Open up any magazine today, they are congested with nearly 80% advertising space thrown in your face with 20% content. Within that content maybe you’ll find an article or two for which you’ll actually read or be able to relate to. With a zine, the advertising space used to make a buck is generally cut out and instead filled with bold revolutionary ideas, art, music, poetry and stories. There are no written rules of the zine. With the “Do-It-Yourself” philosophy they are great for writers who wish to produce self published work sharing a skill or art as opposed to seeking a profit. The word ‘zine’ comes from fanzine which is generally a small circulation run.

In 1776 Thomas Paine self-published Common Sense a 79 page pamphlet which has been credited as the book for sparking a revolution and it was used it as an instrument in promoting the ideas that contributed to the U.S. War for Independence. Just a perfect example to demonstrate the free spirit of zine culture. Music is Revolution!

The Realist by Paul Krassner.

The Ann Arbor Sun, 1974

The Lafayette’s speech on FREEDOM of the Press to the French Assembly in 1820

OSAWATOMIES are the above ground news ‘zine of the WEATHERMEN that bombed USA offices in the ’70’s as they were against the Vietnam War.

Historically zines were usually self published booklets reproduced with a copy machine of 1,000 or fewer copies.  They were folded, spine-stapled paper pamphlets used by underground communities to spread information quickly and portably in the pre-internet age and distributed by word of mouth and mail order.  Zines could be sold, traded and given away at record stores, bookstores, concerts and festivals. Zine’s were often used often in the 70’s to promote punk music  such as Crawdaddy which came out in 1966 and was one of the first rock music fanzines with paid advertisers and distribution on newsstands, as well as Maximum Rock’n’ Roll which had over 300 issues published.

While the zine culture continues to evolve, the term is used today to describe a wide range of handmade, self-published print-based media all of which was for sale by their original creators at the 5th Annual LB Zine fest held at the EXPO Center which showcased over a hundred zine creators. LBZF is a cultural celebration of these niche communities, under -represented identities, and creators of all backgrounds who believe in print as a viable artistic and information medium in today’s web-centric world. Some zine creators I spoke with are listed below as well as their contact information. Support the arts and give them a follow.

Estrella Vega

I learned to do silkscreen print so most of my stuff is silkscreened. I was originally interested in science and evolution.

Flores Couture 

IG flores.couture.16 

“I work with my typewriter and I also do black and white photography so this is my newest one its based on a real story of a girl who was 5150 and the pictures are all from downtown LA, because that gets taken down quickly so i wanted to preserve it in a story. It’s called Felicia, and then there’s Pamela and it’s based on a homeless person that I met in downtown LA as well.”


Valerie J Bower 

IG: valeriejocelyn

“I’ve been shooting photos since high school, i just started making zines to self publish my work. It was an outlet for me to put my work in book form without having to go to a publisher or magazine or media outlet i can do it myself. I’m in Long Beach.”

Eric Nakamura

twitter: Giantroboteric/ IG giant robot/ fb: giantrobotmagazine

“It started off as a zine, and then it became a magazine with over 16 years of publishing, and 68 issues, and then it stopped.  Meanwhile i opened up shops, and an art gallery also. I still do art shows and exhibitions in west LA, been at it since 94, so this is year 25 technically. Giant Robot is inspired by Comic Bus a punk rock zine, it’s about travel and almost autobiographical in a way, telling stories about his life. There’s some punk rock zines I like called Dishwasher, and one called Genetic Disorder. I shot Fizz magazines first cover, I think it was the Nymphs on the cover, and subsequently shot a few more after that.” – Eric Nakamura

Brenda Chi

“My work spans from illustration to comics about being an Asian American woman, just being a woman in general, love music and pop culture.” – Brenda Chi

Hamo Bahnam

IG popookplasticfactory


Art Block Zine


Erwin Recinos

IG _losojos_

twitter @losojosdemuerte

Rite Aid Daze is a 20 page zine. The author, Erwin Recinos and I traded zines with eachother. He had a few to choose from and I selected the one he’s holding in this picture. I found it to be an interested read  about his past life documented through disposable cameras  working at Rite Aid scooping ice cream, at a time when he had very little responsibility and just wanted to work and create art.



Article and Photos by: Maggie St.Thomas