Detroit Culture in ‘Orbit’: Peelin’ Back the Pages of the Alternative Magazine’s Anthology

Inside a new anthology that tracks more than 30 years of Detroit culture in the alternative press

Travis Wright

Before blogs and memes, we had alt-rags and zines. During the 1980s and ‘well into 90s, humor was comparatively ratcheted-up in what was a starkly less politically correct era. We’re talking about a time back when stand-up comedians Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld still performed on college campuses. Detroiters were better at taking (and making) a damn joke, too, and felt more free to laugh at themselves and their city with noses tucked into the folds of various alternative magazines published by one of Detroit’s most infamous publishers and artists, Jerry Vile. 

A new anthology authored and compiled by Rob St. Mary and published by Wayne State University Press tracks more than 30 years of relevant, often hilarious moments in Detroit sub-culture press. “ReEntry: The Orbit Magazine Anthology” features clips from the infrequent punk zine “White Noise,” which laid the foundation for the more satirical yet also more serious “Fun Magazine” and, later, one of the most influential alternative arts and culture magazines this city has ever seen, “Orbit.” 

Wayne State University Press