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The Magazine Rule

Private investigator Emerson Cod was enjoying the latest issue of Knit Wit Magazine, his literary outlet for knitting humor, when he received a phone call from the mother of one Anita Gray.
The Narrator, Pushing Daisies

There's a magazine for everything.

A character subscribes to a weirdly specific fandom magazine or trade publication you would never expect to have an audience, or that speaks volumes about his character. This either represents his interest in a very niche hobby, or shows that a perfectly ordinary part of life is Serious Business to him. If it's a trade publication, he probably belongs to a Weird Trade Union.

Named after The Wiki Rule, its online equivalent. Related to Collector of the Strange and Pastimes Prove Personality. If a Manly Man subscribes to Cross-stitch Quarterly, it's Real Men Wear Pink, and if a Nightmare Fetishist has managed to find a publication devoted to Cross-stitch Bondage Babes, it's Rule Thirty Six.

See also Severely Specialized Store, Niche Network.

Examples:

Advertising
  • A Snickers commercial had a man who subscribes to Panda Fancy, a magazine for those with pet pandas.

Anime & Manga
  • The Medabots anime episode "Welcome to Ninja World!" had the titular theme park apparently being "recently rated 1# by ninja theme park magazine."

Comics
  • On DC Comi Bookcs' Htrae (aka Bizarro World) during the Silver Age, one of the most popular newspapers is The Yearly Planet. It's what you get when you employ Bizarros who only work during the weekend.

Film
  • Obscure Sports Quarterly in Dodgeball.
  • In Wallace & Gromit, Wallace is a devotee of many cheese connoisseur mags.
    • The local priest has a subscription to a magazine about nun wrestling.
  • Airplane!. A nun is shown reading the Real Life magazine Boys' Life, while a boy is reading a copy of Nuns' Life.
  • The independent film Never Been Thawed has many scenes that prominently feature fake magazines like Christian Entrepreneur and Apathy.

Literature
  • Going Postal has various publications for pin collectors (or "pin heads" as they call themselves). Then, they invented stamps...
  • In Harry Potter, there is Which Broom?; although given the popularity of Quidditch in the wizarding world, this is probably not so obscure; they're essentially the wizards' equivalent of racing bikes.
  • In The Areas of My Expertise, John Hodgman provides a list of (mostly) fake periodicals where writers of short stories can submit their work for a variety of increasingly esoteric literary genres.
    "If you are a writer of Alternate History, why not try the New Amsterdamer? Or how about the Pacific Monthly?"

Live-Action TV
  • On separate occasions David Letterman has presented segments showing both phoney and real examples on Late Night/Late Show.
  • Bert from Sesame Street reads books such as Boring Stories, Pigeons of the World, The Pigeon Whisperer (and several other pigeon-themed works), and The Wonderful World of Paper Clips.
  • Rimmer in Red Dwarf subscribes to Fascist Dictator Monthly. Hitler was the Mr. October centerfold, apparently. Also, when trying to break Lister, Cat, and Kryten's spirits during a period of Quarantine, Rimmer supplies them with one Knitting magazine as almost their only form of entertainment. Then, in the episode "Krytie TV", there's the issue of Morris Dancer Monthly ("That's mine!") that they plant in Ackerman's quarters.
  • Vince in The Mighty Boosh subscibes to hyper-cutting-edge fashion magazine Cheekbone, which has to be delivered by ninjas to avoid being obsolete by the time it's read.
  • Infomania includes a segment called We've Got You Covered in which Connor Knighton rounds up the week's mainstream magazines and tabloids. This ends up with a bit called "How the !*#@ Is This a Magazine?" which highlights magazines that are just plain bizarre and/or specialized. Past highlights include Pumper a magazine about the "liquid sanitation industry" and Pizza Today
    • Also: Parking Today
  • Psych has Gus, the uptight one of the pair who is more concerned with breaking the law, subscribing to "Safe-crackers monthly" or something along those lines. He's fascinated by locks and quite adept at opening them.
  • In one episode of Boy Meets World Eric subscribed to 26 different magazines, each one's title beginning with a different letter of the alphabet, as part of poorly thought out attempt to game the Publisher's Clearing House contest. Among these magazines is Chester, a magazine for people named Chester (Eric had to lie about his name to get the subscription).
  • Parodied in Community with Dean Magazine, which at one point plans to do a cover feature about Dean Pelton. Subverted, however, in that it's cancelled after two issues (before the aforementioned cover feature can appear), presumably because, as Jeff points out, it's "the worst idea for a magazine ever". Double subverted in that the publication which informs us of the cancellation of Dean Magazine is none other than Magazine Monthly.
  • Played for Laughs in Pushing Daisies. If it wasn't absurd enough that Emerson Cod is a gruff, no-nonsense detective who enjoys knitting, "Smell of Success" has him reading "Knit Wit Magazine", which the narrator confirms is a frequent "knitting humor" magazine.
  • In the Doctor Who comedy-special The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, three Dalek prop-operators can be seen reading copies of "Dalek Operator's Gazette".

Newspaper Comics
  • In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin subscribes to Chewing, a magazine devoted entirely to chewing gum. Calvin describes it as "high-gloss, literate, and sophisticated" in comparison to Gum Action, targeted more to the "Gonzo" demographic, and Chewers Illustrated which targets vintage gum collectors. Word of God says that these were direct parodies of the half-dozen biking magazines Waterson himself subscribed to.
  • Dilbert's Wally is once seen speculating on the content of his "Sitting There" magazine.
  • Rocky from Rocky once saw a man check out a new magazine for people who are into hermit crabs.

Radio
  • In one Bob & Ray interview, they're discussing hobbies with the editor of "Wasting Time Magazine".

Stand-Up Comedy
  • George Carlin devoted a small part of his HBO special Jammin' in New York on this trope, saying that "any activity engaged in by more than four people in this country has got a fucking magazine devoted to it." In particular, he railed against the fact that there's a magazine for walking.

Video Games
  • Mass Effect 2 allows you to purchase an issue of Fornax, a titillating alien magazine. Featuring a hanar on the cover.
  • Used for a joke in Left 4 Dead: while passing by a magazine stand, Zoey may teasingly tell Francis that they have the latest issue of Hating Everything Magazine. Francis' reply? "I hate latest issues!"
  • One of the findable items in Evil Dead: Hail to the King is a magazine specialized for Hillbilly Moonshiners, which provides tips to repurpose any undrinkable results (namely how to create fuel and healing items with mushrooms).

Web Comics
  • Bruno the Bandit:
    • Uncle Lucius was once seen reading Hypochondriac Monthly, while Bruno himself favored Pilfer! The Thieves' Magazine.
    • Shub-Megawrath once appeared on the cover of Pregnant Shambling Horror Magazine.
  • At least one character in Mountain Time has a subscription to Tumbleweed Enthusiast magazine.

Web Original
  • Homestuck: Dad subscribes to The Serious Jester.
  • In an Easter Egg in the Homestar Runner short "car", Strong Sad is seen reading the magazine Nerdular Nerdence.
    • As a matter of fact, strange magazines are a Running Gag in the HR toons.
  • On The Ricky Gervais Show, Karl mentions in his diary that he saw someone reading a magazine called "Carp." Specifically, a "Carp of the Month" article. Later, he searches London for "UFO Data" but keeps getting distracted by gay pornography on the newsstand.

Western Animation
  • In The Simpsons, Marge gets several magazines devoted to cleaning with titles like Sponge & Vacuum.
    • There was also a whole selection of "death sports" magazines Marge was looking at with titles like Glass Eater, Bear Baiter, and Danger Liker.
    • Homer Simpson was once shown napping on the couch with a copy of Modern Fart Denier on his stomach.
    • And in The Movie, Grandpa is seen reading an issue of Oatmeal Enthusiast.
    • Sherri & Terri subscribe to "First Born Twin" and "Second Born Twin" magazines.
  • In South Park Cartman's mother apparently appeared on the cover of "Crack Whore Magazine."
  • In Family Guy, we learn that Cleveland subscribes to black-guy magazines like Grape Soda Today.
  • Ed of Ed, Edd n Eddy owns a copy of Chicks Galore... which is about baby chickens, not girls, much to Eddy's dismay.
  • In one episode of Making Fiends, Vendetta reads Evil Magazine.
  • In A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Fred subscribes to a variety of conspiracy theorist magazines, the National Exaggerator apparently being one of his favorites.
  • Cartoonish Supervillainy appears to be a whole culture in Kim Possible, and Drakken and Shego are sometimes seen reading magazines like Villainess.
  • In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated Fred reads Traps Illustrated (just for the articles).
  • An episode of Garfield and Friends had Jon harassed by a magazine salesman, who forces him to purchase a subscription of Sponge Illustrated. Then the salesman starts following Jon to get him to renew (despite the issues having not even arrived yet!)...

Real Life
  • Truth in Television, it's unbelievable how magazines exist about any number of specific interests. "This Week's Guest Publications" on Have I Got News for You are generally excellent examples of these, with magazines such as Parking Review, Arthritis News and Miniature Donkey Talk providing some of the headlines.
  • Anyone who has ever worked in a well-stocked academic library will quickly realize that there is an scholarly journal on every discipline, every subdiscipline within the discipline and so on down the line for a few dozen iterations, rounded out with a few interdisciplinary ones.
  • Japan has a magazine only about Ramen.
    • Also one for opossum fanciers.


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