Black is a new magazine from Brimstone Press that bills itself as Australian Dark Culture.

Right then, so far it appears to be right up my alley. The first issue came out in July and issue two is due in September, so it would seem to be a quarterly. I know I’m a bit behind on this, but I’ve just got around to picking up the first issue and having a read.

The first issue of Black

On the whole it is actually a pretty good mag. Nice and glossy, very professional looking, it covers a lot of the good stuff – there’s new short fiction, reviews of movies and books, articles on things as diverse as Heath Ledger’s Joker, Stephen King’s Dark Tower novels and the world of the dominatrix, in this case Sydney Mistress Astrid Electra.

The Joker article borders on sensationalism sometimes and some of the writing throughout the mag is a little bit amateur. There’s always the risk of a publication like this falling into the conspiracy theorist, cut yourself in a darkened room, paranoid geek sub genre and subsequently disappearing altogether. The heavy emphasis of white text on black background is a bit hard on the eyes after a while too. It’s not like that throughout, but when long articles are printed this way it gets a bit like trying to read a teenage girl’s MySpace page. Not that I’d know what a teenage girl’s MySpace page is like or anything, of course, but you know what I mean.

But, as far as Issue 1 is concerned, it’s off to a good start and has every chance of getting better and better. There’s a decent market in Australia for stuff like this, and writers like myself will always be pleased to see new publications expanding the awareness of fans of horror and dark fiction along with all the other aspects of dark culture.

So, the magazine can certainly improve a lot, but it’s off in excellent style and two thumbs up from me for the people at Brimstone Press for giving it a go. If you like the idea, support them by getting out to your newsagent and picking up a copy. For overseas readers (and locals), if you’re interested there are subscription details on their website here.