My Top Zine Spots

Zines are a truly unique artform in and of themselves, and if you're reading this, chances are you're of a similar opinion. But unlike most literary mediums, zines are not massly distributed and can be hard to come by, which means if you want to find new titles you'll need to get a little creative in your search.  

I’ve stumbled upon my favorite zines by accident, but when I find spots I like, I always go back to them.  Here are a few suggestions for places you're most likely to find some good reads. 
  • Comic book stores with an indie flare: Comic Book stores all have their own personality.  Sometimes they gravitate more towards a Marvel / DC audience, but every now and then, you’ll run into one that supports a lot of local (indie) artists.  These shops usually have a section dedicated to zines.  A lot of them are by self-published cartoonists, so the zines at these Comic Book shops tend to be more visually driven, and are fully crafted – from cover to cover, and everything in between – with a lot of love. 
  • Independent record shops: I bought my first zine at a record shop.  I was browsing through the counter, waiting in line, with a CD in hand, and this little book grabbed my attention.  It had “COMETBUS” written in big, white letters across a neatly sketched, dark background.  I read through it and fell in love.  There were a few other zines around it, some flashier than others, but all beautiful in their own way.  Though there wasn't a big variety, I enjoyed seeing the theme of music weaved throughout these zines in a mixture of band interviews, comic strips, stories, and personal letters.  The record shop, itself, had published their music reviews and staff picks as a zine.  Overall, the zines I find in record shops are versatile and accessible.    
  • Local / used book stores: My favorite book store keeps zines next to the major magazines, but sometimes you’ll find some by the Music section or next to the Graphic Novels, depending on the content.  The ones on the magazine shelf tend to be ongoing, by people in other parts of the country who have a strong following.  This area is always neat, because you get to see what non-locals are creating.  They usually also keep a box of more random zines on the bottom shelf.  It’s like a mystery box, and I love not knowing what to expect from it.  What I find always turns out to be a nice surprise.  The last time I looked through, I found one of my favorite comic books, autographed! 
  • Specialized zine shops: These are few and rare, however, they do exist.  If they are not “specialized” zine shops, they will be crafty, DIY boutiques, where people who make their own stuff (like jewelry, clothes, cards, etc) distribute their work.  The coolest thing about these shops is that when they sell books/ magazines/ zines, they have a wide variety and an awesome selection of local and nonlocal work, all with an alternative spin.  
My favorite spot, though, is Goteblud.  It’s this small office that is only opened on the weekends, and people often miss it, so it feels like I’m about to find a long, lost treasure whenever I’m there.  

Goteblud is more of a zine archive.  It’s also library as well as a store.  Though not everything is for sale, you get to read the owner, Matt Wobensmith’s, collection of zines, some dating back to the 80s.  You can sort through, not just timeless fanzines from the start of the Punk era, but classic flyers, art, and comics.  Visiting Goteblud is like traveling back in time, and learning about the past generations of people who communicated with each other through the things they created.  I love revisiting this history.  It’s inspiring to read a dialogue between artists who created a community with social media or the internet.  Plus, Matt is like that brilliant guy at the old video/ record store, who is passionate about what he does, knows the ins and outs of everything he has and can honestly answer all of your questions.