Amberson, Joshua James (Creator), and Rachel Lee-Carman (Illustrator). (2014). The Prince Zine (The Revised & Updated Second Edition). Portland, OR: Eberhardt Press. Distributed by Antiquated Future. www.antiquatedfuture.com
First published in 2011, The Prince Zine has been edited, revised, and updated for this 2014 second edition. This zine is big—60 pages—and stuffed full of facts, feelings, and opinions about Prince’s life and artistic projects. It’s simply bound with staples, but the paper is of a nice thick quality; this zine will last. The ink is (fittingly) purple and the text is enhanced with lovely illustrations.
The contents are nicely organized and include a brief biography of Prince’s early life as well as events occurring through various albums. Topics include sexuality, Prince’s plethora of protégés and side projects, relationships and interactions with other musicians, the history behind the Parental Advisory sticker, the iconic symbol, and religion. These sections are supplemented with quotes from band members and others who have worked with Prince over the years.
Besides the historical information, this zine also contains a list of fun facts (Prince buys casual clothes in the Nordstrom’s boys’ department!) and a list of ridiculous song lyrics (“I got a mind full of good intentions. And a mouth full of Raisenets.”). Amberson has also curated three mixtapes with odd facts and opinions about his favorite songs from three musical periods; a list of cover songs; and a discography.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this zine. I found it both entertaining and highly informative. Growing up as a gender creative child, I was captivated by Prince’s gender fluidity; I suspect many transgender kids during the height of Prince’s fame were. I was not aware that Prince converted to become a Jehovah’s Witness and is now homophobic. This deep reading of his album themes and lyrics is helpful to understanding Prince’s struggle between sexuality and spirituality.
While I wish the many facts and quotes were cited, I understand that this would probably have added another 20 pages and made this zine unreadable. A small quibble that doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for this excellent zine.