Rise of the Zines

The once beloved zine — a middle road between a magazine and a pocket-held diary of sorts — is staging a comeback, according to an article in The New York Times. Both in small shops and on the Web, these zines are cropping up out of the ashes of the original fanzines, which were counter-culture collections created in the 1930s among fans of science fiction. Zines like CandyLand, a celebration of the simple pleasures of summer, and Girl Crush, a collection of women’s essays and ruminations about women who have inspired them, have been welcomed among the new flock. “There’s nothing more joyous than having a little publication in your hands,” says Malaka Gharib, who publishes a colorful food zine called The Runcible Spoon with her friend in their spare time.

Two friends of mine, Caitlin Dewey and Kuan Luo, created their own beautiful little zine a few months ago, taking submissions from friends and Internet followers over the span of 24 hours, editing them over the next 24 hours, and out popped TK. They called it a “crowd-sourced zine,” meaning all of the content is submitted, with few stories approved by the editing team beforehand. Watching it all come together is like seeing a piece of artwork emerge from a messy canvas, with spots of wet paint signifying all the hard work seeping through the final product. These zines, like TK, are fun, engaging, and pack enough creative energy to turn the old zines on their heads in favor of these newer, cooler versions. They’re what you call labors of love, with little-to-no profit returned, but at least everyone can appreciate the work and care that goes into them — especially the hand-written ones. Let’s just hope they’ve found that mythical journalist, the one with good handwriting, to put those things together.

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