Teal Triggs: Fanzines

In 2010 Thames & Hudson London published “Fanzines” by Teal Triggs. The book covers the history of Fanzines and their evolution from the early days until now. The author included many images of various types of Zines. Regrettably these have not been credited correctly and some of the information was accused to be incorrect. A protest of “zinesters” against the publication started and even a website was created which lists blogposts of angry zine creators arguing they have been wrongly credited or informed way too late (receiving emails informing them about the publication in August when it was due to be released in September) and complaining about the carless, disrespectful and unprofessional attitude of the author.

While reading all these complaints I first thought maybe the zine creators where being a bit to sensible and exaggerating the whole matter. In the end a Zine is a little self-publication, instead I would just be proud to have mine published in a book as an example for one of the zines worth to mention having somehow contributed to the history of these tiny kind of “books”. In general I must say I am not a big fan of all the copyright issues. Of course it is a very complex matter and I am not even very informed about it but maybe sometimes it is even taken too seriously, especially in the UK I noticed people are much more concerned about plagiarism than they are in Italy. Of course one’ s ideas, thoughts or work should not be stolen or copied but in some cases it is a sharing attitude that drives someone to include other people’ s expression – in whichever form it might be. One could argue there is in fact no harm in enriching your own creation by citing other people, it just has do be done in the right way. Right. But there exactly is the problem – we always tend to see others try to take advantage of us. Same as in the case of Teal Triggs: I agree that she could have put more effort in contacting the creators of the zines in time etc. but is it really such a great wrong? In the end she just tried to put together the history of zine production and to share her knowledge and interest with others. Did she get any profit by not crediting 100% correctly the name of a Zine author (one author had her name changed after the publication of the zine Triggs included in her book but Triggs put the old name into her bibliography) ?

For our Thursdays CTS sessions we were asked to read and respond on chapter 6 “The Crafting of Contemporary Fanzines” of Teal Triggs “Fanzines” which I found really interesting and full of valuable information. I liked the fact that the author wrote about letterpress workshops at LCC, it made me feel part of what I was reading. The section “Crafting Alternative Communities” lists some curios examples of “how-to zines” which I looked up afterwards (such as Forrest and Tricia McDowells’ “Home Composting Made Easy” or Raleigh Briggs¬†publications). The only objection I have so far to “Fanzines” is I did not really enjoy its layout. Some pages have a simple white background, others instead have a brownish lined paper background. Text comes up in white boxes that cover the lined background as if they were two different layers one stuck on top of the other. The whole creates a sketchbook like style which is coherent with the characteristic DIY (Do It Yourself) format zines used to have especially in the past. The only think I didn’t really like is sentences being interrupted by 2 or 3 pages of images. It would not have been a problem if it was a section or paragraph continuing on another page and some images in between, but when it comes to sentences it just makes reading more difficult and one may tend just to quickly flick through the pages to get where the sentence continuous, paying barley no attention to the images.

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