I’ve been an avid zine maker and collector for almost two decades. I love that zines can be about anything the creator wants. I have so many diverse zines in my collection (in the 1000s by now) I’ve been nurturing and growing since I was 15. Having been around in the zine-world for so long I get asked a lot in interviews to comment on the resurgence in zines’ popularity but, I always find that question hard to answer. For me, zines have never been popular…I always think of them as an alternative to mainstream media, a form of underground communication and as an outsider art form. Also, I’ve never stopped making zines since I started so to me zine making has always been there and always been a thing.
In the spirit of finding awesome zines and sharing, here’s a collection of zines that have tickled my fancy as of late.
Live Through This: A Retrospective – the early work of Leigh Riibe (1995-2000)
A collection of photographs, mixtape art, and hand painted stories from the creator’s life in the nineties; Live Through This stirred feelings of nostalgia for my own teens. Growing up Leigh attended a Catholic school where she says there was “no tolerance for a young girl’s artistic expression or that of her budding sexuality, let alone opinions!” She went on to be inspired by, and immersed in the Riot Grrrl community. The zine is accompanied by a lovingly curated 13 song mixtape – a musical time capsule and inspiration for the pieces featured.
GET Live Through This.
Different Times – Life, Drag, Rock’n’roll – 5 Years In Six Inch Killaz 1994-99
A totally fascinating, engaging read, Different Times is a zine about drag life and rock’n’roll in queer London in the 1990s. From the intro I didn’t want to put it down! Extract: “My parents called me Simon. It’s a name I’ve never really liked. As a child I asked them if I could be called Sarah instead, but they were not keen. Twenty years ago a lot of people called me Mona, the drag name I took from a Bo Diddley record. I did drag from 1992 to 2001, and most of that time I was in a band, an all-drag punk-ish band: Six Inch Killaz. This zine is mostly about me and the band, but it’s also about the drag, trans, queer and music scenes in London that we were part of. Like the title says, those were different times, and most of that stuff is long gone and far away. It’s a personal version of a partial history of the band and our world.”
GET Different Times.
PUUURGE Art Zine vol. 1
This is Lillian Cuda’s first zine. She’s a self-taught artist based in Wollongong, Australia that makes the cutest art, patches and fashion. Her Grrrl Gang sticker pack rules as does here Spell Patch for Courage and Protection. The zine is a delightful compilation of her work. I love that the zine is also full colour and with hand sewn seams (to me little touches like that make zines even more special).
April Fool’s Day Zine
This is Kathleen Hanna’s zine about alcoholism written in 1996. It’s about the intersections between oppression and addiction. I’m a fan of KH’s work and hadn’t read this but was stoked to find it being reprinted and sold on etsy. The shop owner selling it also does Riot Grrrl Nostalgia zine grab bags!
GET April Fool’s Day.
Funny Broads Pizza Party Coloring Book Zine
How can you not love this? “All your dreams are coming true! The funnest and funniest ladies have all gathered together and they want to have a pizza party with you! It will be the most legendary party of all time! I’ve drawn fifteen of my faves, ready with slices of pizza for you to top with cheese, veggies, unicorns, and precious gems to your heart’s content! That’s fifteen pages to turn and say “HA HA HA, I LOVE HERRRR!” I pay tribute to the radness of Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Margaret Cho, Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Schaal, Amy Sedaris, Retta, Molly Shannon, Janeane Garofalo, Tina Fey, Aubrey Plaza, Rebel Wilson, Mindy Kaling, and Sarah Silverman with my original illustrations.” Get it. Learn it. Love it. Live it.
If you like your zines bursting with drawings, photos, collages, comics, writing and 100% sincere weirdness, this is for you. I love the 2-colour screen of Medusa by Olivia Horvath on the cover. The zine was produced as part of an exhibit the Dirt Palace did in New York at Soho 20 Gallery in Chelsea. A beautiful art zine.
GET Dirt Palace.
It’s no big secret I love, Frida Kahlo (if you’re not familiar who she is check out this wonderful Rookie piece on her: Literally the Best Thing Ever: Frida Kahlo). This zine by Brisbane artist Ariel O’Connor celebrates the Mexican artist with illustrations and inspiring Frida quotes. I’m not gonna lie either, I’m really tempted to colour in the line illustrations. Ariel also makes super neat zines in the same vein featuring Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.
Dad Tweets had me cracking up! It is a best-of collection of the creator’s dad’s twitter account.
GET Dad Tweets.
Work In Progress
Another Aussie zine! Creator Gemma is based in Melbourne. If you like feminism, body positivity and musings on galactic travel, you gotta get this zine. Features include: Let’s Destroy Capitalism and Go Live in the Forest: Ramblings after watching Star Trek Insurrection and South Park Pinewood Derby; Body Acceptance and Being a Fat Babe and Internalised Misogyny, Intersectional Feminism and Teenage Girldom. Plus there’s comics and pictures of mermaids!
GET Work In Progress.
Pits Against Patriarchy Vol. 1
As a PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) suffer finding this zine meant a lot to me. The folks who make it raise money for Verity, the charity for people with PCOS; last year they raised over £4,000. The zine also contains a whole bunch of rad stuff including information about PCOS and the feminist politics of body hair, being a hairy pro-dominatrix, original artwork and personal experiences of participating in Armpits4August 2012 (a month long charity event in which participants grow out their underarm hair for one month).
All Day I Dream About Synthesizers
ADIDAS is AMAZING! It’s a collab zine between synthesizer connoisseur Miles Cosmo (milescosmo.bandcamp.com) and illustrator Gemma Flack (www.gemmaflack.com). It showcases a complete history of all of the hardware synths (and some of the software synths) that Miles has ever owned – “A whole bunch of classic and not so classic synths with a rad illustration to accompany each one.” As a HUGE synth lover this zine is a dream come true.
Lavender Room Zine
My friend Pas makes this zine. The zine is so tiny it fits inside a matchbox! There’s been nine issues so far, in each you can find: Ye Olde Picture Books – what amazing vintage books Pas has found in secondhand shops?; quotes from the dearly departed J.D.Salinger; Thankyou for Being a Friend – Pas’ Golden Girls pick of talented friends! And much more!
GET Lavender Room Zine.
Mystical Cards of the Tarot
I ADORE the Tarot therefore I adore this zine. It’s a zine made by friends Kinoko and Prescott McCarthy featuring 20 pages of illustrations and a centrefold Tarot Spread by Kinoko. The covers are screenprinted mint and violet onto purple paper. So, so pretty.
Know of any AMAZING zines I should check out???
*All zine images sourced from creator’s etsy store. Image 1 ‘Read More Zines’ pins available here.