The Hitch Years: An Encapsulation of Indie Publishing in 90s OKC

I still remember when I picked up my first copy of Hitch, the official zine of Oklahoma City; it was in the much-missed Bollinger’s Books, where I spent to good lot of time and money in the early 90s. With its somewhat heavy cardstock cover featuring both Planet of the Apes and Richard Simmons, I became a true fanatic by reading the contents cover to cover late one afternoon and then again that evening.

It was issue seven—the “First Anniversary Issue”—of the locally produced magazine. While I had been interested in fair share of small magazines throughout the years, when I learned that Hitch was made in Oklahoma City, my 15-year-old mind nearly couldn’t handle it, shouting to those that might listen that the best magazine that has ever been published is doing it right here. Of course, nobody I knew gave a damn.

But Rod Lott…I knew he would give a damn.

Almost as soon as I had finished the lone copy—and a subsequent issue of the latest Factsheet 5—I was thoroughly inspired to not only start my own magazine, Damaged, but interview Lott for my first issue. As we talked in the study room at the Belle Isle Library where I kept an afterschool job, though we had vastly different lives and, as I’d soon learn, wildly different futures, he would go on to become one of my personal heroes.

It was a few issues down the line before I sheepishly asked to write an article or two for Hitch, a mixture of being absolutely afraid to put myself out there and that inherent teenage laziness because I knew I wasn’t anywhere near the level of Lott and his friends; however, Lott allowed me to write for him, I think around the time I was graduating from high school, if I’m not mistaken.

Over the next few years I wrote articles about trips to KJ103’s late, lamentable Summerfest, a veritable hive of killer insect films and an erection-inducing interview with sexy screen-legend Mamie Van Doren, among many others. And really, who can forget that time Rod and I watched all the Police Academy flicks in a row, answering the eternal question “How much Guttenberg can one man take?”

For me, it was the perfect school of independent publishing that I still believe in wholly to this day, as witnessed right here.

But, as with all things, sometime around 2005 Hitch had to come to an end. For almost fifteen years, Lott, along with numerous writers and artists, created a landmark zine that gave birth to many initiators and imitators all across Oklahoma and, yes, America. The zine revolution eventually died out soon thereafter, with Hitch leaving behind a truly insurmountable legacy, a sheer comedic force that was always the most inspirational part of not only my relationship with printed matter, but with Lott as well.

I hear that Lott’s currently prepping a book of his collected movie reviews over the years. And, you know, when it comes out, for a few scant moments, I’ll probably revert back to that attention-seeking teenager that I once was, being the first to buy a copy of the tome, eagerly getting him to sign a copy of it for me.


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7 Responses

  1. Mamie Van Doren?! In Person? Awesome! I

  2. I remember FACTSHEET FIVE well.

    From it I learned of such classics as DUPLEX PLANET, a zine about the residents of a nursing home where the publisher of the zine worked as an activities directory. Started in ’79 and is still being published (!!!)

    Inspired by these misfits, I also published a zine and later a quarterly magazine, both of which went nowhere fast.

    In those pre-Web days, being able to tap into the collective hive of fellow Weirds was pretty fascinating.

    1. Well, you certainly get my vote as far as being the most
      creative among the regular commenters here.
      I always get a kick out of reading them.

      1. Thank you, sir.

        I feel like a performer whose audience gave him a standing ovulation!

  3. Dear Lord and Louis: Unlike me, you guys probably aren’t fermented enough to have experienced the societal turbulence of the late 1960’s. So, thought I’d tell ya’. During that volatile era, a weekly indie underground newspaper entitled The Jones Family Grandchildren, popped up in the OKC metro area. Free copies! Chock full of articles denouncing the war, promoting free love and legalizing grass, along with many other fuck the establishment tirades. Self-published by an eccentric hippie in his early 20’s, who had deep trust fund pockets. It was fun as hell, reading his rag, and every week I’d run down to the quick stop and get me a copy. Alas, there was one instance when the paper didn’t show up on schedule and ultimately arrived four days past the usual time. Page 2 contained an explanation from the publisher….”Sorry for this delayed issue. I’ve been tripping on acid all week, but I finally got my shit together”.

    1. I wish I could get my hands on a copy.

      I bet life wasn’t easy in OKC for anyone with hippie tendencies back in the Vietnam War era…

    2. trust fund hippie – that’s classic
      living his dream off someone else’s hard work while draftees his own age were getting massacred in a war they didn’t start and shouldn’t have been involved in.

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