From the Vaults: NoPants #4

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Eight and a half years after I released NoPants #3, I began work on a glorious resurrection that resulted in NoPants #4.

You can download a PDF of NoPants #4. And if you dare to care, here's the story of how NoPants returned from the grave:

In the summer of 2011, I joined the planning committee of the inaugural Pittsburgh Zine Fair. I was an active self-publisher at the time and hungry to help craft an event that would do zinesters and local comics creators justice.

I wanted to have at least one purebred zine on my table along with my minicomics, and I instantly thought of NoPants. I scanned in all of the old pages and began collecting them into a NoPants Anthology:

But I didn't stop there. Inspired by my old handiwork, I set about crafting a new issue of NoPants that would fill out the end of the NoPants Anthology. And thus NoPants #4 was born from my brain!

Desiring to stick to the loose format I'd developed over the first three issues, I mixed guerrilla collage with raw cartoons and some oddball prose pieces, including a fake confessional like this:

I had a blast putting this new issue together. I'd always used whatever magazines I could find lying around to supply the images and this time was no different. An unknown benefactor had purchased a year's subscription of Ebony for me and so I had a stack of unread issues sitting in my apartment.

Frankly, I think this issue of NoPants might be my best. With the older zines, I used at least one page per issue to communicate personal information about myself, be it music reviews or memories or something about my friends.

But this time around I had my blog and my podcasts satiating my desire to represent my true self to the world. And that freed me up to focus on putting together the most bizarre magazine satire that I could muster.

Will there ever be a NoPants #5? Maybe, but I don't know when.

I'd love to put the zine together now and end this trip down memory lane with a real bang. However, I've got my hands full with the AudioShocker and my new Nik Furious album (out on 11/12/13!) and much more.

So until the time comes when I can dedicate my brain to crafting the weirdest and most subversive magazine parody possible, NoPants will have to remain a distant memory... FROM THE VAULTS!!!

From the Vaults: NoPants #3

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

There is no NoPants #2. I went straight from NoPants #1 to NoPants #3. Why? Because I enjoy being obtuse.

You can download a PDF of NoPants #3. And if you wanna find out how I made this zine happen, here's the tale:

Before I get into the backstory, I want to gush about how much I love this cover. I fucking love this cover. There. Got it out of my system. Gushing over.

I tried to get personal in different ways with #3. Instead sharing music reviews like the previous issues, I opted for an in depth description of my favorite childhood game. Do kids even play Butts Up anymore?

There are some undertones of misogyny going on throughout NoPants #3 and that makes me sad when I look back on it. It's not oppressive or anything. Hell, you might not even notice. But I do.

By December 2002, my group of friends was changing significantly and I was becoming increasingly surrounded by a bunch of boys-will-be-boys type of guys who drank a lot and had a bunch of latent hostility towards women.

Stuff like this fake editorial was really funny to me at the time. But now it's not my sense of humor. I mean, I think the first few sentences are a decent setup. But then it gets very conventional and begins spinning the humor at the expense of the woman with no real payoff or satire. It's just kind of bitter and awkward.

Sadly, NoPants #3 was the unintentional end of the series. Following the 2002-2003 winter break, I returned to college with a serious hunger for partying and recording music. And I just forgot about making more issues of NoPants...

...until it was time for my senior thesis! Seriously. My senior thesis at Carnegie Mellon University was a zine. And so was my first post-college resume. I'd share them with you but I threw them away by mistake when I moved to Long Beach.

Next: Like a phoenix from the ashes, NoPants returns for the 2011 Pittsburgh Zine Fair with a fourth issue.

From the Vaults: NoPants #1

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

With NoPants #0, I reignited the flame in my belly to make zines. With NoPants #1, I took that flame and lit a bunch of shit on fire.

You can download a PDF of NoPants #1. And if you wanna know more about the creation of this issue, here's how it went down:

I'm not sure when I made this issue. But it says 2002 on it, so I'm gonna assume that it came out in November since #0 was released in October.

This entire fall 2002 college semester was a lonely and confusing one for me. I think the angst I was feeling began to spill out in the odd "insert" which takes up the majority of this issue.

I took a bunch of loose doodles from my notebooks and turned them into a pathos-riddled coloring book in the middle of NoPants. While it's pretty common to see homemade coloring books at zine fairs and small press expos nowadays, I thought I was really breaking some new ground at the time!

The coloring book pages are filled with hyperbole like "I hate my life" and creepy scenes like a bleeding couch, but there's still some truth and vulnerability to all of it. I think this page captures that dynamic best:

I don't actually hate my family. Well, not all of the time! But sometimes they drive me crazy. Especially back then when my parents were splitting up and my sister was starting to raise her own family. I was an irresponsible 20-year-old who was annoyed by the mature issues they were dealing with.

I also continued my storytelling feature with "New Juice". It's not groundbreaking or anything. But these little first person stories were always a ton of fun for me to write and my most nostalgia-inducing moments in NoPants. This page is sideways in the zine, forcing readers to spin it to read my tale of minibar horror.

If, after reading this zine, you're asking yourself "But, Nick... why?!?" I think it's worth noting that NoPants didn't cost me a penny.

Now it's standard practice to charge college students for copies and keep track of how much they print from the computer. But at the time, my school didn't do that. Plus, I had a part-time job at the school's copy center. So I could basically make any copies I wanted any time I wanted.

Next: NoPants #3 because NoPants #2 doesn't exist.

From the Vaults: NoPants #0

Monday, November 4th, 2013

NoPants was my college zine. It featured pop culture satire, fake news, music reviews, and absurd collage packaged together as a ludicrous lo-fi magazine parody.

You can download a PDF of NoPants #0. And if you wanna know more about this issue of NoPants, here's how it came to be:

In the fall of 2002, I moved into a dilapidated house with six other people that I barely knew. I lived in a closet. Not metaphorically, but literally... my room was three feet wide and maybe five or six feet long.

I'd recently left my tight group of friends, quit my raunchy college rock band (Dirty Weekend), and my parents were on the verge of divorce.

I hated Carnegie Mellon University and I desperately needed new outlets to keep my mind off of everything else. That meant new music, new classes, new friends, and -- to a large degree -- even a new identity.

One of those outlets came in the form of a new zine series, NoPants.

I was no stranger to mixing lo-fi collage with goofy text and handing it out to people. The Lockeroom was my high school zine that basically got me into college.

Eager to reconnect with a defining moment of my high school years, NoPants exited my brain at top speed in October 2002. The content of this first issue was a natural extension of the humor I created years earlier for The Lockeroom.

My conscious goal was to create an art product that was relatively simple to reproduce. My subconscious goal was to rebel against principles of "good clean design" that I was constantly hearing about my first two years of college. That's probably why I handed out most of them to my friends studying graphic design.

Its reception was lukewarm at best. My roommates sort of ignored it and I barely got any feedback from my friends. While I would've loved a warm response, this didn't deter me. I was making it for myself.

I dig certain aspects of #0, but I think it was only a starting point. This issue doesn't have nearly as much pathos or poignancy as subsequent installments, which were packed full of more personal content and bigger ideas.

Next: Shit gets twisted in NoPants #1.

Catch me at the Pittsburgh Zine Fair!

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

On Thursday, September 1st from 5-10 PM I'll be at AIR peddling my minicomics and zines at the mega-awesome super-bodacious PITTSBURGH ZINE FAIR!!!

Here are my new releases created especially for this year's debut show:

Tales for a New Gen

I'm thrilled to present this zine of three short sci-fi tales by Justique Woolridge. I did a few illustrations and the book design for TFANG, but make no mistake -- Justique is the star here, writing the kickass tales and designing the gorgeous cover.

NoPants Zine Anthology

NoPants was my early 00s satire of corporate magazine culture, full of nonsense and cheeky ignorance. I've decided to collect the three original NoPants issues and create a new one just for the Pittsburgh Zine Fair. But instead of printing them individually, I'm collected them into a 48-page anthology of insanity.

Along with these two new releases, I'll also have issues of Time Log, some Super Haters ashcans, my sci-fi minicomic Passage, Poetree (which was randomly featured on the front page of Pop City today (see below for a screen cap), and more.

Still not convinced? Check out this video ad for the Zine Fair:

You might recognize the music -- it's my song Essential from Brilliant Shower. I'll be playing my Nik Furious music at the Fair from 8-9:30 PM, tearing it up with some of my mixtape mixes, original instrumentals, and favorites from other musicians.

So that's it. That's all I've got. That's my best sales pitch. Hope to see you there!!!