In the days before the internet there were zines: Low budget, independent magazines that were found at neighborhood record and comic book stores and other counter culture places.
These crazy little publications can still be found today and the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University is hosting a Zine Workshop on Monday that will show people how to create their own.
Leave your scissors, glue and construction paper at home, the library will supply all the tools you need to create a mini zine publication.
Manuscript Archivist Tyne Lowe, of the Ray and Pat Browne Popular Culture Library, said that zines are a hard thing to define, because of their great variety.
She said the Popular Culture Library has thousands of issues.
“We have zines that are more like unpopular culture, more like underground and alternative communities,” Lowe said. “A zine is a shortening of the word magazine, of course, so having some sort of relationship to mainstream magazines is what is central about it. It’s usually going to be bound in some way, often with staples, but sometimes folded, with word and image that is talking to a specific community.”
Topics can be about anything, but they are almost always operating outside of mainstream culture.
“It’s sort of a Luddite thing,” Lowe said with admiration and a big smile. “There is just tons and tons of stuff, created for small communities.”
A punk, or do-it-yourself attitude, is also closely identified with zine creation. The genre exploded in the 1970s with the advent of low budget printing using mimeograph machines and photocopiers, like the ones made by Xerox.
“There is almost always a priority, for looking or reading like something that’s DIY, or maybe something that couldn’t or wouldn’t want to be published by a mainstream producer. So I think it’s indulging in the joy of flying underneath the editorial radar,” Lowe said of the zine publishing attitude.
Lowe has put together a wide variety of zines from the library’s collection, to illustrate the quality of publication, as well as topics. There are very rough black-and-white, hand-drawn covers, like “Punk Zine,” to the glossy color cover of the 1978 Batman fanzine called “Batzine.”
Zine titles have also often been odd.
“I really love ‘Blatch.’ We have a ton of issues of this in the collection. It is a really fairly widely distributed one. This is a lot about punk music,” Lowe said. “I think it’s a really nice balance of writing and visual art, which I always like.”
Monday’s event will take place in two parts. An hour of the history of zines will include a few of the popular creative techniques used in their creation. A hands-on class where participants make their own zine page will follow.
Participants will have the opportunity to contribute their creation to a zine being collaboratively created for the class conference. “All of this is Temporary: A Conference on Class Consciousness and Popular Culture” will take place at the Jerome Library on April 14 and 15. Pages can also be submitted for the zine by email [email protected]. The event page can be found at bgsu.edu/library/classcon/.
The Zine Workshop takes place on Monday from 5-8 p.m. on the fourth floor of the BGSU Jerome Library. The event is free and open to the public.