Zone 5300, issue 97 (spring 2012)

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Zone 5300 is an indie comics magazine that also contains reviews, columns and interviews. It is one of my favourite magazines, which is why I write about it a lot.

Issue #97 contains comics by Charlotte Dumortier, Jasper Rietman, Tobias Schalken, Joseph Lambert and Didi de Paris & Serge Baekens, and interviews with Peter van Dongen, Zak, Leonard van Munster and Judith Vanistendael.

Zak is a Belgian cartoonist who has been plying his trade for almost 40 years (he started out as a bookkeeper). He is published in newspapers in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Says Zone: “I am not a political cartoonist, Zak […] states emphatically. Even though he publishes his cartoons daily. He only draws the sediment of politics, the small consequences of perhaps not even very important decisions.”

(Illustration: “This patient who has been in a coma for fifteen years would like to pay in guilders.”)

Tobias Schalken uses ‘boring’ postcard-like images to illustrate a monologue about hormone filled early teens: “After dinner dad drives me to Pim’s birthday, so I do not have to bike all the way in the dark. Pim’s party is in the garage, his father has parked the car in the street today.”

There are no depictions of humans in those nine pages, it’s all blank walls, close-ups of brooms and lamp posts, which is a bit eerie, but it also enhances the sense of reminiscing.

Jasper Rietman’s “Tri/ps” are three-panel strips in which the last panel is always a surprise. I think the format works well, although there is some repetition between panels.

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