Magazine covers, then and now


Over at Medium, Karen X. Cheng and Jerry Gabra look at the evolution of magazine covers. To paraphrase Mister Jalopy, I don't like the old ones because they're old, I like them because they're better. Read the rest

Does anyone still make those magazines where David Bowie is mauled by weasels?

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WET – the 1970s magazine that pioneered new wave design

In 1976, WET magazine was launched in Venice, California by a young architecture school grad named Leonard Koren. During its 34-issue, five-year run, WET invented and refined a California new wave design aesthetic that spun modern graphic design in a new direction.

In his retrospective book Making WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing, Koren writes that he had “no skills in writing, editing, designing, art direction, advertising sales, publishing, or business generally” when he launched the magazine, “but didn’t consider this an impediment.” (This sounds like Carla and I when we started bOING bOING as a zine in 1988.)

Koren he was right. WET was innovative, playful, surprising, rule-breaking, and only occasionally about gourmet bathing. In this anecdote-filled retrospective, Koren describes the gestation, evolution, and demise of his little-known, yet powerfully influential magazine.

Making WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing, by Leonard Koren

Take a look at other beautiful paper books at Wink. And sign up for the Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

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Cover from 1922 zine called The Flapper

This is the greatest magazine cover ever.

(The cover model, Marie Prevost was an it girl in the 1920s, but she had a difficult life and died of acute alcoholism at the age of 38 in January 1937.)

(Via If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats) Read the rest

True Crime Detective Magazines 1924-1969 (Gallery)

Eric Godtland and Dian Hanson have lovingly compiled a picture book about crime magazines from the mid-20th century called True Crime Detective Magazines 1924-1969. It's loaded with exceedingly lurid, attention-grabbing magazine covers and illustrations.

At the height of the Jazz Age, when Prohibition was turning ordinary citizens into criminals and ordinary criminals into celebrities, America’s true crime detective magazines were born. True Detective came first in 1924, and by 1934, when the Great Depression had produced colorful outlaws like Machine Gun Kelly, Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, and John Dillinger, the magazines were so popular cops and robbers alike vied to see themselves on the pages. Even FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover wrote regularly for what came to be called the “Dickbooks,” referring to a popular slang term for a detective.

As the decades rolled on, the magazines went through a curious metamorphosis, however. When liquor was once more legal, the Depression over and all the flashy criminals dead or imprisoned, the “detectives” turned to sin to make sales. Sexy bad girls in tight sweaters, slit skirts, and stiletto heels adorned every cover. Cover lines shouted “I Was a Girl Burglar—For Kicks,” “Sex Habits of Women Killers,” “Bride of Sin!,” “She Played Me for a Sucker,” and most succinctly, “Bad Woman.”

True Crime Detective Magazines follows the evolution and devolution of this distinctly American genre from 1924 to 1969. Hundreds of covers and interior images from dozens of magazine titles tell the story, not just of the “detectives,” but also of America’s attitudes towards sex, sin, crime and punishment over five decades.

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Omni Reboot Boots Up

As promised by Jeremy Frommer, the financier who has assembled the largest private collection of Bob Guccione, Omni, Penthouse, and related stuff (a good portion of which is for sale), Omni Reboot is live. Edited by Claire Evans, a writer and editor (and part of the band YACHT), Reboot is starting life as a blog, but Claire tells us she has great hopes for expanding as time progresses.

But what a blog! Friends of Boing Boing Rudy Rucker and Bruce Sterling contributed fiction to the launch: "I Arise Again" and "The Landline," respectively. The premier also sports a feature on Ben Bova, one of the great science-fiction editors and writers, and a founding editor at Omni; and about what was learned in the "failure" of Biosphere 2.

Claire, also a friend of BB, writes in her introductory editor's note: "We will never be able to compete with your nostalgia." Instead, they're using our nostalgia as a scaffolding by which we will climb to the stars. Read the rest

Who Owns Omni?

Glenn Fleishman on the legendary science and science fiction magazine's murky proprietorship.
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First 20 years of Wired covers

Here are the first 20 years of Wired covers in less than 30 seconds. I met Mark in 1993 around Wired's birth when we both worked at the magazine. I was Mark's intern! My first day on the job, Mark brought me downstairs to meet his wife Carla Sinclair who was editor of bOING bOING the print 'zine that I had been reading since 1990. Mark and Carla assigned me an article on the spot, handed me a half-empty bottle of Vasopressin, and we quickly became best pals. Ah, the good ol' daze. Read the rest

OMNI Magazine collection on the Internet Archive

The complete run of Omni, one of my all-time favorite magazines, is now available for free on the Internet Archive! In its late-1970s and 1980s heyday, Omni was a wonderful blend of technology, science, art, fiction, futurism, and high weirdness. It really inspired my own writing and interests. OMNI Magazine Collection (via Warren Ellis)

In fact, as I've posted before, if I could launch a new Boing Boing print magazine I'd want it to have this logo, courtesy of Mr. Beschizza:

UPDATE: Rob now says that this is what Boing Omni would look like... Read the rest

Opponents Wanted: forgotten gaming mags find new life on the net

Oh, those glorious gaming magazines! From Ares, to The General, to The Dragon, the original thrill and excitement of pen 'n' paper gaming is there to be experienced at the Internet Archive and other online haunts.

Paintings of Minneapolis and St. Paul, by the author of the Madeline books

In 1936, Ludwig Bemelmans painted scenes of the Twin Cities to illustrate an article in Fortune magazine. If the style looks at all familiar, it's probably because you're remembering Bemelmans' most famous creation — a Parisian schoolgirl named Madeline.

In this painting, you can see the Cathedral of St. Paul and what I am pretty certain is the James J. Hill House — a massive, red sandstone mansion that is actually across the street and down a half block from the Cathedral. Bonus fact: The Hill House was built by the railroad magnate behind what is now Amtrak's Empire Builder route from Seattle to Minneapolis. In fact, that was his nickname. James "The Empire Builder" Hill. I'm not kidding. The house is open for tours and it's pretty fantastic. Plus, you get to watch a nice video which assures you that while James J. Hill was, technically, a union-busting robber baron, he also really liked kittens. Again, not kidding.

Check out the Nokohaha blog for more of these paintings

Thanks Andrew!

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Getting WET: on the magazine of gourmet bathing

Image: Imperfect Publishing, with permission

A magazine called “WET” is difficult to explain. Particularly when you have, as I do, a stack of them. When snickering friends dig into the brittle pages, they soon discover something amazing: an artifact from the misunderstood era of the late 70s early 80s that cleverly combined hedonism, pop culture, and a great, iconoclastic sense of humor. Then they get it. Still, some wonder about the subtitle: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing. Seriously? Read the rest

SF trade publication Locus Magazine goes digital, DRM-free

Locus magazine, the venerable science fiction trade publication put out by the nonprofit Locus Science Fiction Foundation has expanded its digital offering, selling DRM-free PDFs, ePubs, and Mobis on a subscription basis or as singles. I'm proud to write a column for Locus, and really treasure each issue when it comes through the door.

Locus Science Fiction Foundation (via IO9) Read the rest