Melbourne zine distributors: The Zine Gang Distro

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We’re a bunch of artists and authors who make and distribute zines, from Melbourne, Australia.
 
We sell zines online through the Zine Gang Distro Estsy store, as well as at markets and some small art exhibitions across the country.
 
Our zines are varied, with most focusing on art and sketches – some a bit weirder than others. Some zines explore feminism and gender identity themes, or queer/LGBTI influences.

There are a few music and pop culture fanzines, as well as comic/sketch style zines parodying the creators’ social and ethnic upbringings, others about social critiques, or just plain nonsense!

 


How Zine Gang Distro began

Founding members Thomas Ballantine AKA DemonStrips and Mel Buttigieg started the Zine Gang in April 2018 with our mate Matt Power who makes a punk rock review zine series called Full Disclosure, as a way to get our zines out to the world.

We’ve gradually been extending our distribution with more creators coming on board, allowing them a platform to market their zines along with our own, while also growing the Zine Gang Distro audience all over the world.

Mel has even created a mini zini about the Zine Gang Distro origin story entitled What’s Mine is Yours, which we give out free with each order. It was recently reviewed by our friends at Sea Green Zines 🙂

Currently, our gang includes: DemonStrips, Mel Buttigieg, Full Disclosure – with Drawing by Alfred, FrankenComics, Samuel Emery, Aila Stefansdotter-Franck, Emily N3ver, Lazy Willy, V3R1TY, Mat Adams Comics (Brisbane), Timothy Train, and Caren Florance (Canberra).

How to find us

Check out the rad zines available at our online store.

Connect with us on Instagram @ZineGangDistro and Facebook

If you make zines and want to get involved, send us a DM or email: zinegangdistro@outlook.com 

Check out the zines from these artists and others from the Zine Gang Distro Etsy store.

Sick, Sad and Beautiful: Collab of conspiracies and creepy content

Founders of Zine Gang Distro Thomas Ballantne (AKA Demonstrips) and Mel Buttigieg had been talking of making a collab zine together pretty much since we started the distro in early 2018, but we weren’t sure how to tie our interests and strengths together.

Demonstrips is an artist, with a love for sci-fi and interest in conspiracy theories, while Mel is a professional news journalist and editor, inspired by anarchy, heavy metal, and goth culture.

We wanted to make a zine that was a mixed bag of the weird and wonderful, the creepy and the cooky – and what better way to showcase that than a Sick, Sad and Beautiful collection of conspiracies, cults, crimes, and oddities. This first edition, a 24-page A5 zine, is the result.

The creepy true crime: The Mark Kilroy murder.

The zine was made just in time for Halloween 2019 and the annual Sticky Institute zine showcase event Hallozeen. Big thanks to the event organisers for giving us a deadline to work towards, or this may never have seen the light of day!

We’re planning an all Australian edition to be released for Australia Day 2020, just in time for Festival of the Photocopier. Stay tuned.

Sick, Sad zine submissions welcome

If you have a conspiracy story, macabre moment, or goth-inspired tale of your own to tell, we’d love to hear from you.

Send us your submissions for consideration in a forthcoming edition of Sick, Sad and Beautiful. If we include it we’ll send you a free copy of the zine and add your name to the article. Get in touch at zinegangdistro@outlook.com and include Sick Sad Beautiful in the subject field.

Mel reviews the Ozzy Osbourne biography, and takes a retrospective look at Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar.

How to find us

Check out the rad zines available at our online store.

Connect with us on Instagram @ZineGangDistro and Facebook

If you make zines and want to get involved, send us a DM or email: zinegangdistro@outlook.com 

Check out the zines from these artists and others from the Zine Gang Distro Etsy store.


Zines make the best gifts, so here is a rad $30 Christmas bundle

Stuck on what to get that quirky, geeky, or arty type in your life for Christmas or a work Secret Santa? Look no further … Or just treat yourself!

We’ve pulled together an awesome selection of zines and comics from our distro (and thrown in a few extra bits and pieces) just in time for Christmas.

The $30 bundle includes free postage, just in time for Christmas

Just $30 gets you more than $50 worth of stuff including FREE POSTAGE anywhere in Australia.

The bundle includes some mini zines by Zine Gang Distro bosses Demonstrips and Mel Buttigieg, including the new Nightmare Before Christmas fanzine and Zine Gang Distro origin story.

Also from Mel and Demonstrips is the new Sick, Sad and Beautiful zine: a creepy collab magazine about goth-inspired cults, crimes, oddities and rock ‘n’ roll. Demonstrips also threw in his Let’s Draw Monsters (kid-friendly) drawing guide, and Sketch Nasty 2.

Drawing monsters is easy as rolling a dice and just going for it, thanks to this Demonstrips guide.

We also have Emily Never‘s latest Gothtober 2019 portrait zine, as well as a cute zine about the dancing demon Sammy Doom by the new Zine Gang Distro addition Michelle Harford.

Frank Candiloro’s The Black Cat comic tells the story of an artist whose animated cat comes to life to seek vengeance.

There’s also a collection of comics compiled by Tree Paper Comics; an all-too-true zine about trying to get to sleep, by Tim Train; a series of sketches by Brisbane artist Mat Adams; and V3r1ty’s Bricks dating mini zine.

We’ve also thrown in the super exclusive Zine Gang Distro bookmark, some pins, a neat Emily N3ver sticker, and a free postage coupon for your next order. That’s over $50 of value for just $30. Talk about a bargain!

More info on these zines and comics can be found listed individually on our Etsy store.

Christmas gifts

If the bundle is a gift, we will happily post the pack directly to the recipient for you, if you prefer. Just indicate the name and address you’d like it to go to when you place your order. And for a few bucks extra, we can even gift wrap it for you – just select the upgrade option upon check out.

The $30 Christmas zine bundle is available for a limited time from the Zine Gang Distro Etsy store HERE.

How to find us

Check out the rad zines available at our online store.

Connect with us on Instagram @ZineGangDistro and Facebook

If you make zines and want to get involved, send us a DM or email: zinegangdistro@outlook.com 

Check out the zines from these artists and others from the Zine Gang Distro Etsy store.

Sharing the rainbow zine love during Pride Month

As a LGBT+ ally, The Zine Gang Distro couldn’t let Pride Month pass without giving a huge rainbow shout to our super talented queer-identifying artists and zine makers.

Zines and comics are an awesome creative outlet of expression allowing everyone to fly their own flag and tell their personal stories – whatever gender or sexual orientation – without being marginalised.

Zines are a safe place for everyone to share their personalities and be proud of who they are. That’s why we love them!

Emily N3ver is showing her bisexual pride with a series of portraits on her @emily_n3ver Instagram page to celebrate some iconic bi people.

So far she’s featured Megan Fox, Andy Dick, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Angelina Jolie, Drew Barrymore, and Alan Cumming, to name just a few.

Check out Emily’s Insta for more bisexual pride (this month and always). Many of her zines are also portrait-focused, like Notorious B.L.O.N.D.E and Women In Horror, which celebrate women and feminist pop culture icons.

Notorious B.L.O.N.D.E by Emily N3ver celebrates iconic blonde women in pop culture

Frank Candiloro is another amazingly talented Zine Gang Distro artist and comic creator.

Identifying as non-binary, Frank’s comics certainly reflect the internal and external struggles of gender and identity enbies might face as they navigate their identities. Frank has produced numerous comics exploring stereotypes in gender roles and sexual identity.

Medicine Cabinet by Frank Candiloro explores gender identity as a non-binary person

Traditionally, comic books celebrate the hero in any given narrative, but Frank is certainly unafraid to represent the underdog in their comics, often with the neat twist of the protagonist becoming the unlikely hero of the story in their own right.

These characters usually take on non-gendered names, for example Jamie in Slasher and Raecl in Black Cat, which is a fitting nod to Frank’s non-binary identity.

Worse Things by Frank Candiloro is a Grease parody with a gay twist

Also part of the Zine Gang is Melbourne-based Taiwanese “wiener-drawer”, Lazy Willy.

Meng Lee draws incredibly detailed, super weird and non-PC art, which he also adapts to stick-and-poke tattoos, as well as zines.

Thanks to all our friends and supporters from all colours of the queer rainbow, for making the Zine Gang Distro such an inclusive and creative space. We love you all ❤

Zines by Emily N3ver and Frank Candiloro (and other talented zine makers) are available now from the Zine Gang Distro Etsy store.

Zine exhibition – Cut, Copy, Paste #2

Coburg’s NOIR Darkroom studio has opened up its exhibition space to showcase some really cool zines from creators across Melbourne, including members of the Zine Gang Distro, to present Cut, Copy, Paste #2.

The exhibition, from May 15 to Saturday May 26, is a fine art showcase of local zines where the zine itself is considered for the intricacies and the artwork that has gone into its production.

Unlike a zine fair or a pop up shop this is not a mass collection of zines or a market day but a selection of 20 local artists exhibiting in a contemporary art gallery context. Here the zine becomes the masterpiece exhibited alongside traditional fine art pieces that relate to the artists publication.

A cozy reading lounge is set up in the gallery space to allow visitors to spend some time browsing, and delve into the worlds the artists have created. A limit of five copies of each zine are available for purchase.

Demonstrips’ zines and art posters displayed at the NOIR Darkroom exhibit: Cut, Copy, Paste #2

Included among the 20 zine makers were Frank Candiloro, Demonstrips, and Mel Buttigieg.

Frank Candiloro exhibited their horror comic Slasher, which we reviewed in an earlier blog post.

Demonstrips presented his 60 page teen-fiction, sci-fi graphic novel Pine Cone Ridge, as well as the latest in his Sketch Nasty series, Sketch Nasty #3.

Frank Candiloro’s comic Slasher displayed at the NOIR Darkroom exhibit: Cut, Copy, Paste #2
Mel Buttigieg’s zines on display at the Cut, Copy, Paste #2 exhibition

Mel Buttigieg brought Wog Mum 2: Comic and Activity Book, as well as her tattoo collaboration zine No Regrets: Stories Behind the Ink.

We went along to the official opening on Friday May 17 and it was really cool to see our work hanging up in the gallery, among other talented zine makers.

If you get the chance before the exhibit ends on Saturday May 26, stop by the NOIR Darkroom for a look.

Exhibiting Artists:

Amber is Blue
Mel Buttigieig
Frank Candiloro
Maria Colaidis
Gennivieve Collier
Sionainne Costello
Vicki Clissold
Demonstrips
Nicola Hardy
Kim Hawdon
Lisa Jacomos
Rebecca Jordan
David K
Stefinie Luhrs “The 35mm Rule”
Daisy Mak
Emma Noack
Natalie Petrellis
Savi Ross
Samantha Taylor
Isabella Williams
Kerrie Wood

Cut, Copy, Paste #2 will exhibit at NOIR Darkroom, 57 Moreland Road, Coburg, Victoria, from May 15-26. Our zines also available from the Zine Gang Distro Etsy Store.

Yas Queen – Emily N3ver’s Women in Horror zine is the perfect touch of feminine darkness

It’s no secret the mega talented portrait artist with a side of goth and a sparkle of sass, Emily N3ver, is a huge fan of horror movies.

The self professed “hell raiser” celebrated Halloween 2017 by creating the wickedly wonderful Gothtober zine. It features portraits of some of the most iconic goths of all time, ranked for their gothliness out of 5 Bats.

Last October Emily backed it up with her highly popular Women in Horror zine. It celebrates the screen queens of horror, showcasing 31 original sketches featuring iconic females in timeless horror movies.

For the month of October 2018, Emily dove into her personal (and questionable) favourite horror movies, and drew one pivotal woman from each, for every day of the month. The portraits accompany the artist’s thoughts and opinions of the character and movie throughout the zine.

The zine has been Zine Gang Distro best seller, with horror fans all across Australia and the world picking up a copy. So we asked Emily what inspired her obsession with the macabre and why she chose to celebrate these iconic scream queens in such an awesome way…

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I am Emily N3ver, a zine maker, hell raiser and illustrator living and drawing in Melbourne, Australia.

My work is inspired by outer culture; weirdos, horror, punk, tattoos, things that are (or at least were) deemed unsavoury for mainstream consumption. For me, as a bisexual female artist I connect to monsters like The Creature From The Black Lagoon because I understand the fear of not being accepted which is something I try to explore in my work.

I have exhibited and sold zines internationally since 2002.

Why did you start this all-female horror tribute zine?

I started this zine on the night of September 30, 2018, giving myself the space of one evening to plan and then illustrate my self-made prompts for Instagram’s #inktober drawing challenge.

The year before I had created my own prompt list called #Gothtober and invited other people to be involved using that unique hashtag by drawing a person belonging to the gothic subculture once a day for the month of October. Due to its success I decided to do my own prompt list again but this time exploring another subculture close to my heart, women in horror.

I was particularly inspired to create this zine because in my own limited research I hadn’t found another zine like it yet embracing and celebrating the variety of female centred plots, let alone horror movies written and directed by women.

Working on Gothtober, 2017

What are the concepts of your Women in Horror zine?

Women in Horror is a sketch book zine featuring 31 predominant women in horror, from characters like Ellen Ripley, to Jenna Jamerson of Zombie Strippers. The zine holds particular focus on modern horror (movies from the past 40 years) especially those written and directed by women, like Jennifer’s Body‘s Karyn Kusama.

I wanted to celebrate the various roles women can occupy in horror because I feel they offer raw dialogues about societal and particularly cultural constructs about what it means to be female.

A tribute to Jamie Lee Curtis, in Halloween

How did you get into horror movies?

I got into horror movies at a young age. My sister, who was 10 years older than me, worked in a video rental store.

I’ll never forget the first time I watched The Nightmare Before Christmas when she brought it home for me on VHS. I was perhaps 5. I was terrified, exhilarated. I requested she rent the video out for me again and again until it was banned from our house.

Since then I’ve just been going from horror movie to horror movie still chasing that same thrill of being scared. I’ve long since lost count how many I’ve seen but I can recall exactly where and when I was with each one that left a lasting impact on me (like The Ring 2002, a sleep over at Sarah’s house).

What are your top 3 horror movies?

It’s a tough call to narrow it down, but my current top three horror movies are;
Alien 1979, directed by Ridley Scott, Staring Sigourney Weaver; Poltergeist‘ 1982, directed by Tobe Hopper; and The Love Witch 2016, directed by Anna Biller.

Alien to me is timeless, there’s been nothing like it since.

I felt awestruck when I realised Sigourney Weaver’s character Ellen was the protagonist. It felt like something huge to watch her navigate the nightmare unfolding bare faced and pragmatic.

It really shows that Ridley Scott couldn’t determine whether he had wanted to cast a man or woman in the role so left the character ambiguous to the point of being almost non-binary. This movie helped define my own sense of identity in a lot of ways and will always be important to me.

Poltergeist is so much fun! I love the campy nostalgia of it and best of all the male gaze throughout the film is minimal. It kind of doesn’t even matter what the men of this universe even do, sure they were part of the problem but solution rests with Tangina paranormal expert to save the day.

What’s more interesting is it has women from all different ages responding to the one crisis and allowing them the space to each have their own unique reactions to it which I can’t think of any other movie that does this.

The Love Witch is one of my new favourites.

Written, edited, produced, directed and scored by Anna Biller and staring Samantha Robinson. The film is set in modern day California however you’d be forgiven if you felt you were watching a hammer film of the 70s when first watching it.

The Love Witch taps into the difficult balance of women wielding the power of their own sexuality verses falling into the trap of being manipulated by the narrow ideals of male gaze. I adore the way it sucks you in as a charming adventure of a witch in her quest for love and ends in a blood bath.

Check out Emily’s zines and more from others at the Zine Gang Distro Etsy store.

Tim Train Rambles on about ‘Ramblings’, making zines and other nonsense

Tim Train is an eclectic zine maker and poet, with a sense of humor. His works are based around writing – whether that be satirical poems or essays, or articles. He tells us about the “world’s first brand new second-hand poetry book” he’s created entitled Ramblings, and how he learned the art of bookbinding.

Tim Train is a regular poetry reader at the Dan O’Connell Hotel, Carlton. Picture: Michael Reynolds

Getting to know Tim Train

City of origin: I get confused! I was born in Armidale; I grew up in Balranald; I went to Sydney Uni; I lived for a while in Newcastle; and now I’m settled in Melbourne. So when people ask me that I say “I come from New South Wales”. And Melburnians will look very pityingly at me.

Favourite movie: It’s corny but I love John Boorman’s old 1980s movie Excalibur.

Hobbies: Homebrewing, cheesemaking, origami, poetry, zinemaking (obviously), playing music, cooking.

Most useless l life skill: Probably my origami. As a kid I got into the habit of folding stuff on long car trips, and I made so much of it that my family literally filled buckets with it. (And then they kept it! Just sitting in a cupboard!)

Aside from zine-making and poetry, Tim Train also enjoys homebrewing, cheesemaking, origami, playing music, and cooking. Picture: origami by Lucy Downey (CC BY 2.0)

The title of my autobiography: Not sure. I’m fond of the line: “But wait! There’s less!”

How long have you been making zines? For a long time! Does the book I made in primary school called something like Return to the Dinosaur Planet count?

I learned zines were a thing when I lived in Newcastle and volunteered on a youth zine there. I put out a series of zines in Melbourne called Badger’s Dozen, edited by a cranky conservative old Badger (called Badger), where I had a lot of fun playing around with zine formats.

Ollie the Octopus is a NSFW zine about an octopus with aspirations to enter the adult entertainment industry.

What are they generally about? I always like to throw a few of my poems in there; I’ve even done a few short run zines that are a single poem (Thing is one of those).

In Badgers Dozen I had a mix of articles and columns and mock news stories. I liked fake ads so I’d chuck a few of those in. A bit of fiction too. I just like it to be fun and humorous and kind of a real jumble of ideas, all clattering up together in a cozy way, and you can just look at what you like.

Other zines of mine are collections of poems; I must have done two or three of those.

Ramblings by Tim Train is a ‘brand new second-hand’ hardcover poetry zine

Ramblings: Not your basic poetry book

When I was doing Badger’s Dozen I had this idea of doing a hardcover zine. And I wanted it to be a collection of essays. I just kind of like that format.

Have your live poetry readings helped shape the narratives of your Ramblings book?

A bit I guess – it does open and close with poems, which have both been read out at my regular pub poetry haunt, the Dan O’Connell Hotel! But you can’t read out an essay like a performance poem – (or at least you can try, and you’ll be a very brave person if you do, braver than me!)

One or two of the essays have been published elsewhere – I think the second one was published on the Melbourne Spoken Word website, referring to the Dirty Thirty poetry challenge (writing one poem every day for a month).

Ramblings, by Tim Train, is a collection of poems and essays that go a bit ‘everywhere’.

What else inspired Ramblings?

I just love that old format, the dusty old tome of essays that you find in second-hand bookstores. Most collections of essays now are far too glossy! And far too on point, far too professional. A good essay should really stray off the point, should maybe only find the point in the last two sentences, or should just be a succession of unrelated, interesting points.

I have a lovely collection of essays by Jerome K Jerome – he was a late-Victorian humourist, his most well-known book is Three Men and a Boat – to say nothing of the dog. Anyway, this collection is titled Idle thoughts of an idle fellow, and they really, really are.

He opens the book with a dedication to his pipe – in really really fancy Gothic font! And then the essays are just – they go everywhere. He just seems to be having fun.

I wanted to do that, to just have fun with a few essays. To not really know where I was going to end up.

You’ve described it as the “world’s first brand new second-hand book”. What’s that all about?

It’s because of my love of second-hand bookstores. That’s where I buy most of my books. There’s an essay in there somewhere called Secondhand Life where I reflect that if I’m ever properly published, I’d like to be published in second-hand book form. So this is my kind of attempt to do it myself.

If I walk into a second-hand bookstore one of these days and see my little tome on the shelf, I’ll know I’ve succeeded! Yeah, I know it’s not really a ‘second-hand book’, but I think I just like to set myself impossible challenges. Keeps me motivated I suppose.

You bind all your own pages by hand, that’s really impressive! What’s involved in that process and how did you learn it?

This is crazy, I took a bookbinding course pretty much with this goal in mind, to know how to make my own hardbound book so I could release this zine.

It was an idea that had really been ticking around in my head for years! It was totally worth it, I really got three zines out of that course – this one (Ramblings), and two single-poetry zines (Thing, and a bush ballad Skippy and the Drop Bear). They’re all in different binding formats.


Tim Train’s mini zine Thing is in ‘accordion zine’ format made with lots of folding and a Glue Stick.

For Ramblings it was pretty complicated; you had to print out all the pages and arrange them into signatures and then sew them all together, and THEN you had to stick the cover to the cloth, and THEN you stick the cover/cloth to the pages sewn together!

My wife came up with the suggestion of dying some of the papers in coffee to make them look older, which worked really well. (She also did the cute Badger at the front and back).

The other two zines are bound in different ways again – Thing is in ‘accordion zine’ format; you can just do that with a lot of folding and a Glue Stick. Skippy and the Drop Bear is a variation on a Japanese binding method; you just sew all the pages together.  

You can see some of those zines being put together on Tim Train’s Instagram account.

Ramblings and other zines from Tim Train and others are available from the Zine Gang Distro Etsy store.

Some Zine Gang Distro love from Sea Green Zines

Cheers to zine enthusiast Nyx, at Sea Green Zines in South Australia, for giving a shout out to a bunch of our Zine Gang Distro mates in this week’s Happy Mail Monday YouTube vlog.

In the video, Nyx had some nice things to say about comic creator Frank Candiloro, and zine makers Emily N3ver and Mel Buttigieg.

Hello, it us! Picture: Sea Green Zines
Nyx digs the Zine Gang Distro DIY zine paper bags. Picture: Sea Green Zines

FrankenComics AKA Frank Candiloro

Nyx said she ordered a bunch of Frank’s “amazing comics” after meeting them at the recent Festival of the Photocopier in Melbourne, but didn’t get the chance to get back to their table.

Budd + Luu by FrankenComics. Picture: Sea Green Zines

“How cool is this?… Everything looks really amazing,” Nyx said of Frank’s Budd + Luu comic.

“I didn’t remember seeing a comic on Frank’s site that I didn’t want to get.”

Mel Buttigieg

Nyx appeared to enjoy the idea of Wog Mum and Wog Mum 2, a zine about Mel Buttigieg’s Maltese Mum, inspired by her moving back home with her Wog Mum for a year.

Mel Buttigieg’s Wog Mum 2 got a few laughs. Picture: Sea Green Zines

“Oh my goodness me!… Talk about love at first cover site!” Nyx exclaimed.

“I’m already loving this!”

Emily N3Ver

Nyx was also excited to check out Emily N3ver’s Notorious B.L.O.N.D.E.

“I believe this zine is about blonde celebrities who are so often viewed as just sexual objects. And this zine takes a closer look at these blondes and talks about what else they have done. They are more than just a visual,” she explained.

Notorious B.L.O.N.D.E by Emily Never. Picture: Sea Green Zines

“There are portraits of many blondes Dolly Parton, Paris Hilton, Mae West, Britney Spears, Anna Nicole Smith…” Nyx said.

“It talks of the fetishisation of these blonde women in the media. I thought it sounded really interesting and looked really cool with the foil on the title.”

Scroll across the Insta pics in the below post for a snapshot of the zines featured.

Watch the Happy Mail Monday video

Watch the Sea Green Zines Happy Mail Monday video below (timestamps indicate where our zinesters are mentioned).

  • 6:42 – Franken Comics
  • 15:39 – Mel Buttigieg
  • 19:07 – Emily N3ver

Check out the zines from these artists and others from the Zine Gang Distro Etsy store.