A ‘zine (short for fanzine) is a mini magazine that is usually self-published that is centered around a certain topic. The first zine I discovered was Absolutely Zippo, which was basically a random, unsophisticated and cheaply reproduced montage of ramblings by bored high school punks in Pinole. Ever since finding its simple brilliance, I started making my own zine, mainly to cure summer boredom, but also as a way to vent out my art and ideas to whoever bothered to read it.

It’s hard to describe what a zine is without you holding one in your hands, but you’ve probably seen them lying around on the free shelves of record or comic book stores, or sold for a dollar on some back shelf. Usually created by a person or a small group, they are usually made up of regular paper and stapled together, sometimes looking crude and unprofessional, others looking neat and pretty. Some are periodical, some are published according to the creator’s whim, and some just appear and disappear in a short time. Some consist of poetry, some of comics, some are about music and bands, some are personalized accounts of the creator’s life or ideas. And some, like mine, are completely random and nonsensical and consist of a bit of everything. It’s up to the creator to choose what to make. That’s the beauty of zines—the complete artistic freedom that a person has.

How exactly do you create a zine? There is no one way to make one, but I can tell you how I do mine. I take a couple of sheets of paper and fold them in half. Then I write or draw random things on them, or glue random pictures or things I find on the pages. But a better way to do it is to focus on an idea or topic (politics, art, whatever). Make sure to have a good title for your zine, something short and catchy, but witty and original.

As a person who is usually antisocial and quiet, making a zine is my way of expressing my ideas and thoughts to the world while remaining anonymous. In a way the zine is my “first word”, since making one was the first time I really felt free to say what I want to say without anyone criticizing or telling me how to do it. And I don’t care how crappy my product may look to you. It’s basically what is on my mind on paper, black and white, for you to see. If you disagree with what I have to say, make your own zine to counter mine.





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