Xerography Debt #33
Available from Microcosm
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Cover Art by Bojan (Rigor Mortis) and Botda
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I was invited to be part of a panel on "Outsiders: Zines, Samizdat, and Alternative Publishing" held by the Caxton Club at the Newberry Library, an independent research library in Chicago founded in 1887. The event was held in April 2012, and I left feeling more inspired about zines and independent publishing than I had in a long time. The room was filled with librarians, bibliophiles, and others interested in the history and culture of zines. The symposium speakers were exceptionally smart people from zines as well as academia, and in some cases both.
As a zinemaker, I often go about my business of making zines because I still believe in tangible artifacts. Or, as Jeff Somers says in his column in this issue, they have discreteness. I forget that with print runs frequently fewer than 500, or even 100 copies, zines are often ephemeral. I knew that zine collections at libraries exist, and have contributed to several, but it wasn't until after the symposium that it really sunk in that these librarians and archivists are unsung heroes of zine culture. They are saving and preserving documentation on events and subcultures that would otherwise go unrepresented or be grossly misrepresented. They are also working to make zines discoverable to new readers.
So I would like to dedicate this issue to the zine librarians and archivists out there who are working to support and protect zines. Thank you!
Not long after XEROGRAPHY DEBT began, we started running a regular column on the history of zines. There have been some quality columns over the last 14 years, including articles on conscientious objectors' prison zines, gay porn zines, Mussolini's newspapers, Valarie Solanas, non-racist Skinhead zines, the closing of Tower Records (by their main zine buyer), and Turkish zines. This rich and varied history still fascinates me, and this column continues with Josh Medsker's article on zines in Anchorage.
A recent column by Carlos Palacios documented his discovery of zines in his native Peru and how they changed his life. Zines functioned like a social network long before Mark Zuckerberg conceived of Facebook, and they still do. In fact, while I was in Chicago for the symposium I had a lovely lunch with Kathy Moseley (SEMIBOLD), who has been responsible for designing XD for years. I hadn't seen her in person since 1996, but the intervening 17 years didn't matter because countless zines had passed between us during that time.
My personal history with zines relates back to an act of petty thievery. A friend saw a copy of MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL left behind in a high school classroom and took it. This led to his discovery of zines, something he would later share with me. That was almost 20 years ago. I doubt he had any idea that he would change and influence my life so deeply. To paraphrase Augusten Burroughs's discovery of cigarettes, "It turned out I had always been a zinester. I just hadn't had any zines."
I would like to welcome Ken Bausert, he is our newest columnist and reviewer. Welcome aboard, Ken! A special thanks to all the supporters for keeping XEROGRAPHY DEBT alive after all these years. We are here because of you. Thank you.