Flotation Device is a personal zine published by Chicagoan Keith Helt.
The first issue appeared in 1997 and twelve issues have been published sporadically over the past ten years. The first six issues were written in a loose, stream of conscious style and were shorter in length. Beginning with issue seven Helt began writing longer, themed issues. The change came about while Helt was studying journalism and fiction writing at Columbia College Chicago. Issue seven focused on Helt's high school friendships. Issue eight was an all comics issue in which all of the comics featured Helt in some way. Some of the contributors included: Steve Krakow (Plastic Crimewave), Jeremy Smith (Onsmith), Missy Kulik, John Porcellino, and Benjamin Chandler. Issue nine was a double sized issue in which the theme was Converse All-Stars. Issue ten was about Helt’s extended stay with a family in Costa Rica. Issue eleven was another all comics issue, this time telling the story of how Helt became a zine publisher. Artists included: Gabrielle Bell, Allison Cole, Dylan Horrocks, Onsmith, Missy Kulik, Anders Nilsen, John Porcellino, Jeffrey Brown, Benjamin Chandler, Kevin Huizenga, Cole Johnson, Ted May, Ryoko Oguchi and Robert Ullman. Issue twelve dealt with an extended stay in Guadalajara, warehouse work, trees and mortality. It also featured two comics by Lilli Carré.
The first nine issues of Flotation Device were all written by hand but, due to increasing length and decreasing legibility, Helt began to primarily use type for subsequent issues.
Although print publication of Flotation Device has tapered off, the zine continues on in blog form and is currently being regularly updated. Please see http://flotationdevice.wordpress.com/ if you are interested.