Doing it for the Kids
outlines her favorite new publications by and for teens
IN 2013 I WAS IN GRADE TEN, bored in the last stretch of school until summer, and then I discovered zines — specifically, self-published work from my favourite comic artist, Dash Shaw. Since I still had this view of artists as monumental creatures that I could never match up to, I initially viewed zines as far out of my league — I began collecting them, but I felt far from creatively adequate enough to make them. It was through Rookie Mag that I realized that zines were meant to be DIY and that teens (like me) were capable of making noteworthy work.
At first I started to make mini-zines with printed-out screenshots from the late ‘90s animated TV show, Hey Arnold! and quotes from my favourite books. Despite being quiet in the hallways at school, I was loud on social media and this allowed for me to make quite a few friends online who I felt closer too than the ones I had in my hometown. Because we were all sharing photos and blurbs of our creative work on social media, it only seemed natural to collect these works in one online space.
It was then that I founded Pop Culture Puke, a website and zine for teenage girls to share their emotions regarding absolutely anything. While I no longer edit the website (it was taken over by Molly Gorelick and Kathryn Schultz) PCP still has the same mission – to be a space for teen girls to obsess over all their obsessions, and especially the ones that they are belittled for IRL. Fangirl culture, the possibility of dropping out of college, and Lou Reed's death are just a sample of our chosen topics. Seeing these obsessions celebrated by other teens has validated these experiences and made public creativity more intriguing. From my understanding, this is why most teen zines operate in groups now — in the online realm, a curiosity for creativity has bonding power.
Countless teen zines with various focuses have cropped up recently, each of them with very personal DIY approaches. The accessibility and user friendliness of digital zine-making programs allows teens to focus on what's really important — their own stories. Here's a selection of my favorite zinemakers currently sharing their stories online and in print.
illustration by Navya Dasari