Zines

Though The Lowbrow Reader makes itself out to be a low-quality bathroom reader it is, in reality, a one-of-a-kind zine that holds some of the wisest and oddest essays about bygone pop culture and its fringes.

In this issue: famed cartoonist Drew Friedman writes about his love for Shemp Howard of the Three Stooges. Fast Times at Ridgemont High & Clueless director Amy Heckerling digs up a private diary. Engel Schmidl covers the bizarre and wonderful life of outsider artist Bill Morrison, the Balloon Man. Brian Adams relates Mel Brooks memories. And editor Jay Ruttenberg writes a glorious, sprawling essay that connects the Velvet Underground to Steve Urkel.

Plus illustrations from Jeffrey Lewis, Doreen Kirchner, Alex Eben Meyer, Mike Reddy, former Silver Jews frontman David Berman, and Gilbert Gottfried.

40 pages, half-letter size.

In this, the latest issue of the long-running Lowbrow Reader, there are napkin-style cartoons from both Dave Eggers and the late-great David Berman. There's a deep-dive into 1988's most popular meme ("Hey! it's Enrico Pallazzo!") and the spoof-movie empire that created it (from Brian Abrams, author of Obama: An Oral History). There's a two-panel comic tribute to Professor Irwin Corey. And, in the issue's most glorious moment, editor Jay Ruttenberg connects the short-lived early '90s fame of Andrew Dice Clay to Pee-wee Herman, Superman, Andy Kaufman, eye surgery, Jerry Lewis, Jewish writers and entertainers as architects of American pop culture, The Beastie Boys, and Natasha Lyonne.

Obviously, The Lowbrow Reader is not your typical zine. But it's also, every time, oddly more than it lets on. It's a long gaze at the things that make us (or, at least, at one time made us) laugh.

With illustrations from John Mathias, Nathan Gelgud, Doreen Kirchner, Sam Henderson, Phillip Niemeyer, Mike Reddy, and Tom Sanford. 

44 pages, half-letter size.

One Punk's Guide to Star Trek is both a great read and an accessible guide for the newcomer (as well as those who have just dipped a toe into the Trek universe). Effortlessly summing up the complex backstories and timelines, Seattle Trekkie-punk Kayla Greet gives a primer to 50+ years of the best in secular-humanist social-commentary sci-fi television programming. 

Focusing on The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, but also covering previous and present series, she gives a brief explanation of each and lists key entry-point episodes. It's hard to come out of this zine without wanting to watch!

There's also plenty of fantastic lines about what Star Trek says about the world-at-large and what it inspires in her. As she writes in the zine, "When I feel stuck as a working class citizen just trying to make it to the next paycheck among people who have more than they'll ever need, as well as people struggling even worse than me, I think of the Federation and how I can implement and model that type of society in the world around me. It feeds my brain with possibilities and my heart with hope. So if you ask me, Star Trek is just about as punk as it gets."

Illustrated by Ben Snakepit (of Snake Pit zine), edited by Todd Taylor (of Razorcake). 32 pages, half-letter size.

Leave it to PonyBoy Press to write a concise history of everything you ever wanted to know about I Love Lucy. Early TV history, the many ways the show was ahead of its time, and all the dirt behind the first hugely successful American sitcom.

Profiles on Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, William Frawley, and (of course) Lucille Ball. Plus the best episodes, eras of the show, the bad parts, song lyrics, recommended viewing, and a reading list.

32 pages, half-letter size.

An endlessly fun and fascinating zine that reviews celebrity biographies. From Rick James to Three Dog Night, Jayne County to Stevie Nicks, Krazy Kat's George Herriman to Cyndi Lauper, Little House on the Prairie's Laura Ingalls Wilder to Mötley Crüe.

Highly recommended.

28 pages, half-letter size.

Everything you've ever wanted to know about Prince. Critical and reverent, The Prince Zine looks at fame culture, gender, and sexuality while still having fun along the way. 

The Symbol, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Michael Jackson, parental advisory, Wendy & Lisa, protégés, movies, power, the early years, The Revolution, The New Power Generation, fun facts galore, and an epic discography. Illustrations throughout by Rachel Lee-Carman (Shoe & TailOfferings of Mischief and Grace).

60 pages, half-letter size, thick cardstock covers with purple ink. 

The first edition made Bitch Magazine's Bitch List, was named one of Three Imaginary Girls' Best Zines of 2012, and has been a bestseller at independent bookstores around the country.

The revised fourth edition updates the zine through October, 2016.