Work / Publication

Old School Trolls Zine illustrates boob-shaped bongs and wide-smiling trees

Artist Ben Marcus set up publishing house Good-Bye Press “so I could stamp a name on the back of the Old School Trolls zine”. The publication Old School Trolls brings together a range of illustrators creating sweet but bizarre drawings of troll-like creatures in various narratives.

“I didn’t have an agenda when I started the Old School Trolls series,” explains Ben. “I originally heard the term on the radio in reference to a particular type of internet troll and I thought the name was really funny. It brought a lot of random images to mind.”

The first volume of the zine in 2015 was created for weed themed pop-up shop, Tusk, in Chicago where Ben is based. Its most recent second edition titled The Original Troll is a second part to the origins of the zine. “I have been finding a lot of amazing artists, particularly people who like to draw, through Instagram,” the artist tells It’s Nice That. “I thought that OST 2 could be a fun opportunity to interact and collaborate with these people, as well as bringing some of my Chicago illustrator friends into the mix.”

The theme for an issue is simple, “open enough it welcomes a lot of different illustration,” says Ben. “I sent the artists a basic prompt to do whatever they liked using the idea of an Old School Troll as the jumping off point.” The result is a collection of singular illustrations from boob shaped bongs by George Porteus to a smiling tree by Clay Hickson.

The issue’s title actually developed from a review of the weed themed shop where “the critic mistakenly referred to Old School Trolls zine as Original Troll,” explains Ben. “The fact that someone bothered to mention this zine in an art review and get the name wrong is perfect. I’m hoping that someone gets the name of volume two wrong so I can use that for volume three.”


Old School Trolls: Anabel Colazo


Old School Trolls: Jordan Jackson


Old School Trolls: George Porteus


Old School Trolls: Sam Nigrosh


Old School Trolls: Sharmila Banerjee