Interview With Zine Maker - Alice Wynne

Angi Brzycki, Senior Librarian, Digitization & Special Collections,
Writer Alice Wynne and her zines, Face Value and Digital Demigod
Writer Alice Wynne and her zines, Face Value and Digital Demigod

Alice Wynne is a Los Angeles based zinester and writer. Alice loves coffee, community, learning stories, and researching. With advice from zine librarians and educators far and wide, Alice started the Altadena Zine Library and its programming, which operates from the Altadena Library District and can be found on Instagram @AltadenaZineLibrary.

How did you get interested in zines?

I had unintentionally been making zines as a kid with access to a Xerox machine. I would read NME, Spin, Mojo, MAD Magazine, Nickelodeon Magazine (and the comics publications The Beano and The Dandy) and I wanted to try to create something in that format. It wasn't until the summer going into high school when my cousin visited and brought with her a copy of Whatcha Mean, What's a Zine? by Esther Pearl Watson and Mark Todd that I had a word for what I was doing. I then became more intentional with the zines I was making, knowing that there's a long history of people making fanzines for things they're passionate about.

What are your zines about?

I still love and try to mimic the format of lifestyle magazines. In my high school zine Dog Faced, which was about my experiences as an indie kid in suburban LA in the mid-2000s. I would write about the shows I had gone to, fictional people that were an amalgamation of who I would see and talk to in the stacks at Amoeba Music, and included interviews from artists like Calef Brown, as well as submissions from friends. My zine The New Beverley (not named after the cinema but instead about a fictional woman named Beverley who had reinvented herself), which I had started making when I attended The Evergreen State College, had continued in that format with those themes but from the perspective of a 20-something and their friends who were living in Olympia and down the West Coast. I've also made comics-based zines, as well as poetry zines and zines about plastic surgery, Instagram, social anxiety, the Black Dahlia, Pasadena area sandwiches, and other topics that sometimes roam my head.

What are some of your favorite zines and zine makers?

I love Shotgun Seamstress, Dead in Hollywood, This Goth Bitch, Muchacha Fanzine, the zines put out by V. Vale, Craft or DIY/Alyssa Gianni, Sophia Zarders, the Thick Thigh Collective, as well as so many more zinesters! At the Altadena Library District, where I work as a clerk, I've been fortunate enough to start a zine collection and programming. I can order zines by the zinesters I admire to be part of our collection, and sometimes have them as guests on our Instagram Live workshops, every third Saturday of the month!

Your zines are in our library collection for patrons to borrow. What do you think about that?

I love that LAPL has a zine collection and programming, and I am happy to be part of such a great collection. Zine collections are important additions to libraries, as they can show patrons how anyone can be part of a library collection, get people psyched about zines and reading, and help people find perspectives close to theirs or open their worldviews when there's not a lot of discussion on a specific subject.

Why are zines important?

Zines are a very immediate way to voice and spread your uncensored opinions on things and make community while doing so. They're very low stakes, and people don't have to be "experts" on a skillset or a topic to make one. I wrote a zine called Face Value: Understanding and Combating Faceism in 2012 after not really being able to articulate my experiences as someone with a facial difference who has been in and out of hospital my whole life. The process of writing it was so cathartic, and I have been able to share it with strangers, friends, heroes, and others, all around the world.

What do you think are the future of zines?

As long as there are Xerox machines, paper, and passionate people, zines will always be around. They won't turn into an archaic form like other beloved types of media. Though a lot of things are becoming digital, I don't think that zines will become obsolete—in fact, we are seeing the opposite happen, as many people who were previously unaware of zines are now making them and joining the zine world!

Book cover for Face Value: Understanding and Combating Face-ism
Face Value: Understanding and Combating Face-ism
W, Alice

Book cover for Digital Demigod
Digital Demigod
Wynne, Alice