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Zine Collection

Research Guide about Decker Library Zine Collection and Zines

What are Zines

What are zines? Zines are usually self-published, DIY, non-profit, limited edition, folded or stapled, & photocopied (now includes off set, letterpress, etc.). Zines are often produced by persons of marginalized groups or created to highlight certain social issues. There are many other categories of zines such as photo-zines, cooking zines, library zines, queer zines, per-zines, comics, & art zines.  Chapbooks are like zines and sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. Chapbooks are often self-published or small print editions of poetry.

Zines and chapbooks are an important and vital counter point to mass mainstream media and often offer a subcultural, political, and activist point of view.  Furthermore, many zines are created as self-expression in art, photography, and poetry.  Many of the zines are related to comic books and the stories are told often in personal reflection, fantasy, or in images only.

X-Files zine

Cover of X-Files Zine by MICA Students & Alum


Templates for Zines

Videos of making Zines

Making Sequential Arts Resources

Definition of terms:


  • panel: One segment of the story or action; the individual box or frame.

  • gutter: The space between panels.

  • tier: One row of panels.

  • splash page: One page that consists entirely of one illustration.

  • spread: An image that spreads across multiple pages (a two-page spread is most common).


  • speech balloon: Contains a characters spoken dialogue with a pointer or tail to indicate the speaker.

  • thought bubble: Shows a character's unvoiced thoughts in a cloud shape, using bubbles as an indicator.

  • caption: A rectangular box which provides a narration, sometimes used for dialog when the character speaking is not pictured in the panel.

  • sound effects: Or onomatopoeia are words that mimic sound like "Pow!" or "Buzz."

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Decker Library at the Maryland Institute College of Art | Location: 1401 W. Mount Royal Ave., Baltimore, MD 21217 | Mailing: 1300 W. Mount Royal Ave., Baltimore, MD 21217

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