Blog the new fanzine

Posted on julho 18, 2010


A old brazilian fanzine - Scream & Yell

by Marcelo Costa*

The fanzines, magazines made by fans, appeared in the 20th century, treating first about comics and sci-fi, but its popularization occurred at the top of the punk wave, when some kids discovered that the blank sheet of paper could be an important opportunity to talk with the world. And thus began: mimeographed fanzines about music that used the collage as a tool and the creativity as an art form. These sheets were distributed at concerts, places of common interest (shops, markets, squares) or also mailed and creating a network of contact that strengthened over the years due to word of mouth.

But although today there are several paper fanzines, the scheme had been its space amplified with the emergence of the internet – in general – and blogs – in particular. In the early 21st century, dozens of webzines (internet fanzines) have taken the digital network to disseminate information. These webzines were like electronic journals trying to embrace several areas of culture. Now, the scene seems to be changed. The number of webzines decreased, and the thematic blogs increased. Blogs, which began its history as a personal diary for each person (who used to use a MSWord blank sheet to talk about day by day events), changed its direction and, as fanziners, bloggers now use the new tools of blogging to focus on a specific subject. The blogger stops writing day by day events (or even write, but not usually) and starts to be dedicated for a subject that loves – performing the role of a fan. So the thematic blogs appeared and, with a deeper look, begin to occupy the fanzine space or rather become converted in the new fanzines. The author uses that space to talk about something that is a fan, that admires. And on MSWord  blank sheet began to discuss ideas, which may encompass the triumvirate of culture journalism (movies, music, literature), and expand to places with no control.

A Google search can give us a little idea of the magnitude of the reach of blogs: there are blogs dedicated to Barbie doll, world currencies, Parnassian poetry and Mexican soap operas. Dozens of bloggers analyze automobilists racing (Formula One is the most popular theme, but there is still space for bikes and other categories), comics, TV shows, politics (very interesting in campaign time), food (which in addition to revenue dishes also present restaurants analysis with good tips) and architecture. Three of the themes of the moment seem to be Fashion, Beer and Travel. The author starts an account on a blog, for example, to report his experiences in Europe. It is the blank sheet being used as a communication media with the world. Time before it was a clean sheet of paper. Now, it is a sheet on a computer screen that once applied to the blog puts the person in contact with the world. The mail was and is fundamental to the dissemination of the fanzine on paper, the communication between reader and fanziner. The blog, in turn, further tightens the reader of the blogger (the new fanziner) via comments boxes, a democratic space used for critics analysis and questions and/or additions to the subject discussed. It’s a new reality, a new way to communicate. Or, like the old advertising says: the world in a touch of mouse. Really.

* Marcelo Costa , at Scream & Yell and IG  

Translated by Alexandre Luchese


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