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ZINE SPOTLIGHT: 'Colita de Rana: Love, Identity & Panochas' and 'Watermelon: and other things that make me uncomfortable as a black person'
By Cata, POCZP Intern
“Colita de Rana…Love, Identity & Panochas” by Tracy García and company (2012)
This zine opens with a labeled cartoon vagina. Ok, wait. Back story: Colita de Rana = frog tail—it’s from a saying that signifies healing. And: Panochas = Pussy.
The ideas in this zine were loved into pages by anger, angst and ambition. I know this because I saw it’s spirit awake when one of my friends (a co-author) attended a QPOC, Queer People of Color conference back in the day and we took a Panocha workshop. The most powerful experiences, people, books, zines, movies, artwork plant the seeds of future creation. This is the fruit of one of those seeds. In Colita de Rana there are plenty of female anatomy lessons, self-love reminders and a gesture to genetic trauma.
My favorite page is a poem by a lady from Inglewood (my dad’s old stomping grounds). She talks about the domestication of love… “how did love become so scary? was it the moment it got domesticated?” This a powerful question hidden on the third page of the zine.
Seeing this quote through the zine’s title can lead the question: How can we heal from domesticated love? What is that? Certainly it involves government control and production of a certain kind of love.
Page 8 displays a cut-out of a dinosaur called a “clitosaurus” above the prehistoric animal is a quote about the deportation of lesbian undocumented immigrants in the 1990’s. Shit is real. Colita de Rana lets us know.
Disarming dinosaurs still deliver through history. Our history, herstory unknown rather wished erased and gone but still lingers at the bottom of some hearts. This anatomy textbook for the “exploration of love, identity and panochas” is humble but proud. Check yo’ self, she says.
Page 10: heterosexual questionnaire. It’s your turn, straight folks, to have your coming of age story be commodified, died this hue then this shade and retried again and again —tooth combed for possible in-congruencies or untruths.
I love this zine and I hope they keep on the riot. This zine would be a great new friend to all questioning and angry Xican@s. Bring them on.
READ & DOWNLOAD COLITA DE RANA
“Watermelon…and other things that make me uncomfortable as a black person” by Whit Taylor (2011)
I found this gem at zine fest in dc this past July. Really, nothing can beat a fantastic new zine in the dead of summer heat when you think who is so noble and great that they are out promoting their zine? And then, there is someone.
Besides the fortuitous timing Whit Taylor is a great mini story shower/teller. In her zine she is showing us why certain things don’t roll so smooth for her. She keeps the tone light even during more serious topics. Taylor is able to do this because of a dry and even tone through out the story. Her drawings rock. They remind me of the drawings from Tina’s Mouth, another awesome lady comic.
Watermelon can easily find a place among folks working to deconstruct the stereotypes that can plague different communities. Humanizing an experience is a big part of breaking down stereotypes. When you don’t know someone personally its easier to paint them as something their not.. literally. Tayor does a great job at this. In fact my favorite quote from her is: “I love Alice in Chains, which according to my uncle makes me a teenage white boy. I grew up on my parents’ 1960’s & 70’s soul music but became a victim of 90’s suburban life. So sue me.”
Her honesty is fresh. And yet it leaves me wondering about somethings… like what about her cousins in the frame about New Orleans? What kind of comic/zine would they write? Would they agree with her? These are questions that often come up for myself as I and many other creators find pieces of their autobiographies show up in their work…would my family/community agree? How do they see it?
And this is what’s great about Watermelon. This is how Taylor experienced growing up where she did, being who she is. Really that’s all we got: our experience and it’s one that others are either going to learn from or identify with. And zines really open up a space for folks who usually don’t show up in books or magazines to share their version.
Thanks Ms. Whit Taylor, for sharing yours.
Watermelon is a great zine about one girls’ reflections on the stereotypes that live in her world. Specifically this zine helps to thwart the power these stereotypes might have on others by simply humanizing them and breaking them down. After all it did spark a pretty humorous discussion in my house about our own battles with awkward/embarrassing moments striving to straddle the lines between our cultures and the way others see us in our culture.
It’s a daily deal, as is shown by Whit Taylor in Watermelon.
ORDER WATERMELON HERE.
LEARN MORE ABOUT WHIT TAYLOR whimsicalnobodycomics.com
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Cata is a two-spirit mixed race writer/yogi/graphic novel reader/zine lover in Washington, D.C., originally from the LBC (Long Beach California).