Zines We Didn’t’ Know Existed: Korean Underground Zines

Zines have been around for a very long time. Heck, zines have been around since before they were ever called zines. They are best known for their DIY attitude and aesthetic.

From the 1930s to the 1960s, zines were notable in the science fiction world, then in the 70s with the punk movement, in the 80s when zines began to get reviewed by people (like Factsheet Five), then in the 90s with the riot grrrl movement.

Today, as zines begin to gain popularity and make their way into libraries and universities, they have acquired their own (many) zine festivals in which they are celebrated and sold among zine fanatics, artists, DIY souls, and self-publishers— across the United States and the world.

However, as fans of the small-circulation self published culture we didn’t think these “fanzines” would ever reach the minds of those into the Korean culture.

In today’s segment of “Zines We Didn’t Know Existed,” we will be looking at three Korean underground zines!

1) Korean / American Everyday Cooking
A zine by Sung Yoon Choi & Eric Watkins, which explore a half recipe zine, half adorable relationship comic. This zine came to fruition in 2014 when Sung and Watkins decided to collaborate on this comic recipe book.

korean american food cover

In this zine they talk about their relationship, their recipes, and their cat. Today, under the name Porkbelly Comics, they continue to explore the topics of food and family. They create their lovely zines from their home in Los Angeles.

2) Bubble Pop!
Not all zines about Korean culture is always written or created by Koreans. Take for example Malaka Gharib, deputy editor and digital strategist of NPR’s global health and development blog, Goats and Soda.

In 2016, Gharib created Bubble Pop! an online zine named after the song by Hyuna, a member of the South Korean girl group 4Minute. This zine was made in D.C, and explores the Kpop fan base in the capital, YEAHHH BABY! This zine is packed with homages to Kpop idols, explanations of how people got into Kpop, and cultural commentary. Read the online zine here

bubble pop cover
3) Girl Crush,
One zine that has gotten a lot of buzz online and is one I definitely need to get my hands on is none other than Girl Crush, a K-pop Girl Groups Zine. This was created by Video Game Art student, Aberleigh. This zine features art by 25 different artists and features about 20 different K-pop girl groups. Check out their twitter account to see what and who their first zine features. Purchase zine here.

girl crush cover

I myself am a lover of the Korean culture and was stunned to see zines that cover anything Korean. However, I was also sad to see that there aren’t many out there. So I really do hope that if you love anything that is Korean (Korean food, fashion, K-pop, etc.), that this inspires you to go and make your own zine. I also hope that this has sparked your interest in researching and looking through the abyss of all the many different zines just waiting to be found and read out there.

By Dahianna Feliciano

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