A probable argument could be made that I’ve been trapped under ice since 1992. This isn’t to say I dwell in a nostalgic forest of the past and can’t see shit from shinola through the present day trees; 1992 just happens to be the joyous year in which I mentally embarked on an endless summer where I often forget that 26 years have since tripped the light fantastic. All idiotic poetics and developmental excuses aside, it’s also the year I started working alongside Marc McKee in the World Industries art trench.
The world of World was always in flux back then and as I came in many were on the way out; namely, Ron Chatman, Jeremy Klein, Chris Pastras, Randy Colvin, and Chris Branagh. In their stead, a whole new crop of kids took centerstage in the World Industries’ Love Child video, three of whom immediately got sucked into the company’s pro model vacuum and received graphics depicting Steve Rocco in various exalted scenes of grandeur. This was such a preposterously self-aggrandizing series that Marc and I mostly just got a giggle out of imagining the apoplectic, aka “triggered,” responses from fallen Titans of Industry who still clung to the hope that Rocco would misstep and finally be recognized as the shyster they’d long denounced him to be: “The NERVE!” “The AUDACITY!” “The POMPOSITY!” When, in actuality, Rocco wasn’t even that into the idea of the graphics at first but did eventually come around to see our absurd light.
Why the longwinded historical anecdote? Because there was one other skater who possibly could have gone pro alongside Daewon Song, Shiloh Greathouse, and Chico Brenes; instead, he inexplicably disappeared. I’m referring to Jed Walters, whose part in Love Child rivals the Patterson–Gimlin footage of Bigfoot, because he really is the mythological equivalent of a South Dakotan sasquatch in skateboard lore.
Fast forward* to 2018: Upon learning that Marc was free at last in the freelance sense, I reached out to him with the proposal of a hypothetical “What if… ?” scenario, where Jed had gone pro for World Industries in 1992 and, in doing so, received the fifth “Rocco Tribute” graphic. Marc was up for tackling this “alternate universe” lark, so, thanks to a hot tip off the Instagram, I then tracked down Jed to secure his blessing. He, too, was game, if not more than humbly surprised, and that’s the only semi-convoluted tale of how Marc’s inspired take on the legend of “St. George and The Dragon” came to be—a nod which is sure to tickle the fancies of both haters and lovers alike of the vaunted early ’90s** era in skateboarding.
So yes. It’s great to be back in the company saddle after an unfortunate stint in purgatory, but it’s even better to have my former comrade-in-art along to contribute to the new ride as well. Yip! —Sean Cliver
* Is this a literary trope? What the fuck is a trope, anyway? Yeah, yeah, don't get all Merriam-Webster on me (besides, I much prefer the Oxford, at least in the name-dropping sense), but I have to do these things lest I get sidetracked and lost in Tangentland, one of my Happiest Places on Earth and the primary reason for my abuse of these pathetically asterisked footnote asides—especially if I've already long-dashed and parenthetically beat a paragraph to the ninth circle of bloody grammar hell.
** Not to be confused with the mid-’90s, which is mostly all about romancing the shoe, I guess? Weird times… someone should probably make a movie about that period.
Powell’s gonna be so pissed again. George spinning like a whirling dervish in his grave. Slaying the 🐉. Perfect.