There are stories with many chapters; some stories may span 6 months to decades. But for all the Sandmans, Batmans, Supermans that inspire us over long stretches of time, there are smaller collections and cartoon images that bring just as much joy and surprise.
I remember when I read my first zine. It happened to be a friend’s creation. It was a mix of cartoons, opinions and wacky observations. Being pre internet, it was a new idea to a lot of us. It was the start of knowing you could be a young person and have a vehicle for sharing your voice and vision of the world, however crazy, with others. You didn’t have to be a professional, published writer to have your creation on the shelves of your favorite shops.
Cut to over a decade later. I had wrongly assumed that with the widespread use of the internet, websites and blogs had rendered the zine a casualty of our new-shared technology. I am happy to know the zine still has presence and potential.
One of the more recent zines to gain a fan base is Wowee Zonk. It began in 2007 as a hand-printed zine created by Toronto based artists Patrick Kyle, Ginette Lapalme, and Chris Kuzma. In a short amount of time and just under four publications, Wowee Zonk grew to a contemporary comic book anthology and has published the work of eleven emerging Canadian artist. Koyama Press saw the potential and published the third issue in 2010. Wowee Zonk #3 was nominated for the Pigskin Peters Award, a non-traditional and avant-garde comics award, at the 2011 Doug Wright Awards.
If you are curious about this zine, Koyama Press will launch Wowee Zonk issue 4 in May at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. It will be published for the masses in June and it will be featuring the art of some fellow Canadians and the international artists Andrei Georgescu, Adam Buttrick, Steph Davidson, Alex Schubert, Mark Connery, Ryan Dodgson, Donald Dixon, Benjamin Hettinga, and Mark Bell. And true to zine fashion, there will also be contributions from the founders /editors themselves.
If you like the fun, the quirky, the cute, the disturbing, gross, childish, introspective, bizarre, the unusual-Wowee Zonk has something for you and I recommend seeking it out in June. You can check out some snippets on their Tumblr site here Wowee Zonk.