Throw Back! Zines To Flip Through

We’re well into the 21st century, and with magazines shuttering left and right, our optimism for bold new pubs is sadly waning. But if you can hear above the din, you’ll find that the media landscape really isn’t so bad—September ad pages are up almost across the board, and in more thrilling developments, independent publishing is positively thriving. Though many turn to blogs to express themselves, plenty are still producing rich material the old-fashioned way with handmade zines. Here, pages-long interviews and transporting (sometimes meandering) photo-spreads are the real draw—and we wouldn’t have it any other way. To celebrate independent publishing—and especially its fearless, hard-working heroes—we’ve compiled a list of eight cool, new zines that are totally worth your hard-earned cash (and clicks). Though the nature of magazines may be changing, these publications prove, page by page, that print ain’t dead yet.
And just in case, give a holler in the comments if there's a zine out there that we missed.
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Afterzine —This prim, tidy zine is just the thing for those craving print but still harboring short attention spans. Afterzine—the brainchild of Hamish Robertson, digital design editor at Vanity Fair—brings a whole bunch of talent together to create work loosely based on a central theme. Issue two’s subjects were about coincidence and Los Angeles, with the results running the gamut from interviews with Mike Mills and Miranda July to indie city guides and music recommendations from Zooey Deschanel. Robertson explained that the theme-duo was a happy accident—coincidence was the agreed-upon theme, but it turned out that many of the invited contributors had strong ties to L.A., and Robertson went with it. Afterzine—defined by its clean, straightforward design, the latest issue appearing on thick newsprint—is available online for $10 and at stores around the world, including Colette, Tate Modern, and Opening Ceremony.

Artwork on right by Robert Montgomery.

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Condiment—Condiment is your new go-to for a deeper dissection of well-known edibles. Fresh out of Australia and only two issues in, “adventures in food and form” abound in the zine: The photography is stark and minimal, and the essays probing. Edited by Chris Barton and Jessica Brent, Condiment is all about the idea that people live with food, not for it. Plus there’s an interview with artist and publisher Christoph Keller who distills his own schnapps in rural Germany. Less academic journal, more fun-but-substantial zine, Condiment is available online for $18 right here.
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The Travel Almanac—When you can nab David Lynch as your first coverboy, you know you’re doing something right. The Travel Alamanc, created by John Roberts and Paul Kominek and based in Berlin, is another new zine that has that crucial combination of rich photography and compelling writing. Broken into three sections focusing on interviews about traveling, hotels, and souvenirs, The Travel Almanac aims to fill that niche of the travel-focused tome for an indie-yet-sophisticated jetset. The first issue boasts interviews with James Murphy and Rinko Kawauchi, and plenty of wanderlust-inspiring photography to boot. Their current issue is currently sold out on the official website (more to come soon, maybe), but you can buy a copy online right here, for $14.
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The Plant Journal—Anyone who’s ever gazed happily at flora and dreamy photos of plants, take note: The Plant Journal is your new bible. This zine was created by three friends—Isa Merino, Carol Montpart, and Cris Merino—after acquiring their own residences and discovering their mutual love of plant life. Melding photography and writing in a strikingly personal way, The Plant Journal is immediately reminiscent of indie-dwelling revelation Apartamento (which makes sense since both zines' creators are headquartered in Barcelona and are tight pals). Yes, there are plenty of sun-streaked leafy greens and foggy landscapes, but it isn’t just some pretty, aspirational tome. The magazine is brimming with essays on life with plants and even actual instructions—the premiere issue gets into the nitty-gritty of how to successfully care for a staghorn fern—and there are even recipes for cooking with herbs included, acknowledging that flora is often edible. The Plant Journal is available online for $39.
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The Runcible Spoon—The Runcible Spoon is a real zine’s zine. Founded in spring 2010 by Washington, D.C. transplants Malaka Gharib and Claire O’Neill, Runcible serves as a creative outlet for the food-loving friends and roommates. After soliciting articles from pals and writers, the two painstakingly create the “guerilla food zine” by cutting-and-pasting the old-fashioned way. While there is a distinct D.C. bent (chalk that up to past articles about District specialties by local writers), there’s definitely a universal appeal. Past standout articles have dished about Louis Armstrong’s eating habits and cutlery lessons from a knife instructor. The zine is distributed for free around D.C.—though Gharib plans to start charging a nominal fee soon—and is available for free download (or super-cheap physical-copy purchase) online.
For the sake of full disclosure, you should know that the author of this piece is an enthusiastic contributor to this zine.
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Space Is The Place—Space Is The Place is an indie art zine created by artist Keren Richter and designer Andrew Janik, with its name swiped from the 1970s film by Sun Ra. The zine is 50 pages of stunning, full-color print dedicated to the work of 24 artists from around the world. The artists—including AJ Fosik and Pietari Posti, among loads of other notables—make great use of the format, with bright, graphic collage and vibrant, native patterns reinterpreted in punchy hues. Richter and Janik asked their contributors to channel their interests in outer space, and what they came up with—drippy geometry and flowing, color-rich illustrations—needs to be seen to be believed. Space Is The Place is available online for $8.
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Girl Crush —Girl Crush is a brand-new zine (literally, it drops this week) that celebrates the complex world of platonic girl-on-girl crushing. Helmed by two ladies rather worthy of girl-crushes themselves (Jenna Wortham is a reporter for The New York Times, Thessaly La Force is fresh off a plum gig at The Paris Review), its M.O. is the type of universal fascination that all women and girls feel about at least one other member of their gender. The zine was born from a discussion about these crushes on rad ladies like Joan Didion and Anna Karina via essays and even suggested recipes and playlists. Featuring work from the likes of Jennifer Egan, Leanne Shapton, and Mary H.K. Choi—among so many others—Girl Crush is instantly relatable and just a straight-up good read. The zine is available online for $10.
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Kinfolk —Slickly packaged and photography-focused, Kinfolk carves itself a niche we never knew we needed: It’s a zine devoted entirely to hanging out with yourself and your friends. Broken into three sections, Kinfolk focuses on all the hanging out you’ll ever do; with yourself, with one other companion, and with a handful of your coolest, tightest pals. Reflections on food and friends abound, plus there’s an interview with a florist and an ode to cloth napkins. Run by an American, Nathan Williams, the zine brings together artists from across the globe and manages to successfully skirt the line between obscenely sweet (photo-spreads are so Tumblr-ready it’s sick) and actually relatable. There’s plenty of helpful instruction on topics like delicious ways to make your tablescape more sustainable and how to make a bangin’ berry salad. The magazine is available for free online viewing or for print ordering. The magazine is available for free online viewing or for print ordering—the first run ($40) sold out, but there should be a second very soon.
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