zine, [zeen] noun. 1. abbr. of fanzine; 2. any amateurly-published periodical. Oxford Reference


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Make a zine!

Make a Zine! 
by Joe Biel with Bill Brent / Microcosm Publishing

13.5cm x 17cm, 160 pages.


I know, I know, a book about making zines. But wait! Wait! You need to keep that snobbery in check, or you'll miss out on a fantastic handbook of all things zine. (In fact snobbery should be a future topic for one of Microcosm's long running series of zines Dr Faith's Five Minute Therapy - but more on that in future reviews). 

This is an updated and expanded 20th anniversary edition of the Microcosm's original Make a zine! The book guides you through chapters on 'behind the scenes' topics crucial to making zines - creative commons, communities, and contributors - as much as the more fun hands on side. 

There are contributions from other zine makers and shapers, including a great primer on DIY Comix by Fly. The history section reflects the changes in the zine community of the last 20 years, the rise of zine wikis and databases, review sites (*cough*) and forums. There is an interesting discussion of fake zines by Stephen Duncombe (author of the incredible Notes from Underground: Zines and the politics of alternative culture) - and how a shift towards a polished look, letterpress, or artist book style embellishment, is actually a good thing for contemporary zines.

Interleaved with the practical advice is a narrative based on the authors' experience of zines, running a distro, and a being a publisher. But even if you've also been around zines for 20 years, you should buy this book. It will invigorate your passion for reading and making zines. Make a zine! has made me want to read, review, and make more than I do already. And once you've read it, give it to a friend or a stranger who is just starting out, and who would perhaps benefit from basic, practical advice about binding, printing, the legalities of copying, and the giddy heights and lowest lows of collaboration. In doing so, you might just help someone start something special. 

Order Make a zine! here: microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/books/1202 or order a copy from your local bookshop. 


Review by Nathan Penlington

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