Tempus fugit. Yes, it's been ten trippy years since Boing Boing became a blog. But it's been more than TWENTY since Mark Frauenfelder and Carla Sinclair created the first issue of the bOING bOING 'zine. In celebration of our mutant lineage on this happy day, here is an interview with Mark and Carla that ran in The Book of Zines (1996) by Chip Rowe. The book also included Bill Barker's "Emergency Personal Broadcast TV" and my "I'll Say Anything" from the bOING bOING 'zine. (I've been begging Mark to let me put bOING bOING's predecessor, Toilet Devil, online, but so far no dice.) From the interview:
When did you launch your zine? What inspired you to do so?
Mark: We launched bOING bOING in 1988. I was a mechanical engineer designed one of about 100 parts. It took months and months to design and test your assigned part. All the engineers knew each other by what parts they were designing. I was the motor guy. The engineer next to me was the flex lead guy. On Fridays we'd go to lunch with the actuator guy and the spacer ring guy and talk about sports and imported cars. I hate sports and I hate cars built after 1960, so even the meals were unsatisfying. I needed some kind of creative outlet, so Carla and I decided to start a zine. We decided to explore the coolest, wackiest stuff we could think of, and came up with the name bOING bOING. Bouncing through our crazy world.
Why publish a zine?
Mark: I love zines because one person can be responsible for all 100 parts. There's no money in it, but it can lead to paying gigs if you're good.
Carla: We publish to get "for review" freebies like records and books in the mail. Also, if you're a publisher you don't have to kowtow to anyone. You never have to query. You can say what you want, and talk about stuff the mainstream publications avoid either out of fear or ignorance.
Have you ever published any other zines?
Mark: Before we started bOING bOING, I did two issues of a mini-comic called Toilet Devil. I read an article about a gorilla they trained to use sign language. Whenever the gorilla was mad at one of the humans, she'd call them a toilet devil.