'Ben is Dead' was a small, semi-professional fanzine published by Darby Romeo, from her bedroom in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles. Issue #1 was released in 1988; the final issue, #30, was released in 1999. It seemed to mark the end of 'zines as a going concern, all putative bedroom publishers having moved to the internet in the intervening decade. At a time when people expect nothing more from printed magazines than a lot of adverts and some libertarian propaganda ('Wired', et al), there isn't much of a place for amusing whimsy.

Ben is Dead had a wide brief, covering music, art, and retro culture; whilst it was never particularly famous, it was well-liked. Copies can be found on eBay, for money. It hasn't left much of an impact on the modern-day mainstream internet, with which it briefly co-existed, but there are some things out there. Look it up.

The name came from Darby's ex-husband, a French person called Ben. It is not a reference to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Ben is not actually dead.

The magazine begat one mainstream book, the superb 'Retro Hell'. You can find it in the 'culture' section of most major bookshops, and it reads very much like 'Everything2', but with a retro slant. It's perfect to dip into if you grew up in the mid/late-70s and 80s, or if you're curious about naugahyde. Everybody is curious about naugahyde. I am curious about naugahyde. And so are you.

The website used to be based at http://www.benisdead.com/ - if you went there when this writeup was writ, you got porn, whereas nowadays you get a useless search engine/directory service. That's how the internet has evolved since mid-2001.

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