Factsheet 5

The strongest most illuminating evidence of the zine boom that took place in the 1980s and 1990s is Factsheet Five, the zine of zines. Factsheet Five reviewed and described hundreds of independent publications with the listings often more compelling than the publications themselves.

Mike Gunderloy launched Factsheet Five in 1982. It began as a typed newsletter for friends, which reviewed predominantly science fiction themed fanzines and independent publications already circulating by word of mouth. Gunderloy began to review every zine he could lay his hands on, and Factsheet Five quickly grew far beyond sci-fi. By the late 1980s it was a thick newsprint magazine, published bimonthly with a circulation of 10,000.

The 1980s zine explosion runs parallel with the growth of Factsheet Five. Word spread among zine publishers that Gunderloy reviewed every zine he received (except those that were overtly violent or offensive). He began to be bombarded as more and more new publications emerged. As with the underground presses of the 1960s Gunderloy traded free copies of Factsheet Five for zines, giving away half as many as he sold.

Although Gunderloy quit the magazine in 1991, it continued under new direction until 1998. There are plans to begin publishing again in 2006.