Piercing Fans International Quarterly

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PFIQ cover

Piercing Fans International Quarterly (or PFIQ) was a magazine published by Gauntlet from 1977 to 1998. In all, there were 50 issues. The first issues were only 16 pages and all black-and-white. They started including color photos with issue #15 in 1982.

The magazine was never a commercial success, as it was not distributed outside of Gauntlet for many years. It was only in the early '90s that it became available in other places. But, for a long time, it functioned as both a promotional item and a contact service, long before the Internet. The magazine included a personals page called "Pin Pals," which was printed on a separate paper and just included inside the magazine. Ads were coded by subscriber number, and Gauntlet ran a mail forwarding service to allow subscribers to contact each other. While this may seem primitive today, it was an amazing thing back then.

Although the early editions of PFIQ were in a black and white newsletter format, the magazine quickly evolved into a full color glossy. PFIQ was well known for its detailed documentation of various piercings, and its articles provided valuable how-to advice on the subject of body piercing. The magazine included features about various people who were the "piercing superstars" of the day, as well as photographs, articles about how to do piercings, and information about aftercare. PFIQ also featured artwork and fictional stories.

PFIQ was a controversial publication, due to its graphic portrayal of nudity and the piercing process. In some countries it was considered obscene and was confiscated by postal officials. It ceased publication in the late 1990s at the same time that The Gauntlet closed its doors.

Jim Ward has written a series of articles for BME about the early days of the Gauntlet, and one of them tells the story of PFIQ.

An issue of PFIQ