See and be ‘zine
Legal Underage Pornography
“Surprisingly, if you Google ‘Legal Underage Pornography,'” says Tim Dufrisne, a columnist for the Reno-based ‘zine with that rather risque title, “we’re the first thing you’ll find.” I Googled the term, and the first thing was a review on Almost Normal Comics that begins, “This is the most offensive ‘zine I’ve ever seen!” but eventually admits it’s “really pretty funny and written with such wit that I was disappointed each issue [is] only 20 pages!”
The reviewer’s enthusiasm is typical. “Whether people love it or hate it, all the reviews we’ve gotten have had a lot of exclamation marks,” says Dufrisne.
Dufrisne, fellow columnists Jace Proctor and N.E. Delehanty, and columnist/editor Alex Falcone are the team that puts out the monthly ‘zine, featuring the best material culled from the daunting amount of online content they crank out.
“Most of the individual columns we all work on,” says Falcone. “Jace will start something, Nick will put in some jokes, Tim will add a few well-placed ‘fucks,’ and then I’ll put my name on it, so it looks like I did all the work.”
‘Zines are first cousins of the contemporary weblog, DIY forums for political comment and autobiographical storytelling. ‘Zines are usually grassroots tools for leftist political rallying—so a comedy ‘zine is unusual.
“Other ‘zines are committed to some ideology,” says Proctor, “We’re just in it for the money. So we might disguise a few issues and sell them under the name ‘Fuck Bush While Riding My Bike, Smoking Pot and Going Vegan.'”
Legal Underage Pornography rustled a few tail feathers at the recent Portland Zine Symposium. The editors sold over a hundred issues and met fans from Berkeley and San Francisco, but some readers were offended at the title.
“One woman said, ‘What if someone was the victim of a child pornographer? Don’t you think that this would be offensive to them?'” says Dufrisne. “And my response is that it’s way more offensive to assume that just because of someone’s race, culture or personal history, they’re not going to have a sense of humor. And, besides, no one would want to look at porn made on a photocopier anyway.”
Regular features include Second Opinion, where the writers re-answer questions submitted to advice columns, and the facetious Hella True Fact. There’s a new Hella True Fact on the Web site every day and a different one at the bottom of each page of the zine. Past Hella True Facts have included “The Coalition for Family Values has organized a boycott against Skittles for condoning homosexual behavior with the slogan ‘Taste The Rainbow.'” and “The Guinness Book of World Records is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the publication containing the highest volume of impressive feats.”
Recent issues have included “The Subpar Issue” and “The Return to Greatness Issue,” followed by “The Return to Crappiness Issue.” The September issue will be called “El Spanish Issue.” The ‘zines are sold for $1 as far away as Seattle, New York and Australia. They’re available locally at Pneumatic Diner and Tower Records, and the writers occasionally like to leave free copies on the racks at adult bookstores with the intention of confusing patrons. Subscriptions are available on the Web site.
But, says Falcone, “More impressive than the number of subscriptions we’ve sold is the number of businesses that have banned us.”