As comic magazines go, Fathoms Below is a lose. The issue we received was a compilation of comics drawn by Dan Wright, the editor. Unfortunately, this ``best of'' compilation amounts to nothing more than an ego trip for Mr. Wright. He introduces his efforts by saying, ``Artwise, I can't compare with many of the people out there, but humorwise I feel I can be quite witty.'' Unfortunately, he has crossed the line between being cynically witty and being offensive (and often just dumb). However, we admire his fortitude. Fathoms Below may be obtained by writing to: 1320 NW 76th Avenue, Plantation, FL 33322-4740, or sending email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. (28 pages, 8 1/2 x 11)
However, credit should be given where credit is due, and Mr. Wright should be applauded for tipping us off to the following two zines:
In the joke department, Funny Pages is a good sampler. It is mostly jokes and riddles, with a semi-regular supplement which includes zine and catalog reviews. The jokes are organized by category and are mostly tasteless. On the other hand, if you're willing to suffer through the offensive stuff, there are definitely laughs to be had. Some of the better jokes include : A man goes into an auto parts store and asks, ``Can you give me a cigarette lighter for my Yugo?'' The reply : ``Sure, sounds like a fair trade to me.'' and Why are beer cans so easy to open? Simple, look at who is opening them.
A year's subscription is $15 or you can get an assortment of 15 back issues for $10. Top contributors receive free subscription extensions. Write to: P.O. Box 317025, Dayton, OH 45437. (11 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2)
This issue's winner is the humor goldmine produced by Joe Franke. His publication, Life is a Joke is an excellent ``black humor'' commentary on everyday life. A mixture of cartoons, drawings and one-lines, his publication manages to be pointed and very entertaining. The production is rough but the message is hilarious and depraved. Franke has also worked with other artists on mini comics including pamphlets devoted entirely to coffee and its many charms (a recurring theme even in LIAJ). Life is a Joke is available for $1 per issue, Inquire for other products. Write to: 1476 15th St., San Francisco, CA 94103. (20 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2)
In a different vein, bOING bOING is a slick cyberpunk humor, news, and gossip magazine. It's Spy magazine for nerds. Not really an underground ``zine'' so to speak, its glossy cover, half-toned photographs, and professional lay-out set it apart from the home-made publications one would expect to find in this column (but they were hip enough to send us a copy and we liked it a lot). The current issue features an interview with Bruce Sterling, more zine reviews, and one of those annoying flip covers featuring a Mondo 2000 parody. Check it out at your local ``alternative'' newstand (we've seen it at the MIT Press Bookstore), or by writing to: 11288 Ventura Blvd. #818, Studio City, CA 91604. A year's subscription goes for $14, a single copy is $3.95 (66 pages, 8 1/2 x 11).
If you publish a humor-related zine that you would like to see reviewed in this column, send it to Zine Reviews, c/o VooDoo Magazine, MIT Room 50-309, 77 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139.