As I’ve been working on the BLT Kickstarter, I’ve been doing some deep searching in Google and Bing/Yahoo. For those just tuning in, BLT was the zine I started before Blue Blood and it is very funny, if you have ever lived in a punk rock group house, gone to goth-industrial clubs, gotten drunk at science fiction cons, or at least known people who engaged in related activities. So I want to do a giant 400 page collection of all the issues of Black Leather Times (BLT for short), along with some reminiscences and technical production info for fellow zinesters. Okay, now that everyone is on the same page, back to searching BLT and Black Leather Times.
I saw that a journalist named Rene Rodriguez at the gigantic circulation Miami Herald did a huge feature on the zine revolution and selected BLT as one of the zines she covered. The article was not online, but a wonderful librarian I know helped me find the original. In the age of the internet, it would be impossible to get press from a newspaper as huge as The Miami Herald and not know about it.
The tiny (and misleadingly titled) Black Leather Times has only 12 pages per issue, boasting impressively intricate (and twisted) pen-and-ink illustrations along with its grab bag of essays, stories and advice columns, all centering around a different theme (employment, travel, holidays, Valentine’s Day).
Nice shoutout to the awesome artwork, the lion’s share of which was done by Slash. I like that they got the concept that each issue of BLT had a theme. In all fairness, although we thought it was obvious at the time that Black Leather Times was a reference to our crowd all wearing leather jackets, a lot of people did think it was a kinky sex thing. Which helped encourage me to start Blue Blood, so that misunderstanding worked out pretty well in the long run.
Other zines mentioned in-depth in the Miami Herald article “Magazines Like You’ve Never Seen” include Gnosis, Gray Areas, Answer Me, Cross-Talk, Smart Drug News, Diseased Pariah News, Girljock, Twilight of the Idols, Science Fiction Eye, and Boing Boing. There are also brief mentions of Wonderful Lifestyle, Prison Life, Mercury Rising, Whorezine, Satan Wears a Bra, Jack Ruby Slippers, Presence, Short Circuit, The Skeptical Inquirer, Frostbite Falls Far Flung Flier, Whole Earth Review, American Window Cleaner, and Asian Trash Cinema. Out of all of those publications, plus more from Richard Kadrey’s Covert Culture Sourcebook, the author found Boing Boing and BLT the hardest to classify.