Today’s class reminded me that not only are my peers generally uninformed as to what a zine is, but also that there is a possibility they may hold some interest in zine culture once informed.
A zine most often appears in print form and is an ephemeral piece of literature, photography, art, dialogue, or a combination of all. They are most prominent in alternative arts and music based scenes, and act as a source of information, review, and display. Zines essentially have no rules in regards to size, production, or content. They are most commonly printed on full, half, or quarter sized printer paper, assembled with DIY ethics. They are circulated by hand, or through small (often radical) book and info shops, as well as online shops such as Etsy or Bigcartel.
I wouldn’t suggest that zine makers are “rock critics” as the article suggested, but rather cultural arbiters to some degree. A zine-maker makes a conscious decision on how to write, layout, and distribute their material, which allows the audience to gain an authentic sense of the author’s interests, opinions, and values. The temporal quality of zines gives the writer an opportunity to grow within their authorial voice, and make shifts in the content.
You can find music fanzines, along with a collection of activist or political zines at the OPIRG library on campus. The library also has some material on zines, and zine making.