All 80 Issues of the Influential Zine Punk Planet Are Now Online & Ready for Download at the Internet Archive

Punk did­n’t die, it evolved, since its incep­tion in the 70s to the ethos of major­ly influ­en­tial fig­ures like Kath­leen Han­na and Ian MacK­aye in the 90s, two of the most promi­nent faces of pro­gres­sive DIY punk in the U.S. Then, as before, scenes came togeth­er around zines, sites of cul­tur­al recog­ni­tion, dis­sem­i­na­tion, and record­ing for pos­ter­i­ty in the archives of phys­i­cal print. One zine crit­i­cal to the social­ly con­scious punk that emerged at the time, Punk Plan­et, has recent­ly been dig­i­tized in all 80 issues by the Inter­net Archive.

Based in Chica­go and found­ed by edi­tor Dan Sinker (whom you may know from his pres­ence on Twit­ter), Punk Plan­et ran from 1994 to 2007, focus­ing “most of its ener­gy on look­ing at punk sub­cul­ture,” the Inter­net Archive writes, “rather than punk as sim­ply anoth­er genre of music to which teenagers lis­ten. In addi­tion to cov­er­ing music, Punk Plan­et also cov­ered visu­al arts and a wide vari­ety of pro­gres­sive issues—including media crit­i­cism, fem­i­nism, and labor issues.”

Punk Plan­et “tran­scend­ed stereo­types to chron­i­cle the pro­gres­sive under­ground com­mu­ni­ty, from thought­ful band inter­views to excep­tion­al­ly thor­ough inves­tiga­tive fea­tures,” wrote the A.V. Club’s Kyle Ryan in an inter­view with Sinker the year of the magazine’s demise.

“Over the course of 13 years, Punk Plan­et became heav­i­ly influ­en­tial beyond the increas­ing­ly small world of inde­pen­dent pub­lish­ing.” Arguably, that influ­ence can be felt in online mag­a­zines like Rook­ie as well as music-focused stal­warts like Pitch­fork, who note that Punk Plan­et’s “issues includ­ed inter­views with Sleater-Kin­ney, Nick Cave, Ralph Nad­er, and count­less oth­er cul­tur­al icons.”

The mag­a­zine fold­ed for the usu­al rea­sons, as Utne not­ed in a farewell, leav­ing a “gap­ing hole in the land­scape of inde­pen­dent mag­a­zines…. The deck was stacked against Punk Plan­et, though, and the hard knocks of inde­pen­dent pub­lish­ing final­ly became too much to bear.” Sinker says he saw the end as part of a big­ger pic­ture and “start­ed look­ing at the larg­er issues that were also affect­ing us. Things like, ‘Hey, wow, record labels are going under because no one is pay­ing for music!’ And, ‘Hey, look at this, peo­ple are going to these Inter­net sites because peo­ple can pick up a record review the same day the record came out!’”

It’s a moot point now—2020 has not made it any eas­i­er for small pub­li­ca­tions and inde­pen­dent musi­cians to sur­vive. But the con­tin­ued exis­tence of Punk Plan­et online for new gen­er­a­tions to dis­cov­er promis­es to fos­ter the con­ti­nu­ity that car­ried the spir­it of punk rock through decades of evo­lu­tion­ary change. Enter the Punk Plan­et archive here.

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Down­load 834 Rad­i­cal Zines From a Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Online Archive: Glob­al­iza­tion, Punk Music, the Indus­tri­al Prison Com­plex & More

Down­load 50+ Issues of Leg­endary West Coast Punk Music Zines from the 1970–80s: Dam­age, Slash & No Mag

Judy!: 1993 Judith But­ler Fanzine Gives Us An Irrev­er­ent Punk-Rock Take on the Post-Struc­tural­ist Gen­der The­o­rist

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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