Thursday, June 01, 2006

Zine Week Part 14

Here it is. The culmination of the form. All previous examples of the printed word were rendered obsolete once this baby hit the streets. Johann Gutenberg, inventor of movable type, once said about HORRENDOUS! ...

[Insert sound of writer being doused with cold water and struck with something heavy, possibly a Gutenberg Bible to heighten irony]

OK, I have to admit I'm far more likely to come up with a quote from Steve Guttenberg than Johann Gutenberg. HORRENDOUS! was, in fact, my own humble attempt at zine publishing. When I started writing for Factsheet 5 I was bucking the trend as most of F5's zine reviewers were also zine publishers. In 1995 I took my first stab at self-publishing. I've always regretted that it only lasted two issues, but as any zine publisher will tell you, it's a LOT more time consuming than you might think.

My format consisted of an introductory editorial, a bunch of horror movie reviews, and a list of recommended zines–a common feature in most zines, similar to a Blogroll. I'm looking at that list of zines now for the first time in years, and it's interesting to note that most of them have been mentioned here during Zine Week.

The first issue was laid out on a PC with a 486 processor, a machine which even now slouches in my hall closet, functional, but obsolete, and waiting for it's opportunity to pounce on me the next time I reach in there for the snow shovel. Text was typed out in Word Perfect 5.1 and imported into my very first desktop publishing program, a $25 gem called Compuworks Publisher. Quark Xpress it was not, but I had nothing to compare it to and it did a decent job. Scanning was well beyond my technical and financial capacity at the time, so the only illustrations in that first issue were pieces of clipart I had found on that new fangled thing people were calling "the Internet." I printed out a master copy from my brother's ink-jet printer and then I was off to the copy shop.

I submitted that first issue to Seth for review at F5. I don't have that review handy, but as I recall he said some nice things. I also sent copies out to other zine publishers. It was common for most zine folk to accept trades, which meant they would send you a copy of their zine in exchange for a copy of yours. You don't get into zine publishing for the money, you get into it because you like to get cool stuff in the mail. I don't recall what the circulation figures were, though I've still got quite a few copies. One of the high points was when Joe Bob Briggs himself gave HORRENDOUS! a favorable review in his publication The Joe Bob Report.

The second issue took on a somewhat more polished look, thanks in a large part to a very generous birthday gift from my brother and his wife: Adobe PageMaker (thanks again, guys!). This was my first exposure to a professional level graphic design application. Basically it bitch-slapped my old publishing program, questioned its masculinity, and sent it packing. I had been reading up on design theory, and though I still couldn't scan images I was not above swiping them off the 'Net.

Before long, it seemed to make more sense to move HORRENDOUS! onto the world wide web. It was easier and had the potential to reach a much wider audience. I taught myself how to use HTML as there were no WYSIWYG web design apps, and I figured out how to use an image editing program called Paint Shop Pro, a shareware drawing program called Top Draw, and eventually Corel Draw. I've done a few design upgrades over the years, but not recently. This sad, neglected little site can be found here, though I probably should have euthanized it years ago.

Click on any image for a closer look.

Click here for: Zine Week Part 1 | Zine Week Part 2 | Zine Week Part 3 | Zine Week Part 4 | Zine Week Part 5 | Zine Week Part 6 | Zine Week Part 7 | Zine Week Part 8 | Zine Week Part 9 | Zine Week Part 10 | Zine Week Part 11 | Zine Week Part 12 | Zine Week Part 13 | Zine Week Part 14 | Zine Week Part 15


IL said...

Wonderful site design. Readable, easy navigation, but quirky. I like the background color choice and layout.
Shame you can't keep it going on a timely basis.

Matt Bradshaw said...

Well, Omega Channel, more or less acts as a modern replacement for Horrendous!. I love writing and I love web design, but doing both on a single site can be overwhelming. Blogs are specifically designed for easy updates.

Pat said...

Just to set the record straight, your brother's wife should get top billing in the Pagemaker phase of your life. I thought it was a great idea, but she thunk it up.

Your Brother

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