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Old 26th December 2006, 11:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
Roy G
 
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Magazine Cover Artwork

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 Burnís work.

We always get objections to such covers and a few of these objectees threaten to stop subscribing every time. We donít want to lose such readers but we donít 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.
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Old 10th January 2007, 01:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Magazine Cover Artwork

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.
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Old 10th January 2007, 02:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Magazine Cover Artwork

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!
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Old 10th January 2007, 03:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Magazine Cover Artwork

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.
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Old 10th January 2007, 04:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Magazine Cover Artwork

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nesacat View Post
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.
Well said!
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Old 10th January 2007, 05:00 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Magazine Cover Artwork

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
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Old 10th January 2007, 09:12 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Magazine Cover Artwork

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 by Dr. Atomic; 10th January 2007 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 10th January 2007, 07:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Magazine Cover Artwork

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.
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Old 10th January 2007, 11:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Magazine Cover Artwork



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.

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Old 16th January 2007, 06:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Magazine Cover Artwork

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?
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Old 16th January 2007, 11:14 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Magazine Cover Artwork

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rane Longfox View Post
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.
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 . . . .
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Old 16th January 2007, 11:29 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Magazine Cover Artwork

Quote:
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 . . . .
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
Quote:
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?
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.
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Old 17th January 2007, 07:23 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Magazine Cover Artwork

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
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Old 19th January 2007, 12:08 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Magazine Cover Artwork

Names withheld to protect the innocent -

Quote:
After IZ 199(?) I thought that the editors had decided to not be sexist and rethink the big-breasts-on-the-cover idea. Obviously,
they hadn't and we get another male fantasy on the front of IZ 205.

I am so disappointed. I simply do not want to be associated with a magazine that has these attitudes. So I am not going to resubscribe. I am not doing this lightly as I have every issue from no 1 onwards.
Losing 24 year subscribers is not good business.

Quote:
Hi Andy, I've enjoyed your magazine for a while. I believe it prints some of the best SF being written. Why do you insist on disgracing the field of SF with such juvenile, laddish "art" work. By doing this, you fulfill every negative stereotype of the sexist, under-socialized, dorky, male SF reader and writer. We're better than this. Interzone should reflect that.
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.
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Old 19th January 2007, 12:48 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Magazine Cover Artwork

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?

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.
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