Categorized | Did You Know?, Student Work

What is a zine, anyway?

Zines (rhymes with “beans”) are small circulation, self-published works created by a person (or small group) with a passion for a particular subject.  Zines can be educational, creative, wry, beautiful, political, whimsical, silly, sarcastic, dark, and even disturbing depending on the aim of the author.  APUSH fans may be interested to know that Thomas Paine’s self-published 1775 pamphlet, Common Sense, is considered by some to have been an early zine.  In the 20th century, the popular comic book hero, Superman, was based on a short story from the 1933 zine, Science Fiction: The Advance Guard of Future Civilization.

a photograph of several zines on a dark brown table

There are no limits on the variety and breadth of topics addressed in zines.  Are you aware of the characteristics of face blindness and its causes?  Did you ever wonder how morphine and heroin are chemically related?  Are you fascinated by the experience of young, second-generation Asian immigrants living in the Bay Area?  Are you just curious about many different things? The Castilleja Library has a large selection of zines – there is something for everyone. Please come ask your library team about what is available now!

-Emi S. ’19

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