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What’s a zine?

Zines (or “fanzines”) are small-scale self-published works. Anyone with an idea, some imagination and a photocopier can create a zine to be shared, traded or sold. The genre overlaps with comics, graphic novels and art books, but is characterised by its pervasive do-it-yourself approach. Previously a male-dominated medium, the 90’s Riot Grrrl movement saw a huge increase in young women creating zines exploring music, feminism, politics and their own lives. These grass roots publications cover a vast array of topics; from political zines, comics, culture and literature, to more intensely personal, journal-like creations.

The comix scene, so-named to differentiate these works from mainstream comics, developed in the 1960s and 1970s counterculture and punk movements. Comprising underground, small-scale publications, comix artists were freed from the censorship imposed by mainstream publishing companies, which enabled artists to explore different topics.  However the comix scene remained dominated by men and it wasn’t until the 1970s, as  the women’s liberation movement grew, that female authors began to challenge this male bias. The first ongoing all-woman comic, Wimmen’s Comix, ran from 1972 until 1992. Since this time, increasing numbers of women artists have published comic books and graphic novels.

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