Queer Zines

In the 1990s there were no such things as ‘blogs’ yet. Or if they were, the people really interested in doing them were too poor to afford a PC. In the alternative music/culture scene (leftovers of punk and industrial, leather lovers and tattoo and piercing addicts) the ‘zine (shortened from ‘fanzine’) rose as a form of expression for new artists, photographers, writers and thinkers.

One of the Chicago queer scene ‘zines was called Babble, which then became Gag and was published out of the loft of Malone Sizelove. I fell in love with Malone the first time I saw and photographed him around 1992 on the shore of Lake Michigan. I started writing a column for his ‘zine under a pseudonym. Malone’s site and company doesn’t exist anymore, and Gag was sued out of existence just as Babble was (by some bar owners who didn’t like his slagging them off) and was re-named Gab (which I think was also sued) and Malone and I had a lover’s spat type of falling out so I stopped writing for them … no it wasn’t about him not fucking me – it was over something else.  But we made up and are friends again years later.

I have decided to re-print my columns here for ‘posterity’ in case anyone is interested, and because they were just damned good fun to write and read.

I also wrote (using the same psuedonym of Fire Chick) a fun review of Madonna’s book ‘Sex’ for the winter 92/93 ‘zine Thing, which was published by Robert T Ford (RIP).


Other contributors to Gag and Babble most issues included:

Steve Lafreniere (writer, editor, arts scenester and eternal discoverer, then living in Chicago)
Robert Coddington (Musician and video curator)
Gabriel Gomez (videographer and Queer National)
Hi-Fi Bangalore (original promotor of the Boom Boom Room deep house at Red Dog 1992-2003)


  1. We think he is living in central Illinois (Bloomington/Normal area), but his wife (Donia) is still in Chicago according to sources. If it is the same Malone Sizelove.


  2. Malone died in a car accident in the Bronx in Jan/08 from what I heard from his friend.

    Edit by Musingsofabittergirl— this is a false rumor.


  3. Malone and i were good friends for years … We were roomies at NYU for 2 years … and his death was a great shock to me. Who knew Donna Karan was his Godmother and Irving Penn his Godfather? He was very private but at the same time so open and sincere. If you are xxxxxxx (edit by Musingsofabittergirl … because you guessed it … ) , you should know he spoke very highly of you … at one point he said to me you were the most gifted writer he’d encountered in Chicago.


  4. Hi Chuck,

    Two people seem to think he has died in a car accident in the Bronx. I could not find any obituaries on line but then again not everyone dies online. However … it would seem pretty strange to me for Malone to be married to a woman and living in Bloomington but stranger things have happened. Just please don’t tell me he’s also turned to God and joined a Christian cult or some other such rubbish …

    Sedaris and I were in the same classes at SAIC in the early 80s and as far as I know he was not writing for Gag or Babble when I wrote for them in the 90s. But I also didn’t personally know every contributor to that magazine (don’t remember meeting you though I remember your cartoons … ). Certainly, there was nothing I recall in any Gag or Babble issue that was close to David’s style of work, and I clearly remember him performing at Lower Links and Millie’s Orchid show and just starting to get play on NPR too. Thanks for that clarification on one point, but tossing a world of confusion in at the other end. I’ll be happy if Malone is still alive and kicking …


  5. Hi Bittergirl, Malone is not dead, and is certainly alive and kicking. He has not turned to God, nor joined a cult or done any crazy 180’s. He lives near Bloomington and works for a local airline. Out of respect for his privacy I won’t elaborate on his marital status, but he’s the same old Malone. I haven’t spoken to him in about a year, but a mutual friend of ours talks to him weekly, and cracked up when I asked him if perhaps I missed something and Malone was dead. Hopefully this clears up any confusion.


  6. If Malone (mark) Sizelove is around I would love to make contact with him! He was one of my closest friends ever and I miss him. Malone, if you are checking in I miss Fairview, Chicago, drinking the 50.00 bag, and all the great times. Love ya!


    • I know hon – we are back in touch again – thanks though as I’d forgotten about this blog post and had forgotten to update this page. Updated now!


  7. i ain’t dead… what’s that mark twain quote of my passing has been… et al. it was my cousin malcom who died in the car accident in the bronx over a decade ago.
    donna karan is not my godmother and irving penn is not my godfather. i did not discover david sedaris, we were simply friends and he never wrote for us (but was interviewed a few times for babble and gab) and i did have sex on his desk in the west village apt he had chuck and i were staying at…. breaking a bird bone “sculpture”… which i never said boo about. amazing what people write and believe… as if i am one to talk!!


  8. Hey there – I am not sure if you are still active on this blog, but I am hoping to find someone who can point me in the direction of any queer zine that came out of Chicago in the 1990s, especially if it was close to 1996 and/or from a trans, latinx, or POC folks. I’d love to get a photocopy/scan of at least one full zine from this time/criteria, and ideally multiple if possible? If you are still around and can help point me in the right direction on this, can you leave a reply comment telling me how to contact you? Much thanks, – Megan


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