The latest issue of Giant Magazine came out last week with a PR blitz and a snazzy new redesign (this will be news to those of you who haven’t noticed Mischa Barton’s glass-cutting cheekbones on posters all over downtown). It’s the first issue since the departure of former editor Mark Remy and, perhaps in response to its recent newsstand slump Giant has taken the opportunity to make a splash with a book that is sleeker, more sophisticated and distances itself from the lad-mag elements that were present in previous issues.
“Giant always read really smart but it could have looked a little smarter,” says founder Jamie Hooper. Hooper, Giant president and also an enthusiastic dabbler on the editorial side, was looking to up the intelligence and sophistication of the design, and to that end tapped design vet Ash Gibson, formerly of Maxim Fashion UK and art director of British GQ.
A brief flip-through shows that they accomplished just that: gone are the cartoony illustrations, block lettering and crowded layout that typefies lad mags; the new Giant reads way sleeker and is much easier on the eyes. “We’ve significantly upped the original artwork too,” says Hooper. The most notable example of this is a very cool comic book feature in conjunction with Top Cow productions (they do “Tomb Raider”) depicting a few underground comic book characters slated for upcoming movies drawn into in iconic settings (i.e. Jackie Estacado from “The Darkness” all James Dean in Times Square; the hot redhead from “Witchblade” tricked out in Marilyn Monroe’s billowing white dress; the boys from “The Covenant” crossing the street a la Abbey Road). (Even for Fishbowl, who was partial to Archie and the kids from Riverdale as a kid, it’s pretty cool.)
More on Giant’s affinity for Canadians and shout-out to schoolgirls who love schoolgirls after the jump.
The fashion layouts too are lookin’ hot; or that could just be because we love Jeremy Piven, who looks adorable relaxing poolside on his cell all Ari Gold-like. Ditto Will Arnett, who is not only hilarious but – ahem – Canadian. In fact, we would be remiss if we did not point out the high level of Canadian content in this issue of Giant: not only Will Arnett but the New Pornographers; the Blues Brothers (50% Canadian with Dan Ackroyd, who is 100% Canadian); where Kiefer Sutherland gets his 24 duds; and a very special Canadian collison between cover girl Mischa Barton and other Giant-featured starlet Piper Perabo who both starred in the Canadian cult classic “Lost and Delirious” about sweet girl-on-girl lovin’ at a boarding school (and, as far as I’m concerned, the Giant editors lose big lad-mag points for not pointing that out somewhere in the magazine).
Hooper is insanely excited about Giant, which might explain why they actually won’t be bringing in a new EIC; between Creative Director Gibson and Editorial Director Greg Williams, Hooper says there’s really no need for an EIC – especially with his aforementioned editorial-side dabbling. So far, he says, the fairly unique arrangement is working. We read Giant and liked it (especially the nod to Lebowski and Sarah Silverman dirty jokes) so we’re prepared to believe him. We’ll see if the guys at the newsstand bear it out.
p.s After all that, Giant, we’re very sorry to have to emasculate you by invoking “Into The Woods”* but we can’t help but giggle at the fact that your magazine makes us think of “Giants in the Sky” which features “a big tall terrible lady giant sweeping the floor.” True lad mag aficionados would appreciate the next line, though: “And she gives you food and she gives you rest/And she draws you close to her giant breast…” Stephen Sondheim giveth and Stephen Sondheim taketh away.
<small*Camp Winnebagoe Trit show '94 yeah!