I was describing to someone recently the difference between a zine and a mini-comic and realized that many people, especially in the zine community, refer to mini-comics as zines. To me, the distinction is clear, but I’d be interested in hearing other opinions and, possibly, educating some. This is my take.
A zine is a self-published zine and a mini-comic is a self-published comic book. The difference between a zine and mini-comic is the difference between The New Yorker and The Amazing Spider-Man. Zines and mini-comics, like magazines and comic books, are two types of media. Mini-comics are not a genre of zines. And they are not comic zines. A comic zine would be a zine about comic books, such as Thwip!.
For some, the distinction might simply be semantics, but to others, myself included, it’s more. Would you want someone calling your zine something other than a zine? What if someone called it a chapbook? I know it’s not the end of the world, but I want to clarify that a mini-comic is not a zine. I realize some mini-comic publishers call their mini-comics zines, and that’s their call. If they call it a zine, then to them it’s a zine. But to a lot of us, our mini-comics, while related, are not zines. Nothing against zines, I enjoy zines, have friends who publish zines and consider myself a part of the zine community, but I consider what I do different than what zine publishers do.
P.S. About Comics is running a contest for idea about what to do with blank comic books. Click here for details. You could win $100 worth of really cool books or one of About Comics' titles. Seems like a really cool idea.