I picked up this collection of comics at the ‘Are you zine friendly?’ event, one of five nights of zine-orientated fun organised as part of the Alternative Press Festival. I’ve never come across any of Sina’s zines before but from the looks of it he’s been quite prevalent in the underground comics community, which thanks in part to the ‘Alternative Press’ gang seems more and more to be crossing over with the zine scene I’m familiar with and that Last Hours was borne from.
This particular publication harks back to the early days of Sina’s self publishing odyssey, namely comics drawn and released into the world throughout the nineties and mainly dealing with the autobiographical trials and tribulations of a queer comic artist growing up and having to deal with school, parents, crushes and sex. I can understand why Sina has chosen to re-publish the comics he made at this time as there’s a real humour and beauty in them, a naivety and enthusiasm I think we can all relate to as well as the sheer weirdness of that supposedly transitory period in our lives. Particularly amazing are the fantasy strips where civilisation homework suddenly becomes a nautical drama full of ripped torsos and steamy romance and Keanu Reeves becomes Sina’s slave.
The comics are by turns hilarious and heartbreaking, dealing with the constant bullying throughout school and teenage infatuation that ultimately lead to disappointment as well as pen friends constantly thinking he’s a lesbian. It’s also nice to be reminded of how much fairly insignificant things mattered back in the day, there are a lot of strips about haircuts in particular. Over all this collection is a frank and funny insight into the Sina’s teenage years and definitely worth picking up, now I’m even more interested in what he’s currently putting out.