Making fanzines is an illness that began with the sci-fi fans, continued with British punks and then spread up around the whole world. There are fanzine festivals, fanzine databases, and even Facebook groups. Milos Hroch maps the brief history of the most striking Czech fanzines in his new book I shout “That's me!,” published by PageFive.
A zine is a means of self-determination, an opportunity to express ourselves, a DIY noncommercial magazine, published independently and distributed hand-to-hand, through post or through underground connections. Anyone with enough interest and enthusiasm can produce one, no matter if it’s professionally printed or secretly photocopied at work.
I shout “That’s me!” focuses specifically on Czech fanzines produced by different subcultures. This brief history of Czech zines, whose boom began in the 80s of back-then communist Czechoslovakia, was published this November by PageFive, having each chapter written by a different author focusing on various communities: metal and hardcore punk, sci-fi, feminist, photography, comics or zines focused on computer games.
The two-hundred-and-thirty pages offer an exploration of different visual styles and approaches to the art of zine making. Milos Hroch successfully manages to introduce even the biggest print media novices to the wondrous world of zines, explaining them how it is made and what it consists of, and allows them to further explore the topic by immersing themselves into the chapters dedicated to specific subcultures.The text is accompanied by a large number of scans, allowing one to compare, for example, elaborate covers of sci-fi fanzines with DIY glued and copied punk zines.
Despite its length, the book is really easy to read even in one sitting, due to its incorporation of images, quotations and other materials. The scanned examples of particular zines allow one to explore a subculture from its internal perspective, which might as well be the best thing about the book.
To conclude, printed media may be on decline, but fanzines are getting more and more popular, as is the case with Prague Zine Fest 2016 or many newly published feminist zines – Drzost, Obrovska or ISOLATION, focused on fashion. As Karel Vesely, one of the authors collaborating on the book, says in the foreword: “Fanzines are strange things. Most people don’t understand the point of doing them. To such people, you need to explain “the magic of printed media” or that they’re “a message for future generations,” but even then, those folks probably won’t get it. Those who do, they simply know. They don’t need crutches.”
You can buy I shout “That’s me!” at PageFive’s store on Veverkova 5, Prague or through their online shop.
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