Student Art: Connor Murnion

by Brook Gardner-Durbin

Since the beginning of this semester, you may have noticed small notebooks laying around campus or coffee shops and bookstores called, “Scenes from the New World.” These notebooks are a zine —a self-published, short magazine with small circulation. The zine is the work of Connor Murnion, a junior studying cell biology and neuroscience at MSU.

Each issue contains a few scenes from Murnion’s imagined future, taking place around 2060, but sometimes jumping even farther ahead in time. “It’s a post-apocalyptic Earth, after a genetically engineered virus kills off a lot of the population,” said Murnion. “There are two stories that weave throughout and continue, and some are self contained in each zine.”

Murnion describes the stories as “fantastic reality,” akin to much of Neil Gaiman’s writing. The stories are fantasy, but they take place in more of an altered present world, rather than in the knights-and-dragons world that frequently comes to mind when the word “fantasy” is used.

The individual scenes come from a larger story which Murnion and his friend, Joe Schadt, a junior student in MSU’s film program, created together. In the future, the two plan to work together to create a screenplay from the material. However, it will be an original work from the same source idea, not a re-writing of the stories published in the zine.

Murnion and Schadt met in preschool and have been good friends since sixth grade. They started working on the idea together during fall semester of 2011. “It took a while to get off the ground,” said Murnion about the story.

[pullquote align=”right”]“It’s been a lot more than expected; It’s been a good experiment to do it all myself.” – Connor Murnion, Student Artist[/pullquote]

It also took a long time to turn the idea for the zine into reality. Murnion designed the cover and layout (and everything else) of the zine himself and personally funded the printing. The zine is published the first and third Thursday of every month; Murnion prints 150 copies, which costs about $80 per printing. Additionally, the zine is free, which means Murnion does not make a profit based off his work and expenses. “It’s been a lot more than I expected,” he said, adding, “It’s been a good experiment to do it all myself.”

Because the project is mostly for his own self-satisfaction (and to help develop the world of the story), Murnion isn’t particularly concerned with how many people are reached by the zine. While he would prefer people read the stories, he said, “[It] doesn’t break my heart people aren’t raving about this all the time.” However, the screenplay and film Murnion and Schadt hope to create would be meant for more widespread consumption.

Previous stories can be read on the zine’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/NewWorldZine, and Murnion can be reached at newworldzines@gmail.com. The next issue will be released on Nov. 21.