Magazine Covers We Loved

Plus 10 Titles That Are No More

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Garden & Gun

Nobody -- at least none of the media elite up North -- knew how beautiful the words "garden" and "gun" sounded together until Rebecca Wesson Darwin introduced this magazine last spring. And it wasn't until the fall issue that we realized how well a black-and-white photo of a woman with a Beretta could work on the front of a magazine. We haven't asked about newsstand sales; we're too busy imagining the mystical place called "21st Century Southern America."

Time Out New York

It ain't easy living in New York, much less living single in New York -- or getting good dating advice from a magazine. But Time Out New York found it it is entirely possible to make fun of New York singles in its Dating issue, so we were treated to this hilarious and, OK, possibly cruel cover photo of one reason you're so not being romanced right now.

The Economist

Sometimes all a magazine needs to do is find the simplest way to tell the story. We're sure the housing-market coverage inside this March issue of The Economist is remarkably written and insightful -- but we never found out, having found in this image all we needed to know about the then-approaching mortgage debacle: Its downside will be deep.


Not everyone appreciated W's concept for multiple covers of its Art issue in November, for which renowned painter and photographer Richard Prince basically scrawled fake autographs on some celebs photos. "Hey, Richard," he wrote on an Angelina Jolie cover, pretending to be her. "Shine on!" wondered if this was false advertising, given the lack of a Jolie interview inside. For some reason, though, we called it art.

New Yorker

Although we by no means endorse magazine covers that depict people sitting on toilets -- that's disgusting, folks -- sometimes an image just kills with its timing. Columbia students laughed in September when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was translated as telling them, "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country." Here, a neighbor in the adjoining stall either has a "wide stance" or would like to discuss the issue further.

Entertainment Weekly

We were, like many people it seems, rooting for Britney Spears to return to form and really blow everyone away in her comeback performance at MTV's Video Music Awards. The train, car, bike and bobsled crash that followed left us speechless and, we kid you not, concerned. Entertainment Weekly had the words for it that we did not. We're still concerned about Britney, too.

Texas Monthly

This cover took home the "Best Coverline" award from the Magazine Publishers of America at last fall's American Magazine Conference, but it's even more than that. It's also a genuinely frightening image. Beyond even that, the cover is an hommage to perhaps the best cover ever, National Lampoon's 1973 masterpiece that threatened, "If You Don't Buy This Magazine, We'll Kill This Dog."

New York

The right photo plus the right pull quote equals a cover portrait that is neither cruel nor promotional. Given the audience figures circulating toward year-end, in fact, this July cover looks downright generous. But it's not; a profile of Katie Couric's "impossible year" demands a chance for Ms. Couric to say that this isn't quite how she hoped things would go, either.


Esquire isn't any more above using sexy semi-dressed women to move newsstand copies than any other men's magazine, but it's not addicted to them. It actually found a way to start 2007 with a cover design featuring a veteran who lost two legs and one arm in Iraq. That did a lot more for us than Esquire's "Sexiest Woman Alive" ever did.

New York Post

OK, this isn't a magazine, nor is the cover even pretty, but this list isn't the Pulitzers, either. The New York Post deserves recognition for reporting the news (for those who care about baseball) and what seems to be the truth -- at the same time.

10 Titles That Are No More

Publisher: American Media
Lifetime: 1979-August 2007
In a sign of how topsy-turvy the magazine business has gone, Weekly World News -- not even a proper magazine -- was easily the most-mourned periodical to leave us this year. Bat Boy, we had so much left to learn.
Publisher: Condé Nast
Lifetime: 1996-December 2007
Condé killed House & Garden in 1993 but brought it back in 1996, giving it almost 10 more years in a very crowded category. Unfortunately, crowded categories are proving fatal to all but the leaders.
Publisher: Time Inc.
Lifetime: 2004-April 2007
Life, the newspaper supplement, couldn't win the same way its earlier incarnation did, by delivering photography and news that was hard to get anywhere else. These days it's hard not to get overloaded with images and news. That didn't stop Time Inc. from blaming Life's failure on the newspapers that delivered it.
Publisher: Condé Nast
Lifetime: 1997-August 2007
Condé Nast pulled the plug on Jane after a nearly two-year struggle to make it work even after founder Jane Pratt departed (and left it in none too good condition). Ms. Pratt later said she felt guilty about leaving the magazine in the first place. "I feel like I abandoned that baby and it went off and got on drugs or something," she told Sirius listeners.
Publisher: Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.
Lifetime: 1987-April 2007
The U.S. edition of Premiere was once home for great reporting on the entertainment industry, but it saw its importance to readers and advertisers drop until Hachette just gave up the ghost.
Publisher: Alpha Media Group
Lifetime: 1998-October 2007
What can we say in memoriam for a magazine that died to become a section inside Maxim?
Publisher: Disney Publishing
Lifetime: 1990-November 2007
Disney Adventures got the ax not long after MTV Networks put a stake through Nick Jr. magazine. It was as if their publishers realized there was more money in TV advertising -- on channels such as, say, ABC Family or Nick Jr.
Publisher: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
Lifetime: 2006-January/February 2008 issue
Another victim of the intensifying pressure on crowded categories, Blueprint never lived up to Martha's designs.
Publisher: Time Inc.
Lifetime: 1998-October 2007
A Facebook group devoted to saving Business 2.0 couldn't get the job done, not with ad-page sales falling through the floor. Many of the brainiacs behind its smart content at least continue as the new tech squad at Fortune.
Publisher: Meredith
Lifetime: 1986-June/July 2007
Falling ad pages and circulation, the internet's hold on parents seeking information and new competition from Cookie and Wondertime magazines conspired to drive Child from print. Like many of those we lost, its brand lives on online.
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