This review first appeared in the Fall 2023 issue of Broken Pencil Magazine, 100th issue anniversary addition.
Defining Moments is a zine series created by Brad Pyne, a graduate of York/Sheridan Graphic Design who lives with his partner and beloved dog, Harvey, in Toronto’s West end. Described as “queer little stories that helped make me who I am”, the zines are reflections on pivotal, sometimes embarrassing moments in Brad’s life, and issue number two is a perfect example.
In this zine, Brad details his first sex education class in grade five where they learned about anatomy and the growing pains that accompany adolescence. Body hair, body odour, and cracking voices, accompanied by illustrations of the penis, both circumcised and not, begin to pose more questions than answers. To Brad’s horror, his penis did not match what he was seeing in the illustrated versions, prompting the zine’s titular question, “Do I Have A Weird Penis?” In an effort to solve this new and disturbing question, Brad asks his mother to compare his penis to the drawings. If that’s not brave, I don’t know what is.
While the zine is a humorous look at a slice of growing up, it tackles a subject that most boys are not likely brave enough to raise with their peers, let alone a parent.