Jason J. Gullickson

Jason J. Gullickson


I love zines . In ancient times I put out a zine with some friends and we put a fair amount of effort into both the content and the publishing (including numerous creative ways to get photocopies made). Eventually I got my hands on a photocopier I could repair and we brought all the production in-house. This removed a lot of risk and overhead from the publishing process and as a result there was a creative explosion resulting in not only more frequent issues of our zine, but other new zines and related projects.

That was at least 30 years ago, and since then I've thought about producing a new zine at least once a month; but I never have. I've made a little progress here and there, but various inconveniences or low-quality experiences get in the way. We experimented with bringing the original zine back in electronic form around 1999, and completed perhaps a volume, but the technology wasn't quite there to capture the full fidelity of the zine experience, and the technical work involved kind of overshadowed the ad-hoc beauty of the traditional photocopied zine.

Now it's 2021 and the technical barriers we faced in '99 are long gone, but there's new barriers in their place. Most of these are simply the complexity of publishing something online that doesn't fit into the expected form of the systems designed to eliminate the complexity of publishing (ironically). This complexity is what drove me to create Preposer.us , and I'm wondering if I can apply a similar simplicity philosophy Preposter.us brings to the blog to producing a zine "platform"?

Of course there are a million existing ways to do this, and I've experimented with many of them, but nothing has been "greasy" enough for me to get the actual job done of producing a zine. So in typical Jason fashion, it's going to be easier to build the thing myself (if only because then I'll be compelled to do something with it). Here's what I have in mind:

  • It's a website

  • You create an account named for the zine

  • You use your phone (or whatever) to take pictures of the pages

  • You upload the pages to the website

  • You arrange the pages into issues

  • You arrange the issues into volumes

  • You publish the issue online by clicking a button

  • Readers can flip-through the issue using a web browser

  • Readers can download the issue as a PDF

  • Readers can request a hardcopy that is fulfilled by some TBD online printing service

Maybe I wire it into newsie and you can get a hardcopy "kit" that shows-up at your house whenever a new issue is published? Maybe there are some basic collaboration features that make it easy/fun to work with other zinesters to make new zines, or anthologies, or ...whatever.

I need to think about the simplest thing that can possibly work version of this and I also need to decide what I want to build it out of. It's likely to be written in Python since I've been doing a lot of that lately and my goal is to get something done as opposed to learn something new. That said who knows? Maybe there is something else that would make for an easier starting place.