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I've had a few people tell me that Microcosm has issues and shouldn't be representative of the zine world - too capitalist, sell-out, some personal issues with the founder.

Now being that I am on the other side of the world, and my main connection with zines is as a reader, I'm not aware of any of the context around Microcosm or their supposed controversy. As far as I know, they're one of the bigger zine distros, bit of a brand name, they've got tons of stuff, and the founder and his ex had big personal issues (as related in Brainscan).

Could someone fill me in? Someone once told me "you, MTV, and Microcosm are what's wrong with the DIY world" which amused, bemused, and confused me all at once.

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Well I have heard, on the grapevine, that they do not grow their own trees, make their own paper and produce their own printers, so make of that what you will.

I know that they use fair trade shirts and have a bunch of volunteers, so I'm sure that demonstrates more open and fair operation than MTV, but beyond that I don't know. I guess if your standard is higher than that you'd probably be doing your own research. :)
they sure distro a lot of thing but not everything. the best way to get zines is to trade anyway, or buy it with money direct from the zinesters. but distro like that let you introduce to a lot of different stuff in the same time (and in the same package, I live in another corner of the world). thanks to these folks I can enjoy a lot of good DIY publications from northamerica, and they are incredibly fair with postage, unlike other big distros. I'm going to volunteer theyre so maybe I'm not really neutral to talk about this. about the brainscan "controverse", the personnal issue isn't about microcosm but a single person, right ? even personnal policy mix with a community politics you can't really blame a group of activist for mistakes in one's life.

one thing sure, Microcosm isn't Do it together rather than Do it Yourself, because the money out of the distro set projects for printings that deserve to be read, even if they're writers aren't able to print it by themselves. smaller distro couldn't do that so I don't know what's wrong with that ?


guess MTV sucks for sure, but cable tv is expensive.
Microcosm put out my book, distros my zines, and are friends of mine, so you can either take this as me being biased towards them or that I've got a good idea how they work. Or both. I know people have personal issues with individuals involved in Microcosm, I won't speak to that as I don't believe it's my place to. However, they have always been super supportive of me. When I had concerns about my book (I wanted it to sell for under $5, I wanted it to look a certain way, I didn't want it sold anywhere I wouldn't want to shop) they totally accommodated me. They don't make tons of money; they sell things pretty cheap and they turn most of the profits back into publishing. They only put out stuff by people who are commited to DiY (or Do it Together). None of the collective members is in it to get rich or become underground kingmakers. They have always been fair to me and pay me regularly (though I usually ask for my payment in zines.)

That said, I don't think they're representative of the zine world. I wouldn't say any one thing is representative of the zine world. It's much too diverse to be described sufficiently by one distro or one project.
Every single band that's ever attempted to do anything to make any money at all has been accused of selling out so the "sell out" tag doesn't hold a lot of water with me. I don't even know what "too capitalist" means, but they charge cover price for the zines they sell, carry a wide variety of product, postage is fair, and shipping is quick. If their "capitalist" nature is what's responsible for their reliable service then so be it. And in my opinion personal issues should remain personal and not become fodder for discussion by people such as myself who aren't close with either party. I don't know what happened and I don't even know what people are saying happened so I'll just leave it at that.

But this "you, MTV, and Microcosm are what's wrong with the DIY world" is a strange quote considering MTV has never had anything, nor have they ever claimed to have anything, with DIY culture. That's like saying the Beatles are what's wrong with the automotive industry.
Ha I know! I was surprised to be lumped in all at once, and without any context either. @_@

Ericfishlegs said:
Every single band that's ever attempted to do anything to make any money at all has been accused of selling out so the "sell out" tag doesn't hold a lot of water with me. I don't even know what "too capitalist" means, but they charge cover price for the zines they sell, carry a wide variety of product, postage is fair, and shipping is quick. If their "capitalist" nature is what's responsible for their reliable service then so be it. And in my opinion personal issues should remain personal and not become fodder for discussion by people such as myself who aren't close with either party. I don't know what happened and I don't even know what people are saying happened so I'll just leave it at that.

But this "you, MTV, and Microcosm are what's wrong with the DIY world" is a strange quote considering MTV has never had anything, nor have they ever claimed to have anything, with DIY culture. That's like saying the Beatles are what's wrong with the automotive industry.
Who says that they are representative of the zine world more than anyone else? They are a big distro and publisher, I love them for that, as well as being the quickest and safest place to order zines from as a zine reader. Any time you get big in an underground subculture, people will criticize you. But labels like sell-out are just ridiculous. I'd take any shit talking with a grain of salt, especially if it's coming from other zine distros.
I don't think you could really use absolutes that they are the "quickest" or "safest". What do you have to back that up? How are they any safer or quicker than the other distros out there?

I don't have anything to add to this because I don't know any of the absolutes about things i have heard in Microcosm business practices (personal situations aside).
When a band/label/distro/author/etc.... gets big enough, some people always start pointing fingers and love you yell "sellout!" Comparing Microcosm to MTV is the most ridiculous thing i have ever heard.
eh, they cool.

any time there's drama, pass it on to your mama. the people at microcosm have always been nice to me, so i'm nice to them. personal stuff happens. but i'm still friends with everyone. if you don't dig micro, just stay away from them. any zine they distro can still be found directly from the source. and zine they USED to distro can still be found from the source. it's all good, life is great! go see Avatar then rebel against the Sky-People! Microcosm ain't no Sky-people... they're just one of many places to get zines.
Thanks for posting that Ciara. The article writing Alex out of Microcosm had completely slipped my mind.

Does anyone have any information or experience as a zinester who has not gotten paid or treated well by Microcosm?

ciaraxyerra said:
thanks for your email btw

ciaraxyerra said:

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