The first issue of the new, Kickstarter-funded Howler magazine arrived today. I love soccer writing, so I still look forward to reading the articles. But after flipping through this first, enormously formatted and overly designed monstrosity, I’m glad I only backed them at the “get one issue” level and not the “full subscription” level.

Maybe I’m just in a foul mood after watching Liverpool play well but lose YET AGAIN (3-2 at home to Udinese in Europa League), but this thing just isn’t my bag. A couple of quick examples of what’s put me off:

Like this sort-of, kind-of funny picture of Rooney and Kompany that’s part of the article title? Fooled you! It’s not part of the article! At all! It’s just a sort-of, kind-of funny picture, all by itself! The text to the left is the end of the article prior! No caption (just the title, “Gents”, and the artist), no accompaniment, no point. It’s Art, I guess! (Also, how about that giant red bar? A capital “I”? Maybe! A random red bar? Yes! Relation to anything at all? None!)

Know what this diagram of Bs, Ds, and Gs is meant to illustrate? Fooled you again, it’s not a diagram at all! It’s the title of an article! Called, “BDGB BDGB”, OBVIOUSLY! It’s about being a fan of Man U in the 70s, OBVIOUSLY! More Art, I guess! (Also, see the random circles and lines and colored bars and shadows sprinkled haphazardly all over? Still more Art, apparently!)

Anyway, as I recall they did say in their Kickstarter promo, with all fair warning to me, that they would have “some of the most striking art and design you’ll find in any publication being made today”. And there are some neat graphics in here, certainly; some that even seem to serve a purpose beyond their creator showing off to other magazine/design people. And I am optimistic about the writing, but I’m disappointed overall. Best of luck to you, Howler, but I won’t be subscribing.