Tuesday, June 8, 2010

PENNY: Post 8: Zines

A zine is a publication of texts and images, usually circulation is 5,000 or less, more commonly in editions of less than 100. More broadly, the term relates to any self-published work, usually of interest to a minority. Commonly reproduced with a photocopier. Profit is not the primary intent of publication.

Long Live Mutiny! Pirate Tactics
"Borrowing from what I assume to be traditional pirate customs, the authors of this guide explain how to create secure conditions for Black Bloc activists to get together to organize and carry out direct action. Topics addressed include "How do pirates organize", "Radical Defense", "How do I become a Pirate", "What the hell is a swagger", and more. The guide gives good directions on how to maintain anonymity and avoid infiltration by state agents and others, how different groups should connect together, how information can be safely distributed, etc. If you want to
get involved in covert direct action, this is a good place to begin. "

Zine format can be computer-printed text, comics or handwritten text. Topics covered are broad, including fanfiction, politics, art and design, ephemera, personal journals, social theory, single topic obsession, or sex; with content far enough outside of the mainstream to be prohibitive of inclusion in more traditional media.

"Zines are about diversity, creativity, innovation, and expression. As a group, zines deliberately lack cohesion of form or function, representing as they do individual visions and ideals rather than professional or corporate objectives. With zines, anything goes. Anything. They can be about toasters, food, a favorite television show, thrift stores, anarchism, candy, bunnies, sexual abuse, architecture, war, gingerbread men, activism, retirement homes, comics, eating disorders, Barbie dolls - you name it."
Julie Bartel

Zines can be sold, traded or gifted,from zine symposiums and publishing fairs, record stores, book stores, zine stores, concerts, zine 'distros', mail order, websites, social networking profiles or through direct correspondence with the author. As zines are usually sold for relatively little money, from one fan to another, the time and materials used to create a zine are seldom matched by income from sales.

Zines have been around for hundreds of years in one form or other, however, it was only in the 1930's that 'zine' became a common term. Science Fiction fans began to write their own magazines commenting on the validity/probability of SF storylines and writing their own stories (The Comet, was published in 1930 by the Science Correspondence Club in Chicago). Zines stayed in the realm of SF, branching only as far as comics (The Comic Collector's News, was the first comics fanzine, in October, 1947) and horror ('Trumpet', was a 1960s SF zine that branched into horror film coverage), until the 1970's when 'Punk'happened and zines sprung up everywhere. (The first UK punk zine Sniffin' Glue, ran for 12 photocopied issues. The first issue was produced by fan Mark Perry immediately following the London debut of The Ramones on July 4, 1976).

"Around 1975 the price of duplication went down dramatically,"..... noting that Xerox went from approximately 50p a sheet to 10p. "Copy shops started to spring up all over Britain. At the same time Kodak introduced instant printing. The combined effect of these two things was dramatic, really on a par with the arrival of the internet."
Joly McFie

'Maximumrocknroll is a widely distributed, monthly not-for-profit fanzine based in San Francisco. Maximum RocknRoll is considered to be one of the most important presences in punk, not only because of its wide-ranging coverage, but because it has been a constant and ideologically influential presence in the ever-changing punk community for two decades.'

The 1990's saw zines head into the territory of 'Riot Grrrl' and 'Queercore', both offshoots of punk, but entirely different in attitude and agenda.
Queercore is distinguished by a discontent with society in general and a complete disapproval of the gay and lesbian community and its 'oppressive agenda'. Queercore zines covered political agendas along with music and Queercore musicians were often but not exclusively homosexual.

Riot Grrl was an underground feminist punk movement often associated with third-wave feminism. The Zines were often related to music but also to the same topics the music embraced including sexism, mental illness, body image and eating disorders, sexual abuse, racism, rape, discrimination, stalking, domestic violence, incest, homosexuality, and sometimes vegetarianism.

Fanorama is a Rhode Island-based zine and zine-distro produced by journalist/activist REB (Richard E. Bump). It is the "grand-daddy of the queer zine scene". First published in 1992, it was initially a punk-edged collage of gay porn and commentary.
"This is best described simply by quoting from the introduction:
One night while rooting through the recycling bin for magazines, I found all the confidential Ph.D. applicant files for the biology department at an Ivy League university from the years 1965-1975. Stapled to many of the yellowed documents were photographs of the prospective students. They were treasures! I tore through the folders and rescued every portrait I could find. I had to have them. The recommendation forms supplied accompaniment, via their "strengths and weaknesses" or "personality" sections. The quotes below each photo are actual things said about the pictured students by their formed professors or employers, not intended to be seen by anyone but the application review committee. My selections are often unflattering, but perhaps insightful into these students, as well as their referees. "
Zines allow open creativity in any area the author chooses, this has created some amazing work, authors, designers and artists. Contributors to Zines were/are often hired by paying magazines, some zines themselves moving up from unpaid to paid as a whole. Notable among these are Giant Robot, Bust, Bitch (magazine) and Maximum RocknRoll.

"Just before punk kicked off, broadcaster/critic-to-be Paul Morley did one issue of Out There, an attractively designed zine that was attacked by Sniffin' Glue's Mark P for "looking like fuckin' Vogue", then received the proverbial telegram from NME. Everett True went from doing rebarbative indie zine The Legend to becoming Melody Maker's champion of grunge and is currently the publisher/editor of independent music magazine Plan B. Most meteoric of all was the ascent of James Brown – in the 80s he was the mouthy git behind Attack on Bzag! before he became the creator of Loaded and a magazine-publishing magnate-about-town."

In recent years the traditional paper zine has begun to give way to the webzine (or "e-zine") that is easier to produce and uses the Internet to reach an ever larger audience. Nonetheless, printed fanzines are still produced, either out of preference for the format or to reach people who don't have convenient Web access.

Giant Robot is a bi-monthly magazine of Asian and Asian American popular culture founded in 1994. The publication grew from its original format—a small, photocopied zine, foldedand stapled by hand—to its current full-color format.



























  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. sorry about the monstrosity!
    i really liked this topic!

  3. great post penny was wanting to see more but non of links worked for me- error 404.

  4. sorry. all sorted. blogger sneaks dumb things into code!