Short and Sweet and Fast-Moving: Zines and Counter Culture

Have you ever wondered how to get local news out quickly, display your art, or be able to pass information around to your friends? Look no further, zines are the answer to all of these requests and more!

What is a zine?

A zine is a self-published form of media that relies on being easy to photocopy and distribute in order to reach large audiences without having to rely on mainstream forms of media. Typically, a zine is defined as having under 1,000 copies in circulation.

There are many ways to fold a zine or make a zine, one of the most popular being folding pages in half, laying them on top of each other and binding in the middle with two staples. The other is made out of a single piece of paper, folded and cut to make a book.

See this tutorial on how to fold a typical eight-page zine:

How To Fold A Mini Zine — Ashley Topacio
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This folded type of zine is easy to photocopy, and thus, easy to distribute widely. Some people even put a poster on the other side in order to make the most of the paper space and include more content for the audience.

History of Zines
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The term “zine” first came about in the 1940s, and they were commonly made about science fiction topics, which created the subtopic of “fanzines.”  Throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, fanzines for rock and roll became popular, and from the 1970s on, they became popular in the punk scene as well. These zines allowed people to spread information about bands and the underground scene in various areas. Before the Internet, this was an extremely effective way to do so, as they could include information that was straight from the band, such as interviews, and also provide reviews and opinions on different bands and shows. 

The feminist “Riot Grrrl” movement used zines to talk about the female experience and spread information there was not being published in mainstream media for women to consume. They wanted to talk about their lived experiences, and have space for women to speak up.  It was an effective way to make their voices heard and reach many people. This is the purpose of a zine.

Great topics for your zines:
  • Info about local activism movements
  • Info about causes you care about
  • Your own art
  • How- to guides
  • Poetry or other writing that you have done
  • Collages by you and your friends
  • Song lyrics and screencaps from the music videos/ promo shoots
  • An “about me” guide
  • Bringing awareness to your unique experiences
  • Advertising events or clubs that you care about/ are involved in
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Tag VALLEY on Instagram @valleymag with photos of your zines! Happy folding!


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