*image of Xerography Debt Cover: issue #31
diy: The World of Zines
And what exactly is a zine?
Well, a zine is generally a small, lo-budget, print publication, created
by one person or by a small number of people, photocopied, & distributed by
the U.S. Postal Service (proper postage required). Some print zines have
transformed into e-zines, but there remains a large stubborn & independent
group of zinesters who swear by paper & print. In fact, back in 2011, some
zinesters issued a call for EVERYONE to make a zine. This was called The
Revenge of Print. I’m not sure exactly how successful this campaign was,
but it did inspire me to create my own zine, called dwarf planet. The first
issue appeared in November, 2011. I had planned to make a whole series of
these things, but that’s been the only edition, so far. Dwarf planet garnered
some good reviews & I did sell a few at $2.00 apiece, but only a few.
Anyway, most zines combine written text & images—both photos &
drawings—to create a mood or to tell a story of some kind or just to share
personal thoughts. The quality of these creations runs the full spectrum from
pretty amateur to quite sophisticated. The format is generally a few pieces of
paper folded in half & stapled together, although there is a wide range of
variety here as well.
Anyone interested in this curiously exciting art form can find out a lot
more by going to a couple of sources I know. One is Xerography Debt, a
review zine that reviews other zines, run by managing editor Davida Gypsy
Breier & published twice annually since 1999. Each issue reviews over 100
zines—of a bewildering variety—from all over the world. The price is
usually only $2 or $3 each or even a straight-up trade. Buy an issue & find a
couple that you might like. Xerography Debt has a website & a Facebook
page. Go there for info. The website includes links to all sorts of zine-
related sites. The most recent issue I have is #47 from January 2020, & it’s
filled with interesting stuff.
Another source would be the Microcosm Publishing website.
Microcosm is a zine distro located in Portland, Oregon. A distro is a
distribution center for zines. At the website you’ll find books, zines, comics,
T-shirts, videos, posters, stickers, & more for sale. This is all do-it-yourself, punk style. The prices are reasonable. Among others, new entries include zines about: cats, bicycling to work in the winter, what to do if you’re black
& a cop pulls you over, a guide to business, an illustrated poem about
sadness, mail art, cookbooks, how to brew beer, erotic fantasies, & much
If you do feel the urge to make a zine, do so, & then send the results to
Davida at Xerography Debt. In every issue she is aided by 12-15 reviewers
who know what they’re doing. It’s a way to get your work out there, to make
contacts perhaps all over the world, & to have fun maybe w/ a friend or two
combining talents to create something new. Do it, & help to keep the poor
U.S. Postal Service running.