Johnny Gamber’s ‘Penpalling’ is punchy, accessible and adorable



Zine, Johnny Gamber, 8pgs,, $3.50

This delightful quarter-size zine by Johnny Gamber of Pencil Revolution Press is a brisk introduction to exchanging letters by post. Digestible and well-organized, it aims to evangelize the joys of snail mail. Of course, this is a subject already dear to many zinesters, who understand well the tactile, personal appeal of a letter in the mailbox, but even the hardcore analog types among us can benefit from Johnny’s fresh, fun encouragement to put pen to paper and send a message to a friend.

The zine is laid out landscape style across its eight brief pages; it even looks like a small letter. The cover is styled as an airmail envelope, with the characteristic alternating red and blue chevrons lining its edges, and images of American and French postage stamps. Johnny speaks concisely to practical questions and roadblocks to letter writing, explaining how to get around hang-ups like who to write to, what to write about, and whether or not to write by hand. Johnny explains some logistics of postage, too, albeit only in an American context. In a great added touch, the zine includes a small stack of paper for the reader to start their next letter, as well as an “epistolary cue card” to strike up a new correspondence with someone. Punchy, accessible and adorable, Johnny’s zine is a fun, effective tribute to mailing letters.