I don’t really order many fanzines today. I want to rationalize my free time and considering I read a lot of shit online, the time on my armchair is usually reserved for books. In any case I was intrigued by this A5 (or its non-ISO equivalent) small paper called Codex Obscurum. I am generally tempted by shiny things and the cover art on these last two issues looked pretty tempting, since this day and age you can order stuff in a couple of clicks, here is my first electronic order of a paper fanzine (I did some trades, but as far as I remember, I always did those through e-mail, that doesn’t really qualify).
The idea is interesting. The fanzine is short and there is a shitload of contributors to each issue (a dozen or so) each one of which writing a very short piece for the publication, be it an interview, but also a couple of interesting articles (and other not so interesting, the one on the Neseblod shop was definitely aimless – at the end of the article all I could say is “so what?”). In general, I like the “mashup” concept of releasing short, almost newsletter-like ‘zines with a little bit of everything. Except for a few band which I loathe with passion (Saint Vitus, Midnight, Death In June) I generally appreciate 90% of the content here. Being a roleplayer myself I also found interesting, for example, the intie with Raggi of Lamentations of the Flame Princess. The interviews are neither very original nor very exciting, but there is some crunch to be learned from each anyway.
Two things I strongly disliked: the choice of the paper and the general layout, and secondly the steep price. Even if 3 USD might not sound like much, there was a point 10 or 15 years ago where fanzines with 10 times the content in these were FREE, like Metal Core. 10 USD for shipping 20 pages of text is not cheap. Regarding the layout the choice of the paper is the worse I have seen in years. And considering both issues are printed on this shit I concluded it was not just an error, but made on purpose. The pages are so thick and slick that you can barely turn them, they just slip from your fingers. The layout too, is overally decent, but some background images are computer files with a low definition so you end up seeing big pixels and jagged borders. I might be an old grumbler but if you go for the analog feel, you better do it properly from start to end.
My overall judgement on these two issues is good anyway. Even if there are a couple of things that just don’t fit my tastes. Some interviews raise the stake like the one with Riddick or Father Befouled. Consider it the perfect fit for reading on the toilet, lots of quick articles and interviews that last just a shit, instead of the usual Snakepit 10-page monsters.