by Emma Dajska
Zines are self-published, small-circulation, often nonprofit books, papers, or websites. They usually deal with topics too controversial or niche for mainstream media, presented in an unpolished layout and unusual design. Everyone, from a major NGO to a teenager like you, can be an author (and also an editor, art director, and publisher) of a zine, and that’s part of what makes them so awesome.
Since the invention of the photocopy machine, zine-making has been one most popular forms of independent publishing, especially in underground communities. But it’s hard to generalize about zines, the same way it’s hard to generalize about culture. Not just hard—impossible. Because like all art and media, zines can be anything and everything. And they are.
There’s a whole wiki devoted to zines here. If you type “zine making” into Amazon, you’ll get 10 pages of results. But to be honest, I’ve never read a book about zine-making, and I don’t think you have to, either. For me, zine-making isn’t about rules or knowledge; it’s about freedom and (guess what?) POWER.