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Nostalgia

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

4:00 AM EST on January 18, 2021

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.

_

Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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