Before the internet, nerds communicated through Amateur Press Associations
(APAs). Members wrote and photocopied their individual 'zines on a subject, then mailed them to a central mailer, who collated and mailed the completed sets to all the members. The earliest APAs were founded by printers and amateur journalists. The National Amateur Press Association
is the oldest, founded in 1876. Later APAs were often the province of science fiction and comic book fans. They are still around
[pdf]. A lot more inside...
APAs have existed for almost any subject that has any kind of organized fandom: sports, movies, music and many types of niche or outsider communities. Some have migrated from a print format to web forums. Here is a list of some comic and science fiction/fantasy literature APAs (because that's what I'm into) that have any kind of web presence:
Alarums and Excursions
: Dedicated to Role-Playing Games.
: The APA That Dares Now Speak Its Name. An APA for Lesbian, Gay, Bi, and Transgendered Comic Book Fans.
Edgar Rice Burroughs Amateur Press Association
(ERBapa): dedicated to the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan.
Fantasy Amateur Press Association
(FAPA): The longest running science fiction APA, founded in 1937. It is still going in paper format, and they have a LiveJournal forum
. Famous alumni include: Forry Ackerman, Robert Bloch, Frederick Pohl and many others.
: A long-running APA focused on The Legion of Super Heroes.
Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society Amateur Press Association
(LASFAPA): What it says on the tin.
Point of Divergence
: Dedicated to Alternate History.
The Robert E. Howard United Press Association
(REHupa): An amateur press association dedicated to the study of author Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian.
The Southern Fandom Press Alliance
(SFPA): Science Fiction APA, based in the southern United States.
: We got your X-Men.
Even though they don't have a web page, I can't do this post without a mention of CAPA-alpha
, the grandaddy of comic book APAs.
Some of the above pages haven't been updated in awhile, and the demise of Geocities seems to have taken out a few APA web pages. In case you are interested in joining up, the above linked .pdf
has a list of APAs currently in existence as of Summer 2009. This page
has links to some more APAs.
Oh yeah, there's a WebRing