~ tiny literature capturing forgotten moments, queerness, silly illustrations, and random poetic thoughts ~
It has been a good while since I last shared anything to do with the Electric Zine Maker, so I thought I should highlight some of the work people have made in it recently.
Making an art tool is a humbling experience. I’m constantly blown away by the beautiful work people make in it and the fact that they would choose the Electric Zine Maker to make something in the first place.
Many of the zines use the tools in unique ways that surprise me. I often catch myself feeling like “wow I would never have thought of that!”
I think it’s beautiful that so many are personal stories too. Zines about being queer, about trans things, identity… I feel like when you make an art tool, with the way people use it, you learn a lot about yourself too.
There are also frequent artists, whose names you get used to seeing, and become fans of their work. I love everything Jeremy Oduber has done for and with the Electric Zine Maker, Starlybri’s art, the inspiring aesthetic from axoona, and the fact that Kultisti also makes zines with it… Making an “art tool” introduces you to a lot of wonderful artists!
So here are some of the many zines from recent (and a few from not-so-recent). Maybe you will find artists to follow and become fans of too!
Fun Facts About Garden Eels by Marguerite
“A short zine filled with absolutely true information about these amazing lil guys.”
Fun Facts About Garden Eels is an adorably illustrated zine featuring silly (absolutely factual) facts about garden eels. It’s sweet and will bring a smile to your face!
The same author has made another zine that’s similarly as cute, In This House Everyone Eats.
This Zine Is For This Bird by Kultisti
This zine strikes me as particularly precious. It’s such a poetic view of “a moment”… noticing a bird and appreciating the fact that you saw it. Acknowledging that this being exists… I know it’s a short little thing but I feel like it so perfectly captures why zines are special. I love it. I’ve thought about it a lot since reading it.
Kultisti also makes amazing games.
Accidental Photography by Alicia
“accidental photography is a tiny zine that provides an open invitation to take a minute to discover and appreciate the accidental photographs that were destined to be forgotten in the depths of my phone gallery.”
In a similar vein to “This Zine Is For This Bird“, Accidental Photography is about commemorating things that you would otherwise discard. We all take accidental photos. I delete mine. It’s particularly special to see them commemorated like this, looking into the accidental moments of someone else’s life. I love the CSS work on the itch page with turning the browser cursor into a tiny camera.
It’s a special commemoration of the forgettable.
Some Obscure Acronyms by MindApe
“A pamphlet about acronyms.”
I feel like there’s a small theme in these last couple of zines where there’s an appreciation for the obscure, forgettable, or otherwise unnoticeable. This one is similarly as delightful.
Some Obscure Acronyms takes creative use of the ASCII art tool and makes a space for little imaginative acronyms. The zine is called an “ambiguity” on itch.
It prompts you that “the best way to introduce an acronym is to use it without explanation as much as possible“.
Death: Of the Caquetio by Jeremy Oduber
Death: Of the Caquetio is an older zine that I feel like I should include because I still think of it every once in a while.
It’s a deep, touching, and sincere reflection on heritage and death. It says a lot and I don’t want to misquote or misrepresent it so I’ll just encourage you to read it. I appreciate that it exists.
Jeremy Oduber is responsible for the HTML5 Reader for Electric Zine Maker, and is the biggest reason that so many Electric Zine Maker zines are published as these beautiful browser booklets. If it weren’t for this person you would (probably) just be seeing boring .pdf’s of EZM zines… Serious appreciation for Jeremy!
The Blacklips Performance Cult by Phage Maleficar
“From 1992 to 1995, the Blacklips Performance Cult was a queer acting troupe that performed new plays every Monday night at The Pyramid Club. This zine is a brief overview of their history.”
The Blacklips Performance Cult Zine is a beautiful little piece of history with photos and quotes about this queer acting troupe. It’s a lovely little introduction to something you might otherwise not have known about. It’s queer history!
A Journey of Fear Quoted Famously by Bat
“My first zine! Enjoy!!”
A Journey Through Fear makes use of some of the Electric Zine Maker’s image tools to illustrate famous quotes about fear. It’s a thoughtful little thing that I enjoyed paging through.
we are still here by Elliotsoon
“A zine on the queer experience”
This is a tiny black and white collaborative zine about the queer experience. It’s a lovely little tangible thing (if you print it out). I appreciate the writing in it, all from queer artists.
In Another Life by Phage Maleficar
“Using the Zine Idea Generator, I got the description “make an exquisite corpse zine that offer alternatives to your life 10 years ago.” Technically 11 years ago but close enough, I went to Punk Island in NYC. This tells the story if I had run away to Oakland with one of the bands.”
This is a beautifully illustrated zine (using many of the very colorful tools from the Electric Zine Maker) to tell the story about a life that could have been.
2 AM Alarm Too by Kultisti
A beautifully illustrated art zine about waking up at 2 AM.
I’m a magical girl! zine by Sabrina Sims
“A unabashedly colorful kawaii 8 page zine about embracing my girlness and love of cute stuff.”
I love Sabrina’s work. She makes these beautiful thoughtful bright things that often talk about identity. She’s an amazing artist that’s wonderful to follow. I would be remiss if I made an EZM roundup and didn’t include her.
transparency by cyrsed
“Zine about being alienated & the hyper-vigilance that comes from existing on the internet & unrelatedly being depressed & about the movie Kairo”
Transparency is a downloadable pdf zine featuring some atmospheric surreal glitch art that evokes the feeling of alienation. It’s very artistic and kind of up to your own interpretation.
The same artist has other similarly esoteric zines on the itch page. They are quite beautiful and interesting.
i don’t know if i should like KAEDE Smith by S.T.
“A zine created for Review Jam 2023.
Morgan and her internet persona S.T. discuss one of killer7’s playable personalities, KAEDE Smith, and hope to arrive at a conclusion (and learn how to use Electric Zine Maker) within the suggested 2 hour deadline. Whether they’re successful or the results are legible is anyone’s guess.”
This is a thoughtful artistic review of a video game character. I don’t have much to say about it other than that I appreciated reading it.
The Stars Are Queer by magitekangel
The Stars Are Queer is a beautifully illustrated zine about the stars being… well… queer! It’s sweet and I still think about it sometimes. It’s this perfectly thoughtful little booklet of musings about the sky (in a strong queer context). I love it and think it’s special.
This same artist has a few other little scattered zines that I enjoyed paging through here: magitekangel.itch.io
I think it’s worth noting how special it feels to randomly find an itch page that has little to not context of the things there and it’s full of artistic little random thoughts or notes from someone.
The “Made with the Electric Zine Maker” itch.io collection is always growing and there’s so much beautiful work there. If you like what you see in this post, you can find more here.
Thank you and be sure to support the artists!
Also… to recommend some more reading:
Tim Cowlishaw on Mastodon wrote this beautiful reflection on plaything through “RUNONCE” and the philosophies surrounding tiny software. I love how he went into the concepts of “scale”, especially how all this exists in the shadow of the greater tech space. It’s deep and I highly recommend reading it because it gave me a lot to think about! Tiny Weird Software: A method for minor speculations
There is also this very lengthy video essay on Screen Mates (in Polish). It lists a bunch of sources in the video description making it a wonderful resource if you are into desktop pets or virtual friends. It discusses some of my own work too. I’m touched that my work often comes up when discussing the history of desktop pets.