There are days that I find myself wanting to pick up a random comic Zine like I used to. The feel of photocopied paper, the poorly laid out pages clearly assembled by an amateur, and the bent staples. I want to page through poorly drawn comics telling derivative stories that the author somehow believes to be "edgy." I want to read text written by someone who clearly has mental problems and delusions of grandeur.
In other words, I find myself missing David Recine's "Vanity Press' Fanboy."
Fanboy was a Zine David sporadically produced over the course of a decade starting in 1995. I first met him in the early 2000s through mutual aquaintances and started a very strange friendship with the man. While he was planning a relaunch of the publication after an extended hiatus (at around issue 33 or something), he asked if I wanted to submit anything. I, as an artist mildly desperate for ANYONE to look at my stuff, of course eagerly said yes.
Don't get me wrong, I had no delusions of fame and fortune that I would gain from showing up in a Zine produced by a guy photocopying things in his parents' basement. But I figured what the heck, I can toss this up on the web too and claim there was a print version somewhere. This is what spawned the very short lived (and poorly written/drawn) comic "Brandi."
We shan't speak of it again, either.
My involvement aside, as it was exceptionally minor, Fanboy was a place where pretty much anyone with a pencil and pen could see their work in print. I know David occasionally resented the coffee-house audience his work found in some of its later years, but Fanboy was truly a pure example of the Zine experience. While David's funny animals meet nerd-escapism Alpha-Beta-Gamma (which was the publication's one true recurring feature) was written in earnest, many of the other comic and text submissions held just enough pretension to be hilarious on meta levels never intended.
While independent comics have moved to the web over the last decade, and have enjoyed probably larger exposure than they would have before, nothing can quite compete with the dirty, gritty results that Zines had to offer... and Fanboy was a rather fun example.
The reason I got to thinking about this now-defunct (for almost half a decade) publication is because I happened to have run across an online copy of the complete run of Fanboy. Ever single issue is there in PDF form. Now, I don't recommend reading them on the computer... no. You should totally print them out and staple them unevenly.
From there you can truly experience what Fanboy is all about.
A note: the archive Trae links to isn't mine; my good friend and Fanboy regular Nate put that together, and I am enthusastically appreciative. I can't speak for all of the other contributors, but I personally would encourage anyone to archive, rearchive or print up anything they like.
And yes, there was at LEAST a 6 issue stretch that would have been printed in lower numbers, maybe not at all, if Scrotorius hadn't pitched in financially and collaborated with me on a lot of other fronts. I never gave him the credit he deserved at the time, for which I apologize.