Originating in the DIY mentality of punk culture, zines are essentially do-it-yourself magazines, usually made of printing paper folded into a booklet. They can also be as small as a business card or fold out to the size of a map.
A zine is where written and visual art come together. The best zines take you into an experience of visual and abstract ideas and do not follow traditional formatting structure of most printed materials.
Zines have spread out from use in the music scene to the political and art scenes for POC. They’re a great way to publish your ideas without the traditional gatekeepers of publishing. They are a great source of local knowledge, expressions, discussions, ideas, and can also be personal and intimate expressions of POC and queer identity and experience.
The significance of zines in POC and queer circles is important as they bypass the traditional gateways to publishing and self-expression, giving us a more accessible and personal way of writing our own narratives and raising consciousness amongst ourselves.
The following are seven zines, some of which have a regular printed issue and others which have been printed only once but all of which explore the intersection of art, politics, and personal expression.
Muchacha Fan Zine
This is a zine started by a Xicana woman known as the “DIY Xicana feminist fanzine dedicated to promoting social consciousness and decolonizing minds.”
A combination of think-pieces, poetry, and mixed media visual art, the zines that are published cover a wide range of topics. “Body Positivity”, “Decolonize Travel”, and “POC Solidarity” are a few of my favorite ones.
Sold for $2.00-$4.00 you can get a copy sent to you from the Etsy shop.
This is a zine that uses art as a means to communicate with activists and communities about social issues in Atlanta.
Curated, edited, and published by one person, Alexa Lima, the content is particular to the Atlanta art and political scene but can inform anyone.
The first issue addresses police violence and the second is concerned with gentrification and displacement in Atlanta.
You can get a copy for just $5.00
The Tenth Zine: Gay, Black, and Unbothered
The title of this zine speaks for itself.
Featuring artists and individuals who are gay black men in cities around the US, the latest volume 3 zine went to Hollywood to explore “Black/Gay/Queer L.A. through the eyes of its most dream-y and dream-ing inhabitants.”
Both volumes 1 and 2 are sold out.
This zine features everything fashion at the festivals and parades that swim through the streets of New York City.
Created and edited by photographer Kevin Harry, the zine is also an artist’s book.
This black metal head zine run by Christina Long is published bi-annually and for “anyone who supports women in the heavy music zine.”
You can get the latest summer zine for $8.50.
The Burn Something zines defines itself as a “queer inclusive alternative media space” that accepts submissions from writers and artists and seeks to amplify queer-, trans-, cis- identified women of color.
The latest zine titled “Try a Little Tenderness” asks what tenderness looks and feels like and what makes you go tender.
The No Sweat zine is curated, written, and edited by Atlanta artist and writer Ify Akiti, and includes submissions from other artists as well. Ify writes about her experience of love in a Trump era as a queer black woman. Featured in the Atlanta Zine Fest last year, this zine is harder to come by because it is local to Atlanta. You can find a catalog of Atlanta Zine Fest zines here.
Support local artists going the DIY route by purchasing something that looks interesting to you!