New magazine Suspira intrigues from the get-go. On the jet black cover, the title is presented in condensed, black letters, only visible as a result of blind embossing. There are no cover lines. A sweeping cosmos of white flecks, an artwork by contributor Horacio Quiroz, fills the rest of the page. You cannot help but pick it up.
The cover sets the tone for the rest of the magazine. Suspira, by its very nature, requires both imagination and curiosity. A horror magazine “encapsulating multitudes of the macabre and horrors of the human psyche, Suspira dissects sinister subjects through a feminine lens.” Each issue of Suspira explores a different archetype of fear and fasciation. Where better to start than with monsters?
Suspiria is intelligent. A magazine themed around monsters could have easily resorted to stereotype: the sort of green, other-worldly creatures that dominate popular culture. This is not the case with Suspira. Instead the issue takes a more creative tack, venturing into themes of mental health, stigmatisation and gender.
“In this issue,” writes editor Valentina Egoavil Medina, “we face fears and uncover the truths and misconceptions behind the monstrous.” A feature by Alexandra Furssedonn-Howard investigates the connection between women and the monster in the context of Barbara Creed’s theory The Monstrous-Feminine (above). Elsewhere, Aviv Grimm discusses coping strategies for battling inner demons (below), and a conversation between Egoavil Medina and mental health activist Cecilia McGough sheds light on living with schizophrenia.
Design is another strength. While many magazines fall victim to prioritising editorial over photography and artwork, or vice versa, Suspira expertly balances the two, which is why it is our Magazine of the Week. A generous helping of illustration, photography and artwork can be found among its pages and the quality of journalism is consistently high. The level of attention to detail should also be noted.
Suspira comes from a similar team to that of witchcraft magazine trilogy Sabat and the two titles share the same publisher (Dreadful Press). The magazine is founded and edited by Egoavil Medina, a loyal contributor to Sabat; Elisabeth Krohn, Sabat’s founder and editor, serves as Suspira's editorial advisor. The two titles bear many points of comparison – both are largely monochromatic in design, and subject matters in each are posited in line with contemporary feminist thinking.
In its intelligent and considered approach to such a niche topic, Sabat proved hugely popular. Judging by the debut issue, the same with be true for Suspira.
Editor: Valentina Egoavil Medina
Design: Studio Fax