Book Reviews

Book review: Fanzines – The Diy Revolution.

Fanzines represents the history of DIY (do it yourself) unique publications by individuals or a few art-minded people.

In this collection of zines (magazines produced by art-lovers or graphic artists or simply-community minded individuals), the author (an avid collector herself) displays many of the covers of her extensive collection.

According to the author (who is a professor of graphic arts at the University of the Arts, London) the first zine was produced towards the end of the 19th century.

Fanzines (in Russia called samizdad) were very popular when the communist regime controlled all the media, and may even have contributed to a “silent” revolution.

Fanzines capture surprising, subversive and quixotic topics and explore them. Authors and editors are never “orthodox” about spelling; presentation of art and present illustrations, as they are available or create collages. The earliest Fanzines were monochromatic publications, but later as less expensive techniques were developed, creators started developing more colourful presentations.

Fanzines were by their very nature small (some had editions of as few as 35 and free, others were sold but the majority of them were never intended to make a profit. Very few were published regularly. “Publishers” put their ‘zines together when the fancy struck them and when they could spare the time.

The author explains the evolution of ‘zines in six chapters with lengthy introductions at the beginning of each, followed u samples of the title from her extensive collection.

In chapter three she explores the topic Subcultures, Poets, and Consumer Culture, in the

following  Girl Power and Personal Politics, and in the fifth she deals with E-Zines that became popular starting 1998. It opened an avenue to explore new mediums and allowed authors and publishers to experiment in a range of techniques and modern ways or presentation.

This is a book for creative people who want to share their ideas and feelings, or disagreements with politicians or bureaucracy.

An interesting book for graphic artists, students of graphic arts, or artists at heart to read, study, and maybe even become publishers themselves.