The New 'Details': Is This The Little Mag I Carried?

The new Details is out, and — who'd have thunk it — it's the mag's fifth anniversary issue. Well, it's not the fifth anniversary of the magazine, exactly, but the fifth anniversary of this iteration of the magazine. And it seems like just yesterday this version was born. Where does time go?

Could it really be five years ago that the mag was freshly arrived at Fairchild from Conde Nast, that Dan Peres was freshly arrived from Paris to edit it, and that Mark Golin and his laddiness was only recently shitcanned? Apparently it can.

At the same time, we can't escape the feeling that so much has changed. There's a permanence to the magazine now, a feeling of reliability and success. Five years ago, it seemed like Details could disappear at a moment's notice — it had, after all, gone through four editors in five years before Peres came on. Now it's a fixture.

But what makes it seem so much more, well, comfortable with itself?

First we went looking through the data, to find numerical evidence of this change. But we found something funny: Details's stats don't seem any better today than they did in that relaunch issue, in October 2000.

Circulation, fourth quarter of 2000: 445,996
Circulation, first half of 2005: 407,167

Ad pages, October 2000: 132.01
Ad pages, August 2005: 75.78

Ad revenue, October 2000: $4.41 million
Ad revenue, August 2005: $3.76 million

[Sources: Advertising Bureau of Circulations, Publishers Information Bureau. 2005 numbers cited are the most recent available.]

Hmm. So if that's out, what could it be that makes the mag seem so much more settled today than it did five years ago?

We started flipping through the issue, and we found the answer when we reached Peres's "Letter from the Editor":

"Is Details gay?"

Since becoming editor-in-chief of this magazine five years ago, no other question has been put to me, if you will, more often.

To be clear, from the beginning I have maintained that Details would be a magazine for intelligent, sophisticated men — both gay and straight. After all, I said at the time, the line between homo and hetero has become so undetectable, you can barely tell the difference anymore. Most men don't care anyway, I'd add.

I was, of course, lying.

Ah yes, that's it. Finally coming out can make anyone — or anything, apparently, including a magazine — seem so much more comfortable with itself.

Congrats, Details. We'll see you at Beige tonight.

Details [Official site]