In 2001, Campbell Milligan emailed me asking what had happened to Level and for advice about starting a magazine of his own. Foolishly, he ignored my warnings, quit his job at Australia’s Waves magazine and, along with Chris Searl, planned to publish his dream magazine at the end of 2002. “She’s pretty much going to be along the same lines Level was with more of a surf skate snow kick”, he wrote in his next email. So if you’re looking at this site with a tear in your eye, mourning the death of print, heartbroken that Level’s only recourse for a return was electronic, you might find solace in the arms of Monster Children.
MC was openly inspired by Level but is by no means a rip-off, right down to its landscape format. It leans more toward art and photography, featuring extensive articles on mostly well-known artists linked with the surf, skate and snow scenes, and its art and editorial direction is simultaneously clean and ’zine-like, with occasional guest editing by artists such as Evan Hecox and The Art Dump collective. But what is most refreshing about it is that unlike other style/art mags, and like the core scenes it draws inspiration from, it is so far from pretentious or corporate it’s laughable, and while Level never featured pictures of cocks or knockers, or news about our kids and outright cheek, MC holds no quarter and publishes whatever the hell it wants—typos and all—to brilliant effect.
Level ran out of money and was shelved at issue 11 (issue 11 of MC was dedicated to Level as well as other fallen favourites) but, at 23 issues old, MC seems unhindered by news of print’s demise or the world recession. The latest, a Photo Issue, is typically excellent, presenting photos by Ed Templeton, Scott Pommier, Mike O’Meally, Mark Gonzales and dozens of others.
It might take some effort to track down a stockist but you won’t be sorry when you do. (You’d better do it fast, though: it can’t be long before the bank finds the secret passage from the MC office through to its vault.)
—Chris Noble, 10 August 2009