A blog about British comics from KRSinc

SCANTASTIC! The ZINE and the earliest known published work of latterday Dandy artist Jamie Smart

Many moons ago, as a teenager, I (briefly) worked at a magazine called The ZINE.

The ZINE was a glossy affair, with plenty of colour, record reviews, band interviews and all the other ephemera of an indie-leaning youth publication of the 1990s, but what made it stick out from other titles on the racks at WHSmith was that it was a magazine completely filled with reader contributions. Angsty poetry, angry letters, sad tales of abuse, enthusiastic opinion pieces – it was all in there.

Initially a self-published fanzine called Charlotte’s Mag which was launched in 1991, it was rebranded The ZINE in 1993 – the new name and the skimmed-over computer game section part of the conditions laid down by the money people who got on board promising nationwide distribution. It was to last ten issues in this form, with circulation (if I recall correctly) into six figures. Tell me that’s not impressive!

I think it is safe to say that it had a loyal readership, who in turn were also very often passionate contributors – writers, reviewers, photographers, even sub-editors and office dogsbodies. Yes, as well as reading this magazine, and then sending in our own stuff to it, many of us also descended on The ZINE‘s office, in a farmhouse in the Surrey countryside, eager to ensure each issue went out, keen to learn the ropes. For some it was to set them on the path of journalism and publishing, for others it was simply a case of stepping up to repay the mag for both listening to and speaking for us. I guess I fell between the two stools somewhere.

Anyway, perhaps best of all was the artwork. From full-on paintings down to biroed doodles on the backs of envelopes, The ZINE offered anyone who was prepared to have a crack the opportunity to be seen by others. Some of the cartoonists were phenomenal – like Joseph Champniss, with his Look-In-style indie band biopic strips, or Dr Adolf Steg, with his feverishly bizarre renderings of monster-like creatures; or the increasingly ubiquitous Alex Mason and Matt Saw, each with their own instantly recognisable style.

‘Where are they now?’, you may ask. Well, Champniss worked with Lee and Herring, and co-created the Some Of The Corpses Are Amusing comedy website. Dr Steg has a website. Mason and Saw? I don’t have a scooby – and damn them for their google-proof names!

One former ZINE artist in particular though is still around, still cartooning, and doing so rather successfully: the wonderfully talented Jamie Smart.

Yes, Jamie Smart – whose memo helped revitalise The Dandy, whose own rendition of Desperate Dan divides audiences (personally I love it), whose own creations like ‘Bear‘ bubble with imagination and creativity – had his first work published at the age of fourteen in The ZINE!

So sit back, relax and enjoy some very early work by Jamie Smart – taken from The ZINE issue 5, originally published with a cover date of December 1993/January 1994 (clicken to embiggen)…

NB: I did contact Jamie to check with him that these were indeed his cartoons, and also to ask if he minded if I blogged about them. Many thanks Mr Smart for giving me the green light!


16 responses

  1. Pingback: ALL POINTS BULLETIN: The ZINE cartoonists missing in action… Can you help find them? #1: Matt Saw « Oh lawks, it's…

  2. Pingback: ALL POINTS BULLETIN: The ZINE cartoonists missing in action… Can you help find them? #4: Andrew Gawne « Oh lawks, it's…

  3. I loved contributing to the zine. I still create art in all formats and give it away for free. I also create street art and produce artwork for all sorts of underground people. The mainstream is a piece of shit. What happened to boo and cedric.

    All thee beast dr steg

    October 7, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    • Good stuff! You were next on the list, Herr Doktor… I guess we can tick you off the missing list!

      I believe Bo and Cedric are still on the treadmill of life, still in the same place – I shall have to drop them a line and find out wagwan.

      October 8, 2012 at 8:40 am

      • i still create art, paintings and comiks with another old zine artist mr andy paciorek, we use the title stegorek, just google it, there are a lot of paintings and drawings on the various sites, he does a lot of drawing for american book publishers of esoteric and occult material. i have been producing a monthly title called ‘spon’ for the last couple of years and exhibiting up and down the country whilst collecting a vast amount of other peoples artwork, mainly work by gavin turk, bob and roberta smith, gary hart, robert crumb, gilbert and george and paul noble. my greatest find was a large collage called black spring by joe ortons lover and murderer kenneth halliwell.
        i also distribute and publicise music by stan batcow, the ceramic hobs, uncle paul and the drop out wives. contact me on my email dr23steg@yahoo.co.uk and i will send various art and music based stuff if anyone is still interested?

        October 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm

  4. Pingback: ALL POINTS BULLETIN: The ZINE cartoonists missing in action… Can you help find them? #5: Dr Adolf Steg « Oh lawks, it's…

  5. Dok: I’ve now posted some scans of your work here

    October 8, 2012 at 9:19 pm


      October 28, 2012 at 9:50 pm

  6. Pingback: ALL POINTS BULLETIN: The ZINE cartoonists missing in action… Can you help find them? #6: J Marks « Oh lawks, it's…

  7. munch

    I loved the Zine sooo much. Many thanks to all who contributed. Who was it did the cartoon character pointing a gun at his own head with the caption “one false move and the idiot gets it”?

    November 5, 2012 at 9:13 am

  8. munch

    Thanks @Bristle, will definitely be checking out his stuff. If anyone would be interested in helping with a Zine-inspired project, I’m currently trying to develop something in a similar vein

    November 8, 2012 at 7:29 pm

  9. bex

    holy shit …. ive just had an attack of nostalgia and went searching online to find info about this . goddamn i wish id kept my copies of it instead of cutting them up to make wall collages and stuff ! i used to have SO many penpals from an ad i placed i there but i was always too chicken to contribute anything though i longed to . anyone know if any full copies of the zine have been scanned in and uploaded to the internet ? beaniemama@gmail.com let me know if you know of anywhere i can revisit them please 🙂

    March 19, 2016 at 2:18 am

    • Hi Bex

      If I ever get the spare time I shall try and scan some issues of Charlotte’s Mag and The ZINE – in the mean time I will tweet out a plea for anyone with scans or spare copies to get in touch with you 🙂

      March 19, 2016 at 12:33 pm

  10. munch

    if you could cc me in on any of those scans, it would be much apreciated

    March 21, 2016 at 11:50 pm

  11. Sophie

    I also worked for the Zine in Shere, admittedly only because I needed a job to earn money. Remember being sacked with no notice for the strange reason that I didn’t go to Reading Festival and “other people were volunteering”. Very very strange woman (I’d been warned by my dr!) but some great contributions.

    January 25, 2018 at 12:05 pm

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