Zineophilia #1: Womanimalistic and Pins & Needles

Posted by Tobias Carroll

[In which I attempt to create a semi-regular review of assorted zines that have crossed my path, of multiple types and disciplines. Here are two.]

At a release party at the City Reliquary, I picked up the first issue of Caroline Paquita’s Womanimalistic. (Also celebrated that day: the latest issue of Slice Harvester, which should be reviewed in the next installment of these.) I’m familiar with Paquita primarily because of her music: she’s presently one-third of the excellent forgetters, and her artwork adorns their recent debut seven-inch.

Paquita’s style here favors ornately drawn and arranged pages featuring both illustrations and test. This issue opens with a long, illustrated meditation on love, and lovers, with text taken from Carson McCullers’s “The Ballad of the Sad Cafe.” Later, the work turns more specific — one piece, called “Punk Medical Myths,” leads to a longer section dealing with health and wellness issues, and the issue closes out with an account of Paquita’s experience of becoming a beekeeper.

A few months ago, the author behind Pins & Needles contacted me. He’d read the zine I edited a decade or so ago (1996 to 2002, more or less), and wanted to send me a copy of his own. “Absolutely,” I said. And so: the first issue of Pins & Needles, subtitled “Collected Ramblings and Such.” It’s a half-sized zine, focusing mainly on daily observations — the sort of thing that one could find at many a distro table at hall shows in the mid-90s, but that you don’t see quite as much any more.

What struck me primarily about this issue was how much it felt like a sequel to those half-sized zines of yore. Its author is married and works a steady job, but 90s hardcore remains a constant presence in his life — the question of how to apply that sort of ethos to one’s life a decade or more after being exposed to it is a worthwhile one. And that gulf provides the cue for some solid observations, including one on how the list of influences on a Myspace page is the successor to the “ex-members of” that used to fit neatly beneath the names of bands on punk show flyers.