For his essay Queer Print Johnny Murdoc interviewed the publishers of three top zines: Christopher Schulz of Pinups Magazine, Darren Ankenbaur of Handbook, and Amos Mac of Original Plumbing. Johnny OK-ed to republish bits of the interview with Christopher Schulz here – thanks for that! Learn more about the development of the booming zine market and its future.
Was it difficult finding a printer who was okay with the content?
Actually, it was difficult finding a printer even before I mentioned the content. The printing business is very strange. I couldn’t get anyone to respond to a simple request for a quote based on specs. That’s why the first few issues are printed with Xerox. I just got fed up with waiting to hear from printers. The content was never a problem though.
Why do you think we’re seeing a rise of small press publications created specifically by young gay men right now?
I think it’s because the mainstream gay magazines aren’t giving us what we want to see. So we’re doing something about it. At least that’s my own personal reason, but I think it’s definitely a common thread among most of the smaller self-published queer zines.
Why do you think that so many of the current breed of gay zines are so candidly sexual while not necessarily crossing into the realm of pornographic?
Because pornography is too easy to digest. It doesn’t require thought. I think people are hungry for more challenging and thought provoking content. There are so many thoughtless gay publications out there. And just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and love them all. If they aren’t interesting, then I’ll move on.
What projects (other than your own) really excite you right now?
My friend Shannon’s publication They Shoot Homos Don’t They? is a favorite of mine. I’ve also been receiving artist books from Vincent Passerat who is an art book maker in Paris. I love receiving physical work in the mail. It’s so rare these days. His first package to me contained a beautiful hand made book, an audio CD, and chocolates with beautiful typography on them, all in a hand made paper sleeve. It was so inspiring!
Read the interview in its entire length at johnnymurdoc.com