The beauty of digitization really sinks in at 30,000 feet. In-flight woes — that seat leaned to within an inch of your face, the unshowered over-sharer, the wailing toddler — all fade with Claude Bessy rants and Melanie Nissen pics in view. Several years ago, a collector comrade assembled a complete run of Slash magazine (with a little help from me) and had scanned every last newsprint page and had sent 'em my way (thanks, Jeff). That small kindness of sharing such a sizable effort would prove to be a turning point.

While complete runs of fanzines like Touch & Go and We Got Power have been collected into awesome anthologies, many pioneering punk rags — the large format, newsprint ones in particular — are available only to dedicated collectors or packrats who've kept 'em since way back when. Not infrequently I've talked to fanzine creators and contributors who didn't even hang onto copies of their own publications. While assembling some sets is doable with some moxie and spending cash, several runs border on the impossible even if you've got the drive and dough to acquire 'em. Digital editions are the only way most people will encounter these punk rags of yesteryear.

Circulation Zero is an experiment, my attempt to "give back" by parlaying the preservation of some beloved punk publications into a greater good. My hope is that the original creators will not only enjoy seeing their work resuscitated but will also appreciate the fact that their work is helping generate donations to worthy causes. The site is also an attempt to answer some questions that bounce around in my head. Are collections better off inside institutional libraries or in the hands of collectors? Should ancient in-fighting prevent bringing the punk print hey-day to a new generation? Should eggshell walking over copyright issues cock-block oldsters from taking a whirl on the wayback machine? Can a world chock full of entitled interweb denizens be trusted to donate even a pittance in exchange for a treasure trove of never-before-digitized fanzines? I don't know the answers but hopefully Circulation Zero will prove my hunches correct. Dig in!

Ryan Richardson
Austin, Texas


While people love the "flip page" effect on my RockScenester and Star1973 sites, iPad and mobile phone users get left out in the cold thanks to the Flash-based animation. After originally uploading a zip file of JPEGs here on Circulation Zero, a consensus formed that a PDF would more useful. Instead of simply suggesting improvements, two guys just up and created PDFs and sent 'em over. I like people who get things done, so kudos to Nathan Klayman and especially Kip Jackson for refining the first foray. The downloads are now single, searchable PDFs which no longer require unzipping!

These are fairly large downloads which eat up a lot of bandwidth. Circulation Zero shout-outs on popular sites inevitably result in a new crush of traffic, longer waits and slower load times on my other sites. Because of this, I've had to move the downloads to a third-party site which is hopefully better equipped for the occasional stampede. Keep in mind some content is NSFW! While I prefer to digitize complete runs, some publications stuck around for a long time. In those instances, I've picked a reasonable stopping point based mostly on when my fascination precipitously declines heading into the mid-80s. Despite my being several years too late and a couple thousand miles away, the early LA punk scene enthralled my teenage brain thirty years ago, and the obsession shows no signs of abating. Might as well start with the best...


Los Angeles, CA
1977 - 1980
29 issues


Los Angeles, CA
1978 - 1985
14 issues


San Francisco, CA
1979 - 1981
13 issues


New York, NY
1979 - 1982
14 issues


Boston, MA
1980 - 1984
first 50 issues

one last thing...

Inevitably many of y'all will bombard the usual sharing and social media sites with images found here. Be my guest but do the right thing and credit your source. At the very least, throw in a #circulationzero hashtag so others can find their way here and contribute, too. The scans on Circulation Zero are intended for personal enjoyment and research, not for commercial use. The background graphic above is a detail from the Insults "Population Zero" picture sleeve designed by Ron Rat in 1979.