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Giant Robot asks for your help

February 5, 2010 |  1:13 pm

I remember when Giant Robot magazine was born in 1994, a scrappy little black and white 'zine. The early- to mid- 90s were a great time for magazines, but almost all of them -- including the one I worked on -- folded long ago.

Not Giant Robot. Its focus on Asian American and Asian crossover culture, both pop and underground, made it increasingly popular. It quickly went glossy, becoming a fantastic showcase for new artists working in a variety of media. Its celebration of toys, T-shirts, books and art compelled it to go retail, opening brick and mortar shops in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. Next to one store, on Sawtelle Boulevard in West L.A., they even opened a diner, GR/eats.

But the magazine, which is the lifeblood of Giant Robot, is in trouble. Our economic slump has hit it from all sides:

In addition to several distributors cutting out small press or folding altogether, paper has become more expensive and postage has skyrocketed exponentially. And while there has also been the support of loyal advertisers, the middle class of supporters has dropped, creating peaks and valleys in income that force us to live issue to issue. Complicating matters, store revenues and art show sales have suffered along with the economy, depriving the magazine of resources that allowed it to operate freely and thrive without the benefit or constraints of being part of a large publishing house....

We have done the math, and an infusion of $60,000 (hopefully more) will ensure another year of full, unfettered operation with no strings attached to a shifting media paradigm, advertising climate, sketchy distributors, and the economy -- each of which we are not ignoring but addressing straight-on. In concert with the other measures (not to mention the realignment and recovery of our shops), we feel that Giant Robot’s future and its continuing impact of society will be secure.

Longtime editors Erik Nakamura and Martin Wong ask for help in the video above. Many donor levels come with prints, books or original art -- and one comes with a GR/eats free lunch.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

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