Review of Jenkem Vol.1

Jenkem-2Michigan’s #1 Ramp Tramp. Photo: Jenkem

Print is dead, long live print! Over the last few years it has been generally accepted that print is dead, and that online content is what the punters want, or at least it is what they are willing to consume free of charge. And yet not that long after our review of the Quartersnacks hardback, we have the opportunity to take an early look at the optimistically titled Jenkem Vol.1. The 224 page hardback is intended as the first of many volumes of printed “shenanigans.” And judging by the calibre of the writing and illustration it contains, it will surely be in high demand from square eyed adolescents strung out on print.

For any fans of rags to riches stories, Jenkem started out in 2011 as a zine, but shortly moved online where it built a following. Now, with the support of Converse, it has re-entered the print world in a glossy and hardback form.

It is refreshing to find that Jenkem have republished certain pieces, as in these content hungry days we are all guilty of skim-reading or missing great articles, and then never returning to them properly. Jenkem have also made the decision to republish the 2013 Marc Johnson interview in which he describes the impact of what he calls “Big Company” on the skate industry and skate shops. This piece gains a new significance in light of the recent sports shoe dramas.

The illustrations and comic strips are well suited here, and Jon Horner’s ‘Where’s Forrest’ double page spread comic is a highlight. There are some really geeky details in there, and an on point cartoon rendering of Jereme Rogers. And just like in the good old days, the book ends with a large pull-out poster of Horner’s cartoon.

Jenkem-3Where’s Forrest? Photo: Jenkem

‘Seven People You Will Encounter At Any Skatepark’ allows almost an entire page for each of Henry Jones’ illustrations; the colours have come out amazingly.

Although Converse have backed the book, their logo only appears on the very bottom of the spine and is subtly alluded to in the final pages of the book with a faded sole covering the ‘Thank You’ list. Because the book is free from advertising (especially US army ads, as they are keen to point out in the introduction), they have included piss-take adverts. Dank Snifftape, Sk8 goggles, and a host of socks that take their cue from the weed sock: think crack, heroin, and pill socks.

The tone of the book ranges from sarcastic questions addressed to Jereme Rogers about his plans to conquer music (not rap, music as a whole), to the more serious issue of how we will accept the transgender community within skateboarding. When Jenkem advertise the book as “Skateboarding, Smut, and Shenanigans,” they undersell themselves slightly. Jenkem have put out some of the rawest interviews, and have addressed some of skateboarding’s key prejudices. For that, their foray into hardback print deserves backing.

Text by Daryl Mersom . Give him a follow @daryl.mersom.
Photos courtesy of Jenkem.

 

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