Reading Frenzy ~ An Independent Press Emporium

Day 6: Happy International Zine Month!

July 06, 2012: What's your favorite mini-comic?

Mini-comics fall under the big umbrella of zines, so in honor of the announcement this week of the 2012 Xeric Foundation grant winners let's talk about our favorite mini-comics! Leave yours in the comments here.

This is a page from Aidan Koch'sThe Blonde Woman.

Day 5: Happy International Zine Month!

July 05, 2012: Activity: Back a zine project on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or other fundraising site!

On any given day you can visit our curated Kickstarter page to check out four or more of our favorite (and frequently publishing related) projects being currently funded (plus all of our favorite successful projects). But don't stop there -- do your own exploring! There are so many worthwhile projects being launched nearly every day! Have a great idea for a print publication? Pitch your own project!

Kickstarter has been a vital part of our continued success through the lean recession years. We've been able to fund four issues of Crap Hound, as well as two artist's print projects that directly benefited the shop. Without this tool at our disposal it would have been tough to pull of one of those projects, let alone six.

With the current and future state of publishing and bookselling in question, crowdfunding works well for publishers on multiple levels. First and foremost it allows people to publish without going into debt, it gives publishers a useful measure of the interest level in their project (this helps with determining print runs for instance), it connects people directly with their fans, and it gives fans a way to feel like a part of the project and more motivation to promote it. 

Let us know what your favorite print project being currently funded are here. You'll be entered in our give away contest and your favorite might end up on our curated page!

Day 4: Happy International Zine Month!

July 04, 2012: Join the Independent Publishing Resource Center (or if you're outside of Portland, find the closest resource center, info shop or zine library to you)!

Zine World has compiled this handy list of info shops, resource centers, and zine libraries around the country! Do you know of any (anywhere in the world) that aren't listed here? Tell them about us here and we'll enter you in our give away contest!

Day 3: Happy International Zine Month!

July 03, 2012: What are three things you love about ink on paper vs. digital publishing?

Within the first few days of opening my shop in 1994, a guy came in and said something to the effect of, "Why are you opening a bookstore when we have the internet now? Books are going to go the way of the dinosaurs." I dodged this question (and many related questions) for about 15 years until I was finally forced to consider how the internet had impacted print and what that meant to the future of publishing and bookselling, when faced with a roomful of 20-something college students learning about zines. My answer turned into an hour long slide show presentation, but I want to hear what other people have to say. Please leave your comments on the related post on our Facebook page. It's right here.

Day 2: Happy International Zine Month!

July 02, 2012: What's your current favorite zine?

This is always a challenging question for me to answer. I read hundreds of zines a year and it's tough to pick just one! Lately I've been really enjoying A Field Guide to the Aliens of Star Trek Next Generation, presumably written by a teenager named Joshua Chapman in the early 90s when the show originally aired, actually created by a semi-anonymous, 30-something, local author named Zach. Each issue of the zine covers one season of the show and one school year in the life of Joshua Chapman. Joshua has set out to catalog each alien species portrayed on the series, he lists the episode they appear in, and includes a photo. In describing the aliens he almost always find something analogous to his own experience and his increasingly unhappy teenage experience. Pretty ingenious premise, sometimes poignant, always hilarious.

Day 1: Happy International Zine Month!

July 01, 2012: What was the first zine you ever read?

The year was 1986, I was 16-years-old and visiting my Aunt Tookie who lives in the Twin Peaks neighborhood of San Francisco. Most days I would hike down to Haight Street and spend the day exploring. One day I found an odd little publication in a knickknack shop called Murder Can Be Fun edited by John Marr. Now, I'm not a true crime buff, and I don't tend to revel in other people's misery, but I loved MCBF! It was a hilarious and insightful look into the human condition through the lens of murder, mayhem, malice and general misfortune and it spoke to my prematurely cynical teenaged heart. I went back and bought the rest and read them repeatedly. I still have them to this day.

It would take a couple more years until I hit the zine mother lode with the discovery of Factsheet 5 at Powell's in 1988, but MCBF was my gateway to a world previously unrevealed. Books had been an escape and refuge, mainstream (and even alternative) magazines were a window onto a world I had no entry to as a teenager growing up in rural Oregon, but zines were an open invitation to come along for the ride, to participate, and to do-it-yourself! I didn't ultimately start my own zine, although I contributed to many (including Portland's own Snipehunt and Art Rag), but what I did find in zines led me to open Reading Frenzy in order to provide a dedicated outlet for independent, small press, and self-published titles.

Murder Can Be Fun was among the first batch of titles we carried when Reading Frenzy opened in 1994, and continued to be a perennial favorite throughout the 90s and early 2000s. The last issue, #20: A MCBF Miscellany, was published several years ago. Murder Can Be Fun and John Marr will be profiled in my upcoming reading memoir, Many Nuts Were Sent Some Mail.

Murder Can Be Fun website and zinewiki.

What was your first zine encounter? We'd love to hear about it here.