History Of Zines

I took a look at the history of zines to see what inspiration I could gather, and understand what zines stood for in relation to the history of type and the printing process.

1930 – “The Comet”, supposedly the first science fiction fanzine published

1930-1960 – Mimeograph duplicating machine available, a stencil duplicator that works by forcing ink through a stencil onto paper.

1944 – Xerography invented – A printing and photocopying techinique that works on the basis of electrostatic charges. Used in photocopiers, laser printers, and fax machines.

1961 – IBM Selectric Typewriter introduced – it transformed the speed, accuracy, flexiblity with which people could generate a written word, and help create the first keyboards and use of computers.

1960’s – 1970’s – zines charactersized by synergy between outspoken politcal comentary, literary experimentation, and rock critics.

1960s – inexpensive offset printing was created, and would be used to create alternative newspapers and underground comics.

1967 – The Underground Press Syndicate was established – A network of countercultural newspapers and magazines formed  by five underground papers

  • The east Village Other
  • Los Angeles Free Press
  • Berkeley Barb
  • The Paper
  • Fifth Estate

The people involved hoped that the sydicate would sell national advertising space, however this never happened.

1970s – Punk rock zines burst onto the scene – Punk culture included its own fashion styles, and a alternative view on film and visual art. The movements DIY attitude towards not only publishing, but music, lead to a massive boom in the creation of zines, who seized the medium of self publishing. Punk culture has a big role to play when it comes to zines, most have punk roots.

1980s – The photocopier machine is becoming increasingly popular with zines makers and self publishers, which Kinkos copy shops beginning to pop up. Mike Gunderloy published the first mimeographed “Factsheet Five” zine review list.

1990’s – Desktop publishing software began to emerge, and zine makers began to use this medium to self produce inexpensively, and distributed via the internet.


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