Hello pop culture fans! Are you familiar with zines? If not, you’re gonna be! Blog Zine on Pop Culture Beast is gonna be your Friday fix, I’m tellin ya. Here is my special guest, Frequently Asked Questions Man, to interrogate me:
WHAT’S A ZINE?
Zines are independently-published magazines. They usually have a pretty small circulation (anywhere from one to 5,000 copies), and are often produced on photocopiers at home. Zine-makers (zinesters in the parlance) share their creations with friends and family, and trade them with other zinesters. Some sell them through the postal mail, at zine festivals, through distribution centers (distros), or online, like in Etsy shops. And we love reading reviews, about our own zines and other zines! The zine community loves to support other zinesters and pass around feedback. We are awesome!
The beauty of a zine is that the zine-maker is in charge. So that means there are zines about everything. Relationships, mental illness, parenting, humor, travel, food, disability, art, sexuality, politics! Anything you can think of, there’s probably a zine out there about it. Crows. German genealogy. Gory news stories. Short-wave radios. Rape. Racism. Zines go from fluff to ohf*ck. Yes, folks, we’re gonna run the gamut.
WHY ARE YOU REVIEWING ZINES?
Like with any form of anything, there’s a range of quality you’ll see in zines. Visually, some people are new and just finding their zine-making feet. Some zine-makers treat zine-making like a lost art, painstakingly using old-fashioned printing presses to set every letter just right. The content varies, too. You’ll see zines with handwritten thoughts thrown down like in a journal, and others that are edited with care. Some are great, and some are just okay.
The value of a zine is really in the eye of the zine-holder. I’m here to introduce you to the wide and wonderful world of zines. Or, if you're familiar with zines, I'll let you know which ones I'm into. I’ll help you navigate which ones might be worth it for you to pick up. Like every zine-maker, each zine reviewer has his or her own personality and preferences. I encourage you to explore other zine reviews, both in print and online, to help you zone in (zine in, heh) on which kinds of zines you might like to take a chance on.
SHOULD I BUY SOME ZINES?
YES! It’s not really that big of a risk! Buying a zine is a low-investment, high-return sort of operation. Many zines cost just a few dollars or less. Many zinesters will accept other zines, regular postage stamps, or other creative work in trade. If you see a zine you think you might like to read, definitely drop a line to its creator and request a copy!
WHAT THE HELL GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO REVIEW ZINES?
I’ve been writing creatively since 1982. I've been making zines since 1987 (consistently since 2010). I currently write zines! My series humor zine, Shards of Glass In Your Eye!, is on its 10th issue, which is kind of a milestone in zine-making. I’ve read a ton of zines, and recently parted with a portion of my zine collection for my volunteer project, Zines for Troops! I was once accepted as a zine reviewer for the important zine review publication Zine World, but didn’t get a chance to publish a review before it (sadly ::sad face::) shuttered. I love zines! I make zines! I live zines! I want to talk about zines!
UPDATE: Oh, and hey, yo! In October, 2013, I was named a grand prize winner in the American Express Passion Prize contest for my zine-related activities!
I’M GUESSING ZINESTERS SHOULD PRINT THIS PART OUT AND PRETEND IT WAS ALL IN PAPER AND INK?
A note of shop-talk to zinesters: I know an online-only zine review feature may be sacrilege to the many thousands of us who are doing our best to keep print media alive! I understand that concern, but please don’t think I’m favoring ones and zeroes over paper and ink. I see this as a way to provide regular (weekly) zine reviews for those of us jonesing for some new reads. I also see it as a way for people who haven’t yet gotten into zines to explore and see what they might like! I want to encourage zine-readership, and maybe inspire someone into making their own zine (c’mon, you can do it!).
The title of this recurring feature, Blog Zine, is an absurd title. This is not a zine about blogs, and it's also not a blog that's a zine. Because no, silly, a blog is not a zine. And in that, I’m also poking fun at the eternal “can a blog be a zine?” debate in the zine community. You can see which side I’m on. :)
Well, maybe if you're M.C. Escher, or if you get what I'm saying about zines. But here I am, writing about zines on a blog feature called Blog Zine! Let's let the two co-exist in this way to communicate the wonders of your zines to all. :-D
HOW DO I SEND MY ZINE FOR REVIEW?
Great question! The most important foundation for this whole shebang is the zine! So, zinesters, SEND ME YOUR ZINES for review! (Sorry I stole your bold-caps steez there, Mr. Frequently Asked Questions Man).
Send zines to:
PO Box 7831
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
I’ll post a new review every Friday. Check back frequently to see what titles you’re interested in!
I SAW YOUR REVIEW. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?
Here’s my Rating System:
It’s Aiight: .
Maybe If You’re Into That Sort of Thing: ?
Or some variation thereof. Like, if I really like the content of a zine but half the pages are printed off the margin, it might be something like:
Page Bleed Zine
So that’s pretty easy, right? Like, I think it’s really cool, but it has some jank elements. You’ll see that at a glance, and then read my more-detailed review. I’ll include information on price and how to get the zine! Please note that some zinesters prefer not to zine online, and they’ll have postal addresses instead of e-mails or websites. This is a feature, not a bug. Support the United States Postal Service! Except for that whole Lance Armstrong fiasco. I’m sure they’re not proud.
Zine-reviewing is a new endeavor for me, so I might change things up as I go along. Feel free to send feedback. And also send zines for review! Come back Friday for my first zine review post!
I WON’T READ BLOG ZINE WITHOUT A JINGLE. DOES BLOG ZINE HAVE A JINGLE?
It’s Blog Zine, it’s Blog Zine, it’s fun, you’ll read it, you should! It’s Blog Zine! It’s Blog Zine! It’s better than bad, it’s good!
UM. THAT'S FROM REN AND STIMPY.
Okay, I mean, I was kind of under pressure. You’re all all-capsy and all that. Chill out and read a zine!
OKAY. SEE YOU FRIDAY.
Til Friday, Frequently Asked Questions Man!
I WANTED THE LAST WORD. I SAID, SEE YOU FRIDAY!
UPDATE: (sorry, FAQ Man). The first reviews are up! Here!