Here’s a squizz at the Target 168 zines that came in the post the week before last, snug and secure in the traditional Sticky Institute pink-and-white striped paper bag. There looks to be some real stunners in this batch – I’ve already read a few of them and there’s some others I’m looking forward to reading in the next available quiet public transport moment I get.
I’m going to do some reviews this time – I meant to do that with the Target 168: Eurovision zines from last year but never got around to it – so stay tuned for lots of lovely semiregular zine review goodness in the coming weeks.
Last week I put up my exit interview for the latest round of Comic Artist Rehab, signifiying the successful completion of 28 days of new comics creation. As I mentioned in my self-introduction at the beginning of February, I came away from my first rehab round feeling like I’d over-thought the exercise and tried too hard to make things good, if that makes sense. I worked very hard on getting the drawings “right” – sketching them first, then pencilling them in before finally redrawing them in ink – and came up with a plot structure that every four-panel entry would follow.
This time around I decided to shoot from the hip with no overarching story in mind, just waiting until a panel was finished before posing the question of what to put in the following panel.
I also decided to ditch the whole sketch-then-pencil-then-ink approach to the pictures, instead committing to drawing with whatever pen was nearby on whatever scrap of paper I could shnaffle from the rubbish bin. No redrawing, no pre-drawing, just pen to paper and letting it flow.
I finished another zine last week as part of the latest round of Target 168, the “make a zine in 168 hours” project that the Sticky Institute runs every so often, this time around as part of the annual Festival of the Photocopier.
Once again, being unable to attend anything at the Eff-Oh-Pee because of geographical, familial and employment considerations, I participated remotely from my laptop and knocked up a wee 12-pager (including covers) in response to the theme du jour: question cards from some random 1980s video boardgame called Commercial Crazies.
Said 12-pager is a zine called Who is Behind the Fat Man in Line?, which I must say I’m happier with than my last Target 168 offering, which was part of last year’s Eurovision-themed round, mainly because this second bite of the T168 cherry features a good deal less snark and a lot more robots. Back in my personal comfort zone, I am.
Who is Behind the Fat Man in Line?follows a kind of six-degrees-of-separation stream of logic, jumping from the aforementioned Commercial Crazies boardgame to a make-your-own Trevor “The Buggles” Horn paper doll via Harvey Birdman Attorney-at-Law,1960s Japanese cartoons, the use of the name “Tobor” in popular culture, fictional boardgames and the circa-1920 Czechoslovakian origin of the word “robot”.
Look what came in the post yesterday, all packed into a white-and-pink-stripey paper bag like the one the nice lady from the newsagent would put your Dear Grandma card in. The cream of the Target 168: Eurovision 2009 zine crop. Which is to say: all of them.
I’ve delved a bit, had a bit of a read of some of them and I gotta say me likey. Lots of them are wee and brief, both in dimensions and pagecount, and that fact is reassuring to me in terms of my own approach, as is the apparent choice that many other particpants made to go the wikipedia route when confronted with a country they knew little about.
I’m thinking about posting some 168-word reviews of some of my favourites over the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned.
If you’ve got a bit of a Eurovision zine itch that needs some scratching, the folks at Sticky have all 39-or-thereabouts Target 168: Eurovision 2009 zines in stock at the moment, available in the store, and rumour has it they’ll also be available in the soon-to-be-launched mail order service.
The Institute have just released their latest Sporadic Correspondence, and I’d like to close with the nicest thing I’ve heard all day, taken right from their overview of the whole Target 168 Shebang:
Everyone felt terribly guilty and thought their zines were shit, but everyone’s zine was GREAT
I really wasn’t sure I was going to make it, but at 4.30pm yesterday afternoon I dropped off a bundle of zines at the Sticky Institute as my contribution to the Target 168 synchronised zinemaking project.
It’s only 12 pages long – 16 if you count the cover – but I reckon it’s pretty okay for a full-time-working dad of two to be able to find enough spare hours in a continuous 168-hour stretch to put together a 16-page zine from scratch.
If you’re dying to know more about Ukrainian Eurovision competitors Ruslana and Svetlana Loboda, or you want to read some cursory musings about chicken Kiev (yes, I went there) and the Soviet Space Program, or you just want to read some zine reviews written by the nation of Ukraine itself, then this might be just the zine for you.
I’m not sure how I feel about the end result. There are times when I feel like there’s too much about Eurovision and not enough about Ukraine in there, and there are times when I worry that my attempts at joking about the trashiness of Eurovision come across as pervy and bitchy.
I’ve been assigned my country as part of the Target 168 project and, as I had fervently hoped, Ms. Svetlana Loboda will be bringing her Hell Machine and her trio of shirtless shiny-helmeted centurions to the 2009 Eurovision Grand Final tomorrow night. And her victory is my victory, because it means that I get to write my Target 168 zine about Ukraine.
I was excited enough when I got the call from the organisers letting me know that Ukraine was mine-all-mine, because I now have not an excuse, but an obligation to create a zine with a picture of Ruslana and her flamethrower on the cover.
But then I did a little wikipedia research into Ukraine and found out that none other than Sergey Korolyev, the Chief Designer himself – the guy who practically ran the Soviet Space Program single-handedly (and anonymously) from its inception to the mid-sixties – was Ukranian.
So. A legitimate reason to put flamethrowers on the cover? Check. A legitimate reason to crap on about rockets and stuff? Check.
This is going to be fun.
And for those who missed it, here’s Ms. Loboda in all of her no-other-name-for-it-really glory. Enjoy.
Earlier this year as part of International Literature Conspiracy Week, the folks at Sticky ran a little thing called Target 144, a synchronised zinemaking project/exhibition wherein zinemakers committed to starting and finishing an entire zine within the space of 144 hours. Which is six days. The whole thing looked like a lotta fun – there was even a table of zinemakers set up at Sticky for some of that time.
Target 168 is the next step in the program, a full-week-long zinemaking project whereby those willing to participate will commit to starting and finishing a whole-honest-to-goodness-done-and-dusted zine between 16 and 21 May. This time around, the theme of the zine needs to relate in some way to the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest and/or one of the 25 nations competing in said final, which is on during the time constraints mentioned above.
You don’t have to be in Melbourne to sign up for Target 168, or even in Australia for that matter. I urge all of you reading now who are of the zinemaking persuasion (or even if you’re not – this would be a great way to start off) to seriously consider taking part. The full rules for Target 168 are up on Sticky’s website, as are instructions on how to sign up.
Everyone who participates will get a copy of the zines made by everyone else who participates, so not only is it a good goad for your own zinemaking practises, it’ll be a real shot in the arm for your zine collection too.