Hey Look! Zines are Cool! (Slow News Day in DC?)

The Washington Post’s Magazine Reader stumbles upon Zine Guide and gets all aflutter about ‘zines:

“Zine Guide makes my heart swell with patriotic pride. It makes me want to wave the flag. It gives me warm, fuzzy feelings about my fellow Americans, who are, it reveals, a delightfully diverse, eccentric, quirky, cranky, compulsive, obsessive and in some cases truly demented people, God love them. “

What I will say about this article is that it pretty well manages to avoid being too patronizing, and doesn’t attempt to read ‘zines as the next big thing. Mostly, it’s just a quick chronicle of ‘zines listed in Zine Guide that got the author’s attention — I don’t even think the author’s read the ‘zines in question. And I’m inclined to think that the author seriously just stumbled upon ‘zines for the first time, since he makes absolutely no mention of the famous departed Factsheet 5, which is otherwise a mandatory reference for any mainstream article on ‘zines.

But it looks like the Post is over a year behind the curve of their neighbors to the north. The Baltimore City Paper–an alt. weekly rather than a big daily–ran a piece on Zine Guide back in Feb. 2001. This article features an interview with Zine Guide creator Brent Ritzel, and is a much more traditional journo piece than the Post’s “look what I just read” approach. Oh yeah, and it gives mention to ye olde Factsheet in the second paragraph. In fact, I’d more likely suspect an article like the Post’s from an alt. weekly.

If all this talk of zine guides is getting you all excited, you might just want to listen to some reviews of ‘zines from somebody who’s actually read them. Check out and listen to appearances from mediageek’s resident zine queen, A.j. “Lowhug” Michel on the following mediageek radio shows (incidentally, A’s own Laundry Basket ‘zine gets a quick mention in the Post article — go ahead and order it from her for just $1!):

  • 11/1/02 – Zines Reviewed: Fish with Legs, Issue #7; Zisk: A Magazine by and for Baseball Fans; Stolen Sharpie Revolution; Get the Word Out ; Low Hug #8

  • 8/16/02 – Mini-Comix Zines: Clutch; m@b Comics; My Small Diary; Raven’s Children; 3.05 Metres: A Ten Foot Rule Primer and Treatment Bound: A Ten Foot Rule On the Road Special; The Assassin and the Whiner
  • 4/5/02 – Zines Reviewed: Food Geek, Hungover Gourmet, Hyperventilate and The Assassin and the Whiner
  • 2/24/02 – An introduction to ‘zines and an overview of A’s ‘zines.
  • And here are some shows with ‘zine related features:

  • 7/19/02 – Russ Forster has an 8-Track Mind, and the Geek Nation Will Take Over
  • 7/12/02 – Unconventional Independent Media — interviews with Josh, stencil art enthusiast, Rich Mackin, letter writer, and Karen Switzer, who makes letter press zines and cards
  • 7/5/02 – Porland Zine Scene — interviews with Sean Granton of the Portland Zine Symposium and Greg Mean, librarian for Portland’s Independent Publishing Resource Center.
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