Magazine Cover Artwork

Discussion in 'Art' started by Roy1, Dec 26, 2006.

  1.  
    Roy1

    Roy1 Roy G

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    Interzone, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine, occasionally features covers with female figures, not necessarily completely human but definitely feminine, exhibiting lots of naked flesh and/or cleavage. Examples being the Elf on the IZ 205 cover or the gun toting girl on the IZ 199 cover, both Jim Burn’s work.

    We always get objections to such covers and a few of these objectees threaten to stop subscribing every time. We don’t want to lose such readers but we don’t want to stop using this type of cover when it is appropriate. We have no evidence they improve sales but they do catch the eye on newsagent/newsstand shelves and at least potential buyers notice the magazine's existence.

    So what do you think? I can post a few examples here if no one minds. Are these covers objectionable? What sort of images do you think a magazine like Interzone should use on its covers?

    If you post a reply please give some indication of background such as nationality or your location.
  2.  
    Commonmind

    Commonmind Registered Lurker

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    I have some input on the matter, if you'd post some examples...

    I don't really understand the use of posting nationality, being from the U.S. doesn't necessarily define anything about me as an individual. And the answer to the second part of your question is above.
  3.  
    Curt Chiarelli

    Curt Chiarelli Yog-Sothothery on the Fly

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    Hi Roy:

    The topic of censorship has, historically, been a problem for a very long time in the United States, a country that claims to secure the greatest level of personal freedom for her citizens in the world. The only mature response to material that offends an individual is for them to simply exercise their power as a consumer and not buy it. When people attempt to ramrod their personal morality and convictions down the throat of others it encroaches upon the freedom of expression of others.

    Furthermore, let's not forget that it is impossible to please all of the people all of the time. Chameleons tend to inflict an identity crisis on everything they put their hand to, thus ultimately sabotaging any hope that they may have of establishing a unique niche for their work.

    So, my advice is to stay the course. Ignore the prudes and self-annointed high priests of moral hygeine who arrogantly flog their hoary old agendas. Follow what your own tastes and sensibilities tell you is best for Interzone Magazine.

    Oh, and by the way, welcome aboard the Chronicles-Network!
  4.  
    Nesacat

    Nesacat The Cat

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    Censorship is becoming an increasing problem here in the East with books and magazines being either defaced or totally removed from circulation for a whole host of usually incomprehensible reasons. The most reason victim being latest issue of The Economist with one article being torn out (Jinn - Born of Fire, which is about the belief among Muslims in Somalia and Afghanistan in the esistence of jinn) and another article having sections blacked out (A child of Bethlehem - No end of history; an excerpt about Muslim and Christian women visiting a shrine related to the Blessed Virgin Mary has been obliterated with black ink).

    The same happens to images in other magazines. They are either torn or blacked out. The images run the gamut of women in fashion spreads to those of temples or statues or images of paintings in art galleries.

    As far as I can see all these books and magazines are meant for a mature audience. These people are more than capable of, as Curt said, choosing not to buy something if it offends them personally. If children are picking these books up then it's something parents need to look into not the government through censorship.

    There will always be someone, somewhere who is offended even if the woman was in a Victorian ball gown. If all artists and writers succumbed to this kind of pressure then all art and writing would be devoid of vibrancy or colour or anything at all that makes it a unique statement that manages to speak to people all across the world. And that would be the worst tragedy. I'd just ignore everyone all the self-appointed moral police and go ahead with you feel best reflects the ideas and concepts your magazine is trying to convey.
  5.  
    Curt Chiarelli

    Curt Chiarelli Yog-Sothothery on the Fly

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    Well said! :D :D :D
  6.  
    Zeorymer0015

    Zeorymer0015 New Member

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    I have a DA account and you can see some of my work on this site as well just look up the name.


    Check out my DA page and tell me if thats the sort of stuff that they are looking for? I have a few ladies there doing just what you described
    I am from Canada and attending Sheridan college.

    TOM/Zeo
  7.  
    Dr. Atomic

    Dr. Atomic tired... so tired...

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    I guess I don't find them offensive, but I do think the imagery of pneumatically-enhanced women packing major heat is a little played out... Just one person's opinion, though. It's really up to you to decide what sort of covers best convey the content of your magazine, while also attracting readers.

    As for whether it's worth changing the covers because of some letters... Consider this:

    I worked for a long time as the managing editor of a national music magazine (and still write for them today). We used to always get angry letters, for all sorts of reasons. And we would wonder, every now and again, whether we were doing something wrong that we were pissing off all these people. But then we put it in perspective:

    Our circulation was about 180,000. We got maybe 10 or 15 negative letters an issue. That meant that approximately 179,965 people -- not including pass alongs and libraries and whoever -- thought we were doing a bang-up job.

    The fact is, people are more likely to write a letter or email when they're not happy with what you're doing. The people who are happy with the magazine generally don't see any need to speak up. They're content to let things ride -- until you do something that irks them, and then you'll get their letters.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2007
  8.  
    Roy1

    Roy1 Roy G

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    Thanks for that folks I will post the images in the next few days.
    The nationality question was merely to see if/how that affected any answers but it does depend on getting lots of replies.

    If we change our policy then maybe it is self censorship but we have not done that. It maybe that very few care either way and such covers don't register as contentious. On a purely commercial basis perhaps we should take more notice of the objectors as they will stop reading and Interzone would lose sales. Those who like this type of image might never become aware of such a policy but if they did maybe they would continue reading/buying anyway.

    Zeorymer0015 have a look the guidelines for artwork submissions (TTA Press) and if you have not seen the TTA IZ check out the IZ 207 and 208 threads on the TTAPress messageboard to see some interior artwork, or even better buy a copy. Note Interzone is now printed in full colour.

    Dr Atomic on the absence of evidence/evidence of absence principle we can only say that absence of objections may be good news or evidence of apathy, but I take your point.

    Nesacat I have not heard of anyone removing or obliterating cover or interior images or censoring the magazine's text but it would be interesting to know if it does happen.
  9.  
    Roy1

    Roy1 Roy G

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Sorry about the disparity in image size. I'll try to get better versions.
    Meanwhile the first two show the sort of cover that has caused problems.

    As far as I know the 'Winning Mars' cover was not a source of objections but I may be corrected on that.

    The two following covers were criticized quite heavily for their Manga style.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  10.  
    Rane Longfox

    Rane Longfox Red Rane

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    Sorry, you're saying that there are actually people who find those offensive? Offensive enough to write and complain, and even threaten to unsubscribe?

    I admit that I get very bored of the kind of stereotypical fantasy cover shown here, but it's hardly offensive. I would suggest you just have some extremely over-sensetive readers, who probably aren't giving you a good name anyway.
    On the other hand, you obviously have to keep the number of subscribers as high as possible.


    On an unrelated note, you've got an impressive selection of featured authors there. Congrats, I might have to take a look sometime. Is it subscription only?
  11.  
    Curt Chiarelli

    Curt Chiarelli Yog-Sothothery on the Fly

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    Either that or Roy1 used this thread subject as a convenient pretext to spam this site. Which is the more likely possibility I'll leave to the casual reader . . . .
  12.  
    Roy1

    Roy1 Roy G

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    I could post some of the objectors' letters/e mails if you like.

    I resent that. My 'spam' is on the press release thread and I didn't post under a pseudonym to ask
    Rane, IZ is carried by newsagents in the UK, not Smiths, and some bookshops like Borders. You can order a copy via bookshops or any newsagent including WHS. UK distributors are Central Books and Warners.
  13.  
    Rane Longfox

    Rane Longfox Red Rane

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    It would be interesting to see some of the complaints anyway. What is it exactly they're complaining about? Personally, I'm not doubting your motivations. Neither, honestly, do I care if it's advertising spam. It's piqued my interest though... so it worked;)
  14.  
    Roy1

    Roy1 Roy G

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    Names withheld to protect the innocent -

    Losing 24 year subscribers is not good business.

    Newsagents are full of 'lads mags' that have much more explicit covers, every issue, and no one calls their readership "sexist, under-socialized, dorky, male.. " but there you go.

    There are more on the individual issue threads on the TTA website but these will do for now.

    Glad to pique your interest, if you do try an issue let us know your conclusions.
  15.  
    Rane Longfox

    Rane Longfox Red Rane

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    From what I can tell browsing your forums, anything with a woman on the cover gets critisised at least once, just on principle. For example, who would actually classify the object of issue 205 as big-breasted? I certainly wouldn't. Jeez, how up themselves can these people be?:rolleyes:

    I notice that for 207, with semi-naked men on the cover, you don't get any complaints. I suppose that because the vast majority of these complainers for previous issues have been women (hey, don't look at me, I was going by the usernames that posted complaints on the IZ foum) that when it's men on the cover, it's suddenly not a problem after all. Honestly, the hypocrisy is horrendous.

    But enough of that. You need to keep your subscribers, as stupid as some of them may be.
  16.  
    Roy1

    Roy1 Roy G

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    Rod McDonald of Crowsnest wrote this of the IZ 207 cover Rane mentioned.

    "Cover art by Richard Marchand depicts what? A futuristic crucifixion scene with two of his disciples praying in adoration? This picture singularly lacks imagination and is a very bad choice for the cover of 'Interzone'. There is nothing original about this form of representation today and the artist himself, when you look at his web site, displays a moronic repetitive behaviour disorder which compels him to paint heads in all forms of disfiguration, endlessly and without exception. I mean, once you have seen one disfigured head you have seen them all! Perhaps he needs directional help.

    "There is a Christian symbolism in this art which some may find offensive. If the magazine had chosen a similar depiction involving Islam, a fatwa would have been issued against 'Interzone' and its editors. Of course, this would have given them plenty of publicity and boosted their sales in the same manner as Salman Rushdie did, some say cynically, with his deliberately controversial 'Satanic Verses'. No, 'Interzone', better stick with boobs and bums! It's safer that way and the circulation goes up just the same."

    See: Interzone # 207 - December 2006

    Note I've included the cover here, also the IZ current issue is 208 and 209, the 25th anniversary issue, is due March 8th.

    Attached Files:

  17.  
    K. Riehl

    K. Riehl FrogSqrl

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    When I finish reading a book, good or bad, I often take a second look at the cover art and compare the images produced by the artist to what I envisioned when reading the story. Sometimes there is such a disconnect that I am more cautious in the future when dealing with a given publisher and I take the time to read portions of the story in greater detail before buying.
    In the magazine market I put myself in the hands of the editors. I read the magazines that consistantly find new, quality, authors and publish good stories by established authors. I hate to read the also ran titles by established authors that are just coasting and the magazine printed it to use their name as a marketing tool on the cover.
    If the art represents the story inside fairly acurately then it's the right artwork. If, in the issue above, the story is about man/machine/religion or even man becomes more than human due to machine then the artwork is correct. If the story is about a woman character who is beautiful then there is nothing wrong with putting her on the cover.
    How can someone read Science Fiction and not have an open mind about most issues?
    I'm from the US and I subscribe to Analog, Asimov's, Fantasy& Science Fiction, and Locus magazines
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2007
  18.  
    Roy1

    Roy1 Roy G

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    I must admit Interzone covers are rarely connected to the contents in the sense that they were devised by an artist to illustrate one of the issue's stories. However as the interior illustrations are full colour and do illustrate the accompanying story this is not seen as a problem.

    Have a look at a copy sometime and let us know what you think.
    IZ 208's cover is an illustration from Jason Staddard's "Softly Shining in the Forbidden Dark"
    IZ 204's cover is by John Picacio who is featured in that issue.
  19.  
    Roy1

    Roy1 Roy G

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    Oh dear the cover images I posted to this site are lost because the Interzone website they were linked to has changed. Should I repost them or have you seen enough?

    Meanwhile Rod McDonald of Crowsnest who disliked the IZ 207 cover wrote this of IZ 209

    Any comments? At least we shouldn't get complaints that it's sexist, either way, this time.

    Attached Files:

  20.  
    Roy1

    Roy1 Roy G

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