"Edge of the Panel, Edge of the Page" Abstract (long form)

The print zine is a medium constantly at the edge. It is typically a short-form self-published or small press periodical that often includes political writing, life writing, and comics. They have a strong connection to radical social movements including anarchism, veganism, and third-wave feminism, as well as the riot grrl movement and the DIY (do-it-yourself) punk scene. The materiality of the zine has edges as well—zine comics are a panel-based medium; zine layout is often done via cutting and pasting onto a page, which is later photocopied.

The personal zine is often about the immediate now—what you feel now, what you are eating now, what needs to be done right now. “E-zines” exist that try to emulate the ethos of the zine, but have not replaced the genre of the print zine. Why use a photocopied medium, a material document, for the transmission of timely information when digital media are so much more immediate? What is the value of materiality in self expression? Furthermore, where is the border between zine writing and academic writing? Can this be transgressed? How can we use this medium to push at the boundaries between our discipline and others?

In order to explore this fascinating medium, our panel will create a print zine for the audience of the “Edges” conference to discuss these very issues in both text and graphic form. Our panel, then, will consist of a multi-media presentation on our process of creating this zine in particular, as well as our other experiences with the medium, and will also contain a virtual presentation from one of the zine’s authors who cannot be physically present at the conference. The panel session will conclude with a workshop segment where attendees will be invited to make their own zines.

Working Bibliography:

Packebush, Nina. “Why You Must Make a Zine.” 2003. Mamaphonic.com. 16 January 2009 .

Robbins, Trina. From Girls to Grrls: A History of ♀ Comics from Teens to Zines. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1999.

Wrekk, Alex. Stolen Sharpie Revolution. Portland: Microcosm Publishing, 2005.

Xerography Debt. 10 January 2009. The Xerography Debt Collective. 16 January 2009 .

Click here to download a selection from the Edges zine in PDF

Click here to download my virtual presentation from the Edges conference in .mov format

email me at fhowes at vt dot edu