In 1993, Gen X shrugged its collective shoulders as a Baby Boomer took over the White House. “Alternative” was a major buzzword and Chicago was the center of 90s music culture. Local bands Smashing Pumpkins, Urge Overkill, and Liz Phair released major label albums that year, and with the spotlight came the slick music and culture magazines. Way down at the bottom were the indie bands, and of course, the zines that supported these bands. One such publication was Reglar Wiglar, the zine that parodied the media’s newfound love of everything alternative and grunge.
The Reglar Wiglar Zine is Born
The idea for Reglar Wiglar zine was conceived in 1993 by two recently graduated slackers (Chris Auman and Tom Ziegler). The zine aimed for satire in the spirit of Spinal Tap and MAD Magazine with a dash of Spy thrown in for good measure. Starting in the ‘00s, the zine began covering a wider range of topics and included interviews with musicians, artists, and writers. It also included notoriously snarky music reviews that prompted one writer at the venerable zine review publication FactSheet 5 to declare “some of the goofiest and snottiest that I've ever seen.”
In 2005, Auman stopped publishing the print version of Reglar Wiglar zine after both of his distributors went out of business. In 2014, after nearly a decade as a digital-only publication, Reglar Wiglar returned to print with a three-volume series of digest-sized zines featuring a humorous recounting of Auman’s complete job history, plus the usual comics and MAD-inspired gags. Two “Best of” issues followed, and in 2021, the zine made yet another style change with a 3-issue series in the full-color, comic-size format.
In 2005, Auman stopped publishing the print version after both of his distributors went out of business. In 2014, after nearly a decade as a digital-only publication, Reglar Wiglar returned to print, and in 2021, the zine made yet another style change with a 3-issue series in the full-color, comic-size format.
To mark 30 years of existence, reprints of #22-#25 were published in 2023 as well as the full-color Reglar Wiglar #29. RW#30, the first all-comics issue, is slated for the spring of 2024. The website, reglarwiglar.com continues to publish interviews and review music, books, zines, and comics. The zine will also be included in an archive of music zines, RAPMM, sponsored by RILM, an academic nonprofit with offices at the City University of New York (CUNY).
Reglar Wiglar is available from Quimbys (Chgo. & NYC), Atomic Books (Baltimore, MD), Kilgore Books, (Denver, CO), Chicago Comics, Howling Pages, and through roostercow.com.
REVIEWS of REGLAR WIGLAR
“Not your average zine of bad jokes and adolescent party humor by any means. Auman shoots for real satire and succeeds admirably in his work.” —Factsheet 5
“Auman consistently makes me laugh, parodying the music and zine world like no one else. The music reviews are some of the goofiest and snottiest that I've ever seen.” —Factsheet 5
“Imagine a punk rock humor zine. Too difficult for you? Not if you're the editor of this hilarious zine. The mock interviews with punk bands are the best, meaning this reviewer was laughing so hard tears were running down my cheeks. A great irreverent stab at the poses, personalities, and politics of the music scene.” —Desert Moon Periodicals