Lookback Library Archive: Poweredge, The Edge


Words: Kevin Marks

Poweredge is my favorite magazine of the 1980's. Why did I like it better than Transworld & Thrasher? I couldn’t really say. However, I can definitely feel that Poweredge made the most significant impact on my young psyche. Poweredge only lasted from January 1988 to October 1991, for a total of 36 issues, but it was there during my formative years as a skateboarder. I bought the first couple issues on the grocery store newsstand in Wichita, Kansas in 1988. Soon after I was a subscriber, and I remained a subscriber until the magazine ended. At the time Ronald Reagan was the president and the economy was riding high. The motto “Greed is GOOD” ran rampant through the middle class. Skateboarding was beginning to ride a new wave of popularity, but from mainstream America’s perspective, it was a losing proposition; a waste of time; a nuisance; and destruction of public property. I was the only skateboarder in my Catholic high school and I was looked down upon for my activity of choice. Riding a skateboard was a way to flip the bird to modern society and to all the kids in school who I already couldn’t identify with. 

Currently, I fancy myself quite the magazine collector. I suppose I always have, but in the last few years I've turned my love of collecting magazines into a job. In 2015 I formed Look Back Library: a historical preservation society for all skateboard books, magazines, zines, catalogs, VHS casettes, dvds, and any other sort of documentary media. As I was reflecting, and attempting to better understand my love of Poweredge, it only took flipping through one randomly-selected issue–November 1989 with Reese Simpson on the cover–to pinpoint what I love so much about the magazine: THE EDGE. Most of the early issues were black & white with a number of glossy, color pages. Many of those color pages were dedicated to THE EDGE. 

THE EDGE was a part of the magazine where the staff made more risky design choices, and ran unusual photos that you wouldn’t normally see in an ad or interview. Photographers in their stable included Spike Jonze, Rick Kosick, Geoff Graham, Daniel Harold Sturt, Sin, & many more. In this section I would gaze upon new faces & witness avant garde takes on skateboarding. The example on the left shows a layout that wasn’t common at the time. Mark Gonzales doing a wallride down a stair set & a very up close & personal view of Jordan Richter transferring the hip at McGill's Skatepark. As a young skateboarder I enjoyed both photos equally, and I still feel the same. To me they are both inspiring depictions of a sport and culture that can accommodate perspectives, and people that are vastly different.