Zines (ongoing) – Rory Blank

5 out of 5

A monthly zine of varying contents, printed up by Rory Blank. These are, befitting the format, very DIY: colored-paper covers; generally black and white pages; undersized, folder-over-and-stapled production; and blissfully random. Blank’s humor runs a wiggly line from surreal to crass to non-humor, told in a mostly simplistic style, and then the art is more or less stylized depending on the story’s tone. Occasionally, we’ll also get some collage issues, which generally take the form of cut-up information presented as ads for movies or products.

Given that you vibe with Blank’s particular brand of humor, the real plus here is the complete unpredictability: there’s really no telling, month to month, what the exact tone of any given issue will be, or even whether it will be one whole story (told across 15ish pages) or several short ones; it’s great fun to stare at a random cover drawing, completely unknowing of whether or not the insides are gonna be kooky or weird or potentially even contemplative – something complex, or something dumb. And I love that Blank hasn’t put a filter on that, letting whatever is most creatively interesting at that moment guide what’s printed, outputting these things with a workhorse mentality I very much appreciate.

Of course, the flipside to that randomness is not knowing, from one zine, whether or not the others will appeal, but I think that’s probably backwards – I have to assume most are coming to purchase these based off of Blank’s other web-available works, which are free to consume, almost always daily, and give one plenty of opportunities to see the creator’s varying forms of irreverence.

I purchased a large chunk of these zines in bulk (there have been about 30some made as of early 2022, though some of those are unavailable), and each one has been worth the price, whether offering up laugh-out-loud gags, puzzling symbology, or random mash-ups of imagery.