John F. Kelly, XYY
Selection: "The Laugh Makers"
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.
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
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.
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.
It 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:
The Urine Cure
Director of publications and
public relations at an Ivy League school.
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