My Fannish Journey: The Fanzine

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Title: My Fannish Journey: The Fanzine
Creator: Cynthia Boris
Date(s): March 5, 2014
Medium: online
Fandom: multi
Topic: Fanzines, Conventions
External Links: online here, Archived version
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My Fannish Journey: The Fanzine is an essay by Cynthia Boris.

Some topics discussed: fanzines and MediaWest*Con and the zine Shades of Green.


When I first started reading fan fiction there was only one option – read what my friends were writing. In the beginning it was Protectors, UFO, James Bond and some pseudo-Hobbit tales loosely based on Tolkien’s masterpiece. (My first foray into book fanfic.) Unfortunately for me, the voracious reader and writer, I only had two friends who were into fanfic at the time so my supply was extremely limited. Fast forward ten years and I found a new kindred spirit. This one was into The Rat Patrol and she and I bonded over our fannish love for this oh-so bromancey war show. That was when I was introduced to the joy of fanzines. They were like tie-in novels, only better because they were written by fangirls who told all the stories I wanted to hear. And there were a dozen or more of them in every spiral-bound book so if I wasn’t floored by the first one, there was always another and another.

After that, I got brave enough to place more stories in zines, mostly because they paid you in copies. At $40 bucks or more per zine, it was worth it. Eventually, Jeannie and I partnered on our own weird little zine dedicated to Kermit on KF:TLC – “Shades of Green.” One of my epic angst-fests was the centerpiece and we filled out the rest with work from some of my favorite fan writers.

From there – wow, Simon & Simon zines, Buffy zines, Bonanza and Alias Smith and Jones. And of course, Supernatural. But by the time I hit that fandom the fanzine game had changed. The internet, which started popping in the Buffy days, gave everyone easy access to new fic on a daily – heck, hourly basis. set up shop and fans filled hundreds of internet archives with even more fic.

The fanzine began to fade and in some ways, it’s a shame. Properly published fanzines are full of well-edited stories that fit together in a spectacular way. I’d never give up instant access to fanfic but I do still buy fanzines now and them. Mostly old ones when I fall into a classic fandom, (Starsky & Hutch!) or obscure fandoms (The Dirty Dozen!).