The history and styles of zine creation


Photo courtesy of Miriam Sokolska.

In a crowded room filled with gossip and little homemade booklets, my journey with zines began with a visit in 2019 to DC Zine Fest. There I was exposed to the DIY culture of self-publishing which holds a rich history of counterculture, activism and marginalized groups.

Zines (pronounced “zeens”) are self-published magazines that took root in the sci-fi scene of the 1930s. They became more famous with the public thanks to the Riot Grrrl movement of the 1990s, but zines continue to be used by many artists and groups as an inexpensive and easy way to disseminate information.

Zines come with a very distinct style in public ideology. Think of the mismatched lettering of the movie’s ransom notes or Olivia Rodrigo’s mark. This cut-and-paste aesthetic comes from the DIY nature of zine creation by placing message and speed over neatness and readability.

Zine historian Kate Eichhorn describes this phenomenon as the “Xerox Effect” in her book “Adjusted Margins”, a fascinating written history of the photocopier. It was because of the circumstances in which zines were originally created – layers of Xerox grain from copy, magazine cutouts, and the use of cheap materials – that its aesthetic was created.

Nowadays, fanzines come in all kinds of forms and really fit into the element of all that is self-published. Many “zine parties” – zine conferences where creators can sell and share their work – and “zine distros” – small zine publishing presses – have sprung up across the country with an aesthetic appeal. , endless self-publishing themes and levels of experience.

In New Jersey, the Newark Public Library holds its Newark Zine Fest every summer. It is evident that fanzines hold immense space for cultural communication and personal narratives.

When it comes to power, zines grab it from the top and bring it back down. Indeed, zines put publishing and writing in the hands of anyone with access to a copying machine, allowing a wider range of voices and experiences to gain visibility and influence.

Fanzine creators can create without worrying about the censorship or market preservation that publishers can enforce through conventional commercial publishing processes. This power enables marginalized groups who are often excluded from conventional publishing to create literature that is easily accessible to the public and to their pockets. For example, I recently had the opportunity to visit the Abolitionist Zine Fair at the People’s Forum in New York City over the summer, where activists were able to share and support abolitionist and anti-racist work that is often overlooked and under -financed by policy makers.

The great thing about zines is that they can be passed along to friends and relatives due to their small size and short reading time, thus amplifying their posts even more. It is because of their convenience that they have gained popularity as a tool for and against power.

After discovering the eclectic and collaborative nature of zine creation at DC Zine Fest, I wanted to bring a project like this to the students on our campus so that we have a space to share our ideas and works no matter what. experience or major. This is how Cettle Kooked was born.

Published once per semester, Cettle Kooked (CK) is a free, handmade zine that features the work of Ramapo students and individuals in the US, UK, and Canada. Inspired by DIY campus scenes like Rutgers New Brunswick, my best friend Morgan Wall and I decided in 2019 to take it upon ourselves to create a creative platform that didn’t exist in North Jersey.

We named the zine after a bag of kettle-cooked crisps that we saw at Panera Bread one night and thought it reflected the idea we wanted to bring to the table, given that art is everything. , everyone is an artist and creation must be joyful. The great thing about CK is that it changes the theme based on the submissions we receive and we’ve never had to refuse anyone’s post.

It is through zing that you can accomplish this collaboration and empower your peers around you, even as broke students.

That being said, we are now working on our fifth edition of the zine! We accept anything respectful in either JPEG or PDF form, so if you’re interested in submitting, please head over to the link in our Instagram bio page (@cettlekooked) for the app. Closing of submissions Sunday, October 31.

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About Cedric Lloyd

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