Broken Pencil - - Editor’s Note -

So we don't re­ally do themed is­sues of Bro­ken Pen­cil any­more (we found them lim­it­ing and chal­leng­ing to put to­gether) but some­times themes un­wit­tingly re­veal them­selves in the sto­ries we tell. In this is­sue, you will see a theme of artis­tic sur­vival, where cre­ators con­sciously (or un­con­sciously, in the case of Co­nun­drum's Andy Brown) end up in en­vi­ron­ments that are cre­atively fer­tile and are also af­ford­able enough to al­low them a de­cent qual­ity of life. In our cover story “DIY in the Farm­land” by Is­abel Slone, you'll read about a grow­ing clutch of DIY artists — zinesters, film­mak­ers, comics artists, and in the case of our cover sub­ject An­drew Mcluhan, a self-taught fur­ni­ture up­hol­sterer — who have re­treated from the buzzing cores of cities like Mon­treal and Toronto for the qui­eter (and cheaper) ac­com­mo­da­tions that the re­gion pro­vides. At the same time, the County has be­come gen­tri­fied — a haven for city slick­ers look­ing to sip wine, ride bikes through the coun­try roads and hang out at the Drake Devon­shire, a fancy “coun­try inn” and restau­rant run by the owner's of Toronto's ul­tra-hip Drake Ho­tel. Slone ex­am­ines how these two en­er­gies co-ex­ist and the com­pli­ca­tions that arise when the rest of the world learns about a beau­ti­ful re­gional se­cret.

We've also got a story about Co­nun­drum Press, the comics publisher who has some­how logged 20 years of ex­is­tence while main­tain­ing a res­o­lutely DIY and hands-on out­look. The main rea­son for its unique vibe and sur­vival lies with founder/publisher Andy Brown, who started the press by pub­lish­ing his friends' work in mid-‘90s Mon­treal, when rent was cheaper and artis­tic risk was an every­day oc­cur­rence. Writer Jonathan Rot­sz­tain (also a great comics artist — Google him) does a great job of paint­ing Co­nun­drum's hum­ble ori­gins and the loyal com­mu­nity that has bol­stered its sur­vival over the years.

Be­yond these pieces, there are some other cool sto­ries in this is­sue that I'm re­ally ex­cited about. We are bring­ing on Al Donato, a writer, game de­signer and jour­nal­ist who works with Toronto's Hand Eye So­ci­ety and writes for Toron­toist and Huff­in­g­ton Post about pol­i­tics, ac­ces­si­bil­ity, gen­der and more. They will be writ­ing a col­umn for us called “Power Up” about per­sonal pol­i­tics and how they man­i­fest in the in­die gam­ing world. Al is re­ally rad and smart and I am re­ally pleased to wel­come them to the mag in a reg­u­lar ca­pac­ity. We've also got a story about the new gen­er­a­tion of teen zinesters who are gently shift­ing par­a­digms and mak­ing weird, hi­lar­i­ous and in­vig­o­rat­ing work both in print but es­pe­cially on­line, by the very ex­cel­lent writer/zinester Rachel Davies of the on­line zine Pop Cul­ture Puke. I love this piece so much and learned a ton (I'm old! I need help!) and I hope you do too. As al­ways, we wel­come feed­back of all sorts to editor@bro­ken­pen­cil.com. Tell me what you liked! Tell me what we can do bet­ter! Tell me ev­ery­thing!

Alison Lang

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