In a climate where the humble a5 photocopied zine and toilet-humour comic are elevated to the status of sacred art object, what is to be done with those carrier-bag-fulls when the landlord raises the rent? Which copies are thrown in the van, which are destined for the recycling box? Only time can judge your collection of astutely collected artist editions, or alternatively, the piles of paper trash that eventually collapsed on the poor bugger… Confidently the former, dear reader, consider this a column of recommendations to make you rich beyond your wildest dreams.
Tessa MacKenzie /Like Ivy
I first spotted Glasgow based artist Tessa Mackenzie’s work in the guise of lovingly made, unusually illustrative and abstract stained glass pieces. I’m not sure which element of her practice informs the other, but her short story comics are also striking in their visual composition. Like Ivy, a risograph zine in green and white, often forces your eye around its full page before registering its narrative, in which a woman ponders her physically deflating lover. Boxes sit within panels, and scenic details frame and often subvert the traditional sequential construction. http://tessamackenzie.com/
Paul Ashley Brown / Bonbon Fabrika
Inventive sequential construction also happens to be the lifeblood of Paul Ashley Brown, a Bristol based small-press comics journeyman. In a swerve from the finely rendered personal observations often found in his Browner Knowle series, he has delivered a whip smart single story zine, both satirical and stylistically striking. Bonbon Fabrika plots Disney characters in a Saul Steinberg-esque visual world and a darkly hilarious Taxi Driver plot with a pertinent Trump-era twist. What the hell more do you want? Buy this comic at paulashleybrown.co.uk/store
Henry Darger’s ‘Vivian Girls’ paintings have long captivated curious art lovers in their parallel depiction of a perversely naive fantasy and the method of the mind that willed it into existence. Liva Kandrevica’s wonderful broadsheet zine of disturbed, faux-naive paintings and illustrations are almost as if the psychotic outsider artist’s characters made paintings of their own: Pupil-less girls inhabit empty rooms and gardens in torn and shredded clothing, the plastic crabs, clowns and caterpillars are their only confidants… A Latvian artist based in Leipzig, her new zine is called Good Weather Wear and can be ordered from livux.tumblr.com.
Lastly and probably leastly, an orange paper curio from Joseph Simons’ RAGINGINSANITY zine. ‘Pipes’ pulls some nostalgic examples of the late ‘80’s toys and games industry’s obsession with U-bends and plumbing; from Super Mario to Mousetrap via Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. Although, after a few pages he gets sidetracked from this potentially fascinating cultural exploration and opts to cut and paste pics of turds and shits insterad… It all started so promisingly! Josephsimons.co.uk – should you dare to give this man your address.
Finally ,I would just like to add that an Amsterdam based writer just did a very long interview / conversation piece with myself and Paul Ashley Brown on a US comics site called SOLRAD – https://solrad.co/capturing-lifes-minutiae-a-conversation-with-james-nash-and-paul-ashley-brown