“Why not squeeze all the fun and interesting ideas onto a single piece of paper and hand out to a bunch to people? It’s easy and cheap to do but nobody has done it yet,” Hur said to two of her friends.
This was the moment of conception of “the omnidirectionally stupid biweekly one-paper free magazine,” The Very Flier.
The Very Flier is a magazine in the form of a flier published every three weeks on both sides of a single A3 size paper.
The first issue came out on Oct. 10, 2011, and approximately 1,000 copies have been printed and distributed nationwide for each issues.
The five co-founding members were appointed as The Very Editors: Publisher Kim Do-hyun (Chugye University for the Arts, 3), editor Hur Heui-jung, creative director Kim Eo-jin (Sogang University, 3), designer Han Gyu-hyun (Korea National University of Arts, 3), and promoter Lee Yu-kyoung (Chugye University for the Arts, 3).
The Very Editors started publishing the flier with the intention of “recycling disposed ideas,” which can be easily found in daily life, such as in gossip or text messages between friends or in online communities.
From a meaningless yet artistic doodle on one’s class notes to an overly serious discussion on finding the sociological meaning of a joke, anything that people find brilliant, interesting, or fun can be a subject for the flier. All of these ideas previously regarded as illegitimate because impractical or overly elaborate are revived and then randomly distributed to a wider audience.
“All of these are the ‘overly-smart’ ideas that may seem stupid and silly at first, yet make people stop and think again, ‘It really sounds awesome!’” the creative director Kim said.
As The Very Flier aims to squeeze in all the brilliant and fun ideas and spread them, it lets readers write freely for the flier through a corner called “Catcher in the Rye.”
“Anyone can be a catcher in the rye after writing at least once for the flier, which helps save the flier from becoming a hackneyed magazine and losing its identity,” the publisher Kim said. “Whether writing only once or serially for a hundred years on any topic, it’s totally up to the reader.”
Since its first issue, 11 issues of The Very lier have been published and distributed to 29 university campuses including Ewha, 35 different locations in the city, and two free markets.
Other than these official sites, 27 readers of The Very Flier volunteer to participate in distributing issues to different areas, including Seoul, Kangwon-do, Kyungsangnam-do, and even Jeju Island. This extraordinary sort of reader is called “The Very Fraktsiya.”
Fraktsiya is a Russian word used in Korea which refers to someone sent by an organization to undertake an important mission.
With the help of both The Very Fraktsiyas and ordinary readers, The Very Flier has now gained 107 subscribers, who pay to receive the flier by mail every issue. Such consistency is hard to find among readers of other free independent magazines.
For the first anniversary of The Very Flier, the editors held a meeting with their readers at Daehangno, Seoul on Sept. 9 to show their appreciation to the readers and discussed the past, present, and future of The Very Flier.
At the meeting, 34 readers participated and had a chance to communicate with the Very Editors. The Very Editors went through what they have done and their plan for the next few years, such as incorporation.
“The Very Editors want to do so many things with the flier, like setting up small newsstands exclusively for The Very Flier in subway stations,” publisher Kim said. “In order to do so, we need to be an official periodical defined by the law, which can be done through incorporating The Very Flier.”
As The Very Flier is free of charge for its readers, the publication cost comes directly from the editors’ own pockets. When the first issue was 95 percent complete, they were short by 270,000 won toward purchasing a printer for the fliers and had to receive help through social funding.
Starting from the next issue, they plan to increase the number of copies fourfold, to 4,000, solely relying on payments from subscribers and social funding. The Very Editors have an ultimate goal of making the flier a daily magazine someday.
“The Very Flier will be continued until the flier becomes so omnipresent that my father returns home from work with a flier in his hand,” publisher Kim said.
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