"The age of the printed fanzine has passed," says Mike Stax, publisher of '60s garage-rock-influenced zine Ugly Things. While Stax continues to print new editions of his 200-plus-page glossy covered publication, he acknowledges that the Internet and blogging have made zines just about obsolete.
"Printed fanzines will survive, but they need to provide something that the Internet can't. To my mind, that means lengthier, more detailed articles, good writing...something you want to keep around and read over and over again, either for reference or for pleasure. Websites are here today and gone tomorrow -- there's no permanence or tangibility to them."
Stax's love for the medium is evident in the newest addition to the Ugly Things website: a database compiled by archivist Menachem Turchick, detailing every fanzine devoted to garage bands ever published. Despite putting countless hours into the project, Turchick is not sure of its broad appeal.
Turchick says, "Sure, it adds to the sum total of human knowledge and all, but how important is it to know that there's a one-page interview with the Barking Spyders' bass player in some 100-copy 1985 fanzine that'll take ten years to track down?"
According to Turchick, at its peak in the mid-'80s, there were more than 80 garage-rock-influenced fanzines worldwide; today that number might be down to as few as 10. Though Turchick says the Internet is mostly to blame for the decline, he points out that "The existence of mega-zines like Ugly Things may discourage newcomers because the bar has been set much higher now."