Traditionally, zines were handmade booklets/DIY magazines made by people who didn’t have access to high quality publishing. These were alternative methods for distributing new artists, ideas, contemporary influencers, political manifestos, illustrations – anything and everything outside of the mainstream publishing world.
And while the physical zine scene has continued to thrive even with the advent of the internet, these days a new community of zinesters has also begun posting their content online for free in digital zines. Unlike Tumblr pages, these online zines have a more focused curation of interviews, poetry, photography, and visuals, remaining outlets for young creatives to publish outside of traditional avenues. Even Kanye West is getting in on the cultural cool factor of the zine, dubbing his fashion book, a collaboration with Adidas Original, a zine. (To be fair, he’s not exactly wrong… but calling your high-end fashion catalogue a zine is a calculated decision to appropriate the spirit of zines).
Regardless, there’s no wrong way to make a zine, and that is the beauty of the zine. With that in mind, we’ve chosen some really amazing online zines you should pay attention to. Check ’em out below, and leave any we may have missed in the comments.
La Liga is a budding online zine that features rare interviews with millennial meme-makers, radio DJs, art collectives, and emerging artists around the world. Their crew, who lives across the U.S. and Canada, focuses on showcasing people with cultural identities that fall somewhere along the Latinx continuum. They even have Spanish versions of some of their articles, and they interview fascinating culture creators. They’ve interviewed Nazly Sobhi Damasio of Latina Rebels, a Tejana foodie who moved to Vietnam to start a TexMex food service, and @gothshakira, an Instagram artist who makes hilarious intellectually-astute memes. A print version of La Liga is in the works, and if you’re local to NYC you can stop by their fundraiser Pura Sabrosura for dancing, arts, and performances at the Silent Barn on June 24th.
Shade Zine is another great platform pushing forward the work of young artists. Started by two fly people, Abryl and Azha, it showcases other zinemakers, art parties, and underground artists. All of their content is original and made collaboratively. They also curate playlists, publish photo stories, and feature the artwork of people with similar aesthetics. One of their first zines is Xicanas in Suburbia, a collection of photos and essays about being Xican@ and experiencing colorism in their communities.
They also have great interviews with Instagram famous multi-talented artist Natasha Lillipore and London-based illustrator Laura Callaghan.
Chiflad@ Zine is an online zine featuring Latin@ and Xican@ voices. There are bruja poems, middle school throwback playlists, and interviews with activist librarians and photographers from South Texas. The work often talks about being in between cultural worlds – i.e. what it’s like to be Latinx but not speak Spanish well, and how to work around identity issues. Past issues include themes of Memory, Identity, and Spirituality. The team of people working on it is vast and all have fun lives as photographers, filmmakers, artists, and writers.
Sula Collective‘s aim is to provide a magazine for and by people of color. All of their zines are available to read in e-book format or on Tumblr, including their great Women’s History Month issue, which featured women like Malala Yousafzai and Audre Lorde, as well as their recently-released issue in collaboration with La Liga zine, called Cultural Disconnect. They also publish other people’s photo zines and “Sula Journals” from different people who provide intimate looks into their lives.