Local Artists Creating Underground Zine
By Ashley Custer
Craig Latchaw, a local artist, and Louis “Skip” Slavik, a writer and YSU graduate, are in the process of creating an underground alternative anti-culture public magazine.
The magazine will take cues from the underground, independent zine scene, popularized in the 1960s and ‘70s.
“I’ve had the idea to put together an underground alternative magazine ever since I started getting into Robert Crumb and other crazy comic artists from the ‘70s,” Latchaw said.
The idea of the zine in the Youngstown area is to get artists and writers to submit their works to be published in the magazine. Latchaw and Slavik are looking for anybody who has an opinion, whether it is about politics, the economy, religion or stories about life.
“We’ll pretty much allow anything to be in the zine, as long as it’s not racist or sexist or otherwise distasteful. That being said, if you find humor in vulgarity, that’s cool,” Latchaw said. “I do too sometimes. I don’t want the public to think that their writing or art cannot make it in the zine. I want everyone to feel like they can contribute. I’m just putting it together and giving it back to the contributors.”
“Readers may not agree with everything that’s put into it, it may even offend a few, but that’s the point. Sometimes people need to hear what they’re not used to hearing. It allows us to grow as a functioning society.”
Latchaw wants to contribute to society in a unique and creative way. He thinks a zine would be the best way to do so.
“I feel like if you’re living in a growing city, we should make a zine that will publish stories and opinions because, unless you have an Internet blog, there’s no venue for you to be heard, and I want to change that,” he said.
Slavik agrees that it is important for the people of Youngstown to have a place where they can express themselves through fine art.
“We would like to see a community develop in which creative people can come together across real or imagined boundaries and work together,” Slavik said. “Craig and I share this vision and that’s what brought us together, despite our being from different generations.”
The first issue of the zine will be nameless. Latchaw and Slavik will be asking the public for name ideas, allowing them to name the zine. They said the goal is for it to feel like it belongs to the public.
The zine will be handmade in order to achieve an original look. They hope to release a monthly issue depending on the demand for the zine and how many submissions it receives.
The release date is unknown, but it will be distributed at local bars and comic shops. A mailing list will also be set up for home distribution.
“We do have a lot of work to do but it’s a labor of love,” Slavik said. “This is something we both have thought about for a while. We are determined to make this work.”
Work can be submitted to the zine by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org