One of the most interesting cultural phenomenon of the past three decades has been the proliferation of zines (pronounced ZEEN), self-published periodicals with small press runs, often photocopied, frequently irreverent, and usually appealing to audiences with highly specialized interests. With an estimated 120,000 in existence, zines can no longer be regarded as a strictly underground culture phenomenon, but must be accepted as a significant, if not permanent, part of the cultural landscape.
NOW: traditional hard copy or analog zines are making resurgence, as self-publishers revert to the physical tactile format much in the vein of the zines of the past, placing importance on autonomy and independence particularly from that of the ever expanding online mainstreaming of the virtual world.
So really the long and short of it is, despite misgivings at shaping a singular definition of what zines are, I usually tell people that ask me that zines are homemade magazines, and that they are self-published, often on a copy machine. I tell them that these projects are usually labours of love created on a small scale and distributed in unusual ways. I try to stress that zines can be anything that their creator wants them to be and that usually they are made to reflect what the author sees as a void in their current media consumption or to honour themselves and their own views and daily lives as important expressions. So if this sort of self-publishing shindig sounds like your bag, why not give it a crack, it’s all about doing it for yourself.