“What’s the appeal of zines?”

Yeah; it also makes it clear that to many people 'zine means 'short publication' rather than 'amateur serial'--which is what I default to. This makes me wonder if Strange Brew should be called a 'fanzine' rather than just a 'zine'.
 
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I was around for the 'zine boom of the early 90s, where the focus was music and movies and later there developed a trend for more personal 'zines.

Desktop publishing quickly raised the ability to produce something that looked professional instead of handmade collages and photocopies with a saddle stitch. But that handmade aesthetic was a large part of the charm too.

Ultimately I think the net helped kill off most of the 'zines. Some of the biggest moved online with blogs and their own sites but for some reason a lot of the energy and vibes just dissipated.

A lot of people seemed to give up on writing and just started posting rare albums for download.

Movie 'zines went into steep decline as most of the masters didn't have the skill set or energy to move their work online.

So when at least a decade later when I saw younger people reviving the physical 'zine I thought it was cool although I'm usually a bit suspect or retro-revivals that fetishize the past and get stuck there. The mystifying fad for cassette and VHS tapes are examples of that, to me.

But happily that doesn't seem to be much of an issue when it comes to 'zines, where people seem to have understood the positives of the form better.

The RPG 'zine is an interesting phenomenon as I don't recall any of them during the late 80s/early 90s boom. I know they must have existed but they were marginal compared to music and movie 'zines.

Course pre-internet 'zine distro ranged from non-existent to limited so often you had what people in your city/province/state produced and the few that were able to arrange wider ditro.

I will say that the average RPG 'zine these days is far more carefully put together than the 'zines I recall from back-in-the-day where the personal voice of the 'zine creator was paramount. They were often a bit sloppy and that was part of the charm.
 
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The RPG 'zine is an interesting phenomenon as I don't recall any of them during the late 80s/early 90s boom. I know they must have existed but they were marginal compared to music and movie 'zines.

Course pre-internet 'zine distro ranged from non-existent to limited so often you had what people in your city/province/state produced and the few that were able to arrange wider ditro.
Fanzines were pretty common in the earliest days of the hobby, I think--even my little gaming group in Mid-Missouri published one. Of course, in those days the presupposition was that you would be creating your own setting and adventures, so most g.m.s were generating material that might fit into a 'zine. As you say, distribution meant photocopying and selling the thing at the local comics shop or similar venues.

I've assumed, perhaps wrongly, that the Pub's 'zine would be something like that, only a bit more polished and distributed electronically.
 
I read some fun hand-made, badly photocopied zines back in the 80s. In the UK there were some very funny ones. There were a few, such as the awesome Dagon, that were ostensibly fiction-based but included nice rpg stuff (for Call of Cthulhu). So way back when there was a mix in terms of quality and presentation, but I think that's also the case with zines today. Some can be a little style over substance but others seem to be carrying the torch (pun pun) pretty well. Some, such as Star Frontiersman and Frontier Explorer (which I've occasionally helped out with) are good at keeping an interest alive in older rpgs and provide new material for them, which is always useful.
 
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