Grotesque Anatomy
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
  Prophecy or Foreboding?
Prophecy Magazine poster "In Bloom" by artist Gabriel GuzmanI received a surprising package yesterday: It was an oversized envelope from Prophecy Magazine. For those who don't know, Prophecy Magazine is supposed to be a cutting-edge new sequential art magazine. I heard about Prophecy several months ago when I was looking for a new comics anthology to try out. Someone on some message board mentioned Prophecy, so I went to their website, checked out some of the sample art, and liked what I saw enough to sign up for a special discounted promotional subscription. That was back in January 2003. Originally Prophecy was scheduled to launch in April, but that date came and passed with no launch. According to Prophecy's website, "Prophecy Magazine was set to launch in early 2003. We had originally planned the launch for April of this year. However, due to the unfortunate circumstances of the war and the ensuing social and economic instability, our executive team has decided to postpone launch until early fall of this year."

When in doubt, blame the war and/or economy. (Prophecy goes on to justify the delay in much more detail: "As you can imagine, the timing of our launch is of the utmost importance, especially as we are attempting to cross over from the direct comics market to the mainstream American public. It is essential that the social and economic climate be in our favor to capture an enthusiastic public, ready and willing to purchase a hot, new commodity. Due to the relatively unexpected decision to go to war, the U.S. economy has been highly unstable and consumer spending has reflected a volatile market environment. As such, this is a very risky time to launch an unproven, expensive, national magazine; we cannot risk coming into the market at the wrong time. It is paramount that Prophecy Magazine succeed for the good of the American comics industry." While I can sympathize with the complexities of trying to launch a new publishing venture in today's economy, the self-aggrandizing statements are a bit much. I didn't realize I was subscribing to a magazine with a savior complex, although I suppose the name 'Prophecy' could have been a warning sign.)

Anyway, I'd pretty much given up hope of ever receiving something from Prophecy, but now they had actually mailed me something. It felt a bit thin to be the magazine, though, especially when their site proclaimed that each issue would range "from 96 to 120 pages" in length. I opened the envelope, and sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard were three posters. One was a gift I received for being an early subscriber, and the others looked like ads for the magazine. There was also a letter apologizing for the delay in sending the poster(s), and for the delay in launching the magazine. No specific date was given for when the magazine will finally come out.

I'm still hopeful about Prophecy Magazine, both in terms of actually receiving it one day and in terms of its content if it does arrive, but I think they need to tone down the hype a bit. Looking over some of the quotes on their site, I actually found myself growing annoyed. I think excessive hype bothers me in general, whether from Wizard Magazine or a new publisher of "cutting edge" sequential art.

Perhaps the most grating blurbs on the site were the ones referring to Prophecy Magazine as "an award-winning collector's item!" and "a guaranteed collector's item in years to come." I see that Prophecy isn't above playing the speculation game in order to move some copies of its magazine. 

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by John Jakala

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