THE ZINE SCENE
Byline: ROBERT SHAROFF
CHICAGO — Generation X has two new voices in Chicago: Subnation and 3rd Word magazines. Only, please, don’t use the term ‘Generation X.’ “It’s so tired,” said Adam Langer, 27, editor of Subnation. “We’re broader than that,” explained Phil Jacus, 29, 3rd Word’s director of advertising and marketing. “We’re a hip magazine for Chicago.”
Both magazines are slick, four-color bimonthlies with close ties to the city’s terminally hip Bucktown art and alternative music scene. “We’re multicultural, cross-racial, hip-hop and alternative,” explained Langer. Both also feature regular fashion spreads by some of the city’s top fashion photographers. Subnation, with its Wired-inspired graphics, is the more focused of the two. A recent special issue on music featured a self-interview by performer Liz Phair and profiles of half a dozen rising local stars. “We want to go beneath the surface and show the underground from an underground perspective,” explained Langer. 3rd Word is broader and more concerned with the arts.
Although they may compete against each other, neither is going to challenge Vanity Fair in the near future — Subnation’s circulation is about 40,000, while 3rd Word’s is 25,000.