Zine Annual Issue One 2013
newzealandzinereview (at) gmail (dot) com
I got mine from instore at Sticky, NZ $2
available: email directly
A zine annual that’s wonderfully ambitious, capable and professional. Includes zine reviews as well as extended critiques, interviews with zine librarians, ‘zines of years past’ and a directory of NZ resources and zine fests.
The small print: It’s just an educated guess, but while they encourage zines to be submitted for review, I’m thinking that only includes New Zealand titles.
The appearance is: Clean, minimal, professional. Curiously, instead of regular double-sided copying, each page is from paper folded back on to itself. Normally it would seem wasteful (It doubles the paper volume), but in this case it gives the issue a bit of bulk.
The clip art was a dubious aesthetic call.
The first thing that struck me was: Wow, a national, annual, round-up of zines! That’s so inspired and amazing!
Furthermore, the annual accompanies an website updated weekly with new reviews. It’s all pretty epic, and a brilliant endeavour, but an undertaking framed in this fashion could prove controversial…
The danger with a project like this: Worst case scenario specific to an ‘annual’: you run the risk of only representing a particular scene within the zine culture (despite the best of intentions), effectively creating an ‘other’.
The types of zines reviewed are: A mix of arty visual zines and some interesting sounding personal zines.
The review style is: Positive and energetic. There’s good things to be said about everything and not much by means of actual criticism.
I was slightly alienated by the fact that: This zine takes advertising. It’s negligible and just for zines and artist stuff, but it’s the first thing you see, and it’s not like a free listing or classifieds, they’re actual ad spaces. That’s kind of weird.
The other thing that weirded me out a bit was the ‘news’ section. Do the zinemakers really consider a library, relocating its zine section opposite the Arts, Music and Literature desk on the second floor as… news and/or gossip. What, is this zine made by librarians?
My favourite part of the zine is: The section where various people of the scene are asked to talk about their favourite zine. Zines are so ephemeral, that once they’re out of circulation they cease to exist, period. So it’s great to hear about zines that may be from several years back that excited people, and what they were about. So good.
The best thing about this zine is: The annual contains not only a whole lot of reviews, which are giving exposure to zines I would not otherwise come across, but it also contains two ‘feature’ critiques which are full and thorough write ups, like mini essays. I love that kind of indepth attention being given to zines, especially one included that is completely visual and somewhat abstract. Visual zines don’t usually get reviewed at all. Big time salute.
No matter what you think: you have to be impressed by the commitment, presentation and ambition of this little compact publication. It’s a valuable starting point to engage with NZ zines and get a feel for the active players in a twelve month timeframe. It’s great documentation, and, combined with an active online presence with current reviews, a fantastic contribution to zine culture in an overlooked corner of the world.