I Love Spiders is a Queer Zine reminiscent of photocopied, cut-and-pasted Zines from the zine explosion “back in the day” (well, that’s a relative term—a couple of decades ago…?)—with some very modern twists: for instance, if one looks closely, there is a website URL, email addy, and so on…. Welcome to the 21st century!
According to lolagouine, this is an English-language version of “It’s Raining Dykes” and is described as an activist queer zine. This means we get to experience a fascinating range of what lolagouine finds important (and we may find it is important to ourselves, as well), which she would prefer to not be read by “queerphobic, racist, misogynist, imperialist, capitalist, religious fundamentalist, pro 2nd-amendment, pro-life and pro-war bullshit” people. Their loss!
The zine is a true feast for the eyes, from illustrated essays that look like they were pasted up with a glue-stick (and sometimes lettered with a rubber stamp) to comics pages, from very detailed to hilariously minimalist. Rounding it out are some full page illustrations, as well and photos of the future lolagouine as a bright-eyed child, happily searching for spiders. (I can identify with that: Little Roberta—and big one, too, loves spiders, and woe to anyone who dares presume they can squash one in my presence!)
The essays run from the personal, (why she is drawing comics and is not a musician) to sharing her international experience and thoughts on culture clashes, from a concert in Barcelona to a violent street demonstration in Toulouse. I Love Spiders has a very strong international identity, along with its sexual identity. Lolagouine muses about gender politics, polyamory (in my day it was called nonmonogamy—I say, delivered in my best granny-voice) and gives a very detailed and valuable history of queer zines in comic form—again, with many web sites given for reference. The tone of the essays can be very political but also show a great sense of humor and insight, and an essayist who doesn’t always have to take herself too seriously.
The comics cover everything from the rocky road of relationships to the infuriating annoyance of being a dykey gal mistaken for a boy in the women’s showers, and the Spider of the title has a special section all its own—let’s just say, be thankful you are not living with a spider who has a very active libido and entirely too much time on its, uhhh—hands (all eight of them?) “You used to kill for every hair on my legs!”
The only criticism I would really offer is that some of the print is very small, and some of the most valuable information on the Zines history article/comic consists of type printed against a grey screened background, which makes it very difficult to read. Clearly, this was not created with older eyeballs in mind.
The more I read this zine, and flipped through its pages, the more I began to have flashbacks to LA in the early 1970s, bringing to mind Sister newspaper and The Lesbian Tide magazine—which I eagerly looked forward to: exciting publications with quaint production and heartfelt, earth-shaking values opening up new channels of communication and raising political questions which were previously unavailable. Now, almost forty years later, some things have not changed that much. Indeed, in these days, when we increasingly learn that our internet activity is an open book to all (even those who do not have our best interests in mind), there may still be a place for the anonymity of the photocopied and stapled publication passed hand to hand.
Cover Price: $4
Editors’ Note – Thanks for reading! Hope to see you back here Halloween weekend, it’s going to be a scream!! – PKA