Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Pre Internet Fandom

Sci-Fi Zine
Fanzines, commonly referred to as just zines, emerged in the 1930's. A combination of the words 'fan' and 'magazine', early fanzines mostly focused on science fiction. Over the years, various genres of zines ranging from music, sports, horror movies, and comics began to crop up. According to Phil Stoneman, author of Fanzines: Their Production, Culture and Future, zines were usually produced by fans who would submit stories, pictures, flyers, illustrations, or critiques to an editor which would compile the fanzine using a typewriter, and in later years photocopiers, to make copies to distribute. Although some zines had a small fee, the majority would be distributed free of charge by students in schools, or among groups of fans. As the scope of some zines increased, fans resorted to mailing in content while editors began to mail out the zines to subscribers.
Punk Fanzines of the 1970's

The tradition of fanzines continued throughout the years into the late 70's with punk rock zines such Sniffin Glue, Guilty of What, and many others. Zines continued through the 90's. One of the most known being the Riot Grrrl zines which focused on punk rock and feminism in the United States.  

 Although fanzines are still in circulation today, fandom has shifted to the internet for an instant interaction with fellow fans and readers. During The British Library’s punk exhibit, fanzines stood out to me because they, as odd as it may sound, took me back to my childhood. I myself had created fanzine-like comics back in 4th and a small portion of 5th grade in school. Although not considered fanzines, my friends and I would draw fictional comics about anything and everything we could imagine. We would staple the hand-drawn comics and distribute them among ourselves and other classmates during recess and lunch. 

Our inspiration...
Our inspiration for the comics stemmed from the Captain Underpants graphic novels that we loved as 8 year and 9 year olds. Being a terrible artist, I would contribute with a story and characters while my friends would draw them. Whenever I ran out of ideas they would pitch in with a story. If I remember correctly, one of our most popular comics was The School Bus of Doom... or something like that which was a horror version of The Magic School Bus my friend, Joe had come up with.Our class loved them but eventually teachers caught on. Although not obscene or crude in anyway, more often than not they would be confiscated for interfering with the class environment. We would often find ourselves in the principal's office with a stack of our comics on his desk or in detention. But in the spirit of Punk, We didn't care. As long as our friends and classmates enjoyed them, we loved making them.

Phil Stoneman on fanzines:  






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