Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Latest Shopping Spree, Part III

My latest magazine shopping sprees, a combination of newsstand,subscription, and in-store shopping:

SFX (July 2009): As part of my continuing self-therapy for Starlog withdrawal, I picked up the July '09 issue of British competitor SFX, which has itself come under heavy competition from DeathRay and Sci Fi Now. What made me pick up SFX (which yet again manages to cover the bottom leg of the "E" in its title so that its title looks like SEX)? The Harry Potter cover story.

GQ (July 2009): Everyone's been talking about the "first nude cover" of GQ magazine, featuring Sacha Baron Cohen in character (but out of costume) of his Bruno. It's the magazine's special comedy issue, in which it annoys me by having an asterisk (design pet peeve) on the cover copy for "* No Joke? It's Our #ΓΌ@%ing COMEDY ISSUE!" Hmm, I'll make myself sound twice my actual age and ask, Remember when men's magazines didn't try to sound profane and trashy? Ah, whatever. There's also a Harold Ramis article.

Heavy Metal (Summer 2009): The buxom women on the covers of HM aren't going to attract me (see Winq, below), but what makes me pick up each issue is the quick process of shuffling through the pages and seeing (a) if the art looks high-quality, and (b) if it looks like the stories might be of high originality. This issue passed the test at the newsstand.

Winq (Fall 2008): This was a back issue of one of my recent great discoveries, ordered from the publisher in Belgium. From fashion to Berlin's gay holocaust memorial to Arabs and the French to, er, robot love and more. Here's another high-quality, beautifully designed issue of this magazine that puts American gay magazines to shame. And it should. Oh, and did I mention that it has a cover price of $7.95 for 148 pages? Beat that, American running dogs! (Oh, yeah, there are also some pix of some rather comely men in non-nude situations.)

Playboy (July/August 2009): The long-anticipated and somewhat controversial combined July/August issue of Playboy finally arrived on newsstands and subscriber mailboxes. Whenever Playboy gets enough pages to do itself justice, I am reminded of why this is a great magazine. When they're really squeezing out a thin issue, there's often only one or two articles that interest me, and if one of them is uninteresting or stupid, well, it's a weak issue. But when they put out an extra-page anniversary or holiday issue, we all get to see that Playboy can draw the best writers and artists in the country. This issue, we get an interview with actor Alec Baldwin; a 20 Questions conversation with Judd Apatow; a profile of TV pitchman Billy Mays; a symposium on the future with such contributors as T. Boone Pickens, Seth MacFarlane, Reza Aslan, and others; a graphic novel interpretation of Ray Bradbury's classic "Fahrenheit 451"; and much more.

DNA (#110): I picked up this issue for the geekiest of reasons: The article on gays in science fiction, especially because it highlights one of my all-time favorites, Battlestar Galactica. I mean, the barely-clad gentleman on the cover, who seems to be having a bit of a struggle to keep his trunks on, probably doesn't hurt its newsstand sales, but I'm sure I'm not the only gay man to focus on the sci-fi article.

Was tempted by but didn't succumb: The Week, Dwell, The Economist, Newsweek, Der Spiegel, Attitude.

My previous shopping spree.

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