Oh, the Fanzine!

Remember the Fanzine? I do.  I loved finding them.  I would spend countless hours reading and re-reading them. In the Dark Ages — i.e. the era before the internet — this is how fans knew what other fans were thinking about their favorite … stuff. Growing up in a small town, unknown to millions of Americans, I honestly don’t recall how we found out anything about our fandoms. It always felt like a giant game of telephone.  One guy would say he had a friend in Albuquerque, who had a friend in Denver, who had a friend in L.A. that told him that he read somewhere there was a new book dedicated to everything (blank); and/or, there will be a new season of (blank) next fall.  Many of the times, the joyous news was just speculation and rumors. I remember in early ’88, I walked into a comic book store.  I recall it being newly opened, it stunk of fresh paint and newsprint, but it was bright and organized. I picked up the vastest issue of Batman and the owner quickly grabbed my hear, “did you hear they are making a movie?”  My eyes widened.  “You’re not making that up are ya?” “Absolutely not dude.  Batman’s going to be the guy you played Beetlejuice.”  “Oh, crap!”   I bought my book and left. I refused to believe the guy. I actually thought he was just spreading more optimistic rumors.  It wouldn’t truly believe it until that day I saw the cover of Comic Scene #7.  I was entranced by the look of the suit.  I immediately bought the magazine and looked at the pictures in amazement — Starlog and others would follow.  If the magazines didn’t exist, I would have not known anything about the movie until I saw a trailer on TV.  Reading those magazines was a way to join a community. My friends weren’t always into the things I was.  The small amateur fanzines were always the best.  They were basically paper versions of friends who liked what I liked. I sit here with Protoculture Addicts #1 on my desk. I don’t recall how I even got it.  It was published out of Canada in 1988. I’m thinking that the local comic book store told me about it. As I flip the pages, I’ve transported myself back to 1988.   The design and font reminds me of the Word Processor in typing class and the Macintoshes that published the high school newspaper.  Some of the photos show the signs of how their were Xeroxed into the layout. It reminds me of creating my own fanzine on my mother’s IBM electric typewriter and giving it to my friends. That was fandom back then.  I feel like it was more special than today. Perhaps that the voices were smaller.  The internet has allowed for the voices to increase to almost an unbearable volume and intensity. Even if you read a blog or Facebook group that allows comments, the fandom gets soured by those that just seem to hate everything, even the things they self admittedly love.    I miss the fanzine.   I miss the past and the reasons they were created in the first place….

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