Better! magazine

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better! magazine was a self-described "A.D.D induced rants, comics, doodles, essays, and art on the the terrors of high school life in a small town, pop culture, the underground music scene and pro-wrestling".

better! magazine originally started as project in the summer of 2006 by New Baltimore, Michigan locals cee jacob cee (the maker of the minicomic called what makes you so special and the zine The Silky Membrane ), and Salvador M. Caramagno, fueled by a love of Dan Clowes, Jack Kerouac, D.I.Y culture, Kevin Smith, Sonic Youth, and the Adult Swim line up as well as a hate for, teenage stupidity, and snobby "hipsters". The project was abandoned a month later after the two had grown bored, only to be revamped in September 2006 by Salvador M. Caramagno after being influenced by the brilliant mini-comic "Satur-Nite" by his friend Cee.Jacob.Cee. After issue #1, Kyle Davis (a member of several local bands), Muskrat, and Adam Nagy (talented local punk and alternative cartoonist known for his comics) helped put a new spin on better! magazine, as well as turning it into more of a group effort, giving it more variety and making for a much more entertaining read once they started working on the zine with Cee.Jacob.Cee and Salvaor M. Caramagno, turning it into the product of a group of bored teenage friends.

better! magazine features pieces about wrestling, music, and teenage life in a small town. Issue #11 was entirely about teen crushes and rock group KISS, in honor of Valentine's Day. better! magazine usually sells for one dollar but the "better! crew" prefers to trade for homemade mixtapes and other zines. There are currently #13 issues in print.

better! discontinued after issue 18 which was notable for it's articles about The Shaggs, Charles Manson's music, Dumpster diving for WWF figures, Thin Lizzy, and The Geto Boys . better! eventually morphed into Sour Grapes a one issue 40 page zine by Salvador M. Caramgno, which swiped it's name from a Descendents tune, dedicated to his obsessions & (Rap battles, Pop-Punk, mixtapes, Grindhouse and b-movie flicks, Howard Stern, kitchy knick knacks), his hometown & it's local "celebrities".

Fun Facts:

  • better #1 was dedicated to Bob Dyaln, Morrissey, & Muskrat
  • better #12, #13, & #14 proved to be the highest selling
  • Violent J of Detroit's Insane Clown Posse was given an issue and responded favorably.
  • Every issue had a special "soundtrack" printed on the back (I.E artist that helped influence the issue).
    1. 6 was Patsy Cline & The Velvet Underground, #8 was Guided By Voices, Of Montreal, Iron & Wine, & Big Star.
  • The "Punk Locker" cartoon from issue #4 was tattooed on the body of an early supporter and later contributer
  • An anamorphic Zine named "Mr. Zine" was the Better!s Mascot from issues #6-18 replacing "Creepy Uncle Sal", a caricature of Salvador M. Caramagno, as better!'s official Mascot.

"Meanie Gate"

Kelly, a friend of the better! team and lead singer for The Plastic Boyz accused this one dude of "Totally talking crap about your zine (better!)!" after he read a copy his sister had purchased. Three years later the "Crap Talker" tried to add one of better! magazine's creators on Facebook and was "totally denied" and is currently considered a "meanie" by said creator. It is rumoured (yet not proven) that he only said this in hopes of it getting back to the better! camp.