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Mineshaft Magazine #25
posted April 20, 2010


Creators: R. Crumb, Kim Deitch, Mary Fleener, Aline Kominsky Crumb, Jay Lynch, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Simon, Sophie Crumb, William Crook Jr., David Collier, Dennis Eichhorn, Frank Stack, Aaron Lange, Bill Griffith, Pat Moriarity, Andrei Codrescu, Christoph Mueller, Simon Deitch, Nina Bunjevac, J.R. Helton, Spain Rodriguez, Carol Tyler, Everett Rand, Gioia Palmieri.
Publishing Information: Mineshaft, mini-comic, 52 pages, Spring 2010, $7
Ordering Numbers:

It didn't surprise that no one at a recent panel I attended on comic book journalism named Mineshaft when a call was put out to the room for still-existing comics magazines. Mineshaft is in no way an industry magazine, and even 25 issues again it has the loose, anything-goes feel of someone shuffling together a stack of papers than grinding through an editorial manifesto. Its latest issue isn't the best one they've done recently: it lacks a major article that might bring a sense of discovery to an artist. The closest thing to a major piece is rerun of an Ace Backwords obituary for BN Duncan that proves heartfelt and lovely. I think Backwords gets to the heart of how deeply weird a person that BN Duncan was, and the way that art allowed the late artist and SF comics community anchor to forge a life for himself within those essential characteristics of his obviously kind and deeply generous personality. I liked a short piece on vaudeville comedians, but wanted a lot more, something I can't extend to a couple of the fiction pieces in the volume.

That puts a lot of pressure on recurring features, and my memory of this publication a day or so removed from its company are soaked in things like excerpts from cartoonists I don't follow at all that were good enough to put their work on my radar (Elizabeth Koenig?), the ongoing rehabilitation of Sophie Crumb, two or three laugh-out-loud sketch panels from her father, and pieces of art from Diane Noomin and Jim Blanchard as well-crafted as any cartoonist out there can muster. Not bad for a publication on what still feels like an off issue. Mineshaft is in many ways the journal of underground comics in their final chapter, notes from those who remain encouraged by both the spirit and reality of those comics, updates on life as lived following a worldwide scattering of two generations of talent to all points around the world, a several-page letter of encouragement to those that remain united by their collective opposition to and disinterest in the more pernicious aspects of commercial comics culture. There's nothing like it out there right now, and as tough times get tougher I hope you'll think about getting multiple issues that interest you.