We Make Zines

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Being in the over thirty category, I have noticed my zines have changed from when I discovered and made my first zines to the zines I do today.

My first zine, WARFEAR, was an anarcho-punk zine focusing on punk, animal rights, politics etc . I started WARFEAR when I was 20 (1992). I did WARFEAR for 3 years and then ended it when I moved (1995).

I tried and failed to do many zines after, all focusing on the same themes and felt they were not what I really wanted to do.

I finally got back into making zines in in 2000 while working at an art store, and put out two zines, a mIni comic, Banzai Robot Wars and BANZAI,a music and art based zine.

Currently I am still doing BANZAI, tho I don't know how many more issue's I will do, as my interest in music style zines is waning. I also do THREAT N INK , a DIY-comics collaberation zine, which is one of my real loves and a zine I have a deep affection for.

I am noticing that as I get older I am I crave doing zines that are more personal in nature, or art based, rather than politics or music. I have several zines in the works that focus more on the personal side, and I like that. One is about my travels to Japan, another about stories from my youth, a third about meeting celebrities and also some more mini comics.

I do wonder what zines I will be doing in say 10 years, or 20? Will my grandkids think I am crazy when at 70 I am trying to explain why I still print zines on paper?

I would love to read others feelings on this issue!


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I made my first zine in 1984 because my roommate received one in the mail and I thought to myself "I can do that". I didn't know then that it was a zine, but I figured it out pretty quickly and it eventually turned into a rather large music/comic/art publication that had lots of contributors (over 50 in one issue). I was very involved in the local music scene at the time and most of my zines were sold in local record stores, although I did a lot of mail orders also since people were interested in what was happening in my area (D.C.). This zine started out as xeroxed pages stapled together and eventually morphed into a newsprint tabloid format because I was always trying to keep the cost down (and the print run high). It was a lot of fun but I burned out on the music thing once the underground became more commercial.

My second zine began in the 90's and I wanted it to be more human interest, with me being the main human, so I created a queer zine. This one had not as many contributors and I did a lot more of the work myself as far as layout and such. Queer zines were pretty popular and the distribution network was a lot better than in the 80's so I sold a lot more of my zines outside of my immediate location (Seattle). It was a fun time to be doing zines because of all the media attention (including but not limited to Fact Sheet 5) and my zine sold well and got nice reviews and such. The format I started with was a legal size digest but after a few issues I switched to standard size because it displayed better on the shelves of the stores that sold it. It was the failure of one of my main distributors ($$) and my preoccupation with my personal life that made me stop doing this zine.

My current zine output is now mini's created out of a single piece of paper and given away for free locally. This format is working very well for me because I know exactly how much I am spending on each issue and have no expectations or dealings with either distributors or retail outlets. I've actually been able to sell a few ads and recently had t-shirts for sale that have helped with the costs also! (Not to mention a few friends who have been able to run off some free copies.) As far as content goes, my main zine is about pinball and I create this with a core group of friends who are all either big fans of the sport or just like doing a zine. My second (main) title is a comic zine that I do with a co-creator. Since it is comic strips and one panels we have a few contributors for this one also (and many others who say they want to contribute). The latest zine I did with just my main collaborator and it has a humor/political/queer bent to it. This one may just be a one-shot, but we may decide to do another issue since we have some ideas and the reaction from people has been positive.

I like doing zines this way and I'm often thinking about other topics and formats for future releases. It's only a matter of time, money and inspiration...
My fanzines have much more focus & are more diverse on subject matter now. I use to only focus on my punk interest,but I have an ecclectic range of interest & it shows in how many people are interested in participating in submissions for it as well
is funny because for few weeks i found somehow that had the first issue of my zine (released on 96) and i was thinking for myself : oh god how awful it looks hehehehehe but sure my zine change i think as the time pass you change your point of view about some things and your learn also how do things different.i mean would be really sad and boting than after 13 years thins would be the same
Oh god yes. My early zines were HORRIBLE. There was so much talk about god and jesus and christianity (back when I considered myself a christian) and now I just like telling stories with my writing. Things that I think other people will find interesting while at the same time being stories I want to tell.

I started doing zines when I was 15 and did zines about bands I was into. They were quite scrappy looking and thin and alot of it was contributed by other people. As time went on I made zines more for myself rather than other people and thats how I came to do the zine I do now which is Necronomicon, a horror fanzine, but its wrote in a very personal way about every day life whilst watching old horror films from my youth and from my parents back catalouge. I only started it as a project for myself but its ended up being a big thing 10 years later! Im really satisfied with it.

I think its a lot laid back compared to the more intense teenage zines about bands I was obsessed with, less embarrasing! And the zine is pretty much written all by myself compared to the band zines.

I can not picture myself not doing a zine now, been doing them for 15 years and half of my life. I think Ill always find something to write about and I just love the whole process of making a zine.

I have a long term partner and am settled down in my life but thats only made me write more, I dont have kids but even if I did I wouldnt stop writing, I would probably get them involved!

My zines (all comics so far) haven't changed radically over the years, just general improvement and focus. The anthologies I co-edit changed a few years ago to have a more community-minded focus, which has felt really good. All my pieces for those anthologies since then have been non-fiction/essay comics. I've been wanting to put more of that sort of thing in my own zine, but haven't much beyond reprinting some strips I did for a paper because it's more work. I'm focusing my energy on it now, though, and I'll have to figure out over time if that stuff sits well next to the more whimsical stuff. I hope so, because like Alex I like having a single title!
There needs to be more experienced voices in zines---so many people keep re-inventing the wheel, making the same mistakes when it comes to practical matters, things which are completely avoidable if there's a teeny bit of knowledge shared...what the newer people doing zines don't realize is that their work could lead to greater opportunities (book publishing, freelance writing gigs, etc) if they recognize the opportunities.
My zines evolved onalmost a per issue basis.  I went from half-fold to full sheet, started as a Christian music zine which morphed into a political/underground art zine and ended up as a zine that reviewed other zines.  I loved the flexibility of the format and wish I'd stuck with it over the years.  It may be heresy to say, but I'm interested in doing an online version of my old zine.  Do people still trade zines through the mail?
No more angst. My earliest zines expressed my discontent at what adults had to do to make money and pay rent. Now that I do those things on my own terms, I'm no longer mad about it. I'm still irate about all the other injustices in the world though, so my writing about those particular subjects hasn't changed.

Well I hope it has changed, I keep thinking the last issue is the best one yet but I'm never sure. We used to make 2000 copies on a offset printer and now we do 1000 copies in digital so you can see the pictures. I hope I can draw better after 13 years of Chicken-Head. I think the writing has gotten better for me, for my partner more sparse as he becomes a square (even if he doesn't want to admit it). I'm in my 40's now so it only stands to reason that things have changed a bit. 

I got into the zine game late. I'm on my second zine which has been very successful. My first zine was a bust, I tried to spearhead a compzine with some friends and distribute it for free. I don't think I will do a compzine or a free zine again. But my second try was the jackpot, I wrote a three volume zine about my lifelong search for my Native American ancestry from the NJ Pine Barrens. It was a combination of autobiography, historical research and travel writing. I think I have found my niche with writing about NJ Pine Barrens related topics since it sold well locally to folks who were unfamiliar with zines. However I still see room to let my writing and layout style evolve. I plan to keep producing zines for the next 30 years, lol. So who knows what changes lay down the road for me?  



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