Uncovered: PFIQ Issue 4

The early issues of any print publication go a long way towards defining their overall visual identity; what makes it “it” is honed by the editor’s choice in orchestrating the entire finished product which includes deciding on what you could consider is the most important aspect- the design of the front cover.

Early PFIQ issues, edited by Jim Ward, favored illustrated covers with art primarily provided by Bud Larsen, but with issue four the duties were handled by an illustrator named, simply, Ronin. I did a little digging and couldn’t really find out anything about him, but you have to appreciate Jim’s decision to feature an all female trio of cover “models” in a time where the body piercing demographic heavily skewed towards gay males. While the documentation of the early days of the western piercing scene is, by availability, often very one sided, Jim always featured as diverse a lineup as contributions would allow in PFIQ.

Issue #4 featured a “Who’s Who” article on Alan Oversby, AKA Mister Sebastian.


Shawn Porter has spent the majority of his life in the modification world. As a body modification archivist and documentarian, he has one of the most extensive collections of documents relating to the early American body modification community outside of academia. He edited the SPC website from 1995 to 2005, co-founded ModCon, was the host of ModCons 3.5 and 4, and created and hosted The Scarwars Project from 2004-2007. In 2011 Shawn launched Occult Vibrations, a blog devoted to traditional American tattoos with a focus on the occult and esoteric. He currently resides in Philadelphia with his wife Julia and their creepy pets Mr. Bailey Papers and L. RonBenet Ramsey.


  1. I appreciate you putting this out publicly. I’ve found in my own research that the often repeated Gay Male BDSM history of Piercing is incomplete and actually hindered richer understandings of our shared past.

    Thank you again Shawn for your thoughtful approach!

    1. I think a lot of time there’s a confusion between history and the ‘history of what we have available’ when it comes to underdocumented subcultures. For years I’ve posted and shared what was available to me and, coming from the sources that it did documents a very specific version of the story. It’s not exclusionary as much as it documents the scene as viewed by the parties involved; they photographed who they knew. But if you step back and look at the bigger picture- and here it’s kind of funny to use the word underdocumented when the 70s-90s had more (print) documentation of the piercing scene than we have now- it’s a much different story. That’s the importance of other voices telling their stories and context being established.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *