ZINES: A place to experiment

by khemensley

Zines have been one of the liveliest forms of self-expression for over 70 years. The earliest examples created by sci-fi fans in the 1930s. Obscure or prescient, subversive or downright weird, zines have an energy and style that shows grassroots social and cultural movements at their most explosively creative moment.


Most people who create zines write from a personal perspective, writing motivated by passion and interest, rather than professional gain or career direction. It’s a DIY labour of love; a creative, fun outlet to express yourself. Their subject matter is as varied as the passions of their creators. Ranging across music, comics, typography, animal rights, politics, alternative lifestyles, clip art, thrift shopping, even beer drinking. Content is limitless, however drawings are always common element.

While the Internet hasn’t dinted the volume of zines being read and produced, the influence of the Internet can’t be entirely discounted, because the diversity of people involved in zines has shifted. Zines used to be the cheapest and easiest way to get information out to particular audiences. Now, the access and ease of online publishing means a lot of music and political audiences that use to get information via zines go online. So the kinds of people involved in the zine community have shrunk. But a vast number of people still have a lot of energy for zines. The thing I like best is that the zine community is a safe and secure environment for discussion of any topic, taboo. Without interference or ramifications.

‘Mixtape’ a Melbourne based zine began in early 2007 and as they continue to publish new issues, it has become successful and quite polished and now sells for 10 bucks an edition online. The mandate of this zine is “about making time for the small things”. The editors claim the zine is, “a collision of craft, eco-cool and pop culture kitsch”,