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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Zine Machine Collection

Collection Overview

Date Span: 2001-2009
Creator: White, Jessica
Extent: 1.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0885
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Collection of zines taken from the Zine Machine, a repurposed vending machine in the University of Iowa Main Library that distributes zines to interested parties. Many of the zines are local to Iowa City in origin.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.


Preferred Citation: Zine Machine Collection, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Jessica White was responsible for the current incarnation of the Zine Machine, receiving its contents from her friends and associates, and filling and maintaining the ZM itself.

The Zine Machine started life in 2001 as a class project for "Structure of the Handmade Book", offered by the UI Center for the Book. The Machine, originally called the "Book Drop", was a vending machine stocked with books produced by the students and bookbinding kits that they made themselves.

In the summer of 2006, the Book Drop was reborn as the "Zine Machine". Now operated by UI graduate student Jessica White, the machine was repurposed to vend zines, mini-comic books and other independent publications. A portion of profits from sales of the ZM's contents benefits the UI Friends of the Library.

As of 2012, the ZM is still in operation, and is located on the 1st floor of the UI Main Library near New Acquisitions.

This collection contains zines, mini-comic books and other amateur and/or independent publications, copies of which were placed in the Zine Machine in the Main Library, University of Iowa.

The nature of zines precludes a simple description of their subject matter: zines are expressions of their authors' individual creativity and worldviews, and thus the subject from zine to zine, or even within an individual zine, can vary greatly. Subjects may include music and/or other cultural activities, or any number of social and political issues. For some, the subject of the publication is, simply, the life and mind of the creator.

Zines may include drawings, essays, poetry, articles, interviews, or numerous other types of artistic and literary expression.

The box list, below, is organized by series. Folder titles are listed for each box. Folders which house multiple issues display those titles indented.

Historical Note

The term "zine" (derived from the word "fanzine") refers generally to an small, informal, non-professionally produced publication. By their very nature zines are hard to define exactly, but distinguishing common characteristics of zines include a small circulation (sometimes via subscription but often distributed informally among interested parties) and a raison d'etre that stresses free expression over profit.

Zines are graphic expressions of their authors' social, cultural, and political interests and concerns. They are creative outlets devoted to individual and idiosyncratic self-expression. A zine can be about pretty much anything: politics, music, sex, gender relations, sports, pop culture - the list is virtually endless.

Zines have a long and storied tradition as instruments of social and political change, as cultural relics, and as outlets for expression by underground or marginalized populations. The first zines in America arguably were the many political broadsides produced prior to and during the American Revolution, the most famous of these being Common Sense (1776) by Thomas Paine. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries authors, essayists and political activists rejecting or rejected by the mainstream media as it then existed self-published their own opinions and creative works (a famous literary example from Britain would be that of the Bronte siblings - Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne - who as children wrote and "published" numerous stories of their imaginary literary worlds). Zines began to flower with the late 19th-century development of the "amateur press association" movement, in which groups of amateur printers obtained their own personal printing presses and created small magazines as products of their hobby.

Zines first really entered the cultural milieu as a specific and noticeable phenomenon in the 1930s, when the emerging science fiction fan community started creating "fanzines" as forums for their own stories and opinions on published and broadcast SF works. Fanzines became popular tools used by geographically disparate fans to communicate with one another before the emergence of the Internet in the 1990s. Zines are still primarily associated with science fiction fandom today because of their immense and ongoing popularity among fans. Special Collections has a number of collections consisting of fanzines and works of fan fiction from a number of different media properties.

The zine was taken up in the 1970s by the burgeoning punk music movement as a method of expressing its disdain for the mainstream music and social scenes. The punk movement favored a strong anti-establishment, anti-corporate music way of life, and members created zines devoted to bands and artists who shared their worldview and were overlooked by standard publications and media outlets. Zines became an additional way for punk music fans and artists to circumvent "the system". The popularity of zines was helped along during this decade by the advent of the increasing availability of cheap photocopying (and, starting in the 1980s, the personal computer).

Following in the footsteps of punk, members of the emerging 1990s "riot grrrl" underground feminist movement - an amorphous melding of female-driven music, concern with the complexities of female identity, and a new consciousness of institutional, social and cultural sexism - adopted zines as forums for their own forms of self-expression. Riot grrrl zines often moved beyond the music itself and concerned themselves with feminist political and social issues such as discrimination, sexual abuse, eating disorders, and concerns over body image.

Many zines are marked by stories of intensely personal experiences relating to these issues, which reinforce the traditional concept of the zine as a uniquely individual creation, a truly DIY (Do-It-Yourself) product born directly out of the author's personal vision and unmarked by editors, publishers, reviewers or any outside parties.

Zines, although to some degree superceded by the arrival of blogs, continue to thrive today as methods of personal expression in print, and as places for exploration of new social issues, including environmentalism, consumerism, and globalization. Many, however, continue to devote themselves to more "traditional" subject matter - i.e. underground music, radical politics, or science fiction and fantasy fandom.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • 3:33 A.M. [Jessica White, auth.] - 2005
  • All Things Bright and Beautiful [I'll be a mystery, auth.]
  • An Architecture-Anarchitecture
  • Army Ants! - 2009
  • Art Advocacy [Aimee Steffen, auth.]
  • Art School Chronicles Years 1 - 3 [Jessica White, auth.] - 2005-2007
  • As-is [David Morris, auth.] - 2003
  • Babelicious: The Compilation [Jolie Noggle, auth.] (January) - 2004
  • Big Hands [Aaron Smith, auth.]
  • Big Zine: A Love Letter [Milo, auth.] (September) - 2011
  • Black Holes [Cho Hip, auth.]
  • Brain Food #12 [Mike Toft, auth.] (n.d.)
  • Candy Box: An Adventure in Sweets from the U.K. [Chantel G., auth.] - 2009
  • Choose Your Own Moral Code: A Coloring Book [Jessica White, auth.] - 2006
  • Chord Easy, 5th edition [Lisa Ahne, auth.] - 2004
  • Clintonia #1 [Bill Carty, Sean McElroy, ed.] (February) - 2012
  • Cryptozoa [Daniel Joshua Nagelberg, auth.] - 2006
  • Dingbat #1 [Heroes and Criminals Press, pub.] (Summer) - 2007
  • Don't Get Shoved Into a Corner: Say No to Family Violence [University of Iowa students, Art Education Studio] (Fall) - 2009
  • The Drama #5 [Jolie Noggle, auth.] (May) - 2006
  • Earliest Known History of Our Pretty Universe [Nina Pagano, auth.] - 2010
  • Earthwards: The Undergraduate Literary Review #28 [University of Iowa, pub.] - 2008
  • Earwigs [Lyra Hill, auth., The Small Science Collective] - 2008
  • Egg Egg: A Pocket Guidebook for Egg Buyers [The Small Science Collective, auth.] (n.d.)
  • Endless Spirals [J. Oishi, auth.] - 2008
  • Entomophagy Uncovered [Monica Ramirez, auth.] (December 9) - 2009
  • Ethel Spunkmeyer's Little Book of Instructions
  • Ethel Spunkmeyer's Little Book of Instructions #1 [Jessica White, auth.] - 2004
  • Ethel Spunkmeyer's Little Book of Instructions #2 [Jessica White, auth.] (Spring) - 2005
  • Ethel Spunkmeyer's Little Book of Instructions #3 [Jessica White, auth.] - 2005
  • Eyes [The Small Science Collective] - 2007
  • Favorite Quotes (n.d.)
  • Forest for the Trees [Zebulun, auth.] (n.d.)
  • A Gut Feeling [Z. Yang, auth.] - 2008
  • Heavy on the Mayo [Milo, auth.]
  • Hilltop Erratum [Haggard and Halloo, auth.] (Winter) - 2003/2004
  • hisWorld/herWorld #8 - 9 [bound] [Swashbuckler and Jellyfish, auth.] - 2008
  • How to Be a Proper Host (to a Bot Fly) [J. R. Goldberg, auth.] - 2007
  • Is Your Washroom Breeding…Bolsheviks? [Milo, auth.] (February) - 2012
  • Izzy Challenge
  • Izzy Challenge #1 [B. Winter, auth.] - 2003
  • Izzy Challenge #2 [B. Winter, auth.] (October) - 2004
  • Jelly Cake: Bittersweet [Ben Castle, auth.] - 2009
  • Jet Matrix [Greg Boxer, auth.] - 2010
  • Knotanotaknotanot. . .
  • Box 2:
  • Life in Tears [Zebulun, auth.] (n.d.)
  • The Life and Times of an Ex-Rabbit [Jessica White, auth.] (2006) - 2006
  • Lucky Creature Attacks! #2 [Lucky Creature, auth.] - 2006
  • Lucky Creature Attacks! #2 (Play!) [Lucky Creature, auth.] - 2007
  • Man Falling Backwards Down Stairs [Daniel Joshua Nagelberg, auth.] - 2001
  • Mend My Dress (April-June) - 2011
  • Mrs. Noggle #2 [Jolie Noggle, auth.] (April) - 2007
  • No Use for a Nose [Pennydread, auth.] (February) - 2012
  • Node Pajomo
  • Node Pajomo #1 (Spring) - 2009
  • Node Pajomo (Fall/Winter) - 2010
  • Node Pajomo (Summer) - 2011
  • The Non-Adventures of Trenchcoat and Kim #1 [Matt Chicorel, auth.] (August) - 2006
  • Nothing to Fear: The Truth About Black Holes! [Jasmine J. Grant, auth.] (n.d.)
  • Nova Feedback #7 - 8 [The Magic Plastic Cassette Factory, auth.] - 2008
  • Off-Line #27 [Claire E. Cocco and Vincent J. Romano, auth.] (Winter) - 2004
  • Outta Control #2 [Christina McClelland, auth.] - 2006
  • Overtime [T. E. Winningham III, auth.]
  • Overtime #2 - 2007
  • Overtime #8 - 2009
  • Overtime #15 - 2010
  • Overtime #17 - 2011
  • Overtime #18 - 2011
  • Overtime #20 [two copies] - 2011
  • Overtime #21 [two copies] - 2011
  • Overtime #22 - 2011
  • Overtime #23 [two copies] - 2012
  • Pajomo #2 - 2008
  • Parallel Universes (Spring) - 2011
  • Pave: The Anthology [Joseph Boes, ed.] (Fall/Winter) - 2005/2006
  • Pigeon - 2008
  • Platypus [Possibility Space, auth.] (n.d.)
  • Proof I Exist #6 (March) - 2005
  • Quit Me [Daniel Joshua Nagelberg, auth.] - 2005
  • Box 3:
  • Reach [Ron DelVillano, auth.]
  • Reach #1-3 - 2010
  • Reach #2 - 2010
  • Random: A Rhetoric Zine
  • Random: A Rhetoric Zine (November) - 2011
  • Random: A Rhetoric Zine (March) - 2012
  • Sad Luck [Marta Chudolinska, auth.] - 2011
  • Sexual Violence Isn't Only On The Streets - Ask Before You Touch Me [UI Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, auth.] (n.d.)
  • Show Me The Money! [Tony Hunnicutt, auth.] (Spring/Summer) - 2009
  • Simplify Your Life: AKA the Indomitable Water Bear - 2009
  • Snake Legs & Wisdom Teeth [The Small Science Collective] - 2007
  • Spaghetti the Cat Only Wants To Go Outside
  • Summer Daze [Marta Chudolinska, auth.] - 2010
  • The Summer of It Never Existed. It Already Happened [Christina McClelland, auth.] - 2006
  • Trading Punches for More Broken Heart Scrapbooks [Jolie Noggle, auth.] (n.d.)
  • Tycho Brahe: A Diminutive Retrospective [Sara Drake, auth.] - 2009
  • UAY Zine (June) - 2007
  • Unspoken [Shawn Scott Smith, auth.] (n.d.)
  • Uptown Girl [Bob Lapski, auth.]
  • Uptown Girl #39 - 2003
  • Uptown Girl #40 - 2003
  • Uptown Girl #41 - 2003
  • Uptown Girl #42 - 2003
  • Uptown Girl #43 - 2003
  • Uptown Girl #45 - 2001
  • Uptown Girl #46 - 2001
  • Uptown Girl [annual?] (n.d.)
  • Uptown Girl [Bob Lapski, auth.]
  • Uptown Girl #52 - 59 (2003) - 2003
  • Uptown Girl #53 - 2003
  • Uptown Girl #54 - 2003
  • Uptown Girl #56 - 2003
  • Uptown Girl #57 - 2003
  • Uptown Girl #58 - 2003
  • Uptown Girl #59 - 2003
  • We Corp. [C. Aston, auth.] (October 2-3) - 2010
  • What Stem Cells, Why Stem Cells [The Small Science Collective]
  • What's a Diamond? [The Small Science Collective]
  • When No One is Watching…
  • Zine Machine Flyers (n.d.)
  • Zine World
  • Zine World #26 (Summer) - 2008
  • Zine World #27 (Winter) - 2009
  • Zines at the University of Iowa Libraries [Kelly McElroy, auth.] - 2011
  • No title

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Local Term:

Zines and the Amateur Press
Comic Books