As I’ve been working on improving our Michael Jackson category here at FanHistory, one area I’ve been looking into is fanzines focused on the artist. Clearly there have been a great many of them produced through the years, and what’s listed in our Michael Jackson fanzine category so far is, I’m sure, just the tip of the iceberg.
I’ve always been personally interested in fanzines, as we are in general at FanHistory, because of the window they provide into a fandom at the time of their publication. What issues were people talking about and debating? How were people reacting to news and events in their fandom? When–or did–a fandom switch to on-line activities instead of ‘zines? Which countries produced more fanzines in a fandom than others, and what does that say about the fan base?
In music fandoms, I’m curious to see what creative activities fans were engaging in, too, as these aspects are often overlooked by mainstream fans, and those in media fandom who seem to presuppose that fan art and fan fiction began with Star Trek or Man from U.N.C.L.E. Sometimes I’ve found interesting cases of what I’d call “proto”-fan fiction in music fanzines, where fans share “dreams” or daydreams they’ve had about meeting their favorite artists, but it’s rare I’ve found out-and-out fan fiction except in dedicated music fanzines such as UMF, a Duran Duran fanzine. For instance, most of the Michael Jackson fanzines I’ve found have been fan club newsletters, and I haven’t seen any that appeared to contain Michael Jackson fanfiction.
All that said, we could really use help from people in music fandom in improving our music fanzine category. Are you a fan with a couple ‘zines sitting around? We have an easy Template you can use to upload individual ‘zine information and cover images. Have a large collection of ‘zines? Contact me, sidewinder, and I’ll let you know how you can put together a simple spreadsheet database and we can see about uploading the information to the wiki quickly and easily.
Fanzines are an important part of music fandom’s story, and I hope you’ll consider helping us preserve that history here at FH.