Bear Magazine (ISSN 1942-4515) is the original erotic periodical specifically geared toward gay men who are, or who admire blue-collar, working-class men, usually with body or facial hair. First published in San Francisco, CA the magazine adopted as its tagline: "REAL MEN. REAL SEX. REAL HOT."
BEAR was important in the creation of the gay bear community. Richard Bulger and Chris Nelson (photographer) started the magazine in 1984 as a photo-copied flyer, published from their apartment. Bear grew, over the course of years, into an internationally distributed glossy magazine, which featured erotic photographs of masculine, mature men, and erotic stories. There was also a classified "personals" section, which before the emergence of Internet was one of the only ways for bears to find compatible sexual partners and to network with like-minded men.
Bulger and Nelson first established Creative Options Associates (COA) to publish the magazine. In 1991, COA became Brush Creek Media Inc.(named for the town where their vacation cabin was located), Brush Creek, California. Brush Creek obtained a registered trademark for BEAR® in 1992, as simply "magazines for men."
The company's various publications, as well as clothing and lifestyle products, were originally displayed and sold at "The Bear Mag office-store" above a 1908 former fire-house at the corner of 16th & Albion Streets, in San Francisco. In 1994, Brush Creek moved the magazine to its better-known location, "The Bear Store", at 367 9th St., San Francisco.
Bear-Dog Hoffman purchased Brush Creek Media Inc. in 1996 and began expanding the company into several special-interest gay magazines and video series. Then in 2002 Brush Creek Media Inc. abruptly closed its doors when the IRS seized its inventory. Bear Magazine was one of the casualties and went into hibernation after issue #64. 100% BEEF Magazine was launched soon thereafter by former employees of BEAR Magazine, including two former editors and many of the writers, photographers and artists. 100% BEEF Magazine continues in publication.
In 2006, The BEAR® trademark was judicially assigned and registered to Butch Media Ltd. (Las Vegas, Nevada), a creditor of Brush Creek Media Inc. Similarly, in 2007 the court assigned BEAR® and the Brush Creek Media Inc. copyrights, to Butch Media Ltd. Butch Media Ltd., a subsidiary of Bear Omnimedia LLC (Las Vegas, Nevada) carries on the tradition of BEAR® established by the original publishers by offering new erotic DVDs, a re-launch of BEAR® Magazine (August, 2008) starting with issue #65, and republication of certain classic VHS titles originally released by Brush Creek Media Inc. and offering them on DVD.