With a recent wave of quality vegan zines enjoying the advent of DIY everything, it’s the best time ever to craft your own vegan zine. Zines are a great vehicle for both creative types and broke aspiring authors to get their work out without having to relentlessly send submissions to publications and subject themselves to the whims of editors. Whether it’s a comic compilation, a cook-zine, or a collection of essays, making your own vegan zine is as easy as ever with help from tips from VegNews and a few select vegan zine-makers.
All You Need Is An Idea
In true DIY spirit, the prospect of making a zine is as approachable as ever, and all you really need to get started is an idea. “I’ve wanted to be a comic nerd as long as I can remember and have drawn comics since I was a little kid ripping story lines off of Gary Larson. However, the breadth and passion of the comics scene really intimidated me well into my adult years,” says Erika Larson, creator of the vegan Soyf***er zine, which donates proceeds to deserving organizations like the Berkeley East Bay Humane Society. “Additionally, since going vegan I feel like there is a severe under-representation of vegan perspectives in the comic arts, and those that exist don’t really reflect my experiences as a vegan.”
VegNews Editor-At-Large Laura Hooper Beck decided she needed to make a zine after being inspired by others and recognizing a niche waiting to be filled. Beck recently launched Fat Zine!, which she says cost her about $76 from start to finish, and is paying that amount back with the proceeds of her zine sold online and at the recent San Francisco Zine Fest. “There just isn’t that much stuff out there that’s body positive for women. I wanted to make something that said, ‘hey, it’s okay if you’re not skinny, or it’s okay if you are—whatever!’ and I did it with a fat-positive bend because hardly anything is,” said Beck. “I want to open up that dialogue more. Plus, I love working with glitter, and my zine has a lot of it.”
DIY Doesn’t Mean Doing It Alone
One of the most rewarding parts of putting together a zine is sifting through the spirited work of eager contributors. You might be surprised at how many people long to see their artwork and/or writing in print, and share your own passions for vegan zinemaking. Make use of online social media to get the call out for submissions. Larson got the word out through vegan forums and blogs like the Post Punk Kitchen forums and Vegansaurus, while Beck utilized Craigslist, postering in local comic and zine shops, Twitter, and Facebook. When it comes to putting out a call it helps to know those involved, (Beck’s partner is the talented zine-maker Jonas Madden-Conner), but if you don’t know anyone, don’t worry! Zinesters share a common passion, and social media outlets like Facebook make it easier than ever to connect with those you admire. “I’ve had some incredible support from people who really and truly give veganism a good name, like [cookbook author] Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and Josh Hooten and Michelle Schwegmann [of Herbivore Clothing Company],” says Larson.
Zines to Know
To get you inspired and moving on your own vegan zine, (Beck urges in an article in the The Bold Italic to “just do it”), look to the following existing vegan zines and self-published cookbooks. In addition to the aforementioned publications, check out Nicole J. Georges’ autobiographical Invincible Summer, Susie Cagle’s tales of volunteering with the San Francisco chapter of Food Not Bombs in Nine Gallons, and the cookzine Papa Tofu. Zine publishers Microcosm, who published the great vegan cookbooks Please Don’t Feed the Bears, Hot Damn and Hell Yeah, and In Search of the Lost Taste, offer an excellent how-to for zinemakers called Make A Zine. There are scads of other excellent zines, from light comics to dead-serious non-fiction zines about animal testing, so while you add to the dialogue, do look into zinemakers and retailers in your community. You’ll be amazed by the passion of the self-publishing vegan community. “I think vegan culture is exploding right now; it certainly seems more diverse, exciting, and limitless than it did ten years ago, and a vegan comic zine seemed like a great way for me to celebrate and take part in that expansion,” says Larson. Larson also offers a final word of encouragement: “The same advice I follow for tattoos: Go large! Life is too damn short for hesitation, procrastination, or deliberation. Life rewards those who put themselves out there, and doing what you want to do regardless of limitations or criticism is its own reward.”