why i like zines (and minicomics)

and we’re back to the notebook. i wrote this for a little zine that a friend of mine, hatuey, and i put together that compiled contributions from people that participated in our self-publishing workshop that we used to run out of chicago comics. that workshop was called gutters. we don’t do it anymore. so i wrote this on 9/2/05. you’ll see that i out myself as a librarian in this piece. i still agree with what i wrote regarding the “as a librarian” bit, but i’m an archivist more than a librarian at this point. although there’s a lot of overlap between the two. so at some point i could be more of a librarian than an archivist. and it would still rule if i could be a zine librarian/archivist. now you know.


I had

I’ve never really tried to put into words what it is about self publishing in general, zines/minicomics in specific, that draws me in captivates me inspires me engages me.


I’ve written about my frustrations. I don’t know if I’ve ever published any of that – I try to keep things positive – so many rants already there, I try to avoid that. But I have written in my notebooks of how agonizing it can be, how aggravating, how tiring, angering, annoying it can be to do yr own zine. It’s enough to make you say, why bother, and quit.


But I don’t.


There’s something there that keeps me going. This brings me back to my opening sentence. The one I meant to finish. I’ve never really tried to put into words what it is about zines that I love, until recently. Lately I’ve had to explain what zines are to a whole new bunch of people. I’m in library school learning to be a librarian – hopefully a zine librarian/archivist and I’m meeting all these new people that don’t know what zines or minicomics are and they’re intrigued. But they ask or I assume they want to know what makes zines so important. To which I used to take a while going “hmm. Let me think. Umm.”


But now I’ve got it boiled down to one immediate answer. It’s the immediacy, the intimacy of zines that I love. The instantaneous expression of ideas and opinions. But as a librarian what is important is the documentation of the everyday. The preservation of this huge record of information about normal people. Not celebrities. Not politicians. Not athletes. No stars. Just plain regular people who are observing their world, their lives. That is an important body of information.


500 years from now. We’re all dead. Generations have come and gone. But, theoretically, those people will look at the zines from now and see what was going on. They’ll see what we cared about. What you and I were doing. Us unfamous yokels. What we thought. Even if we’re just writing about bands and bikes and our traumatic high school experiences and loves and ups and downs. It may seem trivial, but it’s not.


Diy publishers. Zinesters are documenting important information for posterity. Whether we admit it or not.


That of course is my high falootin answer. Ask me sometime in person and the first thing I’ll say is. Um. I don’t know. I like zines. Then I’ll shuffle my feet and look at the ground.