Someone was always handing out zines at rock shows back in the ’90s. I always took whatever people were handing out because I was too shy to do otherwise back then. I amassed a small collection of zines this way. Some were among the most wonderful things I’d ever read; some weren’t to my taste. It didn’t matter. I was in love with zines regardless.
In a world before blogs and social media, zines were my introduction to the idea that we can all be writers, artists, and publishers. We all have stories or ideas to share–and the power to share them. Perhaps that’s old news to young people now. They are growing up with all sorts of tools for sharing from the usual social networks to video and more. But, for me, a world opened up with zines as a way to read and share ideas that didn’t have a place in traditional media and that didn’t have to be perfect to be out there.
So when an opportunity to review the latest edition of Stolen Sharpie Revolution by Alex Wrekk came up, I jumped at it. This DIY book, in its 5th edition now, has been around for over ten years as a guide to all things zine related from basic how-to to the next level stuff like setting up zine events. It is a starting place for those new to zines, an idea generator for those looking to try something new, and a general ode to the creative exchange in whatever form it takes. I, of course, loved it.
It’s a small book with a lot of information–and a lot more information online–from the practical (fair use and copyright) to the fascinating (make your own paper) with an emphasis on the DIY spirit. It’s not perfect, but no zine ever is. A few typos only add to the general “work in progress” feel to it. Do you need a how-to about zines before you make one? No, not at all. But if you are curious about what zinesters like Alex Wrekk and her contributors think you might want to know as you are getting into zines, Stolen Sharpie Revolution is a must read.
I hope it inspires you to share your ideas, art, or story. I know it has reinvigorated my desire to be a part of zine culture.