Joe Pietaro Contributer
- May 30, 2014
For the benefit of anyone on the boards who may be considering subscribing to mSm; but may still be on the fence about it, I am pasting below my review of the most recent issue. I emailed this review exactly as it is to Joe directly; so don't think that I am blowing sunshine in public, with a different opinion off the boards. At any rate, it's my honest opinion:
I received the Volume 9, Number 1/2018 issue (Kat Secor cover issue).
First of all, I want to reiterate how awesome it was to subscribe and then get an issue in the mail practically immediately. But then to have the fortunate timing to get another issue right away was a great feeling. I'm getting close to 40, so I am in that age group that always got excited checking the snail mail box every day to see what was coming in the mail. Especially as a kid:
"Is my MAD magazine here yet??"
"Dad, did the latest issue of Nintendo Power come today??"
"I wonder if I can get to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue before mom throws it away..."
It's likely that a large part of the reason that I am still so partial to print magazines is because it keeps me feeling young; an echo of the excitement I had as a kid.
I gotta say, Muscle Sport Magazine fits the bill for bringing excitement back to the mailbox!
The cover is fantastic; I really liked the black and white distressed look. There's a grit and urgency that comes with the heavy contrast between light and shadow; and the metallic colored letters over top of the black and white photography makes an impact. You definitely made the right decision with the layout designers you're using.
Your Editor's Letter on page 4 was a nice shout out to your mSm Family brothers and sisters; I liked seeing that (even though I'm not sure I qualify as family just yet). Why don't you flesh out the Editor's Letter to a full page or two? I know you're a busy guy, and I think I've heard you on the shows saying that you don't want to make the magazine about you, but the Editor's Letter by definition is your spot to go off on your tangents LOL
This is only the second issue that I have experienced, but in both I think that it is a strong move that you chose to lead the charge with Lee Priest's article. It's like a fighter who gets jabbed in the face first thing when the opening bell rings; and suddenly his face lights up because he knows that he's got a good fight on his hands. That's the reader experience of getting the Lee Priest article up front.
Just as with the last issue, I must give credit to the grit and grime aspects of the artistic design of each page. My previous evaluation holds true again: The contrast and sharp edge gives a palatable feeling of excitement as we read. The images almost appear to be in motion; a frenetic effect of the image choice combined with color and contrast.
Even your advertisers seem to know their audience well enough to make edgier ads. Magick Muscle and Full Disclosure Nutrition in particular seem to have warmed up to the idea of having a tough skinned audience seeking entertainment to cater to (just a side note, you may want to approach Vigor Labs as a potential advertiser. They also have some edgier in-your-face advertising that would be a good fit. I'm not associated with that company in any way; I'm just always thinking of marketing).
I like the coverage of Super League; and Kat Secor made for an intriguing choice of ambassador to bring new knowledge of the fledgling federation to your readers. The feature about her participation in Super League (contrasted with participation in the IFBB) made for an interesting read. Plus, the inclusion of Jea Jung's analysis of game theory and "sport" vs "not a sport" added a further layer of meaning for the reader to unpack.
The "Travelin Fam" section with pictures of mSm family out and about is fantastic. I'm sure it gives readers a feeling of inclusion and participation that isn't present with other publications.
So, all in all it was another fantastic issue. And again, I don't give praise where it isn't due. You are simply publishing a magazine that is exciting to read and leaves the reader looking forward to the next issue.
I have to say this though: You present mSm as the last surviving hardcore bodybuilding magazine; but I don't know that I would classify it as a bodybuilding magazine in the sense of the genre that we've come to know it for decades.
Much like the now-defunct Planet Muscle and Bodybuilding, your publication eschews the usual training, diet, and science articles, and instead includes more pictorial and artistic imagery combined with editorial and opinion articles.
Nowhere in mSm are there macronutrient breakdowns or recipes; no set/rep range talk; no explanations of the effect of tuna piss on the mTor pathway...
In short, it's almost as if mSm is a little too much fun to be considered a bodybuilding magazine. One doesn't so much read an issue of mSm as one experiences it.
No one is in danger of learning how to build muscle or burn fat from reading mSm; but what we CAN expect from each issue is a taste of the experience of what life is like for those who ARE covered in slabs of muscle; or those who engage in extreme fitness endeavors.
For that reason, I would consider mSm almost an Alternative Lifestyle magazine; more so than a bodybuilding magazine. If it was on a magazine rack; where would you picture it being put? Would it be more at home wedged between Shape and Health? Or would it look more at home nestled beside the latest issue of Inked? I'm just saying...
At any rate Joe, it is my opinion that you have a phenomenal magazine, and you have a subscriber for life over here. Please never stop printing! The only thing that is missing from your magazine is page count. I truly wish it was more profitable to be in print, so that each quarter's magazine could be much larger; thereby prolonging the experience of each one.
Either way, I'll keep subscribing!
Thanks so much for your support & especially input. I am enjoying our email exchange and welcome criticism as well as praise from anyone out there. You really made my day with some of the kind words, bro. No bullshit. And I wish that I could put these out more frequently. The truth is that the market is just not there for it, advertisement-wise. I try to stress to potential advertisers that the digital version of the magazine is the one with the impressive numbers; the print run is a short one and mostly for the people in the magazine and a small but loyal subscriber list.
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Joe is a great guy and a good friend both personally and to this site. He takes a hands on approach with his subscribers and it's an approach I don't think you can find with any other magazine anywhere. In addition the content is phenomenal!
Thanks for supporting Joe and MuscleSportMag and thanks for being here on musclemecca as well! We do appreciate it!
Thx, Rich. Likewise; I will always support Muscle Mecca and we make a good tandem.
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I think I'm Gonna order a couple of back issues...
Anyone with a subscription care to make any suggestions on which issues I should buy?
Thanks, bro. I think that you'll be happy with the product and end up subscribing after reading a few back issues.
Some are sold out, including the one Talk Admin mentioned (Summer 2015 - Rich Piana cover).
Below is the link to the store page where you can get them and all include free US shipping.
I really like the way the Summer 2017 one came out (Iron Maiden illustration cover) and the Winter 2017 with the comic book style and Jens Dalsgaard on the cover.
I even have the first print issue available - Fall 2012 - with Phil Heath.