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June 16, 2004 01:20am
Suicide Girls' SGPin-Up Magazine Shelved
Source: Letters to the Editor
by: Aaron Sigmond

In the fall of last year I approached the popular alt cult soft core website SuicideGirls (SG) about producing a branded/custom publication based on the SG brand. They clearly liked the idea and we successfully formalized our relationship by December. Immediately my staff and I started to work on issue one of what would come to entitled, SGPin-Up magazine, the first magazine of it's kind to be launched in the United States since the US edition of Penthouse in 1969 or perhaps Oui magazine in 1972--a magazine that combines erotic imagery with substitutive, topical and political editorial.

Unfortunately things did not go smoothly from the get go. There seemed to be a significant philosophical difference (in Hollywood they call them "creative differences") as to the direction of the magazine. As the editorial director and publisher of the magazine I had originally proposed and continued to envision the magazine as a brand expansion vehicle for SG. Since the majority of the publications distribution would be on the newsstand via Curtis Circulation the largest newsstand distributor in No. America and Diamond Comics and not the website itself, it seemed logical that the magazine would take the best elements of SG and apply them to a stand alone magazine with an equal but separate identity in order to attracted newsstand readership that may not be familiar with the site. In creating the editorial mission for the publications my staff and I were always mindful that we also had a duty to satisfy the SuicideGirls.com members, fans and outright sycophants. In the end it seemed what SG wanted was nothing more than a very linear brand extension that was more akin to a "fanzine", not the first rate, thought provoking, hipster, pseudo-porn glossy that I though we should produce.

The bumpy ride continued when at SG's behest we dismissed our original Editor in Chief. Things completely broke down in last month when on a trip out to LA it became apparent that SuicideGirls and SGPin-Up hit an impasse that could unfortunately only be resolved by getting attorneys involved--which is were the magazine stands today. SGPin-Up is on indefinite hiatus with no scheduled launch date at this time until matters have been resolved.

As the newsstand and subscriber audiences had yet to be established there was of course no reason to explain the delays of the publication. There had been some advanced press, but our PR strategy had called for the real push to commence a few weeks before the magazine hit the newsstands; however that was not the case with the fans of the website. The magazine had its own section already on the site and we had begun to take advance subscription and even released a few photos and the cover of issue one.

In a move to distance itself from the project SG removed the magazine button and pages off its site last Sunday. To those who closely monitor the SG site this action required an explanation. To answer any curious minds they posted a notice on one of their chat boards as to why the magazine was no longer an active SG project (http://SuicideGirls.com/boards/SG+World/45667/). As the Publisher of SGPin-Up I obviously followed this thread with some interest. The lamentable thing when a project like this starts to unravel is that there tends to be a whole lot of finger pointing and the notice that the SG staff posted was no exception.

In their posting the SG Staff stated "We were unhappy with how the first issue of the magazine turned out, and have decided to scrap it and go back to the drawing board. We just felt like we were unable to create a magazine that properly complemented the website with our first attempt."

While this statement is consistent with the creative differences that have plagued the project it is far from what Sean Suhl (a.k.a. Sean Suicide) the owner of the site wrote in numerous emails to me over the past few months.

On 3/29/04 9:12 Pm, "sean suicide" wrote: "I've been through the magazine 4 times now, and it's really quite impressive. We have a lot of thoughts on little changes and even more on how to make the next issue exceptional, but clearly our apprehension and cageyness was without merit. The product screams of quality...I know I should have just listened to you and trusted you, and while I can't change the past, I can offer you the assurance that you have my trust for the future issues. I hope to prove to you we can be a dream licensor instead of pain in the ass licensor for the future."

On 4/7/04 2:32 Pm, "sean suicide" wrote: "I have no doubt once people see the first issue you will be selling out this magazine regularly, it's really unique."

The results of the SG posting have lead to numerous erroneous comments in regards to SGPin-Up, the most disturbing is that some how the magazine was not of quality or substance which could not be further from the truth as pointed about by Sean Suicide himself.

The magazine staff was comprised of an award winning art director, equally talented editors and writers and the photographers from the known such as Terry Richardson to Amazing unknowns who deserved a break.

Wilcox Printing which also produces such outrageous newsstand glossies as Nest and City magazines will manufacture the magazine. The quality of the paper surpasses 90% of the magazines produced today and 100% of the adult titles with perhaps the exception of Perfect 10-- really everything in the magazine is of exceptional quality.

Another misnomer that has manifested itself is that some how SuicideGirls was not involved in the editorial content of the magazine, which is again simply not factual; from the name of the magazine to the articles and images inside every step of the way was overseen by SG website staff.

Sometimes projects are problematic, again to borrow from the Hollywood dictionary; sometimes they are green-lighted and then shelved. If Pin-Up does not make it to newsstands it will be unfortunate on many levels, for the adult entertainment community it will spell the demise of what would have been a benchmark of quality, a representation of erotic entertainment at its best, for my staff and I it will represent almost a year's work lost.

Aaron Sigmond has launched 16 magazines over the past decade. Throughout his career, Sigmond has specialized in creating and overseeing successful niche, custom, and consumer lifestyle publications.

Prior to working on SGPin-Up Sigmond polished-off his contributions as the launch-Publisher of 2003's most anticipated independent publication: Radar magazine. Radar was conceived by former Talk magazine Editorial Director Maer Roshan.

Sigmond is perhaps best known as the creator of the celebrity-centric men's cigar lifestyle publication Smoke magazine, one of the most successfully launched publications of Nineties, and it's sequel Drink.

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