Rock of Pages: The Best of the Yellow Rake Zine

Brian Polk‘s Yellow Rake ‘zine is a stellar, stellar publication. This collection shows that a ‘zine can be way more than a bunch of half-assed opinions, band interviews, and an excuse to get free records (although, all of those are totally legitimate reasons for putting out a ‘zine).

The Best of the Yellow Rake Zine features everything from poetry from Polk himself (including one of my favorite poems, the hilarious “You Wanna Get Stoned and Overanalyze My Nomeansno Records?”) to perennial Wayward Blog favorite Charly “the City Mouse” Fasano to cartoons from Nate Stone. Stone’s cartoons are drawn in a block style, similar to early Jim Mahfood stuff, before he really embraced the loose graffiti-inspired flavor he has today.

It’s Stone’s writing that really stands out, however. His work with Polk on the “paid advertisement” for the Parents of Unsuccessful Children Foundation had me laughing to the verge of tears, thanks to offerings like “Classes on DVD, such as ‘Who Is This Lazy Asshole, and Did He Really Come From My Womb?'” His nonfiction pieces, like the trip to the Focus on the Family Center, and “Rules For White Folk” (drawing from Stone’s work for a Denver non-profit) are thoughtful, well-worded pieces that are as insightful as they are funny.

I know the phrase “it makes you laugh, but it also makes you think” is trite and overused as hell, but it’s applicable here. The stories are self-deprecating, without being obnoxious, and realistic and non-judgmental when they could easily turn preachy. I mean, Focus On the Family has a giant target on them from the beginning.

The Yellow Rake’s idea of combining yellow journalism with muckraking comes closest to its realization with Stone’s pieces. I loved this book, but what I really want now is an entire collection of Nate Stone’s work.

You can buy the book at Vinyl Collective.

Categories: Music