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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Introduction to Zines

This is a starting point to learn about zine history, finding and researching with zines, incorporating zines into the classroom, and making your own zines!

What is a zine?

Zines (Pronounced "ZEEN" and short for "fanzine" or "magazine") are:

  • Self-published works with a limited print run, usually focused on sharing one’s lived experiences.
  • Incorporate DIY culture, since creators typically make the work by hand, then reproduce it with a photocopier.
  • A popular medium for subcultural groups, activists, and political organizers, especially among punk and feminist groups.

There’s no right or wrong way to make a zine. It can be about everything and anything, and created with any and every type of material – your only limit is your imagination!

Zine Genres

Zines can be about anything! Some popular genres include:

  • Fanzines- related to franchises and/or fandoms, such as science fiction shows or comic books
  • Political- containing information about political organizing, activism, and/or social justice
  • Literary- collections of poems, fiction writing, and essays
  • Art- usually containing multiple forms of visual media, including photographs, paintings, collages, comics, etc.
  • Educational- plain language explanations, often about taboo or political topics

A red and black linocut of a giant, haunting humanoid monster in a powdered wig holding a small human head on a platter above the phrase America the beautifulThe title "a gut feeling" with a loopy cartoon intestine winding through the letter g in both words.Two young, white men kissing with the title Read My Lips and information on ACT-UP Kiss In protests

From left to right: RAIX/Zine Reproductive Justice en la Frontera; A Gut Feeling; Radical Cheerleaders of Santa Cruz

Where can I find zines around campus?

Zines by Teaching, Learning, and Academic Support: