The admirable goal of the Alternative Press collective is to promote freedom of expression in the area of printed material and to encourage people to be creative. And one of the ways of doing this was with ‘Publish You’, a new anthology bringing together all the different facets of the small press scene, comix, zines, poetry and writing, and showing that they’re not that different after all. It’s a very impressive statement.
Clocking in at 80 pages it sounds like there were some quite hard editorial decisions made. In many ways it’s made the anthology readable, but from the other perspective I think it may have hindered the representation of zine writing. Certainly there isn’t much from the world of per-zines or music zines.
But to be honest, I don’t think that matters. This is a fantastic book! A microcosm of the scene that’s started to spring up around Alternative Press fairs, the London Zine Symposium and other events. It’s filled with exceptional illustrators, comic artists and (dare I say it) poets. Some isn’t my cup of tea, but in some ways that gives an interesting diversity. Equally each zinester only having two (sometimes three) pages makes for a slightly staccato read. But still, unless it was a 2,000 page epic, reducing people to two pages is the only real way to get a cross section of the scene into a limited space.
I’m looking forward to what Alternative Press does next. It’s exciting having a group of people who are so excited about zines, self-published comics and small-press. Hopefully it will encourage more people to take up pens, pencils and typewriters and start working on more small-press projects. But for a document of the world of UK small press in 2009 you can’t go wrong picking up this book.
Cat in a Bag by Scott Jason Smith
An introduction to various different zine festivals
Gemma Correll’s American Diary excerpt