Many fondly remember BEAR®, a magazine published in San Francisco, circa 1987-2002. It was the original periodical specifically geared toward gay men who are or who admire real masculine men, proudly sporting body and facial hair. The magazine and its readers were the beginnings of today’s global gay bear identity. We are not too vain to admit that we have enough salt-n-pepper whiskers to prove that we were there from the beginning.
After coining the label "BEAR" in 1985, Richard Bulger, with Chris Nelson, founded BEAR Magazine in 1987 as a photo-copied flyer, published from their apartment. This modest flyer morphed into an internationally distributed, high-gloss magazine featuring photographs of masculine men, stories, features of interest to the emerging bear identity and a classified personals section, which prior to the Internet was one of the only means of finding long-distance, and even regional, connections.
Bulger and Nelson organized Creative Options Associates as the first corporate publisher of BEAR. In 1991, COA became Brush Creek Media Inc. (The lore is that the company was named for the town where their vacation cabin was located, Brush Creek, California. In 1996, Bear-Dog Hoffman bought Brush Creek Media Inc. Hoffman further expanded BEAR into video and Brush Creek Media Inc. into several special-interest gay magazines and video series.
BEAR ceased publication in 2002. In 2008, BEAR underwent the most dramatic metamorphosis of its history, re-emerging with a new publisher, a new look and a new direction to reflect the many levels of an emerging contemporary, mature, masculine, upscale market. BEAR is now taking it’s final leap to becoming a sophisticated resource for an evolved audience. Once again a flagship, the result is a crisp, modern look with fresh editorial content featuring dynamic, editorial art photography and provocative non-fiction/fiction, blended with humor and informative articles on current interests, politics and style.