I recall in vivid detail the minutes leading up to and after holding my first issue of MINESHAFT. My reaction wasn’t intentional, but somehow, instinctual.
When the zine emerged from its mailer and into my hands it was as if I was handed an intricately-tooled, pre-Victorian, fine binding—no longer clutching the cover but gently supporting it. Standing at the kitchen counter, I did a slow flip-through, near giddy at what was being revealed. I can’t explain why this particular synthesis of card-stock and page was so quick to take on more meaning. It just seemed to happen.
What I learned about MINESHAFT after consuming the issue in a three-hour sitting, was that I was on the receiving end of an honest labor of love. Everett and Gioia take pride and craftsmanship to unheard-of levels with every artist they feature, illustrations they choose, articles/stories they include, and the paper and ink they use. After hunting down back issues, I report this wasn’t a fluke incident by any means.
Issue #25 continues this trend: Front and back cover by Sophie Crumb and Nina Bunjevac, respectively; illustration and sketchbook work by Sophie Crumb, Jim Blanchard, Robert Crumb, Robert Volckens, Art Spiegelman, William Crook, Jr., and Simon Deitch; and comics work by Pat Moriarity, Elizabeth Koenig, Nina Bunjevac, and Carol Tyler. After feasting your eyes on all of this amazing artwork you begin enjoying the strange writings of Robert Crumb and his dream diary, Bruce Simon in his mostly-pictorial piece “The Yock Stops Here,” “Egg Whites and Nehi” tale by Jay Lynch, a chapter out of Everett’s The Green Star called “The Adventure at 12 Bolshaya Sadovaya Street,” Kim Deitch’s take on “Robert Crumb and Genesis,” a tribute to B.N. Duncan by Ace Backwards, Gioia’s own look “Inside the Mineshaft,” and finally Simon Deitch’s research on the Dodo bird in “The Devil’s Chicken.” There is a letter-to-the-editor by none other than Peter Bagge. How is this possible in a single zine?