So I was super excited when I saw this new mag starting up. I was a bit wary when I saw the cover … to be perfectly honest, it’s a bit alienating as a woman to have a cover that looks like a lad’s mag. I know *now* it’s cosplay, but that’s not immediately obvious (and to be honest, it doesn’t change my reaction). But anyway, buoyed on by endorsements that the intent was good, I ordered my copy, which arrived last Friday.
I really like the ethos of this magazine – they’re welcoming of anyone who identifies as female, and aim to pay their contributors. Many an independent mag has started on worse terms. Also, the photography is really good quality – being a cosplay issue, that’s pretty important, and the photographer’s pedigree shows. It’s also a generous size – really generous, with many articles and perspectives. Top points there.
Now, to a few other things. After my initial reaction to the cover, I admit I was really turned off by the number of boobs and scantily clad cosplayers featured. I know, I know, it’s cosplay, BUT I think one of the articles actually in the mag summed it up when the author said one of the reasons she was reluctant to cosplay was that she wasn’t a size 6. There’s a heap of non-revealing photos, too, but many of the featured cosplayers to me just look like glamour models who happen to be wearing a costume (which to me, is arse backwards). That really doesn’t give me an inclusive feel at all. I mean, there’s one shot where the woman’s breasts are just concealed by a trick of lighting. I wondered at that moment who they thought the readership was, because I am not personally interested in looking at that. I want to see a clever costume, not a lack of one. The issue here is that it creates a very odd tone, that seems completely at odds with the ethos quoted above and at what I assume is a female target readership.
My other big sigh is the production quality. As I said before, the mag has amazing photography, so it’s a real shame that the hardcopy print quality didn’t do it justice – it’s matt, there’s low-res text that’s hard to read, multiple pages with print glitches running down the centre (I assume these aren’t intentional??), page cuts that are almost cutting text off. There’s a difficult line being ridden (I assume) between e-copy and print – text is full page width which is great for online reading, but horrible to read in print. The graphic design is also terribly distracting – the fonts and page arrangements just look … amateur, which is another shame because again, great pictures not being set off the best they could be. I’m almost certain that it must look much better in e-mag, and felt for the hefty price tag that ordering a hard copy was not worth it. I understand it’s being printed in the US, and can only assume that perhaps the quality isn’t what the producers had been hoping for.
I’d personally have liked to see a shorter mag with the money spent on a better design and print job. BUT this is issue 1, and I’ll be keen to see the themes of later issues, which could be more my thing. I think next time I will go for the e-edition and appreciate those lovely photos on screen.