Today we’re taking a peek at a brand new magazine on the geeky block, Toy Meets World! This shiny print publication is clearly an immense labour of love (and probably blood, sweat and tears too, because a project like this is one hell of an undertaking) from the good folks behind the Toy Meets World Blog. I’ll admit it’s been a while since I picked up any kind of glossy-print magazine so the leafing through this bumper debut issue managed to be at once a satisfyingly novel experience and a blast from the past in more ways than one…
Check out our further thoughts on why you should check out this magazine!
So what’s the deal?
The Toy Meets World team have put together a 68 page magazine featuring reviews (Nerf guns, art books, and of course toys), retrospectives (Pokémon, the rise and fall of Sega), interviews (with Transformers writers Simon Furman and James Roberts, My Little Pony voice actor Nicole Oliver) and nostalgia pieces (remember the short-lived Visionaries TV show?) There’s a great spread of content presented with style and enough humour that, even once I’d devoured all the content that really interested me (*cough* Transformers *cough*) I found plenty enough to keep me chuckling or nodding along with nostalgic sympathy. The mag also features those staples of its format, puzzles and a few nice looking comics. I’m always a sucker for toy photo strips and these make great use of the format since the shiny pages here give the whole product a really crisp and colourful appearance – so the ever gaudy Hot Rod makes a perfect protagonist. All in all it’s an inviting and extremely polished-looking publication.
Dead tree format? Isn’t that kinda retro?
Well, yeah I guess it is, but it’s a pretty neat marriage of form and content, because do you know what else is really kinda retro? How about certain Hasbro franchises that originated in the 1980s, or He-Man, Captain Scarlet, or many of the other themes with which the Toy Meets World guys concern themselves. So it works. Which actually came as a bit of a surprise to me if I’m being entirely honest.
I love the internet, it’s like my second home. Sometimes, when reality chomps a little too hard, it even feels like my first home. The world of the web is a wonderful place for geeks hang-out, sharing – among many other things – news, reviews, works in progress, hopes, fears and general fandom feelings. So, although I still relish my regular print comics and trade paperbacks, generally, I’m pretty happy with the online format for my geeky news and views. I hadn’t previously felt like a hard copy magazine of this nature was something lacking from my life. It’s nice to be made to re-evaluate, though, because sitting down with Toy Meets World in print does feel like a enjoyable experience and a nice product to have. It’s a lifestyle product, and let’s face it toy love is a whole way of life.
It works partly because of the content, but also because of the tone. I’m not going to review the reviews because that would be slightly more meta than even I am prepared to go. Suffice to say there’s plenty of current focus with updates on some new-release figures, books and films but the creative team have wisely emphasised humour and a sense of personal insight over any particular tone of “breaking” urgency which increases long term readability. The printed format also really emphasises the visual aspect of the content, and the whole magazine is stuffed with some great looking photos alongside plenty of jokey speech bubbles and doodles. The humour is quirky and may not hit the right notes for everyone, but there was plenty that made me smile. I particularly liked the pages showcasing the creative team’s attempts (with varying degrees of success) to draw various iconic characters from memory.
Wot no ads?
There’s a lot of nostalgia here but one thing that feels very fresh and radical is the fact that this magazine is 100% independent and features no adverts at all. Ads are so often a necessary evil to support smaller creative endeavours (she says, writing for a currently free-hosted ad supported blog). Most of us are pretty inured to them these days but that doesn’t mean we can’t notice or appreciate their absence, so big props to the Toy Meets World team for venturing down this brave and independent route. I wish them every success with this and (hopefully) future issues.
Where to get it
If you’re in South West England – especially that Geek Mecca that is Exeter (though I prefer Mecha myself) you should be able to track down a copy of Toy Meets World, since a number of our comic and geek-related shops are carrying the first issue. Check out the stockist list on the Toy Meets World blog for further details. Or if you’re reading from further afield drop the guys a line and you should be able to get a copy by post. It’s always great to see folks pursuing their passions to such a quality conclusion, so this is a really worthy project and worth supporting. It certainly has the Addaltmode seal of approval.