Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Review: Moral Code

Greetings guys and welcome to the Zine Machine blog under new management. Jessica has done a brilliant job in her care of the Zine Machine over the past few years and we all realize what big shoes we have to try and fill.

We'll give it our best shot.

In the spirit of this occasion, I thought it might be appropriate to start off our run of zine reviews with one made by our patron saint herself: Jessica White.

Today we have "Choose Your Own Moral Code: A Coloring Book." If zines are a reflection of their maker, then Moral Code is definitely a representation of Jessica's passion for bookbinding and the art of letterpress. The cover looks gorgeous and and has a great texture to it that you'd have to feel yourself to understand. Inside the reader is shown a variety of combinations of forest critters and asked to color them in. Sounds just like your average coloring book, that is, until you reach the bottom and you're given the option to label your adorable new friends either good, or evil(there is no gray area). Jessica uses these creatures much like myths and legends of the past did to explore the same abstractions that have been plaguing mankind since the dawn of time. Order vs chaos or good vs evil. Even the name of her venture, Heroes & Criminals Press, is a reflection of this. (It and her have both been relocated from Iowa City to North Carolina, and are dearly missed). All and all Moral code is not your ex-punk father's zine of high contrast collages and courier text-ridden declarations. While a xerox was likely used for the interior for mass production purposes, Jessica's art style is dominated by clean, bold lines that are very appropriate for a "coloring book." It really toes the line between artists book and zine, which is very appropriate as the zine machine has served to vend both during its lifetime.

I myself see very little difference between the two at times.

And that is Moral Code. Unfortunately, this little joy is not available at the Zine Machine at the moment, but rather is from my own personal collection. If you ask nicely though, I might just let you touch it. Don't let this discourage you from stopping by the Zine Machine however as it is now FULLY stocked with an awesome collection of zines ready for the taking!

"Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?"

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