Zine History

A (very short) timeline of zine history:

  • 1517?: Luther’s 95 Theses as the first major zine (specific, self-made and published)
  • 1770s: American Revolution broadsides
  • 1920s: Surrealist and dada (artists and the avant garde critique of the bourgeois)
  • 1930s: Sci-fi (fans met at conventions and readings; the publication of zines such as Amazing Stories and Weird Tales)
  • 1940s: Beat poetry chapbooks, such as Allen Ginsburg and San Fran friends
  • 1950s: Samizdat (Soviet Union DIY; this was literature secretly written, copied, and circulated in the former Soviet Union and usually critical of practices of the Soviet government)
  • 1960s: Comics (industry news and information magazines, such as The Comic Reader, as well as interview, history and review-based fanzines)
  • 1970s: Punk fanzines and zines (zines about established punk culture, bands, direct action and non-conformity)
  • 1990s: Riot grrl zines 
  • Today: Zinefests, zine distros/small presses, and zine libraries galore!

-from Conner-Gaten, A. (2019). Zines 101 [PowerPoint slides].

Zine Culture

Why are zines important?

  • Zines provide spaces for marginalized voices and stories that are excluded from traditional publishing
  • Zines challenge us to think about authority in differing contexts
  • Zines reframe topics we talk about in class and life  
  • Zines allow us to channel our thoughts creatively into art

-from Conner-Gaten, A. (2019). Zines 101 [PowerPoint slides].