More fun with literature review! I realize this might not be the most exciting of reading, but dammit, when I was doing my research for this project I was highly frustrated by the lack of web resources and bibliographies. I hope google will make all my hard work findable to other researchers who want to know more about the literature of zines.
On today’s menu, reviews of two web articles about zines.
Clark, Hillary. “Photocopied Politics: Zines (re)Produce a New Activist Culture.” Broken Pencil #6. Ed. Lindsay Gibb. 24 Jul 2008
In this article, originally published in the Canadian zine review magazine, Broken Pencil, Hillary Clark discusses the political implications of zine making. Her thesis is that creating a zine – any zine – is an inherently political act, because through the choice to self-publish, the zinester is rejecting traditional power structures and instead choosing to express themselves outside the mainstream. A zine need not contain a “fuck capitalism” or “smash the patriarchy” collage in order to be political; even personal zines about bands or boys make a statement about the author’s attitude towards the highly commercialized publishing industry’s ability to speak for them and their peers. Although Clark’s article is in no way scholarly, it is interesting in that it is reflective of much of the enthusiasm about zines and arguments for their importance that I found in much of my research into popular attitudes towards the genre.
Wright, Fred. “The History and Characteristics of Zines.” The Zine & E-Zine Resource Guide. 1997. Ed. Chip Rowe. 24 Jul 2008.
Fred Wright’s web article, “The History and characteristics of Zines” is an excerpt from a longer scholarly work on the subject of zines and their historical and psycho-linguistic significance. Wright summarizes the impact of some oft-cited zine ancestors such as American broadsides from the Revolutionary War, Russian Samzidat pamphlets, and Beat chapbooks. He briefly discusses the shift from early sci-fi fanzines in the 30s to riot grrrl punk zines of the 90s. In Part II of his article, Wright delves into the commodification and appropriation of zine culture by the power elite, and comments on the continued significance of zines today as documentation of an era in popular history. The article is accessible yet authoritative, and offers an excellent introduction to the history of alternative media and publication.