Words About Zines
From Andrew Kuo’s Offset #1, words by John Freeborn
My initial inspiration for this type of work was a zine called Wonder Rolling News. Adam Wallacavage was the author. The quality was impeccable. The short simple narrative drawings were everything I wasn’t seeing elsewhere ‚Äì it was really good stuff. Somehow I recognized this and was inspired by it all. Adam was a local skateboard hero of sorts; I was a silly youth, grabbing onto whatever I saw as real.
My motives were simple; I wanted to do what he was doing, my way, of course. I had no idea what that meant. My longtime friend Brett Bair and I started the Media Locals Zine.
We did the first issue together pretty quickly. It was pretty bad. The secong issue came and Brett started to lose interest; I did most of the work. The third issue, and the rest were solo efforts. Adam hated every one of them, as far as I know.
Over the close to three years and ten issues of the Media Locals Zine I learned a lot about how something like this comes into existence. My dream, or so I thought, was to have this amazing local magazine, with everyone pitching in to create something great for our little scene. What really happened was time after time, I alone, was making a bunch of strange stuff for everyone to look see. Hey look at me, look at me. I always asked people to help, write stories, whatever, but rarely did other people help out. The contributions came only because I myself took stuff from sketchbooks, and notebooks. That was the only way.
I’m not telling all this for sympathy or to be flattered, but to explain the situation, and what it means in terms of making. Where would any of my work be if I waited for others to pitch in? Simple amswers, not a simple process. I think now that the main factors are ego, stupidity, a repressed voice, and hope.
Prett dumb huh? Well it’s true for me at least. I am, admittingly, an egomaniac, on the inside. My head is full of crazy self-flattering thoughts. I have no idea where this comes from. Maybe my parents told me I was smart too many times and I believed them. But that brings me to the second reason: stupidity. I was pretty stupid to think that I could bring about something as complex as a magazine that people would really like, one that would be good. It’s a very silly thought really, a dull sixteen year-old kid creating some masterwork of media. I was a boring kid, my voice was repressed by fear, self-consciousness, and a lack of knowledge. On paper, all those things left me, and I was free to think. Hope was the real guide, very naive, but hope made me dream of this better world for our scene. Maybe my little publication would make the world see is in a different light.
These factors initiated my actions. The work on the other hand is another thing altogether. Issue after issue I was alone. People said they would help, no help ever came. In the beginning I would get bummed out by this. I’d save space for promised pages that would never come. Eventually, I came to depend on myself. Now, when others offer help, I nod, say yes and thank you, but think all the time that it will never come. I’m usually right. This fact is the real world. I have learned it so well that I often reject real help completely. I’ve become so independent that I deny all that is offered. This isn’t right either. But, I’m so accustomed to it that I often feel I can do nothing else.
The moral of the story is not fuck everyone, those lazy bastards, or I hate those stupid, thoughtless, actionless, sheep-people. It is simply that if you do something, anything, people will often look and sometimes see. I know for a fact that my horrible zine, media locals, inspired others to create zines. This fact gives me an amazing sense of worth. These other zines might suceed where I have not, they might do shit I never thought of. The real world story is that now I write for of the zines I inspired into existence. I’m really happy to help, too.