zine machines

The Washington Post Weekend looks at the current state of zines (sort of, in pretty skimming, general terms). (Note: The Rowe being quoted here is Chip Rowe, who works for Playboy and wrote a book about zines.)

Rowe summarizes the movement of zines onto the Web thusly: “Fanzines became paper zines became webzines became blogs. That’s where we are now.” But he’s not just being blithe. He sees in the current blog craze something akin to the paper zine craze of the early ’90’s. “The same spirit is there,” Rowe says. “Everybody feels powerless to one degree or another and is looking to get some kind of reaction. They want people to care about what they think. It’s heartening seeing blogs, even if a lot of them will go away as the novelty wears off.”

Breier and Smith, whose Xerography Debt includes a regular column on the history of zines, find the antecedents of Leeking Ink and chickfactor and all of their kin much further back, in the 19th century broadsheets often named Tatler or Spectator and devoted to a wide range of political and literary subject matter, a sudden surge of home publishing made possible by the growing availability of the tabletop printing press.

Some blogs may bear kinship to certain kinds of zines, but I’m thinking that one to one correlation is false and does no kindness to either blogs or zines.

Anyway, the article basically ignores my favorite kind of zines (ha, the kind I co-edit), the print literary ones, in which some extremely vital work is being done. Scott Berg implies there aren’t any editors in zine-ville, which is patently false. (Ask any of the writers that Christopher Rowe and I have requested rewrites from.) He hints that the print zine is over, also falsely patented.

Some links to zines I think are worth your time that Berg didn’t have time to deal with (some of his recs are great, actually, love Leeking Ink) and which are cheaper than a cup of coffee at that green and white place:

Trunk Stories
Electric Velocipede
Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet (you should be reading this already! and not just for my advice column! also lots of zine reviews on the site!

–And yes, I’ve already linked to Say…, in a moment of crass zine promotion, but we just have little weird internet homes and no real site for the Fortress of Words (I know, I know), so just follow _that_ link and help pay for the reprints of the latest issue we desperately need to have done!

If you have favorites, post them in the comments.

Long live the zine revolution.