Zines Make A Scene

Danielle Campbell | January 23rd, 2024

Zines Make A Scene

Arts, Culture & Community  |  Zines  |  Possible Futures


 Zinesters of all ages gathered at Possible Futures for the most recent New Haven Zine Scene meetup . Danielle Campbell Photos.

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April Prael's traveling zine library. 

Nestled in the back corner of Possible Futures a red box  with a sign that reads “Zine Library,”  sits. The letters of the sign are created  from magazine pages. Inside the box, a veritable treasure trove of  handmade publications known as zines in various styles, sizes, colors, and topics. 

IMG_4213Zines – the independently created publications that focus on the thoughts, ideologies and feelings of the creator –  and the people who love them,  gathered at the book space and community hub on Edgewood Avenue Saturday to talk about zine making and zine  culture as part of New Haven Zine Scene’s latest “zinester” meetup. 


Prael, the meetup curator,  checking out some of the zines attendees brought in to share.

Curated by Alice Prael, a digital specialist with Yale University’s Born Digital Archives and an avid collector turned creator of zines,  the meetup attracted zinesters of all ages

Prael said they got into zines because of the creative freedom it gave them to share political information and art. They said part of the allure of zine-making is their accessibility – anyone can make one of their own, whether they fancy themselves an artist or not. 

“I am creating art and therefore, I don't have to engage with that question [of whether I am an artist] because it's just happening,” they said. 

Indeed, the artistry of zine making was happening Saturday among those gathered including some of the youngest zinesters. Attendees dabbled in as much or as little zine-making as they wanted, engaged with the material brought in, and even exchanged information on zine fairs coming up. 


The youngest zinesters in their creative element.

Laura Brown brought her son, Giulio Santaro, who is a budding artist, comic book maker and zinester. He is the author of a comic series called “Pizzaman.” They brought the series to Saturday’s meetup – a Ziploc bag full of volumes, finished and not – as inspiration for the other participants, especially the other children. 

“During COVID time, we did a lot of storytelling together, so he's really interested in story making,” Brown said. “I think that was a lot of his inspiration for ‘Pizzaman’.” 


Giulio is the creator and author of the Pizzaman zine.

Brown said she became interested in zines “pre-Internet.” Once an avid reader of zines, she said she saw the interest diminish as the Internet created more digital opportunities for people to publish and create. However, she said it appears that the pendulum is swinging back toward analog creations like zines that put ideas in peoples’ hands instead of simply at their fingertips.


Top: Brian Nguyen hard at work on his zine. Bottom: Daniel Ramirez's personal zine collection.

Prael is among the growing group of people who are doing that in New Haven. Meetups organized by the New Haven Zine Scene have been held at both Possible Futures and Witch Bitch Thrift’s Black Box. The next meetup will be at Possible Future on Feb. 17.

When they’re not working and organizing the meetup, Prael is working on a memoir idea that has morphed into a comic series zine they call “My Mother Made Me Call This Fiction.” The series deals with family stories that may be true, depending on who you ask, Prael said. The zine is designed to work through trust in families and question stories that are lost to memory or purposely hidden. 


Paiz Pineda working on her zine. 

Like Prael, Elida Paiz Pineda said they were attracted to the culture of zine-making. The act of sharing, searching, talking about, and making them is part of the culture of this creative act. They have collected, traded, and read with friends (and strangers) zines from all over. 

“It's been one of the most rewarding ways in which I've been able to develop friendships,” Paiz Pineda said. “I love the contexts, like the history of how they came to be and the really radical nature of them.”

Daniel Ramirez, also known by his  artist name Silencio, brought a bunch of zines to share with the group that gathered Saturday, including a zine named “Black Photo Booth” authored by Mariame Kaba, a famed activist, grassroots organizer, and educator.

Ramirez said his  introduction to zine culture is a recent one. After being exposed to Connectic*nt, a zine focused on queer identity in Connecticut, he decided to submit his own artwork in a zine and has been hooked ever since. 


“I've been collecting more and more from different artists and different platforms, mainly black, brown, queer artists, to see representation and literature that I don't see in the traditional sense,” Ramirez said. “And [I have been] using it as a different platform to basically rebel against typical forms of what art is considered within like institutions.”

Ramirez said he is currently using printmaking and zines to explore themes around nostalgia. Topics like play, love, and even despair are used to remember the past but also cherish the now, he said. 

“As a person, I'm usually more reserved,” he said. “I prefer my art to represent myself rather than my words.”