From the Stacks: Simple History Series Zines


| 2/8/2008 10:11:15 AM


Christopher Columbus and His Expeditions to AmericaThe first zine in J. Gerlach’s Simple History Series, Christopher Columbus and His Expeditions to America, tells the story of the world’s most famous explorer through drawings of stick figures in various states of  one-dimensional distress. The details are far from simple, though—they transcend mere stick-people problems at every turn—and the zine takes a de-mythologizing tack on Columbus and his ships.

The key to the zine’s charm is that Columbus reads alternately like a textbook and a children’s illustrated history. Gerlach accomplishes this feat by widely varying the zine’s ratios of words to pictures. On some pages, a small rectangle of text acts as a caption for an accompanying illustration; elsewhere, words dominate an entire page. What’s consistent throughout is that the zine does not suppress the gory details of Columbus’ romps to the New World. For instance, illustrator Cindy Crabb’s depictions of stick-figure corpses being dumped overboard are somewhat wrenching: They’re the bodies of would-be slaves.

Nevertheless, Columbus, with its bibliography full of Howard Zinn and James W. Loewen, presents a digestible version of a narrative that is not as familiar as it should be. It’s a useful, friendly zine. Even the title makes it sound like a congenial outdoor excursion by two friends: Columbus and his Expeditions! At last, together again!

Michael Rowe

 If you’re interested in checking out Gerlach’s Simple History Series zines, contact Danielle Maestretti, the Utne librarian.



 



Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!




Facebook Instagram Twitter