Introducing Our Spring Issue: America the Absurd

Modest proposals and Gulliver-sized travels. Swiftian satire leaves large footprints, but there is one American artist ready to fill those shoes. For decades Boots Riley has been telling it as it is. The rapper, poet, producer, activist, Communist and, most recently, director uses his visions to pierce through the heart of American absurdity. His latest work is his tallest order yet.

Sorry to Bother You, Riley’s story of a Black telemarketer who climbs the ranks of the tech world after adopting a white speaking voice, turned out to be something of a prophecy. Tech money really doesn’t think very highly of its workers, and proposals from the billionaire class for the future have become more outlandish than those in Riley’s film. His new project, I’m A Virgo, follows the misadventures of a young Black man in Oakland who happens to be 13-feet-tall and the frenzied exploitation of his unique stature.

In this issue we speak with Boots Riley about the absurd and how it functions as a satirical language that can speak far more eloquently when the world is on fire. On top of this profile, Issue 99 includes:

  • Berlin cartoonist Aisha Franz illustrates Silicon Valley’s clash with Kreuzberg.
  • David Galliquio and how political turmoil shapes Peru’s crass comix scene.
  • What will become of the humble alt-weekly and how are property developers taking advantage of their absence?
  • Florida’s attempt to ban Ban Books Club, a book about banned books.
  • American Girl Dolls hit the zine scene.
  • Winners at the Doug Wright awards.
  • Big Milk organizer Alexander Laird tells us about the goblins and Gungans that shaped him.
  • Catalina Cheng fuses ceramic traditions with contemporary queerness.




About Broken Pencil Magazine

“Broken Pencil is the entertaining, indispensable guide to zines.” – The Toronto Star

Since 1995, we have been a print magazine and online hub dedicated exclusively to exploring independent creative action. Our mandate is to raise awareness of the possibilities of independent print publishing and underground creative action, with a special emphasis on the DIY zine scene. Published four times a year in full colour, each issue of Broken Pencil features reviews of hundreds of zines and small press books, plus comics, excerpts from the best of the underground/independent press, interviews, original fiction and advice/how-tos about all aspects of the independent printed arts. From the hilarious to the perverse, Broken Pencil challenges conformity and demands attention.

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