Word on the Street Zine Race Recap!

Thank you to everyone who came out to visit us at Word on the Street Toronto this past weekend! After daunting morning rains, the sun came out just in time for our riveting Zine Race at the New Narratives Tent.


Hosted by the charming and enthusiastic zine lover Suzanne Sutherland, who founded the Toronto Zine Library, the event saw two teams of makers and writers race to put together zines based off of audience suggestions.

Team Nasty Fly (also named by the audience) were assigned to make a zine about “cheese-covered Bill Murray.” Made up of Broken Pencil staffers Melissa Luk, Ian Sullivan Cant and A.G. Pasquella, the team chose to make a comic round up of potential cheesy Bill situations. Using their trusty markers and some handy linoleum stamps, the comic was a beautiful, full size book, complete with hand stitching! You can download our PDF version of it here, though it hardly does justice to the textured paper and multiple techniques at play.

Challenging team Puns or Death, made up of local artsy types Jess Bartram, Elija Montgomery and Michael Lyons, were assigned “frilly earthquakes” as their theme. The three ran with the theme and identified the friendly, sensitive subterranean monster Mirg as the cause of frilly earthquakes. Replete with factual information and dispatches from the Monster Education Ministry, the classic, cut-n-paste, illustrated digest is an instant essential document for monster researchers and curious members of the public alike. You can download the PDF scan here!

While the two teams calmly and efficiently compiled their zines, with the audience excitedly watching the action on two live-streaming TV’s beside their workstations, Suzanne gave a little history of zines and the Toronto Zine Library, with help from TZL’s living zine encyclopedia, Rachel Chepesiuk. Suzanne even shared the very first zine she made! She also gave away prize notebooks for audience members who answered zine trivia questions.

Team Puns or Death finished their zine first, but the real judgement came with the audience approval, judged very scientifically by Suzanne and Broken Pencil Assistant Editor Jonathan Valelly. It was a tight race, but in the end, challengers Puns or Death took the crown!

Until next year, that is. Broken Pencil would like to thank Word on the Street, the Toronto Zine Library, and Suzanne Sutherland for all of their help and contributions. Suzanne’s new book for young adults, Something Wiki, comes out January 2015.

If you’re bummed to have missed this event, have heart! The Hollywood Zine Rip-Off, a movie themed zine race, will be happening at Canzine Toronto!

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