Regression Toward the Zine (9)
By: Joshua Glenn | Categories: Read-outs, Spectacles

PREVIOUSLY: 1988 zines from the Joshua Glenn Zine Collection, including: Ben is Dead, Kooks Magazine, Kool Thangs, Pagan’s Head.


The years 1988 and 1989 were the apex of the Eighties (1984–93), as well as the apex of the Zine Revolution. Here are notes on a few of the zines from my collection that were launched in 1989. See the previous post in this series to read about zines launched in 1988.

baby split

* Baby Split Bowling News was a zine of high weirdness that used bowling as a theme. (I could relate; my zine Hermenaut used mid-century outer-space imagery as a theme, although it had nothing to do with outer space.) BSBN was was published in Minneapolis by Julian “Chilly-Most” Davis, who presented his zine as the house organ of a non-existent outfit, Deviant Bowlers of America. I corresponded with Julian a little bit, and later got to know him via the local zine scene when I moved to Minneapolis in the mid-1990s. With Wendy Darst of the zine Wandromedia, we attempted to get Twin Cities zinesters together regularly to talk shop and have fun; this failed miserably — it turns out that most zinesters are prickly bastards. I wrote one or two items for BSBN, and also for Julian’s later zine Office Supply Junky. Wonder what he’s doing now?

king cat

* King-Cat Comics & Stories was (is?) a mostly autobiographical mini-comic zine published by the talented John Porcellino. (I’ve heard he published a zine called Tales of Hogarth the Barbarian Pig when he was 15.) King-Cat Comics is among the best-known and longest-running minicomics. PS: Porcellino’s book Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man received the 2005 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Anthology or Collection.


* The zine Dishwasher followed editor/publisher Pete “Dishwasher Pete” Jordan as he attempted to land jobs washing dishes in all 50 U.S. states. Sounds uninteresting, but Pete is a really talented writer and a paragon of integrity — for example, whenever he was offered the opportunity to earn more money doing something other than washing dishes, he’d refuse. Memoirs of Jordan’s dishwashing years were published in the book Dishwasher in 2007.

NEXT: Mike Gunderloy of Factsheet Five explains where the action is, circa 1990.

This is a 25-part series in which HiLobrow editor Joshua Glenn, who from 1990–93 published the zine Luvboat Earth and from 1992–2001 published the zine/journal Hermenaut, bids a fond farewell to his noteworthy collection of zines, which he recently donated to the University of Iowa Library’s zine and amateur press collection.



Joshua Glenn is an author, publisher, and semiotic analyst. He is co-author (with Mark Kingwell and the cartoonist Seth) of THE IDLER'S GLOSSARY and THE WAGE SLAVE'S GLOSSARY, co-editor of the object-oriented story collections TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY and (with Rob Walker) SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS, and co-author (with Elizabeth Foy Larsen) of the family activities guide UNBORED and three forthcoming spinoffs, including UNBORED Games. He is editor of HILOBROW and publisher of the Radium Age science fiction imprint HiLoBooks. Also: Glenn manages a secretive online community known as the Hermenautic Circle; he is founding editor of the e-book club Save the Adventure; and he's a frequent co-host of Boing Boing's podcast GWEEK. In the ’00s, Glenn was an editor, columnist, and blogger for the Boston Globe's IDEAS section, he co-founded the international semiotics website SEMIONAUT, and contributed to CABINET, SLATE, and elsewhere. In the ’90s, he published the high-lowbrow zine/journal HERMENAUT, worked as a dotcom and magazine editor, and contributed to THE BAFFLER, FEED, and elsewhere. His publishing company is King Mixer, LLC; and his semiotic analysis consultancy is Semiovox LLC. He lives in Boston with his wife and children.