. Cultivate community rather than irregular spotlights, it’ll do you better in the long term, I think. I think that’s what the Fieldmouse Press project is about, and essentially what Fantagraphics/Comics Journal did through the ‘80s. It’s a good tactic.

ZL – I think that’s all interesting, particularly the idea of sharing work with other artists. I know in some of the groups I hang around on, since the pandemic hit there’s been increased talk about the 80’s and 90’s and how mini-comix makers used to share work with each other. I know I’m certainly obsessed with the idea of doing something close to an old fashioned APA (if you don’t know what that is, it stands for Amatuer Press Association and basically it was a group of people who all regularly produced work to a subject and schedule and there was a central mailer that collated work from all contributors every month or quarter and then sent out a publication collecting all of those submissions.) I’ve seen a number of such groups spring up doing similar things. Which is a bit off target to what I’m going to ask next, but I think relevant nonetheless. I don’t know enough of your past to know whether Focus is your first move into publishing, but I was wondering whether you see that as an extension of creating that community you talk about and of your own critical work?

NB – Focus indeed came out of this sort of mentality, although was born out of me realising that lots of people were working around the same topic as me (‘sound’), and during the first quarantine I had the time and the money to put something together. As I mentioned, I did zines (music fanzines) back in my teens. Since then I’ve been involved in various projects, some paper based but mostly digital, as a contributor and/or editor. One reason Focus happened was because I really wanted to do a print project again. I’m going to try to publish something again in the future, though it’ll definitely be small format. Posting A4 stuff gets pricey.

How this feeds into my work or thinking etc. is a bit vague to me; right now it’s all one big soup of activity. If you’ll allow me to get theoretical for a minute: there’s an article by Anna Poletti on Arts Everywhere that’s part of a series about the “polity of literature” Six Contracting Theses on Literature in the Polity of Literature. That and the other articles in the series which I’ve read do really interesting thought work in terms of drawing out what exactly community in terms of literature means (in this case, literature can refer to anything that can be ‘read’ in the broadest sense of that term). And also the political potential of such groups/communities. 

I think the fact that we’re constantly labouring and being exploited by the digital platforms we habitually use is something that we’re starting to collectively understand. But this is very hard to recognise when you’re on them, and this awareness is always pushed to some space in our consciousness that we don’t often pay attention to by the exact platforms that we use, in the way in which they manufacture consent for their own existence and ways of functioning. There is no such relationship with paper. In a recent interview, Adam Curtis was talking about how the internet has failed to liberate us because the algorithms which currently organise it as a social space constantly push us to nostalgia, and acting only through the prism of things that have already happened. I hesitatingly make the suggestion that paper is a space in which we are still able to imagine futures which are different from the past. 

I’m now thinking about the Colossive Cartographies project which you contributed to. There are far more ways to present or reimagine the world in that very simple use of paper (not forgetting it is far less surveilled) than is available to a majority of people using the internet in the present moment.

ZL – Can you tell us about the review you’re most proud of and why that is?

NB – Overall, I’m pretty happy with my work for SOLRAD. Am also very thankful they keep inviting me back. I’m still quite chuffed with my review of Yoshiharu Tsuge’s The Man Without Talent. It was such a great book and it was a pleasure to write about it. I hope my review captured the spirit of Tsuge’s work. Not that it needed much encouragement, everyone was all over it last year regardless of what I had to say about it.  

ZL – Lastly, can you tell us where to find your reviews please!

NB – Talking about being a hustler… You can find my portfolio (!) over on my site: I also have a newsletter you can sign up to where I talk about newly published writings of mine, comics oriented and otherwise. Initially it was a bimonthly thing, although right now it’s a little more regular, about one every 1-1.5 months. 

ZL – Thanx so much for your time!

NB – And thank you!

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Reviewer Revue – Ryan Carey (Four Color Apocalypse and Solrad)

Find Ryan here Four Color Apocalypse Solrad twitter facebook

ZL – Hi, thanx for agreeing to talk to us!

RC -My pleasure, thank you for the invite!

ZL – Let’s start with a bit of an introduction, can you tell us your name, where you live and what site(s) we can find you on and how long you have been reviewing?

RC – My name’s Ryan Carey, I’m from Minneapolis, and I’ve been cranking out reviews for about a decade now, first doing primarily grindhouse and low-budget movies, and gradually transitioning into reviewing more and more comics and art ‘zines as time went on. These days I’m more or less done with the film review game, although a lot of my stuff is still up at my old blog, Trash Film Guru, but my current ongoing concern, so to speak, is Four Color Apocalypse where I try to post two or three new reviews of things I find interesting every week, and I’m also one of the co-founders of comic arts non-profit Fieldmouse Press, where I both serve on the board and function as the “lead” critic of our website, Solrad, so you can find a new column from me on there every Friday, as well.

ZL – When and where did you publish your first review?

RC – I deleted my first review ages ago, and can no longer stand to look at my early stuff. I was a rank amateur and probably feel the same way about it that a cartoonist does about their early work. I was having fun putting my thoughts out into the world because I’m an opinionated bastard by nature, but at the time that’s ALL I really was. Today I flatter myself that I actually know what I’m talking about and am a better writer as a result, but hey — I’m sure there are plenty who would disagree with that assessment!

ZL – What kind of work do you review and what would you say are your two or three biggest comfort spots for work when reviewing?

RC – My favorite things to review are avant-garde and experimental comics, mainly of the self-published variety, that literally no one else reviews and that very few people are even aware of. I like to think that I’m helping good artists expand their reach and maybe even sell a few more books. I don’t know that I have any “comfort spots” — I prefer to read and review things that either make me actively UNcomfortable, or that at least force me to consider the ideas they are presenting, and the methodology they are using to present it WITH, in new and unconventional ways.

Mike Shea-Wright’s Beach

ZL – Describe your approach to a review. 

RC – I don’t really have an approach, I just start typing. Really. One thing I HATE both as a reader and as a writer are belabored plot recaps, I think they’re a total drag and don’t prove that you UNDERSTOOD anything, only that you read it, so I tend to focus more on what the IDEAS behind a work are and an artist’s methodology. Anyone can write a story synopsis, but it takes something approaching actual skill to let someone know why that story is worth their time and money. I also like to review a lot of non-narrative work, so the idea of a story recap in that context is a complete non-starter. So yeah, I guess I’m more about “pulling things apart” and examining whether or not an artist has achieved what I feel they set out to do.

ZL – What would you say are the key things a creator should do or think about when asking for reviews of their work?

RC – Look at the work of the critic you are reaching out to first and decide if they’re the person you really want to be writing about your stuff. I get that there are so many homemade works out there these days that many creators are hungry for any kind of attention they can muster up for theirs, but seriously — I get inundated with stuff in the mail that just isn’t in my wheelhouse at all, and while much of it is probably quite good for what it is, I’m just not the guy to be sending your super-hero or magical girl comics to. Just as there are comics for every taste these days, there are critics for every type of comic, so focus your outreach on critics that you KNOW love to read, and subsequently write about, the kind of stuff that you make. This is advice that applies to my situation specifically AND to everybody out there in general, creators and critics alike.

ZL – Can you tell us about the review you’re most proud of and why that is?

RC – I’m exceptionally proud of my review of Alex Graham’s Dog Biscuits because it’s a comic that tons of people read but that a lot of people also imposed their own agendas onto as it was serialized rather than allowing the work to speak for itself. I like to think I cut through the extraneous bullshit and noise and really analyzed what Graham was communicating with the story. But hey, judge for yourself.

ZL – Lastly, can you tell us where to find your reviews please!

RC – As mentioned earlier, my own blog is Four Color Apocalypse, and you can find a bunch of my stuff at Solrad. I also maintain a Patreon, which I update three times per week and you can join for as little as a buck a month, so help a guy out with a little beer money if you feel so inclined by going over there.

ZL – Thanx so much for your time!

RC – Thank you, this was fun!

Reviewer Revue – Nyx (Sea Green Zines)

Find Nyx here – website webstore ko-fi youtube twitter instagram facebook

Header art by Wolfram-Jaymes von Keesing (twitter instagram facebook)

ZL – Hi, thanx for agreeing to talk to us!

Nyx – Hello! Thanks so much for inviting me to chat. 

ZL – Let’s start with a bit of an introduction, can you tell us your name, where you live and what site(s) and how long you have been reviewing? 

Nyx – I’m Nyx or Silver Nyx. I’m a zine reviewer living in regional Australia and have been reviewing for something like eight years now.  

ZL – When and where did you publish your first review?

Nyx – I started and have always published my reviews on – though I don’t think I even had the domain when I first got started. I actually looked back and found my very, very first reviews – which are a far cry from the structure I have now (haha). Zines! Glorious Zine (Reviews)! – Sea Green Zines I still remember being so happy and excited about the world of zines and absolutely loving that blogging provided a way to share those passions.  

ZL – What kind of work do you review and what would you say are your two or three biggest comfort spots for work when reviewing? 

Nyx – I pretty much review anything except perhaps heavy political or religious things… but I haven’t had anything like that come in yet. I try to approach everything with an open mind. My comfort zones are definitely perzines, mental health/illness zines, and gaming zines. Of course there is variety in each genre, but I feel like I resonate the most with those. 

ZL – Describe your approach to a review.  

Nyx – I think I started to touch on this with the previous answer in that I try to approach every zine I read with an open mind. There’s always something to learn, a perspective to understand (even if I don’t agree with it), a life experience I will have never otherwise known.  

Structurally, I try to give an impression of the physical and artistic qualities of a work and the ways it resonated with me. Obviously my tastes aren’t always going to match with other people, so I try to give not only my perspective of why it worked for me but also why it might work for others.  

I’m by no means any kind of professional or expert when it comes to zines or reviewing them. Sometimes I have one thousand words to share about a zine, and sometimes I only have ten. But if I’m excited about a zine, I’ll share those ten words just as passionately as I will share the one thousand. 

ZL – What would you say are the key things a creator should do or think about when asking for reviews of their work? 

Nyx – I have thought about writing a blog post on this particular subject a few times, but I always feel a little strange about writing how I’d like to receive something. That said, contacting me in advance isn’t a requirement by any means but is definitely appreciated. It gives me the chance to talk about things like my lacking knowledge regarding poetry or how long it might take for me to get to review a zine.  

Whether I’ve been contacted in advance or not, I greatly, greatly appreciate a note. If you look at my reviews, you can see that I like to have a title, creator name, and one or two links (be they social, websites, shop URLs, etc). When someone saves me time finding this information by either having it in their zine already or including it on a note, it’s so nice. I received one zine that came with a note that had all that information along with price, a synopsis, and other details. That blew me away. But I just as often receive zines with no note, no contacts in the zine, and no mention of having contacted me previously. I like a mystery as much as the next person, but… 

In general, I think it’s another case of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. If you received something for review, how would you like it? Would you like any additional information not included in the zine? Those sorts of things. 

ZL – Can you tell us about the review you’re most proud of and why that is? 

Nyx – Oh, that is a tough one! I’ve reviewed quite a few zines at this point. There have been so much that has made me laugh, made me cry… There are times I’ve told myself I really needed to calm down or I’d end up writing a zine-length review of a zine.  

I think, however, I will go with Pieces #13 on being a romantic asexual. Even though I’m not a romantic asexual, that particular zine opened up so much understanding of myself and my experiences thanks to Nichole sharing her experiences. I think that’s the review for me that felt the most raw… the most like I was sharing a part of myself and not simply reviewing a zine. 

Zine Review: Pieces #13 on being a romantic asexual  

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ZL – Lastly, can you tell us where to find your reviews please! is the hub for pretty much everything I do – especially posting my zine reviews. If you’d like to check out the zines I have reviewed in the past, I have the handy dandy zine review index here: Zine Review Index – Sea Green Zines  

ZL – Thanx so much for your time! 

Nyx – Thank you for inviting me to chat. ❤ 

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Reviewer Revue – Ryan (Pocket Thoughts)

ZL – Hi Ryan, thanx for agreeing to talk to us!

Let’s start with a bit of an introduction, can you tell us your name, where you live and what site(s) and how long you have been reviewing?

RE – Hi, my name is Ryan, and I live in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.  I publish Pocket Thoughts zines and co-host the Zinespiration Chat with Craig [Atkinson] from Five O’Clock Zines.  It’s like I’m Regis and Craig is Kathie-Lee.  Don’t let him tell you otherwise.

ZL – When and where did you publish your first review?

RE – I think the first real Zinespiration chat was with Richard Larios from Feral Publication.  It was really rad, because after a year or so of reading his work and engaging in text messages via Instagram etc, it was just so cool to have a face-to-face video chat in real time. And really, it’s felt similar with all the zinesters I’ve interviewed since.  Like, how cool is that?

ZL – What kind of work do you review and what would you say are your two or three biggest comfort spots for work when reviewing?

RE – I make a point of checking out any and all zines.  I personally find different kinds of inspiration from them, even if the content isn’t something I’d normally be interested in reading.  I love other individuals’ viewpoints, but also from a design standpoint, it’s neat to see someone else’s creative process and how they may approach an idea or topic differently than I would, or another zinester friend of mine would.

ZL – Describe your approach to a review. 

RE – The whole point of the Zinespiration Chat show is to show off and promote zinesters’ work to those who may not ordinarily discover them. Most important during the chat process is that the guest feels comfortable being there – ensuring ahead of time that we’re pronouncing names correctly, using their requested pronouns, and also pre-discussing any off limits topics to not bring up.  Otherwise, the goal is that we all have some fun and some laughs and let the zinesters’ personalities shine thru.

ZL – What would you say are the key things a creator should do or think about when asking for reviews of their work

RE – A little research goes a long way.  Recently I had a band ask me to do a review of them in one of my zines, which is not something I do in my own zines, even tho there are lots of zines that specialize in rock-show and punk reviews as the meat and potatoes of the pages. I wish them all the luck in the world, but also, like, why are they asking me to review their band? I’m the dude who dressed up hot dog weenies in Halloween costumes, y’know?

ZL – Can you tell us about the review you’re most proud of and why that is?

RE – I dig ‘em all.  I just feel very fortunate to have gotten to know so many expressive and creative zinesters over the last few years.

ZL – Lastly, as Weirdo Brigade was an influence on how I’ve set this site up I thought I’d post this below!

ZL – Thanx so much for your time!

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Reviewer Revue – Micah Liesenfeld

ZL – Hi, thanx for agreeing to talk to us!

ML – Sure! I love talking about comics.

ZL – Let’s start with a bit of an introduction, can you tell us your name, where you live and what site(s) and how long you have been reviewing?

ML – Micah Liesenfeld … I live in the city of St. Louis in the U.S.A. I’m publishing an anthology called “After That!” which is a continuation of Copy This! started by D. Blake Werts. The current regeneration is at issue 61. The site is here

After That! Is an anthology that interviews creators, but I have been funneling the actual “updates from the community” to Rick Bradford’s Poopsheet site to try and keep After That! publication costs down. Plus it helps keep the community of mini comics creators from becoming stretched too thin by having all these different places that essentially do the same thing.

ZL – When and where did you publish your first review?

ML – In 1994, I made a fanzine called “Pavement.” I was 17 years old. My reviews sounded like this: “Bone #14. If you haven’t read Bone, you’re nuts.” It was made on 11×17 sheets of paper and because it was in color, I’m sure I made only 1 copy… which I probably passed around at school and asked for my one copy back after people had read it. It also featured reviews about Star Trek and the Lion King. I was super cool.

ZL – What kind of work do you review and what would you say are your two or three biggest comfort spots for work when reviewing?

ML – I enjoy “reviewing” mini comics and handmade books. Mainly because that’s what I make. I’m passionate about how a book gets made, so I really enjoy looking at the binding, the stitching (if any) and just looking the piece over that someone put effort into making both content and handcrafting the material.

ZL – Describe your approach to a review. 

ML – My style isn’t to critique. I like to “report” on what I’m seeing without adding my opinion about the work. Sometimes I can’t help sing its praises if it’s really great, but otherwise I don’t talk negatively about the work. I approach it as if I’m an archaeologist uncovering a time capsule and describing the artefact for my notes.

ZL – What would you say are the key things a creator should do or think about when asking for reviews of their work?

ML – When it comes to fanzines and minicomics, I don’t believe in gatekeeping quality. I’ll be happy to report on any little book regardless of whether the creator was age 5 or 95.

ZL – Can you tell us about the review you’re most proud of and why that is?

ML – I guess I liked this review I did about a pack of 5 minicomics I received from Mission Mini-Comix, because I was trying to carefully describe what I was seeing regardless of my lack of understanding about what I was seeing. Just because it wasn’t personally interesting to me doesn’t mean it might not be interesting to somebody else.

ZL – Lastly, can you tell us where to find your reviews please!

ML – Sure, here’s more specifically where my reviews are at on the Poopsheet:

ZL – Thanx so much for your time! Check out some of Micah’s other reviews here

A postcard submitted to Jessica Maybury’s postcard zine. 

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