What’s a Zine Anyway?

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I have this notion that I want to make my blog posts like mini-zines and take folks on a visual and text based journey that fires off different synapses of the brain, triggering an exploration of subjects from the profound to the mundane – a hyperlinked adventure.

My interest in Zines stems from the art world, where folks like Pat Riot of Popular Vulture, make sequential series of pictures and text based collages that amalgamate into a thought provoking surrealistic piece of art, that for me, does more than pictures or text alone. The Zine replicates approximately how my mind works and the way that I see the world, which is through the lens of a whirling mass of ephemeral thoughts and impressions.

The origin of the Zine goes way back. I suppose you could argue that the zine conceptually started when man first picked up a piece of chalk and scribbled out a chronicle of his day on a slab of rock. But sticking to a more modern usage of the term, the journey begins in 1829 when William Austin Burt patented the typewriter.

The Zine has had many names from pamphlet (think The Federalists, Ben Franklin and his Poor Richard’s Almanack) to the chapbook (think the Beat writers and poets) to the Fanzine (think The Comet through to the early Punk movement). Zines also played a huge part in the 1960’s counter-culture movement and the alternative press.

What the heck is a Zine anyway?

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You’d almost think that there wouldn’t be a place for Zines in the age of blogs, and sites like Tumblr. The Internet hasn’t killed the Zine entirely, in fact in some cases the Internet has helped zinesters carve out a little mini-publishing empire of their own with a world wide distribution.

And while I am a huge fan of blogs, I do like the printed Zine for it’s physical aesthetic, plus it’s hard to beat something hand-crafted, thought-provoking, and personal.

If you’re interested in making a zine,Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine?: The Art of Making Zines and Mini Comicsis a good start point.

And if you want to go deeper, try Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture (Zinester’s Guide).

peace out