Regression Toward the Zine (11)
By: Joshua Glenn | Categories: About Josh, Most Visited, Punk, Read-outs, Spectacles

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


The years 1988–89 were the apex of the Zine Revolution. Ever dilatory, I began publishing a zine after that pinnacle — during my senior year (1990–91) in college. As is typical in DIY culture (whether we’re talking about music, movies, crafting, or whatever), I began as a fan and eventually, inexorably joined the movement as a fellow creator.

First, I was inspired: I visited Sherman Wilmott (mentioned earlier) in Memphis and spent a couple of days poring over his pile of zines. I also met Eric “Chiz” Friedl in Memphis — later known by his stage name, Eric Oblivian, after he a co-founded the Memphis garage-rock band the Oblivians. Eric was also into zines — he later started publishing the excellent garage rock fanzine WIPE OUT!. Sherman and Eric turned me on to Factsheet Five, issues of which I read cover to cover back at college in Massachusetts.

wipe out

Second, I was in trouble: When I started applying to grad school programs, I realized belatedly that I was expected to list my (non-existent) extracurricular activities. Everyone else had been padding their résumés for four years, while I had been doing nothing at all.

I had a brainstorm. I would publish a few issues of a fake zine — beginning with issue no. 9, say, in case anyone actually wanted to see it — and list this Potemkin zine as my extracurricular activity. I enlisted a friend, Patrick Hubenthal, as co-editor, and asked my girlfriend (now wife) Susan, and my friend John Cradock (see earlier installments of this series) to write and draw contributions. This zine had to seem like the real deal.

luvboat 9

The first issue (pictured above) of Luvboat Earth featured a list of back issues that were fictional and permanently unavailable. At last, the truth can be told — they never existed.

luvboat 10

And then a funny thing happened. I couldn’t stop publishing a zine. For the next ten years!


NEXT: The zine Pagan’s Head from the Joshua Glenn Zine Collection, and the DIY scene in Allston, MA circa 1991.

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. CLICK HERE to view the online finding aid for this collection.



Joshua Glenn is a cultural and brand semiotician, and co-principal of the agency SEMIOVOX LLC. He is editor and publisher of HILOBROW and the Radium Age sci-fi paperback imprint HILOBOOKS. He is author of (with Mark Kingwell and the cartoonist Seth) THE IDLER'S GLOSSARY (2008) and THE WAGE SLAVE'S GLOSSARY (2011); and he is co-editor of the object-oriented story collections TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY (2007) and SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS (2012). With Elizabeth Foy Larsen and Tony Leone, Josh produced the popular family activities guides UNBORED (2012), UNBORED GAMES (2014), and UNBORED ADVENTURE (2015), not to mention two UNBORED activity kits from MindWare. In the ’00s, Josh was an editor and columnist for the BOSTON GLOBE's IDEAS section; in the ’90s, he published the high-lowbrow zine/journal HERMENAUT. He was born and raised in Boston, where he lives with his wife and sons.