by Katriona Chapman
24 pages / B&W / £6.50
Review by Tom Mortimer
Katronia Chapman’s Katzines are beautifully illustrated comics and writings about life, personal experiences, memories and travelling.
Chapman uses the extent of her talents and craft to create a place of deep and rich interest. Even the texture and weight of the pages makes it feel as if you’re holding an item invested with thought. A devotion to sharing and memory. The softness of her imagery has a disarming sensation, a bypassing of defences.
The tone carries a similar sense of internal dialogue as that of a film narration, smoothly tapping into the intimacy of reading or listening to an audio tape through headphones. Here is the voice of a friend caught up in something they love. I think it is through this personal aspect, as well as the honesty and nature of the insight, that most captures the zine ethos tagged to it. The range of approaches in zine culture are vast, but if I were to lay a table with examples of possibilities, I would include Katzines as a potential benchmark.
In some respects, the zines of old gave way to blogs and social media with the growth of the internet, but they’ve also re-emerged from that as items of craft (building within small press a culture of personal artistic expression and exchange). Chapman’s Katzines definitely embody the benefit of this later shift. When you consider the theme of travel, for example, it’s a dramatic contrast between her tales and the streams of photo albums that appear on our social networking feeds. If this were a blog and not such a richly presented comic, I doubt I would give it a glance. The illustration element could hold it’s own online, but it’s the physical form and specifically the book format that really enriches the experience.
On a similar note I think this is the kind of item you could overlook if it’s not what you usually look for, but once you’ve given an issue the time – and I hope you do – you may just change your mind.
Issues two and three were reviewed here. There are currently four issues of Katzine available, with more on the way.
Kat’s personal website can be found at katrionachapman.com, and her art and comics can be bought at the Tomatito Press online store. Kat is also active on Twitter @katchapman