What’s A Zine?

Recently, my friends and I started a zine called, Weirdo Brigade. What I have learned from spreading copies across New York is that not many people know what the term, “zine” means. The purpose of this blog post is to give y’all a basic definition of a zine. So without further ado,

what the heck is a zine?

Zines run outside the mainstream circle.

A zine is a self-published work of original and/or appropriated written works and images. In the 1960’s and 70’s, zines became an extremely popular way to share thoughts and opinions about radical activist movements and music. They were also pretty big in the 90’s amongst the, Riot Grrrl Movement. They were once known as fanzines, but now the more contemporary zines are not considered to be magazines or fanzines; instead, they are viewed as historic and personal narratives which document people’s lives from all over the world. In fact, they are now used in education (though many hardcore Zinesters cringe at the thought of the form being brought into a classroom setting, but more on that later). Zines are used to teach creative writing as well as for: instructions, community projects, cultural awareness, and a plethora of other reasons.

Last summer, I took an American women writers’ class in which we read and examined works written by different American women. My professor dedicated an entire class to talking about zines, and how some women used it to talk about feminism as well as the problems that they were facing. We learned that zines are used to explain a situation, problems, or even to help others understand certain things— e.g., deafula. However, we also learned that zines could be about pretty much anything. They could be about feminism, photography, painting, poetry, dogs, even dishwashing (e.g., Dishwasher Pete).

The Brooklyn College Library has a pretty awesome collection of zines on various topics, ranging from LGBTQ issues to how to create a zine. So to any Brooklyn College students out there, definitely go check it out!

How Do Zines Look? 

Zines are unconventional.

Since these are typically self-published, it gives the creator freedom to express themselves however they see fit. Zines can be handwritten, typed, or photocopied. They can be done on the backs of discarded papers, cardboard, note cards, or even be created as collages. Zines can be as long as the creator wants them to be; one page, or 70. These forms of expression are not limited to the dynamics of regular books or magazines.

Image result for zines
Picture from Chronicle Books Blog

Weirdo Brigade Zine

We are a bunch of weirdos who just don’t belong – Too quiet for the cool kids, too strange for the straight folks – We are a creative bunch that have waited long to shine. We have been too scared to share our work, because we fear we are not good enough. Well, enough of that! Here we give ourselves the voice we’ve always wanted. We are awesome…We are the Weirdo Brigade! 

The Weirdo Brigade was brought about from fits of distress and desperation. In 2016, a group of men and women in their late 20’s joined together to voice their unheard stories, and to this day still work to find themselves. Some of us are still in school and others are stuck working dead end jobs, yet we share a waterfall of untapped creativity which begged to be experienced. The night this zine was born, we were fed up with feeling like we were doing nothing at all, and so we decided, “let’s just fucking do something.” Coming up with the name took all of five seconds. We are a group of socially inept people who typically feel more comfortable in our small circle or alone. While we are smart, we wouldn’t necessarily fit in what’s considered normal, and neither do we care to mold ourselves to what that would even mean— hence the term, “Weirdo.”

Creating our first zine was fun. We had no idea what we were doing and even less real focus, except, CREATE! It’s 20 pages long and it’s divided into: poems, rants, an album review, a painting, a dream, a photograph, and a long poem we all collaborated on, called, “Is My Daddy Next?” The cover was a collaboration between a collage created by Dahianna Feliciano and the title designed by Joshua Ortiz. We put this baby together using Microsoft Word, Paint, and Photoshop.

The issues that follow are all themed. Our latest, “Art for Art’s Sake” is all about art, being comfortable doing what you want to do, and being who you want to be. It’s 40 pages long and it’s divided into four parts: photography, poetry/stories, drawings/paintings, and our special, Chicken Man Punk News, where we share old interviews conducted by Chicken Man. For this issue, he shared an interview he did in 2010 with Cara Maria Sorbello, many of you remember her from MTV’s, The Challenge. The cover is a collage composed of movie tickets, lottery tickets, coasters, and other random things that I have collected over the years. Joshua Ortiz added the logo and his drawing of Skeleton-Man. We created this issue using Swift Publisher, Google Docs, and Photoshop.

Unfortunately, we can’t afford to print these out using our own printers ( just printing one copy emptied out my ink), so we send it to Overnight Prints, a super efficient, good quality, and affordable printing service. I know there are going to be a lot of zinesters out there who’ll say, “it’s not a real zine if you don’t print it out yourself.” Nevertheless, fuck you, we are a real zine. We’re the Weirdo Brigade. We don’t expect to make money or become rich off of these booklets. It’s simply a platform where we can all feel comfortable sharing our thoughts and opinions, and we want to share it with anyone who is interested. If anyone wants a copy of any of the four issues of Weirdo Brigade, send me an email at weirdobrigade@aol.com.

Zines are cool!

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Written by Solansh Moya
Edited by Edy Vasquez

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