The art of the zine and why it won't go away
Although magazines and newspapers everywhere are disappearing, there’s still a form of print publishing that’s refusing to go away.
The zine, or fanzine as it was first called, may have started as far back as the 19th century as a way for fans of a certain cultural phenomenon, be it literature or music, to pay homage. Zines hit their heyday from the 70s to the 90s, focusing on the punk subculture first, and later on a wide range of subjects. Hand-drawn and written or slick and beautifully designed, most of the publications these days are reproduced on copiers in very limited quantities.
Analog zines still exist in the digital world for a number of reasons. In addition to the most popular zines, published for sci-fi, music, video and role-playing game enthusiasts, there are other, extremely limited-circulation publications that express controversial viewpoints or espouse alternative lifestyles.
Another reason the zine refuses to die is that criticism and trolling online can be relentless, often cruel and disheartening to literary and artistic sorts. Online reading, too, is subject to less of a “deep dive,” what with email and news notifications disturbing one’s concentration.
The tactile sensation of holding a zine to read and view, unlike the fleeting nature of Internet magazines, keeps this form of expression going, just as notebooks, journals and planners are enjoying a resurgence.
Want to try your hand at creating a zine? Check out artist Roz Stendahl’s video, below, on how to make your own. She also has a self-guided class, “Designing the Intentional Page,” that can help newbies to the zine scene.
Here are some additional zine-making resources and examples:
Click here for a directory of zine libraries.