I don’t really mention it on the blog here as much as I should, but my favourite magazine is probably GIANT ROBOT, an independently produced and funded mag out of California. I’ve been a fan for years and years now, spotting it on the newstands with a bold logo, great title, and an eye-catching photo of CK model Jenny Shimizu way, way back. #10! It’s a general-interest magazine covering art, life, and culture, but with a focus on Asian culture specifically… both here in North America and internationally. It’s well-written, informative, and a great education in all of the things you aren’t going to find just reading manga and watching anime. It’s also very current, very vital, and when it comes to art and film especially it’s like having a great inside track.
Maybe the thing I like about it the most is that it’s so personal–editors Martin and Eric have been there since the beginning. They open every issue with an editorial and a direct address to the reader that feels real and unrehearsed, unlike so many editorial notes that are perfunctory and exclamatory coming from people with a 1-year-contract, these guys have been there since day one, and each little editorial is like a window into a long distance’s friend’s life. What they’ve been up to over the past few months (had a baby! lost at softball!) and how that might tie to this issue’s stories. Even better through working at The Beguiling and visiting the San Diego Comic Con ever year, I have gotten to know Martin and Eric in person, and they’re smart, friendly dudes who love doing what they do.
GR gives me fantastic artist profiles, stories on food and food culture, even a little bit of politics… That’s great stuff. That’s not just worth paying for, it’s worth supporting directly.
In keeping with their editorial style, Martin and Eric have recorded a video asking GR readers and the general public to lend them a hand in a difficult time:
I don’t think they’ve mentioned it anywhere yet (brave face and all that), but in addition to the kinds of issues facing print these days (declining ad revenue, distribution, sales) they’ve recently been dropped from Diamond’s PREVIEWS catalogue, the only way to interact with the vast majority of comic shops who carry manga, anime and other Asian culture goods. Because of GR’s somewhat erratic publishing schedule I didn’t even notice for a little while–and I’m a fan! I’m not pointing at Diamond in particular as the culprit, just a symptom of lost ground. Print is a ‘war of inches’ right now, and if you lose enough ground on enough fronts, eventually you lose the war. This appeal is to help keep them in the fight.
Please go to http://www.giantrobot.com/donate, and you can read more about what they’re asking for, and why, and why it’s a good idea to help. In addition to just helping keep a great arts and culture magazine going, different levels of donation will net you cool stuff like prints, books, original art, subscriptions and more.
My friend Mr. Bryan Lee O’Malley auctioned off a piece of his original art, and raised $2550 for the cause. Which is awesome. I don’t have that kind of art (or that kind of scratch), so we worked it out and I can probably swing about a hundred bucks to directly support artists and work I appreciate, and it nets me a subscription which is cool. I’m hoping that some of you reading here can spare a few bucks as well, or failing that, maybe take me at my word that this is a great magazine and subscribe? Every issue I find something really great in it, and the re-read potential is high. For just $24 (or $30 CDN) you can get a year of great magazines. Failing that? Grab an issue from the newsstand, comic store, wherever you see it and check it out for yourself. And thanks for reading all of this, I don’t make public appeals like this a regular thing, but GR is worth supporting and worth saving.