A Zine With a Story

The different zines that I have gone through reflect the various freedoms of this medium. It talks about everything from superheros and science fiction to political topics such as reproductive rights. This means that whatever you are looking to represent, it’s probably allowed within this specific space. This ability to voice one’s own opinions without judgement is very “small publisher” like in the fact that it doesn’t cut off artistic flow by trying to edit what the author is trying to portray. It espouses the rawness of an immediate point of view without trying to censor the outcome, much like smaller publications are much less likely to take over and, say, change the art on the cover to appeal to more markets or some other similar change. The only constraint to this space is that it is very “fringe”, it’s on the outskirts of people’s awareness, and so most people, including me before this assignment, have never even heard of the medium, let alone contribute to it. It’s therefore a much less effective way to advertise for a product or a cause because it’s so unheard of.

These zines sort of ripped off the look of typical publications because the covers are very much like book jackets, and some of them even have descriptions on the back side. It’s technically more of a riff or a subversion though, because it’s very non-traditional with the covers in the way that they are sometimes very radical in their designs and content. In this way, they are very much not commercial, and focus more on what message they’re pushing and how to get it across in a powerful enough way as to urge others into action. Because of this, I don’t think that the word “publication”, with the definition that is usually associated with it, really fits, as it’s not for monetary purposes that these are distributed. I think that publication in zine-land would more be defined as distributing a specific message, in a way that is personal to its author.

I picked my particular zine because it shows support for a cause that affects a community that I have a lot of connections with. It’s a simple zine, which works perfectly since I’m pretty sure it’s obvious that I’m not artistic. It was originally was black and white, so I added rainbow colors, both to liven it up and to more reflect the community that it has impacted so negatively. I also added red to the heart, which was originally white, both because that’s the color that a heart typically is and because the AIDS ribbon is also red.

“Artists Against AIDS”, September 24, 2019. © Emily Daniels

2 thoughts on “A Zine With a Story”

  1. The distinction that you make between “publication” having a capitalist drive (of simply getting bought, getting out there) – and the more “personal,” message-driven necessity of zines strikes me as accurate. The political zine hopes to inspire, even on a very small scale, social change; its ‘publication’ is not an end in itself, but rather, a vehicle for a higher ideal. I love your cover–its use of rainbow colors, with their historical/social reference to the gay rights movement and the early days of the AIDS movement, and its simplicity, which communicates that the zine’s “style” does not intend to get in the way of its message.


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