Zine Crush Volume 4 Deadline

 am accepting contributions for Zine Crush Volume 4 until July 1, 2014. If you’ve ever had a crush on someone who makes a zine or mini comic, I want to hear about it. I love it all: written confessions, comics, portraits, anonymous love letters, cut n’ paste pining, photos, and all combinations of these. 

The only requirement is that the contribution be about having a crush on a zinester. Or if you, being a zinester, have ever had anyone crush on you based on your zine.

Questions and electronic files can be directed to zinecrush@gmail.com. Hard copies can be sent to my post office box, but please note that originals will not be returned.

Dimensions of the zine are 5.5″ x 8.5″ (digest size). There is no page restriction. I will include some of the contributions on the web site, too. Payment for being in the zine is a free copy and a flat, which you can use to make your own copies. Please scan all artwork 600 dpi and submit as a TIFF file.


TABLEGEDDON & OkCupid Portrait #8

I’m still not sure why he asked me to contribute — I suspect it was a mass mailing mistake that he was too polite to mention — but I sent Rob Kirby a couple pages for his TABLEGEDDON compilation. It debuts at the Small Press Expo next month, and I’m very eager to read it. Some of my favorite cartoonists are featured, including John Porcellino, Carrie McNinch, Kelly Froh, Max Clotfelter, Gabrielle Gamboa, Aron Nels Steinke . . . actually, everyone in it. I highly recommend ordering a copy!

The story I submitted tells of my experience at the Portland Zine Symposium earlier this month, where I spotted and then tried to figure out how (without revealing my identity) to get a copy of Zine Crush to the zinester below, one of my OkCupid portraits. It’s a story with many unnecessary complications, the story of my life.

Speaking of the OkCupid portraits, I’ve done nine of them now. And I have a few more to draw. Instead of putting them all up here or in Zine Crush Vol. 4, I am planning to make a mini-zine. If you have a profile on that free dating site, and if you make a zine (or simply read a lot of zines), send me your username. It’s fascinating to me how zinesters, who put themselves out there in print, present and connect on OkCupid.


Zine Crush 3 is available!

Volume 3 of Zine Crush is now available for $2 to: Zine Crush, PO Box 936, Portland, OR 97207.

5.5″ x 8.5″, 32 pages. Contributors include Liz Prince, Bobby Madness, Tim Murphy, Nat Clark, Christina Wheeler, O.C., Rachel Lee-Carman, Mike Driver, Simon Mackie, Ya-Wen Ho, Nick Alston, Gabriel Darling, Sheika Lugtu, three anonymous folks, and the Zine Crush Editor.

Most of the material hasn’t appeared on this site — including four new OkCupid Portraits (the model for one of them, turns out, was at the Portland Zine Symposium last weekend, but that’s another story).

volume 3

The Dvorak Zine

By Gabriel Darling

I have a hard time deciding who I would date or marry, The New Yorker or The New York Times. Both know how to woo me so deeply and well.

The New York Times is a dozen red roses and chocolates over and over again with each turn of the page – such beautiful and subtle magic capturing the senses! So rich for sight and smell, tactile efforts woven together with carefully crafted and edited phrases.

The New Yorker, gee, it’s simultaneously the young and engorged buck with Grecian godlike features whilst managing to be the stately older, power driven intellectual you always were randy about in an effortless sort of way, that managed to both build you a bookcase and do the laundry in the same day!

However, crushes, that’s a different story entirely.

The Dvorak zine is so cute, informative, and twee, I have this hopeful crush on it. Additionally, I have a crush on one of the Dvorak zine contributors – Gabe Carleton-Barnes (GCB).

Reasons why the Dvorak zine is the cat’s meow! – and miaow!

The Dvorak zine was presented to me as a traditional paper zine. One can find an online web comic thanks to the Dvorak Zine Team. The zine illustrates rather nicely the development of the typewriters, keyboards, and key placements. Moreover, it explains how convenient and easy the Dvorak simplified keyboard is to use. The zine appreciates, promotes, and rallies behind elegant design.

It’s a great zine about a seriously efficient, quirky innovator that is so often overlooked – misunderstood genius or someone before his time? I admire a new and different approach to ordinary situations and circumstances. “QWERTY! What’s that!?” LOL

It is refreshing to see a visionary cling tenaciously to an idea that makes so much sense.

A man, a plan, and a simplified keyboard….

Well, not exactly a palindrome…but it has a snappy tone to it.

Gabe Carlton-Barnes, or GCB, as his friends call him, is one of the contributor to the Dvorak zine.

GCB – PDX based individual and one time Brooklyn resident – has only crossed my path twice. Gabe has always been gracious, kind, and caring…and eerily maintained a pristine, creamy, smooth complexion and a wry grin.

Gabe is a fine young gentleman and is a credit to his gender. The second time I met GCB was in Brooklyn at some arcade bar establishment. He arrived with Aaron Renier at an advantageous moment – advantageous to and for me. I was somehow in some awkward conversation with a creepy guy – who shall remain nameless lest your readers know whom said uncomfortable personage is….

It truly was refreshing and exhilarating to run into some parts of home (PDX) so far away on the East Coast … (Brooklyn, remember…)

I’ve met some Gabriels in my time, but Gabe, GCB, is an amazing individual that provided scintillating conversation and was able to expound on his zine work and mix in an incredibly funny and caring gaggle of smiling and unassuming faces.

It doesn’t hurt that we share a first name. I’m always partial to meeting other Gabriels – see if they sparkle as we banter.

I have a fondness for typewriters and keys…so, Dvorak zine GCB, you spin a glorious yarn and I’m glad you and your amigos brought the comfort of Portland raw dampness and moist graces to my BK (Brooklyn) night out.

This zine crush is for you GCB – Gabe Carlton-Barnes!

Gabriel Darling


By Bobby Madness

Man, i was reading Zine Crush in the Library (Powell’s), and I thought of my first zine crush. I was crashing in my friend Brett’s basement without telling him. He was staying with this over the hill rock and roll chyck that thought she knew everything. They were eating all these crazy designer drugs and he was living there with her and her boyfriend, like, double teaming her and playing Psychocandy by Jesus and Mary Chain till their eyes rolled out of their heads, or something. Well,I met this totally rad girl who was doing this zine called Killing Machine, with her goth, stuck up mean friend, who like, was so goth she hung upside down like a bat when she slept, and ate spiders for breakfast. Well, I figured she was cool — her zine was great, she liked The Fiends and the Misfits, she was a really good artist who was in art school, and she had a mohawk, which I’d never seen before.

We started hanging out and drinking beer together, and I shoplifted her some cool stuff from the Comic Store. We went out on a couple of dates, you know, drinking under the bridge and sneaking into the movies, shit like that. We looked for some graphics from some old magazines, to put in her zine. Well, one night we were hanging out at Brett’s getting really wasted — oh, I forgot to mention that I wasn’t actually telling Brett I was crashing in his basement. His new girlfriend, since she was so stuck up, said I couldn’t crash there, since I wasn’t some cool heroin guy. So when I’d go to leave, I’d just prop the door to her building open, and go inside and crash in the basement. There was all these storage units down there, and so I could just grab a mattress, and kick back and read some medical book s with pictures of bear attacks in them — it was all i could find! The only bummer was i had to listen to those three goons upstairs fucking all night, playing that goddamn Jesus and Mary Chain record. Well, it was cold out and we were drunk and she got stuck in the city, so I told her about my secret crash spot that sucked. She actually thought it was cool, and crashed there with me! It was great to have the company, and we laughed our ass off listening to those guys going through the kama sutra.

The next day she asked me if I would accompany her out to the burbs to get some of her art. I thought it was weird that she wouldn’t let me in her house, but she said her roomates were dicks. Well, we hung out all day together, and at night we went over to Brett’s to party, and sleep in his basement. He was so happy that I finally met a girl, he let me bum 2 hits of this crazy designer drug his friend invented. Me & her popped them, and sat back to enjoy the fireworks. Well, the drugs made the music sound better, but she got all weird and decided we had to split. I tried to mellow her out in the basement, and thought I finally succeeded, when I passed out at 5 a.m. When I woke up though, she was gone! I couldn’t find her anywhere, and I felt really bad. Finally, I went out and asked her roommates in the burbs. But they weren’t her roommates, they were her parents, and it turns out she wasn’t in Art School, she was in High School! I lit out before the pigs showed up, and when I told Brett about it, he told me his friend hadn’t worked out all the kinks in his new drug yet, and his girl went blind for 3 days after taking it! I found out later her parents found her trying to eat a tree in the neighbor’s yard naked in the snow, and put her in a mental institution. Man, what a weird crush!

OkCupid Portrait #1

I’ve had limited luck with the free dating site OkCupid. I’ve met a few good friends there, but never had more than 2 or 3 romantic dates with anyone. My experience was I’d find somebody I really matched with, we’d exchange messages and remarkably hit it off. But then in person, the chemistry didn’t happen. Maybe it was due to pheromones or misplaced expectations, I don’t know.

My account remained disabled for years. Then a zinester friend posted on Facebook about her OkCupid frustrations. This is a person I’ve had a crush on for a while, and I wondered what our Match percentage would be. I logged on and searched by city, but didn’t find her. Then I noticed the keyword search feature. I typed in “zines,” and there she was — along with half the people I’ve dated in Portland!

I discovered that there are dozens of zine makers and readers on OkCupid. And this inspired the following portraits. I’ve left off the usernames and cities, but the people are real. If anyone would like to submit their own profile for consideration, email me!


I’d Leave it All Behind For You

By Christina Wheeler

Sometimes we are so wrapped up in our lives, so absorbed in our little microcosms that we neglect to notice things that are right in front of us. An art contributor to my zine who sat on my friend’s list on Facebook for over a year somehow became someone I talk to daily, on the phone sometimes twice daily, through texts, IM’s, e-mails, and snail mail. To say that I am obsessed is a criminally inaccurate understatement. More than that and at a very early stage of talking to this man, I have had this deep awakening and unfolding of complex and sometimes uncomfortably passionate and direct emotions. He strums those parts of me gently and unmistakably.

He became the catalyst for some kind of inner transformation that I hadn’t planned on. Gotye has a song that reminds me so much of what he’s done for me, though I’m not sure even he knows to what extent. It’s called “Save Me.”

And you gave me love
When I could not love myself
And you made me turn
From the way I saw myself
And you’re patient, love
And you help me help myself
And you save me
And you save me
Yeah you save me

It’s all there. He rolled out this amazing acceptance for everything that I was, all the bad parts, the sad parts, the parts I was and am ashamed of. I stripped myself naked and let him see it all. He loved me for all of them. He kissed my scars, both literally and figuratively. He showed me all of his innards, too: the questionable, the bizarre, the sometimes scary, the things that he, himself, was nervous or overly conscious about. I have, in turn, accepted all of it without question. Why? In sharing all that we are, all our idiosyncrasies that make up who we are, exactly, I came to realize something: I love this guy. I can’t get enough of him. He made me laugh when laughter hadn’t been in my life in a long time. He reminded me that love exists on a grand scale. I hadn’t believed in that kind of love in so long. Yet, there it was standing before me like a reflection in my mirror.

It seems insane to have all these big feelings about someone I’ve only met once, but that one time we met is what really drove the point home that this guy was not like anyone I had ever experienced before. We spent just one day together, so demanding our individual responsibilities are of our time, but that one day was nothing short of magic. We didn’t have sex, but we rolled around that king-size bed for a full day, never once eating or taking care of any other physical needs. We were fully lost in each other and trying as hard as we could to store the memories of our bodies and smiles and laughter in real life in our memory banks. Something to hold us for however many months it might be before we got to experience each other in that way again. The urgency much outweighed the awkwardness of a first meeting. This was someone I had connected with on a transcendental plane. He was new, but he was familiar already.

We do have a dreamy, ethereal romance at times. Fortunately we are fully grounded, logical people and that helps to balance the situation quite nicely. There’s a wonderful tension between the real and the abstract that we keep taut and for good reason. We can revel in the reverie of this bizarre and wonderful experience that being together has created but at the end of the day we plant our feet again firmly on the ground. There has to be that grounding because if there isn’t it just wouldn’t work. We would both float off into dreamland and nothing would be planned, nothing accomplished. This kind of thing takes careful planning. There are too many variables, too many chances for chaos to invade and turn things upside down on us. No, we need to have our wits about us, and we do.

We have many months before we can turn our long distance love affair into something local and easily accessible. Months. Every day feels like eternities where the universe folds in on itself, but we try to keep a steadily upbeat attitude about it all. I think we both realize that we are worth the wait, that this connection isn’t to be taken lightly and maybe to fully own it we have to actively work for it and prove that we want it. Regardless, I am counting down the days until I can slip my hand back into his. It’s only a matter of time.

Illustration by O.C.

Illustration by O.C.