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Special Collections: Zines

The MDX Zine Collection

Mark Perry, Sniffin' Glue 7, February 1977, courtesy of The Mott Collection.

An exciting collection of zines is available to browse in the Materials Room. These range from some of the earliest punk titles like Sniffin' Glue and Vague (a play on mainstream Vogue) to lots of new examples in many shapes and sizes and covering a huge array of subjects, ideas, and perspectives. We also have many contemporary zines, including titles produced here at Middlesex by art and design students.

For more information please come down to the Materials Room (Sheppard Library Basement).

A list of zines we hold is available from the link below.

Zine Resources

Use this list as a starting point for research on zines and as an introduction to major zine collections. It will help you locate zines and materials about creating them in other libraries and online databases. 

What are Zines?

Zines are a way individuals or small groups can share their particular interests or obsessions. Created against the flow of mainstream publishing, the zine is an opportunity for self-expression, especially for alternative ideas and lifestyles.

In the past, content included subcultural fashion and music, political ideas or club football news. The term fanzine (sometimes used) originally combined the concepts of fan club and magazine.

The zine is a self-published, non-commercial, cheaply produced, low circulation magazine. Content may be typed, handwritten, drawn, photographed – often printed on a photocopier, stapled, folded or bound with simple stitches.

Books on Zines

Zine documentaries on Kanopy

$100 & A T-Shirt: A Documentary About Zines In The Northwest by Director Joe Biel

In just under an hour, "$100 & a T-Shirt" brings zine culture to life! Using broken and borrowed equipment, Joe Biel illuminates the world of self-publishing. He gives us glimpses of the Portland Zine Symposium, takes us on a a zine-themed bicycle tour around Portland, and interviews local zinesters. The documentary answers a wide array of questions, including: what are zines, why do people make zines, where did zines come from, how do zine communities function, and what does the future hold for zines?

Vaginal Davis: An Interview by Video Data Bank

In this interview, American artist, independent curator, writer, and experimental filmmaker, Vaginal Davis reflects on her initiation into the punk rock and art scenes of Los Angeles during the 1980s and 90s, her stylistic influences, and her ongoing efforts to theorize queerness and visuality. Caught between the opposing poles of Hollywood classicism and the rawness of punk, Davis defines her unapologetically gender-bending, campy, and at times aggressively critical performances as scenarios, rather than spectacles or entertainment. She describes the establishment of HAG Gallery, an alternative exhibition space run out of her apartment building during the 1980s, and the motivations that mobilized the gallery’s events. Davis also shares stories from the early days of writing and circulating Fertile LaToya Jackson, a queercore zine, illuminating her contribution to the emerging internationalism of the zine movement. In addition, Davis’s interview offers salient insight into the larger challenges she and other artists of color and alternative sexual orientation faced due to the racial, economic and gender politics of the Reagan era. These pressures provided Davis with motive to invest in the critique of language, laying the grounds for the artist’s development of an idiosyncratic “Vaginalese Ebonics” and various drag personas. Davis’s first major solo exhibition opened in 2012 at the Participant, Inc. in New York, and her work continues to attract critical acclaim from universities and scholars in the U.S. and abroad. The artist lives and works in Berlin. -- Faye Gleisser. Interview conducted by David Getsy in May 2013, edited in 2014.