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The Magazine Rule

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"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 stay in business, or that speaks volumes about their character. This is usually either a joke about how they have such a niche hobby, or shows that something is Serious Business to them. If it's a trade publication, they probably belong to a Weird Trade Union. The magazine will usually be named "[subject] Digest/Monthly/Gazette" so that the audience quickly understands it.

As the magazine industry declines in many parts of the world (particularly the niche magazines that this trope parodies), this trope is becoming increasingly less common, but still maintains some ground. A more modern version might be "There's a forum/SNS group for everything."

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 of Cross-stitch Bondage Babes, it's Rule Thirty Six.

See also Severely Specialized Store, Niche Network, Specific Situation Books.


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

    Anime & Manga 
  • Franken Fran: Fran apparently subscribes to Science Blood magazine.
  • The Medabots anime episode "Welcome to Ninja World!" has the title theme park apparently being "recently rated 1# by Ninja Theme Park Magazine."

  • George Carlin discussed this trope in his HBO special Jammin' in New York, 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.
  • Patton Oswalt used this trope to mock individual or societal shame regarding a person's particular fetish, that right now a magazine exists featuring that particular kink and nothing else. Illustrated with a magazine that his friends once brought to him from a trip in England: Piss Drinkers.
    Patton: Here's the sick thing: this is Issue 7, Volume 20 of Piss Drinkers! It's a 20-year-old magazine!

    Comic Books 
  • On DC Comics' Htrae (a.k.a. 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.
  • New Avengers (2015) gives us "CHTTT!!! weekly". Squirrel Girl reads it, we can't imagine anybody else being interested in it. Except for squirrels. Maybe.
  • Rocky from Rocky once saw a man check out a new magazine for people who are into hermit crabs.
  • In Knight and Squire #2, Beryl picks up a copy of Total Castle for Cyril, who does in fact live in a castle. Who buys the other copies on the shelf, since even in Britain few locations run to more than one castle, is unexplored.

    Comic Strips 
  • 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 Watterson himself subscribed to, and his thoughts on the matter were pretty clear, judging by Hobbes' reaction:
    Hobbes: What kind of nut would care about all this?!
    Calvin: Everyone! This is hard data. It lets you quantify your enjoyment.
    Hobbes: I thought fun was supposed to be fun.
    Calvin: Well, I prefer to trust the experts.
  • Dilbert's Wally is once seen speculating on the content of his Sitting There magazine.
  • Garfield: Garfield is reading a magazine until he gets too tired to stay awake. Jon says, "He can never make it through an entire issue of Napping Gazette."

    Fan Works 
  • A Diplomatic Visit: In chapter 23, Rainbow Dash mentions an incident with an annoying magazine salesman who kept trying to get her to buy a subscription to Sponge Illustrated. Pinkie Pie chimes in and says she has a ten-year subscription.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • 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?"
  • Lampshaded in Autobiography of Red when Geryon looks over the magazines at a newsstand:
    Architecture, geology, surfing,
    weight lifting, knitting, politics, sex. Balling from Behind caught his eye
    (a whole magazine devoted to this?
    issue after issue? year after year?)
  • Discworld:
    • Going Postal has various publications for pin collectors (or "pin heads" as they call themselves). Then, they invented stamps...
    • In Lords and Ladies, Hodgesaargh the falconer reads Beaks & Talons, while Shawn Ogg reads Bows & Ammo.
    • Inverted Trope in The Truth, where William finds it hard to believe there's a market for a magazine about cats.
  • In Harry Potter, there is Which Broomstick?, a magazine devoted to Flying Broomstick reviews. Although it is not a niche topic in-universe, since broomsticks both are a common means of transportation and used in a popular sport.
  • In David Feldman's Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses?, an illustration accompanying the entry on why many magazine subscription orders are sent to Boulder, Colorado depicts a man and woman reading copies of Feldspar Quarterly and Schist Digest.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of Boy Meets World, Eric subscribes 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 canceled 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.
  • The final round of Have I Got News for You is the Missing Words round, where the panellists are shown newspaper headlines with words blanked out and have to fill in the gaps. Some of the headlines are taken from that week's "Guest Publication", which is almost invariably a little-known magazine on an extremely specialist issue. Examples include Llama Link, The Doorknob Collector and The Barbed Wire Collector (the last of which team captain Paul Merton loudly insisted, for the entire round, couldn't possibly be a real magazine).
  • 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", Pizza Today and Parking Today.
  • On separate occasions David Letterman has presented segments showing both phony and real examples on Late Night/Late Show.
  • Vince in The Mighty Boosh subscribes to hyper-cutting-edge fashion magazine Cheekbone, which has to be delivered by ninjas to avoid being obsolete by the time it's read.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • They Might Be Giants: "Renew My Subscription" references Desperate Bellowing Magazine and Miserable Freak Show Quarterly.

  • 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.

    Puppet Shows 
  • 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.

  • In one Bob & Ray interview, they're discussing hobbies with the editor of Wasting Time Magazine.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Miss Brooks Writes About a Hobo", Miss Brooks seeks out a hobo to write an article about "The Vanishing Hobo" to submit to a schoolteacher's magazine. It so turns out the titular hobo is also writing a magazine article. The hobo's article is entitled "The Vanishing Schoolteacher" and he is paid handsomely by a hobo magazine for its publication.

    Video Games 
  • 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).
  • In Homescapes when Katherine asks where Austin gets his decorating ideas from, he comments that he subscribes to Trendy Butler.
  • Jagged Alliance. Never shown, but it's mentioned that Fox appeared in an issue of Babes & Bullets both as the centerfold and the author of a four-page article on treating hemorrhaging under battlefield conditions, and received glowing feedback from the readers on both.
  • Used for a joke in Left 4 Dead: when 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!"
  • Mega Man 11 has a magazine publication called "Boom Monthly" that talks about explosions around the world. Blast Man, one of the Robot Masters you fight, is a regular writer for the magazine, and "not a month goes by where his articles don't blow the pages to bits".
  • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team: Mario, Luigi, and Prince Dreambert collect ancient Pi'illo artifacts and show them to a Pi'illo history fanatic named Pi'illoper. Upon seeing each item, he is completely overwhelmed, relating it to the exact issue and page of one of many Pi'illo magazines he's subscribed to. Additionally, Pi'illoper's Dream World version writes articles for one of the magazines he reads.
  • Mass Effect 2 allows you to purchase an issue of Fornax, a titillating alien magazine. Featuring a hanar on the cover.

    Web Animation 


    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • The American Dad! episode "Joint Custody" has a brief shot of a convenience store clerk reading Magazine Enthusiast.
  • Duckman is a reader of Bitter Crazed Loner Monthly.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
  • Seen as part of a Spinning Paper montage in the episode of The Fairly Oddparents where Timmy wishes for Chester to be unbeatable at baseball. The first two magazines are fairly conventional sports mags, but the third is dedicated to braces, and the fourth is focused on pack mules.
    • Another episode features a comic book writer who subscribes to Nerds Who Live With Their Mothers Monthly.
  • In Family Guy, we learn that Cleveland subscribes to black-guy magazines like Grape Soda Today.
  • An episode of Garfield and Friends has 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!)...
  • Gravity Falls has several of these, starting with Grunkle Stan's Gold Chains for Old Men Magazine, and later Fully Clothed Women.
    • In a later episode, Wendy tries to avoid answering an uncomfortable question by burying her face in a copy of Avoiding Eye Contact Monthly.
  • In a few episodes of Kaeloo, the male characters (especially Mr. Cat) are seen reading the magazine "Oh La La", which has pictures of girls in skimpy costumes.
  • Cartoonish Supervillainy appears to be a whole culture in Kim Possible, and Drakken and Shego are sometimes seen reading magazines like Villainess.
  • In one episode of Making Fiends, Vendetta reads Evil Magazine.
  • In an episode of Miraculous Ladybug, Plagg is seen reading a magazine called Gentlemen's Camembert.
  • Scooby-Doo:
  • In The Simpsons:
    • Marge gets several magazines devoted to cleaning with titles like Sponge & Vacuum.
    • There is also a whole selection of "death sports" magazines Marge was looking at with titles like Glass Eater, Bear Baiter, and Danger Liker.
    • Homer Simpson is once shown napping on the couch with a copy of Modern Fart Denier on his stomach.
    • Homer is also an avid reader of Blue Pants Monthly.
    • 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.
    • The comics at one point had Bart perusing the mature section at the Kwik-E-Mart, containing Sensuous Single Moms, Barely Senile and, most bizarrely, Hemp-Made Hot Rods.
    • In one episode Ralph Wiggum hid behind a copy of Booger Aficionado. He is on the cover. Picking his nose.
  • In South Park Cartman's mother apparently appeared on the cover of Crack Whore Magazine.
  • Seen in Time Squad, Buck Tuddrussel partakes in a few different magazine subscriptions, most of them focusing on "guns" and one in particular that featured a woman in a bikini on the cover with the title being Just Pictures.
  • Transformers: Rescue Bots has Emergency Rescue Illustrated.
  • Sonic Boom:
    • In "Do Not Disturb", Sonic finds an issue of Sidekick Monthly in Tails' house.
      Sonic: I wonder who's number two this month.
    • Knuckles mentions in "Nominatus Rising" to be a reader of Hulking Brute Magazine.

    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.
  • Similarly, Good News Week featured an occasional round called "Magazine Mastermind", where two celebrities would be given a obscure magazine to study and then be quizzed on its contents. A particular favourite was Bacon Busters, a magazine for people who go bow hunting for feral pigs.
  • Anyone who has ever worked in a well-stocked academic library will quickly realize that there is a 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.
  • Ireland has one dedicated to sheep, goats and alpaca.
  • In an online variant closer to magazines than wikis, Brazil has plenty of Twitter and blog accounts dedicated to Euro Footy teams/tournaments. Even second-tier Premier League squads or the championships of Romania and Cyprus.
  • Just about every industry has a trade journal. Including one for portapotty-operators.
  • There's a magazine for people who like to get drunk. It's called Modern Drunkard.
  • Many non-fans (or even fans who don't read the mag) find it hard to understand how Doctor Who Magazine, (the longest-running publication devoted to a single sci-fi franchise) remained in business for the more than a decade that the show was off the air, or what it found to publish in that time.
  • There are many magazines dedicated to specific performers or pieces of media that don't really seem like they'd have enough audience to stay afloat. However, they're often not true magazines in the sense of being periodical, but rather just one-off publications in a magazine-esque format.