Pledge gifts, part 1

First of all, thanks to everyone who has donated to the blog cause. I’m deeply touched and humbled by all of your well wishes and contributions. And if you haven’t done so, don’t worry—I still like you. Oh, and it’s not too late, nor will it ever be—see the donate button to the left, or email me at wbiggins2 at gmail dot com.

As I mentioned during the initial pledge drive announcement, there are two gifts for donators. If you give five bucks, I will send one gift; if you pledged $10, you’d get two gifts.

Now, about those gifts… Well, one is complete, and one is to be finished by 1 November 2009. Both are zines—self-made magazines wholly written and designed by yours truly. What, say you, are they about? Here we go:

ONE: Longtime QB readers know of my love/hate relationship with Woody Allen.  I write an open letter to him every year, chastising and championing his filmmaking in equal measures. Letters to Mr. Konigsberg collects the four Woody Allen essays posted on this blog, and also includes—exclusive to the zine—the following items: a) a partly autobiographical introduction that ponders why I love writing about an artist with whom I have such a complicated relationship; b) 2009’s letter, which focuses on Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) and Woody’s recent turn toward the crime genre; and c) a brief essay on Woody’s love of jazz, as expressed in his soundtracks and his clarinet playing. Specifications: 75 copies, 52 pages, 4.5 inches by 5.5 inches, plain white interior paper with a cream-colored card stock cover, with a nifty cover design. Here’s a mockup of the cover, along with a photo of the real thing:

Letters to mr konigsberg cover (b&w--revisions)  Zine 013

I must confess that I’m proud of it.

TWO: By far, the most successful feature I’ve ever run on the blog has been my weeklong series on Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, originally held in May 2006.  Three years after the fact, these impressionistic reviews still draw over 200 hits a week.  In some cases, people are looking for screengrabs but many people—judging from the sitemeter—stick around to read the pieces.  So, I’m in the process of collecting all of these pieces into a zine. As with Letters to Mr. Konigsberg, I thought it unfair to just re-package material that people can get for free, so I’ll be adding three items that will be exclusive to the zine: a) an introduction explaining how (and why) I got into Miyazaki, and how he was my gateway into anime and (to a lesser extent) manga; b) a review of Whisper of the Heart, which Miyazaki wrote but did not direct. It’s one of my favorite animated movies and certainly my favorite movie, period, about the writing process. The essay will explore how Miyazaki’s screenplay gets “translated” by another animator; and, finally, c) a review of Miyazaki’s latest feature Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. This zine will be available on or before 15 December 2009.

Letters to Mr. Konigsberg, however, is ready RIGHT NOW, for a measly five bucks, which includes shipping to anyone in the world. If you send the money by PayPal (again, see the button to your left) or another method, just provide your address, and the zine will go out the next day. For those of you who have already graciously donated, your copies will be shipped on Saturday. (The Miyazaki zine will come your way around 1 December.) Come get ’em, and tell me what you think.


By the end of October, I will have a dedicated page to current and future zines. Future? Oh yes, there will be more.

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Atlanta, GA. He is the co-author (with Daniel Couch) of Bob Mould's Workbook (Bloomsbury, 2017). His work has been published in The Quarterly Conversation,, Bookslut (RIP), The Comics Journal, The Baseball Chronicle, and other periodicals. Twitter: @walter_biggins.
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