My brother-in-law Sam Logan asked me to write the copy for the Forward section of his 2020 ‘zine, Homicide: Bucktown – 9 Murders from 2002-2018, Police Reports and Photographs. Give it a read below, and be sure to click on the link to the publication at the end if this sounds like your cuppa.
I know this is a publication about murders, but when my brother-in-law Sam Logan told me the next ‘zine in his Homicide series was centered on Bucktown in Chicago, well, let’s just say it conjured some fond memories.
From 2001 to 2005 (scarily, a portion of the time covered in this ‘zine), my sister, Maggie, and her husband, Brian, lived in Bucktown in a beautiful three-story house that always kind of reminded me of a hotel. An eclectic area that was gentrifying at the time, Bucktown was a mix of incoming chain retail and independently owned boutiques, coffee shops, and stores with creative spirit. I remember in particular a cool record shop around the corner on Milwaukee Avenue with a sign that openly (and rather meanly) stated Republicans weren’t welcome. My dad, a Republican, noticed the sign and gamely walked inside the store with me anyway.
A quick Google search reveals that B-town was formed in the late 19th century when a slew of Polish immigrants infiltrated the city’s Northwest Side. The name Bucktown stems from the many goats that were being raised by people at the time.
Maggie and Brian didn’t breed goats, but they did have an exotic koi pond at the front of their residence. One time my sister let the water from their hose gush into the pond all night long, causing every last fish to go belly up. Poor Mag, who sincerely cares about animals and felt horrible about the incident, reckons it was due to all the chlorine in the city water.
That’s the best thing I’ve got in the realm of death in a ‘zine focusing on the subject. That and the fact that one of Maggie and Brian’s future houses in Highland Park was purchased from a man of questionable character and later sold to a woman who swore there were ghosts in the basement. What do you think, Sam? Maybe Highland Park for your next Homicide ‘zine?
Sam gave me a sneak peek of this issue prior to publication, and I was excited to see the format is nearly similar to his first ‘zine. The time period covered is, once again, within the last few decades, making for an eerie vibe — just knowing murders take place all around us, sometimes in the most common places, is a definite wake-up call.
The most interesting aspect of the Homicide series, at least to me, is seeing the shots where the atrocities took place, their plainness contradicting the dark events that occurred. It’s difficult to reconcile the everyday ordinariness and indifferent nature of the locations following these morbid incidents.
Once again, Sam has included police reports on the nine highlighted murders that offer an authentic grittiness. Through the pictures and reports, Homicide: Bucktown allows readers to use their imaginations and discover what witnesses saw and what was observed by authorities on the scene.
Enjoy and stay safe.
The above photo was taken by Sam Logan and shows the scene of a homicide at 2217 N. Damen Ave., scene #3 in the ‘zine.