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While there is no formal definition of a zine (pronounced "zeen"), there is a long history and many iterations of what they used to be and what they have become. Zines originated in the 1930s as homemade science fiction fan magazines (shortened to “zines”) that allowed fans to share ideas and bond over their love of the new-at-the-time genre. Later, during the 1960s and 1970s, zines became centered around art and politics. The 1980s and 1990s was perhaps the most well-known era of zines. The punks, feminists, and queers took them over and made fanzines and political tracts that represented their respective subcultures and movements.

Now, zines are making a comeback as an artistic representation that can be centered around any topic the maker chooses. They are an avenue for self expression and sharing ideas widely and cheaply, as they do not require formal publication.