Raw Material

Rod Lott, Hitch

Age: 26

Selections: "Real-Life Giant Construction Kit for Kids" (page 26); "Two Minutes Batchat with Adam West" (page 54); "Rejected Apes Subplots," by Rod and Chris Henry (page 83); "The Shaneshaw Redemption," by Brad Lott (page 137)

Recent reviews (from Schlock): "Hitch has got to be one of the zinedom's funniest and most wise-ass magazines I've read. At times it reminds me of the old National Lampoon, back when it was actually funny." (From Damaged): "Hitch is the king of all zines!"

Sample: $4 from P.O. Box 23621, Oklahoma City, OK 73123 (checks: Rod Lott)

When did you launch your zine? What inspired you to do so?
I launched Hitch during a brief period of unemployment in the summer of 1994. Right before I graduated with a journalism degree in 1993 from the University of Oklahoma, a friend and I joked about how we could avoid working for a newspaper when we got out into the real world. One option I came up with was to start our own magazine. Of course, since neither of our families are Rockefellers, that was an impossibility. But it was still something I'd always wanted to do. So after the national magazine I was working for (Private Practice) went out of business in May 1994, I was bored for about six weeks sitting at home. So I put the first issue together, and had a lot of fun doing so...except that since I wasn't drawing a paycheck, it didn't get printed until a month after I found another job. I've kept it going ever since, and it only gets more and more fun.

Why publish a zine?
To me, coming from a journalism background, the publishing process is a lot of fun. I'm always disappointed a little once each issue comes back from the printer, because the fun part's over. Also, in college I gained a cult following as a long-running columnist in the student daily, where I'd get recognized, receive fan mail and even be stalked by crazed females (including one who asked me to marry her—I didn't). I really kind of missed having people read my work and respond to it, so a zine was a wholly natural step.

What can you tell us about the selections you provided for "The Book of Zines"?
Fan Photo"Two Minutes Batchat With Adam West": My fascination with Batman is well-known among friends and family members. In fact, in grade school, I gave up the chance to say a final goodbye to our family's dying sheepdog because Batman was battling Mr. Freeze. Batman took precedence over everything, and still does. I even place it before sex with the wife. When I heard that Adam West was coming to OKC to do some chintzy grocery store appearance, I knew I had to be there. I tried to no avail to get a one-on-one interview, so I had to settle with just throwing out questions while he signed my Batman video. I had to work up the nerve to be able to ask my childhood hero about the chafing.
Giant box"Real-Life Giant Construction Equipment for Kids": A journalism school friend and Hitch contributor Taylor Holland first introduced me to Hard Hat Harry by commenting on the insane ads you'd see for this video on late-night TV. I'd never heard of it. About a year later, though, I was fishing through the coupon circulars in our daily paper and found an offer for the video for only $4.95. I thought it would be funny to review, but it was horrifying. I cannot bring myself to watch it a second time. I am haunted by dreams of Hard Hat Harry.

Have you ever published any other zines?
In high school, a classmate and I started an underground newspaper called "The Weekly Onion." It was all typed out on a dot matrix printer and laid out with rubber cement and Xeroxed on a horrible copy machine. When the first issue came out (all four pages of it), we almost got suspended. We were told never to do another issue. We said okay. Then we did 29 more. There was some funny stuff in there, and a few pieces have found their way into the pages of Hitch.

Any general tips for aspiring zinesters?
Don't copy other zines. When you're getting ready to start one, read a bunch of others and then create something totally different. Don't expect to make money. Don't think that getting a distributor will make you money, either. Don't run poetry. And when doing a zine ceases to be fun, quit immediately.

What's your favorite part of doing a zine?
As a journalist, the actual "work" of a zine—the editing and the layout—will always be my favorite part of doing one. The least? The whole postage and mailing thing.

In my other life, I'm an:
Indentured servant.

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