title: Urban Pancakes (nos.1-3)
creators: Andrew Kim & Jaymes Carr
Put together by a pair of university students, this zine arrives in a catalog envelope with a doodle announcing that it is now ready for your consumption. A lot of the charm of this zine is in the design and delivery. Every issue is in full color, simple, and humorous. Andrew Kim’s childlike illustrations give the zine an overall bright and cheery vibe while the wide margins and minute font give the pages an attractively clean and modern look.
Though still in tune with the look of the zine, the content is a little harder to qualify. Every issue follows the theme after which it’s titled, and what is included is, of course, at the whim of the co-editors. So far content type has included poetry, travel thoughts, an interview with busking musicians, a Facebook message, YouTube screenshots, short stories, comics, photos, personal anecdotes, a book excerpt… In summary: varied, whimsical, eclectic. There are, however, two features that recur in every issue. One is a short story by Jaymes Carr accompanied by Kim’s illustrations. The other is the “Free Art” page, wherein you’ll find a glossy print of one Kim’s watercolor drawings that you can frame or mail as a postcard (or whatever else you may want to do with it).
Because the short story features usually run a few pages—with each page of text opposite an illustrated interpretation—I inevitably noticed the contrast between Kim’s style of drawing and Carr’s style of writing. With Kim’s illustrations, I felt his minimalist style wasn’t always the right match for Carr’s stories. There is a quality of darkness about Carr’s writing, particularities about the wording and description that give it a bit of tooth and make Kim’s illustrations seem too innocent and light when placed opposite the text. Although I liked the depictions in themselves and find Kim’s style endearing, because of the palpable style contrast when placed side by side, it sometimes seemed like the minimalist and bright illustrations almost detracted from the feel of the defined prose.
With the writing content, some of the shorter pieces are charmingly straight and anecdotal while others come across verbose and assuming. Although the majority of the works are by Carr and Kim, there is also occasional contributed content that make a page or two in the zine, which among them has included paintings, poetry, and comics.
Noted on the inside cover/content page of every issue is that Kim does the majority of illustrations and Carr a lot of the writing, but it’s not always clear who is responsible for what within the pages themselves. Some works are both credited with a full name at the beginning and conspicuously initialed at the bottom, and others are either credited with a full name or just initialed at the end, which made it seem odd when I would come across the occasional uncredited/unsigned image or piece of writing that could very well be from either editors, the internet, or a contributor.
In all, it’s a compilation zine with an arty vibe in its literary attitude and use of naïve art. But it’s also whimsical, colorful (font included) and very tongue-in-cheek with a meticulous attention to design.
sipping: Irish Breakfast tea
chewing: pizza rolls