Zine Review: Lady Teeth #7 + Dude Swirl

Lady Teeth #7 + Dude Swirl

Taryn Hipp and Jonas Cannon
Images from various issues of Craphound

My second review in this brief series highlighting zinesters who will be featured at Chicago Zine Fest’s Friday evening events is the seventh issue of Lady Teeth, a series of perzines—”personal zines” that contain writings about personal experiences—by Taryn Hipp. Before diving into the review, I wanted to give a shout-out to the Chicago Zine Fest organizers who are currently running a gofundme to help cover the high cost of the festival’s venue. Please consider donating to an organization that elevates marginalized voices and provides a beneficial space for hard-working artists!

The cover of Lady Teeth #7 + Dude Swirl. Image courtesy Taryn Hipp.Taryn Hipp is a zinester whose body of work stretches back to the late nineties. Like Brown and Proud’s zine On Confronting Anti-Blackness in Our Communities, Lady Teeth #7 + Dude Swirl is a split zine between Hipp and her friend Jonas Cannon, known for his zine Cheer the Eff Up. The two are close friends who live far apart, and this zine records some of their correspondence.

Hipp describes herself and Cannon as experiencing “a joint midlife zinemaker crisis.” Hipp is questioning her experience with an art form that she finds very comfortable, while Cannon is pondering the value of his art. Their conversation occurs on both a personal and community level: What do they get out of making zines that still sustains them over a decade later? What’s the larger purpose of making zines, connecting to community or attaining some kind of self-fulfillment?

Perzines are about vulnerability and sharing part of yourself with an audience, but Lady Teeth #7 utilizes a whole other kind of vulnerability: the kind achieved when opening up to someone you trust. Cannon opens the zine by wondering if his passion and excitement for art and for life will wane over time, concerns that are relatable, but that do not detract from his ability to provide Hipp with support and comfort. Hipp is even more raw and candid, describing not only her concerns about art, but also about her mental health and academic success. The simple act of sharing worry bolsters both writers and reveals the beauty of trust between friends.

Another reward of vulnerability is that readers can relate, and draw inspiration from a real, complex person. Reading about Hipp’s anxieties enhanced my view of her as an accomplished, hard-working artist; not only is she prolific, but she also works around personal issues that could get in the way of her art. Cannon compares the passions and art that supported him when he was younger, and his exploration of new and old comforts are a reminder that even steady people must adapt to their changing needs. While neither zinemaker offers up perfect solutions, I finished the zine feeling that holding onto my own creative drive would support me through crisis.

If you’re experiencing your own midlife crisis or are interested in commentary on the personal and complex nature of zine community, purchase a copy of Lady Teeth from Hipp’s store, or snag a copy at Chicago Zine Fest on April 29th and 30th.

Alenka Figa

Alenka Figa

Alenka is a queer librarian and intense cat parent. They spends their days reading zines and indie comics, and twittering about D&D podcasts @alenkafiga.