Yes, BMX zines do still exist
Between trades, purchases, and packages that end up in my mailbox, I've amassed a decent collection of BMX zines over the past few months. What was once an easy subculture to keep up on through Taj's BMX Media has become extremely overwhelming if you don't know where to go. Even Google searches usually just give you a picture of Kevin Robinson wallriding from an old issue of InVert Magazine. So with that said, I'd like to take the opportunity to shed some light on the little guys of BMX media as often as possible. If the zines keep coming in, I'll keep reviewing them here on the blog. And if you'd like to get in touch about where to send a zine for review please do so by leaving your contact info in the comments.
CULT #3: CULT/Japanther
A far cry from the glossy giant that is issue 4 of CULT, this little bugger is one of thirty and assembled entirely by hand. Nary a computer created image in sight; stickers, stencils and hand styles are the medium of choice here. There also happens to be no BMX whatsoever in this one. Actually save for the Lit Fuse Cyclery sticker in the back, one might never know this one was affiliated with BMX or cycling in general. The edition size of thirty has me thinking these are gone. But if you're a CULT super fan try Adam Roye for contact info.
Yo Sick #7: Locals Only
Prashant Gopal's seventh installment of his ever-evolving publication takes on the guise of a black and white, quarter-sized fanzine to spots. Occasionally a person or an action photo rears its ugly head, but what really shines through are the desolate photographs of stairs, rails, banks, and ledges. If you had never picked up a BMX bike or a skateboard you may be scratching your head. In fact, even if you have picked up a BMX bike or a skateboard you may be scratching your head. But as Prashant points out in the intro, this zine is "For those that enjoy searching as much as the session." You can get in touch with Prashant via e-mail at prashantgopal[at]gmail[dot]com.
The only zine in this bunch to boast an 8.5"x 11" format (the rest are standard 5.5"x 8.5"), Wildman is a 20-page mess of photographs, thoughts, and writings from Bainbridge Island, Washington. The handmade aesthetic looks great on this one and although some of the photos xeroxed a little dark, it's nice to deal with little imperfections that aren't created with an iPhone app. The best part about Wildman is the simplistic approach to the writing. A rider bio on someone only referred to as Gus reads, "This is Gus -- he likes drunk biking. Last year he built up a new bike and I had a new camera -- so we rode and I had to shoot these gnarly crank stalls." If this seems like something you may be into, contact Zephyr Wadkins through Wildman's here.
No Bummers: Riley McMaster
I've never officially met Riley but by the looks of this zine, he strikes me as someone who understands comedy as well as having a good time. No Bummers is a 36-page, full-color document featuring "Travels of America as experienced by America enthusiast and Christian homeowner, Riley McMaster." The majority of the photographs are snapshots of pretty American objects like fireworks, adult beverages and cars. Riley also cryptically intersperses his advice with handwritten statements such as "touririzing the touririzers" and "car insurance is cheaper than rent." Don't worry though, these aren't the writings of someone romanticizing Thoreau, I get the feeling Riley's tongue is firmly placed in his cheek. Contact info is available here.
Bob Quirk started JNKFD as an online flipbook using the popular Web application, ISSU. While these were cool in their own right, the lo-fi vibe of JNKFD seemed out of place on the Internet. Luckily Bob thought the same thing and dove in head first to publishing with a 56-page, heavily image-based zine. Together with his partner in crime, Christian Hewitt, the pages are jam packed with RVA locals, portraits, debauchery, and some great, no-frills BMX photos. This one has a Hamburger Eyes vibe to it, only it's even grittier. I highly recommend getting your hands on this and hopefully Bob will bum the world out again with JNKFD #2. Keep your fingers crossed. For ordering information get in touch with JNKFD via e-mail at jnkfdbmx[at]gmail[dot]com.
I would be lying if I didn't say I was a huge Taj Mihelich fan boy as an adolescent BMXer. In fact, Issue #1 of T-1's zine (yes, Cult wasn't the first company to have a zine) was one of the first zines I had ever laid my eyes on. The first issue of Taj's Odyssey (pun intended) continues the feeling of those early Terrible One zines. Animals, Nature Vs. Cities, the Apocalypse; all of these ideas are ongoing themes in Fairdale. And while I feel like I've grown out of this style of art, I have to hand it to Taj for doing it his way after all of these years. Worth it for the interactive flip pages in the center, Fairdale is still available.
Ober Zine issues #2 and #3
What a treat these UK zines are. A true local zine, Ober features photos of people you have never heard of riding spots just like the ones in your hometown, recipes in what looks like a seventeen year old girl's handwriting and detailed articles ranging from working at a thrift store to solo long distance bike rides through France. I know that last activity sounds pretentious but the David Attenborough report on "The Rise of the Magascene Moron" has me thinking pretense is an enemy to Oberzine. Top all of the above mentioned articles off with hand drawn titles plus how to articles on dyeing your plastic pedals and you've got the recipe for a classic. Check out Oberzine to get in touch about ordering.