Production of Zines

Fantasy Amateur

Covers of the mailings from Fantasy Amateur to show an example of the colorful paper used in some fanzines.

Fanzines can be printed and collated in a variety of ways. Factors such as aesthetic, availability of materials, and use of color (or lack thereof), but mainly money, come into play when individuals are choosing which method(s) to produce their fanzines.

Each printing method had their pros and cons. They had varying prices and capabilities. For example, offset could not print in color, you would need to seek out a Ditto machine or hectograph, and for a little more effort in the process a mimeograph could be used.[1] However, offset produced more polished, professional results.[2] The most popular printing technologies used in the 1900s, when fanzines came to be, were mimeographs, spirit duplicators, offset printing, and xerography.[3] These are discussed in further detail on the page entitled "Printing Methods.”

Cosmag Digest Booklet

This is the Cosmag-Science-Fiction Digest, which is an example of a digest booklet that was small enough to be center stapled.

Once the zine has been copied the next task is to bind it. Center stapling worked mainly for smaller zines and booklets, comb and spiral binding for the lengthier works, screw posts and brass fasteners did the job, and tape used usually in conjunction with staples that didn’t particularly stand the test of time.[4] A fun and social aspect to the binding process were collating parties. Individuals in the community would get together and put together copies of a zine in exchange for refreshments and a customary free copy of the fanzine.[5]

Producing fanzines is a process that can be lengthy and arduous, but rewarding. While people would often be reaching into their own pockets to keep up production, as things didn’t always break even after they sold their copies, passion would keep them going. The process did cause a number of zines to end due to lack of funds, sometimes caused by overproduction, but many persevered to produce the delightful and captivating works that can be enjoyed to this day.[6]

[1] “Zine Production.” Fanlore, Last modified April 7, 2018, https://fanlore.org/wiki/Zine_Production. Accessed 4 June 2018.

[2] “Offset.” Fanlore, Last modified January 31, 2018, https://fanlore.org/wiki/Offset. Accessed 4 June 2018.

[3] “Zine Production.” Fanlore, Last modified April 7, 2018, https://fanlore.org/wiki/Zine_Production. Accessed 4 June 2018.

[4] “Binding.” Fanlore, Last modified April 6, 2018, https://fanlore.org/wiki/Binding. Accessed June 4 2018.

[5] “Collating Party.” Fanlore, Last modified March 14, 2014, https://fanlore.org/wiki/Collating_Party. Accessed June 4 2018.

[6] “Zine Production.” Fanlore, Last modified April 7, 2018, https://fanlore.org/wiki/Zine_Production. Accessed 4 June 2018.

Production of Zines