Raw Material

XYY Cover

John F. Kelly, XYY

Age: 32

Selection: "The Laugh Makers" (page 57)

Sample: No longer available.

When did you launch your zine? What inspired you to do so?
XYY began in the late '80s, first as a project revolving around interest me and some friends had in some hard-boiled writers from the 1950s, including Jim Thompson, but mostly Mickey Spillane and other, less known, over the top crime writers. The zine has evolved into a sort of demented kids' magazine featuring comics, a fascination with science and medicine, and articles about tough guys. One reviewer called it "Boy's Life for drunken mutants," and I think that's as good a description as any.

XYYWhere did the name come from?
As the theory went, men with an extra Y chromosome were more prone to violence. The so-called criminal chromosome theory that was a popular homicide defense tactic in the 1950s. It seemed like an appropriate name for what I wanted to do and I also thought it sounded cool.

Why publish a zine?
At first it was simply for contact with like minded people. I still vividly remember getting the first letters from people regarding a magazine I was publishing in the mid-80s that had been reviewed in Factsheet Five. It was an incredibly thrilling experience. Ten or twelve years ago, this whole zine thing was much smaller. Mike Gunderloy (then publisher of Factsheet Five) had a party once or twice a year at his home in Albany, New York, where zine people would compare notes.
So back in the early days creating a zine for me was a lot of fun and provided my with a way to keep my sanity as I toiled away at a series of crappy, low paying jobs. Today, some of the people I've met through my zine are among my best friends. On the other hand, since I've always used my real mailing address, it's been easy for crackpots to track me down with their drunken or paranoid theories.

XYYWhat can you tell us about the selection you provided for "The Book of Zines"?
The novelty interview is part of a much larger work in progress tracking the history of novelties in the U.S. and abroad.

Have you published any other zines?
I used to publish a magazine called Get Smart, which was digest size, lasted 6 or 7 issues in the mid-80s, and content-wise was pretty similar to XYY.

What's your favorite part of doing a zine?
When it's ready to go to the printer and I have the paste-up boards sitting on my kitchen table. It goes downhill after that because you have to deal with the post office, the printer and distributors. All of that has little to do with why I publish.
IXYYt was an interesting experience being a person who put out a zine during the last 10 or so years of the desktop revolution; when I first started the great bulk of zines were hand pasted together and either hand or type written and then stapled together to make 50 or so copies to give to friends and trade through the mail, etc. Today, zines are much slicker (including my own, which has color covers, offset printing, etc.) and are available in some large chain book and record stores. I'm not sure which way was better.

In my other life, I'm a:
Director of publications and public relations at an Ivy League school.

The Urine Cure

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