Zine Review: A New Tomorrow #23

16 August 2007

Zine - A New Tomorrow 23 - cover

You might want to pick up A New Tomorrow #23 for its vivid descriptions of city life and urban change; a quick, entertaining read. But it is much more than that.

Mike Kraus is a man with a mission statement, “in print and in daily life”, which calls for “explor[ation of] the personal life in hope of discovering universal truths”. A New Tomorrow #23‘s gentle, thoughtful outlook reflects this ambition.

It is a short zine with a clean layout and large, relaxing print. Mike’s views are put firmly but politely. Plenty of space is given over to photographs. The effect is to create room around the text for ideas to percolate.

Humboldt Park: my home. A forgotten part of the city of old Graystone apartments. The scene of the Division Street Riots in 1966. The empty storefronts stand humbly next to lots of overgrown grass and broken glass. People hang out on the sidewalk because their house is overcrowded.

A place to lose the world and be lost. …

Mike’s writing is imbued with a strong sense of place. The physical place is inseparable from the people it is home to. When Mike watches people, they don’t just do things, they do things on the front steps. They do things around the little figurine shop. They do things in the park.

The zine reflects on Mike’s move from Muskegon, Michigan, to Chicago, Illinois. Each city reflects his life there: “Nothing changes in Muskegon”, while “Chicago’s about big risks, hard work, opportunity…” Even when the focus is not directly on Chicago or Muskegon, “place” assumes significance. In an introspective piece reflecting on marriage, it is clear that Mike relates to the concept by giving it a location:

Do I want to get married? Is there a reason to get married other than to have kids? Do I want kids? The idea of moving to the suburbs, buying a car, schools, and all that comes with it doesn’t interest me.

This issue resonated strongly with me, because a pending interstate move has forced me to consider the relationship between place and happiness. A New Tomorrow #23 has been useful by prompting me to consider what I hope to achieve by moving, what are the traits of the new city that I hope I take on.

But I get the feeling this is more than mere coincidence. Mike’s thought-provoking observations and inviting prose mean this is the kind of zine that will strike a chord with almost everyone. If you approach A New Tomorrow #23 in the spirit of Mike’s mission statement — “clear intentions, a calm attitude, focus” — then the zine will well and truly repay you for the effort.

Mike Kraus, A New Tomorrow #23, February 2007, 1/2 size, 16 pages.
Available from HFI Publishing.

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