Before we fell in love with Preview Magazine's art direction, my siblings and I would buy Pulp on a regular basis. I was barely out of college then.
I remember conservatives would often rage against their concepts. Who could forget the mass email Catholic school girls sent over Cris Villonco's leather-and-chains getup? (Even though she was fully covered from head to toe.)
But I was in awe of their photographers, how they played with the textures and lights, characterized by bold shocking colors that brought dead corners to life.
We stopped buying Pulp when they introduced "Pulp Skin." My first reaction upon seeing those is, "Did I accidentally buy two issues of FHM??" I already had one. Didn't need another, thank you. I used to collect FHM for the art direction. I saw no sense in collecting the same type of magazine. One of them had to go. Pulp was it. (I also let go of FHM eventually because of two reasons: someone ran away with my collection -- he knows who he is -- and I turned to the more socially relevant Marie Claire.)
Despite the years-long distance, I was happy to see this coffee table book among my sister's things. It contained all the covers that I adored and all the wonderful covers and layouts that I had missed, compiled into an awe-inspiring hard cover.
Well...I thought I would be spared from "Pulp Skin" but they're also in this compilation. Nevertheless, it was great to reminisce on old times. I was feeling teary-eyed when I saw the late Francis M. and some of the other great artists that I haven't been hearing from lately.
I had also forgotten how they would spoof other magazines, like make trannies pose in beautiful wedding gowns for a June bridal issue. It was so very interesting how they made bakla seem like the most astig thing to do. Despite the self-deprecating nature of drag queens, the ones Pulp featured seemed to look like they could pound you to the ground -- pretty wedding dress and all -- if you even think about making fun of them. That was how powerful the imagery was.
My favorite artists, photographers and designers are spread all over these pages: Tom Epperson, Xander Angeles, Erik Liongoren, Rom Villaseran, Matt Gatton (who did the Francis M. photo shoot), Tommy Zablan, Mark Nicdao, Kristine Soguilon and many more.
Beyond beholding the exquisite work of art, I was strangely more drawn to the stories behind the art, the photographs, the layout. I could not stop reading. Some of the artist's experiences are downright hilarious and some...well, I just found myself amazed at the lengths people go through in order to express their creativity.
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