Frankly, I never really enjoyed zines. Not because they aren’t worth reading, but because they’re not worth buying. For antiquarians like myself, zines lack the cute frameability of postcards or the respect deserving of a dusty coffee table or bookshelf. Have you ever heard of a zineshelf? If there exists a comparable medium, zines are akin to empty holiday cards, mantle-worthy only once a year. You may disagree. But the fact remains: zines are lo-fi copies of stuff you can find online. Homey poetry, artist interviews, sassy horoscopes, essays on the umpteenth wave of feminism and all the penile pedagogy one can swallow—links are not required.
But with all the hoopla over the upcoming Los Angeles Zine Fair at the Ukrainian Cultural Center, I’m giving zines a chance. And so yesterday, I doffed my cynic’s hat, opened my mind a few more cracks and picked up a zine at an indie bookstore in Echo Park. Of the selection it was the shoddiest, the least arty and at 2USD the cheapest. Its title was jarring, and its template, classic zine: a thin stack of A4 copies creased in half and stapled and filled in like a scrapbook of a serial killer.
Asswipe: A Zine to Wipe Your Ass With #1 by a Vanessa X lives up to its promise of “24 pages of pure shit.” Asswipe #1 features a mishmash of erratic rants, poems, an interview with a local band, doodles and “boxes and shit.” Some of it is humorous but most of it is trash. But for what it’s worth, Asswipe is real, honest and unpretentious trash. And therein lies beauty of the zine: its craft, spontaneity and immediacy. In “Thee End” ofAsswipe #1, Vanessa X claims: “the best part about zines, to me, is that anyone can make one and even if it sucks, at least you put in the effort to make one.”
And so with that, I offer you a free, homemade zine on what this post was originally meant to explore: Zine Historiography Zine.*
*Note: The file is only legible if printed on five sheets on both sides, stacked and folded widthwise. If anything, it’ll give you something to do.
Image via Start Space Dot Com