Getting Into the Fantastic World of the Fanzine. What is a Fanzine?

Writer
Fact-checked by Layla Varela
Editor
Updated on: July 13, 2023

The fan world is extensive and specific, but it's a world where creativity and art abound. In it, we can find diverse artistic expressions and people passionate about learning and developing creative ideas around their passions. This time we are getting into the world of Fanzine, what they are, what the word means, and also to know a little more about how this has contributed to popular culture and the expansion and creation of subcultures. 

Fanzine

Collage made by Camila Marcelo

What is a fanzine?

A fanzine is a nonprofessional and noncommercial publication created by fans of a particular interest: It could be music, the film industry, Books, or whatever subject they were crazy about. The fanzines are usually created for fans to express their opinions, share their creativity, show their artistic expressions, and connect with other fans with the same passion. 

What does the word fanzine mean?

The word "fanzine" is a blend of two words: "fan" and "magazine." As was explained above is a magazine entirely made by fans to fans. Fanzines always cover a specific topic or interest, such as a particular band, TV show, comic book, or movie. They are often created using DIY methods, such as photocopiers or desktop publishing software, and the content of fanzines can vary widely, from articles and reviews to fan fiction, artwork, and interviews.

Why fanzines are important in the popular culture?

Certainly, they have played a significant role in shaping popular culture over the years. However, the fanzines have also helped give some marginalized communities, who might otherwise feel isolated in their interests, a voice and provided a field for alternative perspectives that might not be represented in mainstream media. 

They have also played an essential role in developing subcultures and fan club identities; fanzines have helped create a sense of community among people who share a particular interest or passion. They have influenced the worlds of music, film, television, book, and comics, among others, and have helped shape the world's cultural landscape. 

Overall, these kinds of DIY magazines prove the power of fandom and the creativity that can come from a shared passion and all the impact on the popular culture they have taken.

History of Fanzines

The fanzine has a super exciting history from the early 1900s when sci-fi fans started publishing their own magazines. The first known fanzine, "The Comet," was created in the USA in 1930 by a couple of science fiction fans, Raymond Palmer and Walter Dennis. They did this to connect with other fans and share their love of sci-fi. 

These early fanzines were often printed on mimeograph machines and distributed through mail-order subscriptions. The creation of fanzines played a crucial role in creating a sense of community among science fiction fans, giving them a space to express themselves and share their love for sci-fi.

Later on, in the '60s and '70s, fanzines became even more popular as fans created magazines about music; these fanzines helped to shape punk rock subculture in the '70s and '80s by giving bands and fans a place to connect and share ideas and promote their music and make everything punk. The look of fanzines was exploratory during this time,  they began to experiment whit some color, typography, and textures.

Some of these Punks Fanzines 

  • Punk Magazine
Fanzine

Punk Magazine image is taken from underground England

  • Sniffin' Glue
Fanzine

Sniffin' Glue image is taken from Dazeddigital

  • Maximum Rocknroll  
Fanzine

Maximum Rocknroll  image is taken from maximumrocknroll

The most representative characteristics of fanzines

  • Non-professional: Are created by fans and are not produced by professional publishers or people specialized in journalism or publicity.
  • Non-commercial: Are not created to earn some profit; they are typically distributed for free or at a low cost among community members.
  • DIY (Do-It-Yourself) aesthetics: Are often created with limited resources and are copied or printed in small batches, which gives them a unique and raw aesthetic. They are usually printed in just one tint to lowdown the cost.
  • Independence: Fanzines are not controlled by big publishers, big brands, or companies, meaning they are often more honest and represent a broader range of perspectives. They don't depend on anyone to approve the contents they will publish.
  • Fan-driven content: Fanzines are created by fans for fans, and the content is usually centered around a particular interest or topic. They don't expect to reach an audience outside the circle.
  • Personal voice: Often reflects the self-voice of the creator, which means that they are more authentic and sincere than traditional media. There is no censorship of any kind.
  • Marginalized voices: often provide a field for marginalized voices that are not represented in mainstream media. It is a secure space for wallflowers to grow and express themselves around a topic they like
  • Sense of community: helps to create a sense of community and partnership among fans who share a passion for a particular interest or topic.
  •  Limited distribution: These are usually distributed to a small and dedicated audience, which makes them feel exclusive and unique. It's not a magazine designed for the public in general.
  • Creativity: Are often created for fans to express their creativity and showcase their artistic skills, giving them a unique and personal touch. It could be filled with fan artwork and subjective opinions about topics and have a particular design to fit the magazine's theme.

The Magazines Made for fans Nowadays

With the advent of the internet in the 1990s and 2000s, fanzines began to move online, with fans creating blogs, forums, and online zines to connect with other fans around the world. 

Many fanzines have reinvented and moved to digital formats like podcasts and social media platforms. Online fan communities have exploded in recent years, with fans from all over the world connecting and sharing their passions with each other. The Do It Yourself spirit of fanzines has also influenced modern fan culture, with many fans creating their own fan art, fan fiction, and other fanworks and sharing it with their communities in real-time. 

Conclusion

In many ways, fanzines have become more accessible than ever, allowing fans to share their preferences with others and build communities around shared interests. 

So whether you are a fan of a popular TV show, a musician, or a book character,  there is a fanzine out there for you, or if you want to be riskier, you can create your own Fanzine to share your interest with others. 

Are you ready to take the challenge to improve your design skills by making your own Fanzine? If you are, don't miss the chance to take a Procreate Course and become a master in DIY magazines.

Other FREE courses you might be interested in  

Free Creative Writing Course for Beginners

Free Comic Book Creation Course for Beginners

Free Drawing Course for Beginners

Free Canva Course for Beginners

FAQ

 Are fanzines only about popular topics?

No, fanzines cover many topics, including niche and lesser-known interests. They are not limited to mainstream subjects and often provide a space for unique and unconventional passions.

Can anyone create a fanzine?

Absolutely! Anyone with a passion for a specific interest can create a fanzine. Fanzines are open to all fans who want to share their creativity and connect with others with the same enthusiasm.

Are fanzines only about popular topics?

No, fanzines cover a wide range of topics, including niche and lesser-known interests. They are not limited to mainstream subjects and often provide a space for unique and unconventional passions.

Can fanzines still be relevant in the digital age?

Absolutely! Fanzines have evolved to embrace the digital era, with online zines, blogs, and social media communities becoming popular platforms for fan expression. The DIY spirit remains strong in digital fanzines.

Can fanzines help me connect with like-minded people?

Yes, fanzines provide an excellent opportunity to connect with people who share your interests and passions. You can become part of a supportive and enthusiastic community by reading or creating fanzines.

Camila Marcelo is an experienced online education content creator with over 7 years developing engaging videos and written content on technology. She employs proven teaching methodologies to make complex topics understandable for diverse learners. Camila is passionate about democratizing access to digital skills through emerging tech and optimized instructional design.
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