Nothing beats a good origin story, and this issue of Piltdownlad, the first of a three-part series called “Pamphleteria,” is certainly that. But far from recounting a hipster tale from the gentrified neighborhoods of New York or Montreal, zinester/novelist/publisher/designer Kelly Dessaint’s story begins in 1996 as he wastes away in an Alabama trailer park with his girlfriend, “N,” a sometimes call girl who plays Jennifer Herrema to his Neil Hagerty. And like a Royal Trux soundtrack, Dessaint’s 56-page zine drags us through scene after scene of bong-ripped grit only so that he and N can occasionally treat themselves to Taco Bell or Arby’s. Although some of this grit is profound (his father was sexually abusive), the more dramatic parts of his life are ultimately deferred in order to sketch a pathetic pay-to-play self-described rogue who suffers for his art.
When he’s not taking a bath with roaches, getting fired from his 11th job in Birmingham, or being pulled over in his hooptie and arrested for an outstanding parking ticket, Dessaint is setting up his Gateway computer, canvassing cars, or learning MS Paint with high hopes that somehow his first “interoffice memo vibe of a zine,” Vagabond Review, will lead to the occasional correspondence in his PO Box. Although subsequent issues of Piltdownlad have focused on the politics of Uber and Lyft in San Francisco, readers will likely finish #9 eager for the next installment of “Pamphelteria.” (Jason Luther)