PFIQ is the acronym and common name for a publication known as Piercing Fans International Quarterly, which was published by Jim Ward from 1977 to 1997. Ward pioneered the field of body piercing and operated The Gauntlet, which was the first commercial establishment to offer the service in the United States.
History and profile
The first issue of the magazine appeared in October 1977. The first 14 issues of PFIQ were in black and white with single-color highlights in a few issues. From issue #15 on, the covers and centerfolds were in full color. The first issue was 16 pages long; by issue #31, PFIQ had grown to 32 pages. Page count continued to gradually increase. Issue #50, the final issue, contained 64 pages. All issues were 8½×11" in size.
Only the first five issues were dated on the cover, though most of them included a copyright year. However, every issue was independently numbered. In spite of calling itself a quarterly, the publication was chronically late and the average number of issues per year, over the lifetime of PFIQ, was about 3.
Issues #1 and #3 were reprinted in the 1980s. The reprints are not hard to distinguish from the originals. The original issue #1 was black and white with two spot colors; the reprint has only the purple on the cover. Issue #3 was a complete redesign and bears the words "Revised Edition" on the cover.
PFIQ contained a wide variety of material, mostly about body piercing, but occasionally about other forms of body art and body modification. A long series of articles by Jim Ward, "Pierce with a Pro," gave detailed information on how to perform many different piercings. Gauntlet also produced three "how-to" videos under the same title. Part 1 on male piercings appeared in 1988; part 2 covering female and unisex piercings was issued in 1994; part 3, an update of the first video came out in 1996.
The magazine contents also included interviews, accounts of piercings, letters from readers, book and video reviews, photographs, artwork, and fiction. PFIQ also contained advertising from a few businesses in closely related fields. Subscribers also received Pin Pals, a sheet of classified ads created to enable people with body piercings to meet each other.
PFIQ was a controversial publication, due to its graphic portrayal of nudity and the piercing process. In some countries it was considered obscene, and confiscated by postal customs officials. It ceased publication in 1997 when Jim Ward sold Gauntlet. (Gauntlet failed under its new owner and closed in 1998.)
Frank Zappa fans will also recognise PFIQ from the posthumous EIHN (Everything Is Healing Nicely) album, where excerpts are read out during the tracks Master Ringo and Wonderful Tattoo! Listen for the line "Now air can get through." on the resolution of a problem with an intimate piercing that produces an odor, which results in a wave of hysterical laughter through the studio as non-English speaking members of Ensemble Modern hear the translation.
Tattoo Sammy appeared in PFIQ #18 (1983) and #19 as the magazine’s first documented tongue piercing.
- Jim Ward. "VIII. The World’s First Piercing Magazine". Running the Gauntlet. Retrieved 15 November 2015.