Review: Maria

Zine, Andromeda, 8 pgs,, $8

Prolific zinester Andromeda evokes bittersweet nostalgia and the tactility of family photo albums in this one-sheet 8-pager, Maria. In an enigmatic vignette, parcelled out over several hand-cut, hand-pasted typewritten text blocks, a narrator — or perhaps Andromeda themselves — revisits the echo of a long-deceased aunt.

The zine is made from a single sheet of heavy beige cardstock, unforgivingly crunched into its eight-page format, with the heavy creases of its folds adding to a ragged, aged aesthetic. Photo corners pasted to the ends of front and back covers enhance this effect. Two reprints of old photos are pasted in, on the first and last pages, perhaps depicting the narrator’s Maria as a teenager, clutching her beaux, and then as a smiling child, holding a cropped-out grown-up’s hand.

In just a handful of words, Andromeda skillfully but barely sketches Maria as a brash teenager, in a Puerto Rican family in New York City, and then as an equally brash ghost haunting the halls of their old apartment. There’s just enough of Maria here to imagine who she was or might still be. But there is so much left unsaid or forgotten, like in the photo albums the zine is modelled on: old pictures of relatives you never knew, frozen in time by the camera, giving a whisper of who they might have been.