Hard to believe it’s been three decades since grunge ruled the earth. In 1993 Gen X shrugged its shoulders as a Baby Boomer took over the White House. Alternative was a major buzzword and Chicago was at the center of that culture with bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Urge Overkill and Liz Phair releasing major albums and putting the city in the spotlight. With it came the slick music and culture magazines, obviously backed by big bucks. Way down at the bottom were the indy band who couldn't get a record deal and of course the zines. Zines supported these bands, artists, and of course, other zines. One such publication was Chicago's Reglar Wiglar which sought to parody the media’s newfound love of everything alternative and grunge.
2023 Marks 30 Years of Chicago Music & Humor Zine, Reglar Wiglar
The idea for the publication was conceived in 1993 by two recently graduated slackers (Chris Auman and Tom Ziegler). The zine aimed for satire and included parodies 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. It included music, book, and graphic novel reviews, interviews with musicians, artists, filmmakers, comics, and general cultural commentary. Its music reviews were notoriously snarky, leading one writer at the venerable zine review publication FactSheet 5 to declare them “some of the goofiest and snottiest that I've ever seen.”
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 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 went through yet another style change with a 3-issue series in the full-color, comic-size format.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary, reprints of #22-#25 were published in 2023. Reglar Wiglar #29 is ready to hit stores this month. RW#30 will be published in the fall and will recount Auman’s 30 years in underground publishing. The website, reglarwiglar.com continues to publish interviews and review music, books, zines, and comics.
Buy Reglar Wiglar Zine
In Chicago, Reglar Wiglar is available from Chicago Comics, Howling Pages and Quimbys, 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