What Zine Editors Read
The best way to find great zines is to ask the editors of
the zines you enjoy what zines they enjoy. While compiling the
Book of Zines, I did that. Many of these zines are no longer
available, but I try to keep an up-to-date list of ordering
Bob Bellerue, Basurame
Dick Freeman, Batteries
Hair To Stay
Paul Lukas, Beer
FrameAnti-Zine: Ostensibly about the "bustling" Gainesville,
FL, music scene, but more of a pastiche of the very funny editor's
concerns. Endearingly random in its approach.
Art$lut: The issues I have seen are brilliant, largely because
of the fantastic food reviews by the Rev. Norb of "Sick
Convention Crasher: Devoted to the art of scamming free stuff
from trade shows, which is certainly a more worthwhile activity
Gastrolater: Best new 'zine I've seen in years. Elizabeth
Tamny mixes quick wit, intelligent cultural analysis, and harrowing
personal experience to come up with the kind of 'zine that's
so good, the rest of us should just quit.
Other People's Mail
Snack Bar Confidential: Kitsch-heavy but in a surprisingly
intelligent way. The editor is obsessed with food packaging and
advertising of the '60s and '70s, and draws upon graphics from
that period to come up with a great trip down the cereal aisle
of your youth. Sloppy, accidentally ingenius, clever, sharp as
a tack, amateurish in short, everything a good 'zine should
Darby Romeo, Ben
is DeadThe Baffler: I feel even smarter.
Bunnyhop: Noel is like the little brother I never knew I
Cometbus: If I was ever to read a zine before starting Ben
is Dead and get inspired from it to do my own, it would have
52 Hours with 52 Strangers
Hermenaut: I feel smarter when reading it.
I'm Johnny and I Don't Give a Fuck
Junk Magnet: Deeeeeeeeep.
Mother Fuckin' Titty Suckin' Two-Balled Bitch: For the name
Rollerderby: Cause even when Lisa was mean to me I still
liked reading her zine. Off-kilter, tickles.
Mark Frauenfelder, bOING
bOINGBeer Frame: It's taught me to appreciate the details of the
man-made world around me.
Mystery Date: This zine is like Thrift SCORE but concentrates
the obsession on books and records found in thrift stores.
Push Button Controller: I only saw one issue, but it was
one of the best autobiographies I've read.
Thrift SCORE: Obsessing over kitschy stuff is a great way
Carla Sinclair, bOING
bOINGBen Is Dead
Alphonse Coleman, Bubba's
Live BaitThe Baffler: Not really a zine, but great just the same.
Cometbus: There is only one Cometbus.
Farm Pulp: The aesthetically perfect zine. One of the few
zines I actually use the a-word (art) to describe.
Fucktooth: Jen's not afraid to tell you what she thinks.
Tyler Starr, The
Buck in the FieldTemp Slave!: Satirical but still informative.
The Blast!: Same reasons as Temp Slave!
Betty Boob, BustBunnyhop: Gorgeous.
Maxine: Bust's younger sister.
Skin Deep: A girl drummer puts out a zine from Australia
about other drummers.
Celina Hex, BustBen Is Dead: The mother of all zines.
Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture: Cause that girl
is smart as hell and I love what she has to say about women and
the media. Plus she's funny.
Bunnyhop: Manly, yes, but I like it too.
Maxine: More wiseass smartness, feminist-fatale style.
W.I.G.: Women In General: I'm an unhealthy lardass but I
dig these sporty chicks who make me think I might actually be
able to stop smoking long enough to learn to snowboard. It's
Bust with a skateboard.
Dan Kelly, ChumBizarrism: One man's study of exceedingly strange personalities
and events, made all the more interesting and obscure by his
remote base of operations.
Book Happy: Donna Kossy's paean to books of unusual, mischievous
or peculiar natures. Shows genuine collector's passion and delight
without degenerating into snobbism.
Cop Porn: My own collection of zine writings of the past
The Imp: The most intensive and comprehensive zine about
comics out there. Dan Raeburn devotes each issue to a particular
creator (past issues have covered Dan "Eightball" Clowes
and Jack Chick), combining interviews with fervid and perceptive
analyses of their work.
Malefact: A gallery of grotesque art guaranteed to shock
and amaze both innocent and jaded viewer alike. Also available
from this publisher: Paniscus Revue, a delightful selection of
thoughtful reviews of the more extreme and frightening zines
and music out there.
The Rag Time Ephemeralist: Acme Novelty Library's Chris Ware's
ardent devotion to the music of the early part of this century
shines through on every beautifully laid-out page.
Jeff Koyen, CrankFarm Pulp
Sean Tejaratchi, Crap
HoundBeer Frame: For looking closely at things most people ignore.
Farm Pulp: For fiction writing and graphic sensibilities.
Flatter!: For sheer exuberance and shameless personality.
Icarus Was Right: For the amount of work the publishers put
into examining personal politics and choices.
Temp Slave!: For righteous fury and intelligence in expressing
Mark Maynard, Crimewave
U.S.A.Bummers and Gummers: It's so open and friendly, it even makes
a prematurely old, bitter guy like me brighten up a bit.
Farm Pulp: The writing is incredible.
Pathetic Life: Honest and personal.
Linette Lao, Crimewave
U.S.A.Bust: They always do an amazing job, and the writing is always
insightful and honest.
Farm Pulp: Extraordinarily beautiful in design as well as
Maria Goodman, Don't
Say Uh-OhBoys Who Wear Glasses: It's primarily about jazz singers,
but don't worry if you never listen to any of them, because you
can just hang out in Mark Hain's pages and listen to his chatty
stories or complaints or read personal lists of favorite things.
Crimewave U.S.A.: I have a secret crush on Mark and Linette.
They live in Michigan, near my hometown, and I want to be best
friends with them so much that I still haven't ever written a
letter to them or sent them an issue of any of my zines. I'm
too intimidated by their genius and brilliant sense of humor.
It's tragic that they are not known for their greatness like
Einstein or Mozart. They write insightful, funny, and bizarre
articles, and every word they put down is like the best meal
you ever ate.
Dwan: Donny Smith's zine is very clean and quiet and touching,
like a good dream. It's got poetry and translations and journal
entries and letters: Personal thoughts you are honored to witness.
Ped Xing: Everyone should know about Andrew Robinson and
his comics, which are beautiful and magical, like your favorite
children's books when you were eight, but with a wisdom you can
take to heart at age 27. He draws pictures you want to fly right
The Sludge Pond: Because the girl who writes it is named
Maria too and it's scary how much we have in common. I love writers
brave enough to write extremely personal things, and she is and
does. She gets high on punctuation and draws crazy little margin
doodles and beats herself up for everything until you want to
beat her up so she'll quit, and because of the dopey fun she
has with her friends and because she's so sensitive and relates
incidents so well.
David Greenberger, The
Duplex PlanetAsk Ling: A zine once done by Blaster Al Ackerman.
Russ Forster, 8-Track
MindCrap Hound: The best images in the world, arranged beautifully.
Farm Pulp: Goofy suburban Dada.
Fern: Honesty at its naked best
The Last Prom: Well-researched, witty, unpredictable.
Roctober: The most interesting, non-cliché music mag.
Sam Pratt, ErsatzBeer Frame
Macros. The most brilliant things I've ever read anywhere.
Gregory Hischak, Farm
Marilyn Wann, FAT!SO?Fat Girl: The zine for fat dykes and the women who want them.
Frank Jasper & Me: My favorite personal zine. Krissy
writes about all the little daily stuff we fixate on. I love
Frank and Jasper, her imaginary co-editors, who grumble when
she sends them out for more beers. The "Mom Says" column
always makes me wet my pants.
Gozar my Love, or Bicycle Terrorist: Both by Jason 20-inch
Crank. Just a splifty, splifty thing. He once pasted up a zine
with toothpaste whilst incarcerated after a Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
I'm So Fucking Beautiful: Brilliant riot grrrl rants about
fat oppression. Fat is punk!
Proust Said That: An elegant zine about Proust and the author's
obsession with Proust, and with neurotics, and recipes for madeleine
cookies. Great article about her arrest (in 18th Century garb)
during a Food Not Bombs protest. She was criminally holding a
silver tray of pastry crumbs and wearing a sign that said, "Let
them eat cake!"
Sourpuss: A high school-age riot grrl who stood up to Oprah,
telling her what she could do with her beauty-pageants-are-a-path-to-success-for-women
Jaina Davis, Flatter!Ain't Nothin' Like Fuckin' Moonshine: This transcends the
form. Bwana Spoons has broken rules that didn't even exist in
the publishing realm. There is no law of physics or logic that
should allow for this.
Bunnyhop: Slick and graphically pleasing. It's hard to believe
this is a zine. What is a zine anyway? We'll have to make up
a new name for this breed of megazines. Noel is a top-notch interviewer.
Crap Hound: I love obsessive types. This is such a righteous
bounty. Sean is the patron Saint of Clip Art. But of course,
that would be breaking the copyright laws! Oooops!
Creepy Mike's Omnibus of Fun
Loud As Hell: Another low budget glory, not lacking one bit
of enthusiasm and chutzpah! Watch out for these girls.
Mr. Density: A Crispin Glover fanzine.
Office Supply Junkie
Sad Magazine: The perfect example of Low Budget Beauty! It
always makes me feel that secret joy of childhood.
Jerome Gaynor, funkapotamusJames Kochalka Superstar
King Cat Comix
Steve Mandich, HeinousBeer Frame: Well, duh! The best written zine I've read.
Crap Hound: Gorgeous and disturbing.
Murder Can Be Fun: Brilliant concepts, thoroughly researched
and masterfully executed.
Thrift SCORE: I'm not even a thrift junkie but I find this
Wig Out!: Inspiring, hilarious, plus Girl Trouble is one
my favorite bands.
Greg Beets, Hey!
Hey! Buffet!Show Us Your Butt!: The best fanzine I've ever seen. It's
nothing but photocopied pictures of the rear ends of local underground
fixtures and anyone else willing to shoot the moon. It's the
perfect mixture of pornography, tabloid journalism, and DIY imagination.
Rod Lott, HitchCashiers du Cinemart
Dreadful Pleasures: Has gotten better than
Easy Listener: A new favorite.
Psychotronic: Essential for B-movie buffs.
TV Grind: There is so much horrible TV out there that needs
to be ridiculed, and this zine does a fine, fine job of it.
Daniel Drennan, InquisitorBust: For which the world should be thankful every day that
Giant Robot: Because I've been a fan of Asian culture since
I was a kid.
Paranoia: Because it's so consistently well done, as well
as for the content.
Toward Freedom: Needs to make the break to magazinedom very
Marlene Taylor, InquisitorBust: Best wimmin's zine ever.
Ben Is Dead
Candi Strecker, It's
a Wonderful LifestyleLadies' Fetish and Taboo Society Compendium of Urban Anthropology:
Lady Kathy understands the absurdity of the universe.
Murder Can Be Fun: Most consistent quality of writing in
the zine world.
Mystery Date: Secret anthropologist of the gal world.
Thrift SCORE: Because thrifting is my life.
X Magazine: Jeff's sense of humor matches mine.
Donna Kossy, KooksThe Baffler
Journal of Ride Theory
Murder Can Be Fun
Bananafish: I love the enigma of it. I've devoured every
issue and I still don't know what the fuck it's about.
Ralph Coon, The
Murder Can Be Fun
Other People's Mail: Reprints found letters, flyers, notes,
etc. Hilarious and haunting.
Rollerderby: Lisa Carver is a brilliant writer, many voices
deep. She interviews those who might not have a voice otherwise.
Snake Oil: About TV evangelists and other religious-media
freaks. I thought I was the only person who watched Robert Tilton
Larry Roth, Living
Cheap NewsThe Angry Thoreauan
The Gentle Survivalists
The Pocket Change Investor
Simple Living News
The Tightwad Gazette
Julee Peezlee, McJobChum: Uproarious writing, hilarious ideas. Uproarious is
my new favorite word, by the way. I stole it from a movie critic.
Crimewave U.S.A.: Mark & Linette can transform even the
most mundane topics into pressing, immediate must-reads!
Thrift SCORE: Excellent writing, well-researched articles.
John Freeborn, Milkcrate
DigestBowel Movement Quarterly: Funny, new style, precise, cute.
Double Negative: Solid design, really good art, good writing,
good good good.
Fireball: Really good illustration (it's wordless).
Highlands of the Lepus Four: This is the essence of a zine.
It is completely raw, spelling errors, bad grammar, amazing drawings,
unseen energy. Independent and completely of himself.
R2-D2 Is An Indie Rocker: Funny, awkward, raw, good.
Jessica Hundley, Mommy
and I Are OneBen Is Dead: Because it's hearty and meaty and satisfies
Bust: Because I'm a chest man.
Flatter!: Because it's effervescent, bubbly and tickles my
Hermenaut: Because it's so darned smart.
Rollerderby: Because it's very, very naughty and makes me
feel funny in my secret spot.
Britton Walters, MOO
juiceBunnyhop: I loved the one where the creators modeled it after
a high school yearbook.
Crap Hound: A truly unique concept: subversive clip art.
Freakie Magnet: Specialty zines are the best. How can one
person do such a great job putting together a magazine about
cereal item collecting?
Panaphobia: By definition, a "fear of everything."
The creator interviews various indie bands about their fears.
John Marr, Murder
Can Be FunCometbus
Sidney Suppey's Quarterly & Confused Pet Monthly
Lynn Peril, Mystery
DateLoafing the Donkey: "Personal" zines, like home
pages, are either very bad or very good. LTD is one of the good
ones. Books, zines, music, and the trials and tribulations of
one guy and his dog (the almighty Skeletor).
Murder Can Be Fun: Well-written, well-researched accounts
of true-life murders, kidnappings, disasters and assorted mayhem
and mischief. Filled with dry wit and black humor, MCBF will
make you laugh, make you cry, make you order all the back issues.
Mona: Nancy writes about her loves and obsessions, and invites
her readers to do the same. If you dig lipstick, Brenda Lee and
bull terriers, then you'll like this zine.
Sidney Suppey's Quarterly & Confused Pet Monthly: Before
there was the "cocktail nation," there was SSQ&CPM.
Ditto the "drag punk underground (tm)." Editrix Candi
Strecker has been sniffing out and writing about ignored or forgotten
pockets of popular culture since 1979.
Thrift SCORE: Explore the detritus of popular culture with
the Thrift Army. Designer jeans, paint-by-numbers, the "one
that got away"editor Al and her readers share it all.
Nancy Bonnell-Kangas, Nancy's
MagazineCoffee Companion: Great writing about an important subject.
Factsheet Five: Essential.
Gastrolater: A beautiful thing with both depth and zest.
King-Cat Comics: Quiet, profound, defies banality.
Poetry Motel: Sassy; wallpaper cover
Doug Holland, Pathetic
LifeThe Catbox Room
The Match: Because it's opinionated, ornery, and always on
Murder Can Be Fun
Pasty: Because it's funny, intelligent, and I'm in like and
lust with the author.
Deborah Barkun, PawholesBreach of Copyright: Because I love to rub myself against
the fuzzy carpet samples on the cover. Unfortunately, it's no
Fuck Everything: Because of it's high-brow, intellectual
spin on punk rock and its sexy editorial staff of Scoey and Tokin'
Maxine: Because I'm a like-minded churlish girl.
Slumber Zine: Because Spence has a lyrical way with words
and it's the only zine that regularly focuses on Ramen noodles.
Wiglet: Because of Gilmore's beautiful drawings and the rambling
Jim Hogshire, Pills-a-Go-GoBlacklisted! 411: A hacking zine. This and 2600 are always
worth the money.
Diseased Pariah News: I admire this zine for its guts and
its pure usefulness. I learn something from it.
Gun Fag Manifesto: Hollister Kopp covers guns in a way I
can relate to. He knows he's in a niche that is rapidly losing
favor with the establishment, and it doesn't faze him. He writes
about guns and because he does it out of passion he tells the
Iron Feather Journal: If I can ever find the damn thing!
Mouth: Lucy Gwin started about the same time I started PaGG
and it's amazing what she's done with it. It's grown like a weed
and her attitude has provided just tons of good stories. She
has this aggressive voice for handicapped people that demands
nothing special except to be treated like a human being. Not
as a group, not as a "differently abled" person and
not to be pitied. She skewers Jerry Lewis' "Beg-a-thons"
as being essentially unproductive and demeaning more than helpful.
Her zine has caused me to think about crippled people in a different
way, which is to say, not so damn different except they have
some kind of physical or mental problem. I hope it also has caused
some change among those people caught up in that whole handicapped/Medicare/ADA/push
'em around like a piece of meat/outta sight outta mind mess.
I'd say Mouth is an example of perhaps the best of zines. It
does something good and positive, it is driven by passion and
does not rely on sugar-daddies, or any other outside force. I
wish someone would hand Lucy a few million bucks, but she isn't
waiting for that. She has something to say and she has the means
to say it and she says it.
Murder can be Fun: One of the zines that seriously inspired
me. What John Marr does in his zine is scholarship of the best
Skip Elsheimer, Preparation
XBaffler: Does this count as a zine? Good bedtime reading.
Beer Frame: It combines some light research with anecdotal
information about products. Easily one of the most important
documents of our time.
Crap Hound: Because I am a clip art nut.
Murder Can Be Fun: A well-researched reminder that we all
die; some are just luck enough to die in a notable way. It is
almost as good as the Centers for Disease Control's Morbidity
and Mortality Weekly Report.
Kyle Silfer, Reign
of ToadsFringeware Review
Jake Austen, RoctoberDishwasher
Julian Davis, Secret
Handsignals of the DBABugs and Drugs: A fuckin' zany comic/clip art zine from England.
Dishwasher: Most of us have been one.
Flatter!: Office supply lust.
McJob: About the worthlessness of modern day jobs.
Murtaugh: A wacky baseball zine and I don't even care for
Obscure Publications: High-quality writing/info about the
Darin Johnson, Shark
Fear, Shark AwarenessBaby, I Dig You: How is Prague different from Olympia, Washington?
Who is Doll, and why is she being menaced by Soviet-style post-war
architecture? What traits are shared by cash machines and Easter
Island heads? Sara will answer more intriguing questions than
you wish to ask.
Beer Frame: For a long time I grappled with the conflicting
emotions I felt toward headlight wipers, shopping malls, bagel
cutters, banana holder, heatless ice-melters, and dog clothes.
A puritanical streak runs through me that kept me from owning
a staple remover for years. It's difficult not to be repulsed
by the accumulation of inanimate stupidity we've piled around
ourselves, but a slight shift of perspective will make you realize
that you live in the midst of a vast liquidation sale and your
credit is good, because it is often better to read about Brannock
devices and dog water than to buy them.
Crap Hound: My friend Dagwood Reeves once mentioned someone
who "put things in a little box that don't belong in the
little box." Sean works with several little boxes at a time
and not only puts things in them that don't belong there, but
he then puts these boxes side by side which are more comfortably
left far apart. His careful layout forces images to comply with
each other and forces the reader into a voyeuristic position
of watching culture pollinate itself and have strange children.
One hour with Crap Hound is a proven method of creating more
Cipher Village: Dagwood writes about his time done working
at a porn shop/theater, progressing from a timid greenhorn to
a jaded sergeant of smut. To break up the drudgery of dusting
dildoes, he ferrets out non-paying cocksuckers and drug dealers,
all the while getting advice from his veteran co-workers who
try to teach him the fine art of being courteous until it's time
to bust heads.
Truthseeker's Guide to the Magic Kingdom: When I opened it
up and read, "You are always in some spatial relationship
to Disneyland," I was shocked and horrified, just like my
only experience at Disneyland. Disneyland is here to stay, and
we must appreciate it and acquire a taste for it. Unfortunately,
Disney culture is not palatable as is, and needs new ingredients.
Vic Perry is a master chef.
Clay Butler, Sidewalk
Ben is Dead
Crank: Hilarious, full of piss and vinegar.
Temp Slave!: Anti-corporate, pro-worker and hilarious.
Don Smith, Teenage
Gang DebsBouffant Bop: The author was around 12 years old and wrote
these amazing stories of the clothes she wore and how much she
loved Georgia bands like the B-52s. I fear she gave up writing
when she discovered boys. You could see it coming. First one
piece about how she's shy around this boy and then the next issue
was like how the two of them went thrift shopping. Sigh.
Conflict: Gerard opened this whole sarcastic world of New
York City rock to kids throughout the country. Forced us to intellectualize
and defend the goofy bands we liked.
Dishwasher: No one was asking for a zine about dishwashing,
but Pete didn't care and it became like a bible.
Wig Out: It's like the most perfect zine. Bonnie von Wheelie
is a great writer with amazing insight into lots of pop culture
Many others, including Murder Can Be Fun, Lisa Carver's work,
Maximum Rocknroll and Flipside (pre-1985), and the MC5's "underground
Jeff Kelly, Temp
Slave!Alley Cat: A small zine by Lee Reiterzer with completely
insane belly-laugh kind of stories.
Answer ME!: Smacks you in the face with truths you'd rather
avoid. Thought provoking, angry and honest.
Baby Sue: Evil, hilarious, non-PC stories and cartoons. I'm
surprised the editor is still alive.
Dishwasher: By far my favorite zine. Explains dishwashing
life in a humorous, heartfelt way.
Second Guess: Crisp no-holds-barred writing on music, politics
Will Pfeifer, UnderbellyBeer Frame: Paul Lukas' examination of the absurd elements
of consumer culture is more than just a sarcastic look at America;
it's fascinating and insightful.
Ben is Dead: An off-kilter viewpoint and a staff that's not
afraid to put its obsessions on the page. Also, it embodies that
great zine ideal of examining a subjectany subjectuntil
it's completely, utterly exhausted.
Bunnyhop: Good writing and fun topics, but what sets this
one apart is the design. Zines shouldn't be judged by production
values, but Bunnyhop is something to see.
Murder Can Be Fun: Surprisingly light-hearted and fun, it's
also a reliable source for fascinating crime and death.
Lumpen: Because it is incomprehensible how they put it out
Plotz: Because it is a force for good. I especially like
the project of "outing" Jewish rock stars.
Chuck Shepherd, View
From the LedgeGlen Burnieland
Murder Can Be Fun
Old Ben's Newsletter (folk music)
Rev. Speakers Gerald and Linda Polley, Voices From Spirit MagazineBjo Trimble's Sci-Fit Spotlite: The latest sci-fi news from
TV, movies and books.
The Gallifrey Guardian: The best Dr. Who/British sci-fi newsletter
Ghost Trackers: The official newsletter of the Ghost Research
The Pan American Indian News: Great Native American info.
Jeff Hansen, X
Ladies Fetish and Taboo Society
Murder Can Be Fun
John F. Kelly, XYYBen is Dead
The Magic Whistle: Sam Henderson, is probably the funniest
person working in the comics medium today.
Voice of Zewam