Even if you were one of the lucky 39,000 people who visited the New York Art Book Fair this past weekend, there’s a good chance you didn’t catch all of the 370 stands scattered throughout MoMA PS1’s labyrinthine nooks—and you are nearly guaranteed to have missed a large portion of fair’s zine offerings.
Luckily, we did the dirty work for you: Here’s our roundup of the best zines available at the 2016 NY Art Book Fair.
Understanding Nicotine by Dr. Ispib Osnotkitchi & Brian Blomerth at Pups in Trouble Press
This trippy comic book is the undisputed weirdest zine I encountered at this year’s Fair. Understanding Nicotine chronicles the adventures of a fez and shade wearing dog doctor as he explores and explains the health benefits of injecting nicotine and vaping. The comic book’s illustrator Brian Blomerth claims that the content isn’t hyperbolic; supposedly Dr. Ispib Osnotkitchi is in fact an expert researcher on ‘alternative nicotine intake theory,’ although the actual evidence is... tenuous, to say the least.
Ben Kingsley As by Jayson Musson at Social Malpractice Publishing
You’ve probably heard of Jayson Musson, whether regarding his hilariously fascinating art practice or his fascinating online art guru persona Hennessey Youngman. His new zine at the NY Art Book Fair is a continuation of his comedic genius, describing fabled actor Sir Ben Kingsley in a series of roles and situations that are as ridiculous as they are culturally relevant. My personal favorite: “Ben Kingsley as Sam in George Lucas’ digital remaster of Casablanca.”
If I Ruled the World by various at Press Press
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Sep 3, 2016 at 10:11am PDT
Shifting towards a more serious direction, If I Ruled the World, a collaborative zine by a series of Baltimore-based artists and creatives, explores the possibility of a brighter future in light of last year’s protest and uprising. Kimi Hanauer from Press Press asked Baltimore creatives to share their visions and ideas for a better Baltimore, and how they would change the world if they were in charge.
HomoCats: Fight the Power by J. Morrison at HomoCats
A strange fusion of anthropomorphic cats, sexuality, and other of-the-moment issues, HomoCats: Fight the Power is apt cultural commentary portrayed through a ridiculous comic visage. In one of the zine’s two-page spreads, a pair of cats stare at the reader and proclaim that they “are disgusted with American Ideals,” while the cat on the neighboring page brazenly proclaims “Free butt sex!” proving yet again how absurdity is often the best route to cultural insight.
A black-and-white photo zine by an anonymous author only identified by their Tumblr account, Alfabeto.Ilegal at 8 Ball Zines consists of a series of images relating to anti-criminal organizations in Brazil. Each image depicts the acronym of a Brazilian anti-drug organization or police unit, created through the carefully planned arrangement of illegal substances, weapons, and money. In a country notorious for its widespread political corruption that has even resulted in the impeachment of its most recent president, Alfabeto.Ilegal is appropriately cynical commentary for the ingrained lack of justice within the troubled nation.
Issue 11 by Instigator at Instigator
Within this color photo zine are 18 Polaroid images, each accompanied with highly specific background information. The zine-maker known as Instigator found these Polaroids and created his own narrative for each that range from highly-believable scenarios to poetically existential fantasies. Issue 11 was printed in an issue of 18, and every zine purchaser receives one of the found Polaroids at random, taking part of the story home with them.
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Sep 16, 2016 at 11:09am PDT
Illustrator Justin Hager's new hand-bound coloring book consists of a series of light-hearted cultural remixes better suited for your own enjoyment rather than a child’s. Color in images of “Yeezus and Butthead,” “Rick James Franco,” and “Batman and Robin Williams,” along with many more bizarrely poignant combinations in this edition (of 200). If you missed it at the book fair, Color Me Bad is available for purchase here.
The 4th edition of dystopian sci-fi zine Trapper Keeper brings together 19 different artists to explore the highly specific theme of “future sex.” The visual interpretations within range from illustrations of cyber-shamanistic masturbation to the envisioning of a time where our bodies are prescribed starred reviews just like Amazon products.
Artist Paul Shortt recently conducted a workshop where he “lead participants on how to transform from an amateur to a professional in any interest or hobby,” according to the official description. The first set of his Professional Amateur Zines highlights the ins and outs of his workshop lessons like how to fake a transcript by using security paper because no one is going to ask to see your actual diploma, while the second zine shows the completed Professional Amateur Business Cards, ranging from an “Invisible co-star of Broad City” to a “Professional Self-deprecating Ass.”
Shortt Editions was on fire at the Book Fair, and another zine by Paul Shortt deserves mention. Modern Greetings is a zine that shows alternative ways to greet people that feel relevant to the age we live in. Highlights include 'cell phone branding,' where each person places their own phone on the other person’s forehead in kind acknowledgement, and the 'cell phone bump,' which consists of approaching someone while you are both on the phone, bumping elbows, and then going back to talking on the phone, which has potential to become the fist-bump of 2017.
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Sep 18, 2016 at 2:21pm PDT
An anthology zine of sorts, Cats Hate Cops chronicles 150 years of documented instances where cats have attacked cops and other authority figures. The 62 pages of black-and-white, xeroxed, collected news excerpts include cats biting mayors in the leg and the story of a particularly heroic stray cat attacking a Washington state police chief multiple times in 1992.
What were the best zines you found at NYABF? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below.