Rants & Essays

Legends Thanks Alt.Gothic

By Marcus Pan

First an introduction to those that don't know. Many years ago I used to write a lot. I wrote stream of conscious material and political rantings for fun. And fantasy, science fiction, poetry…the list goes on. I tried a lot of different styles in both the prose and poetic vein and never found one to settle on. There even came a time when I thought I could be a writer, when I thought I was good enough. Maybe I am, but the fact of the matter is it hasn't happened; at least not yet. But I still write; and even moreso today than I did before. I tried submitting some of my writings for a while to a lot of different places; Dragon and Dungeon from TSR; Reader's Digest; National Geographic; local papers; the Aquarian and the list goes on. But they never took. One of the main reasons they never took was sometimes they got too rantish, or too left-wing radical. A lot of the publications, especially newspapers and media-style types, wouldn't touch my stuff with a ten foot pole.

Eventually I got disgusted and gave that up, but I continued to write…for myself if for naught else. One day while at the New York Renaissance Festival in Sterling, the thirteenth to be exact in either '89 or '90, myself and a few of my fellow shop runners (mine being a blown glass & crystals shop) were sitting around the fire after the closing of the grounds right outside my tent. I remember this vividly because it was one of the times in my life where I got enraged about something…I don't like to get enraged because, at 6'2" and with a temper to match, I can be a violent fucker. Some of you have seen me dance…imagine me doing something similar except pissed off and with a purpose and you get the general idea. I also remember it well because I was introduced to Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum that night and it's the first time I ever rolled down a hill when I didn't want to…and the first time I puked in a tent. But this has no bearing on the story.

To shorten the story, the rage was over a Christian document that I heavily disagreed with. Within a month I had written a long, three-part retaliatory piece. I wanted to distribute it somehow, but I didn't want to just throw it around as is. So I decided to package it inside of something and that's how Legends magazine was born. It was October of 1990. After the third issue, in which I ran the last part of my retaliation series, that was to be the end of the zine…a mini-series type of deal. But people actually liked the thing so I kept going. It looked bad, it was written by hand and I thought it was nothing more than a rag, really. But still people liked it so I kept going.

There were other times when I entertained the idea of quitting the zine. Once I got jumped at the post office while checking the zine's mailbox over an article that appeared in one issue. Jumped hard, too…beat to shit. I thought about stopping then. And there were times when emotional distress, the drying up of free time or just general mopeyness has forced me to entertain the idea as well. While on occasion I'd take a month or few hiatus from publishing it, but I always returned to it. Now here I am, and in one month will be Legends' nine year anniversary. I don't know of any other independent zine that has been around so long. Even Industrial Nation is syndicated now.

Legends gave me a chance to print all those things that none of the other magazines would touch. It gave me a place to put them and share them. Legends Online debuted on the web somewhere around '95 or something like that. And then I started using publishing software to make it look good. Eventually the zine actually started to come out looking nice! Some months even I would enjoy the way it turned out, and I'm my worst critic. And still it goes on…#80 just hit the street a day or so ago.

I guess what I'm getting at is that every time over the past few years I've been doing this zine that I thought of stopping due to time constraints or other factors, it was somebody from alt.gothic who demanded I did not. And, frankly, if it wasn't for alt.gothic I probably would have. Alt.gothic has done more for Legends than any other group. It is from here that I get my best material…and enough to keep things going with the best offerings I can find in each issue. It is people from this newsgroup that gave me a new logo design, and where I get my best covers. It is this newsgroup that brought me and Legends to Boston for a promotion night and even gave me a place to stay when I did. It's also this newsgroup that has changed the very face of the zine, making it more personal with essays and rants from a good number of you. New fictional series like "Saint Lucy," "The Undead Kid" and the upcoming serials you'll begin to see in the near future like "The Coin" and "The Traveller." Rant-style essays that caress your soul from regulars that post here or once did. Poetry from others. And when I ask someone if I can reprint one of their posts that I quite enjoyed I always hear that it would be an honor. But you're wrong…I'm the honored one. I feel honored every time I run off another issue each month and see the net.goth names that appear on the bylines, helping me keep this cheezy little rag alive.

I guess I just wanted to say thanks. Legends would have taken a dirt nap years ago if I didn't have alt.gothic; where I get my best material, illustrations, covers and readers. You people rock my world. Thanks.