Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Forgotten Kids Magazine Department

  • Wow Magazine published by Scholastic, edited by Richard Hefter c.1976-1984?

Wow magazine was part of a family of entertainment magazines published by Scholastic starting in the 1970s and throughout the 1980s.  Scholastic began publishing magazine as far back as the 1920s for the educational market.  Around 1974 they launched a series of magazines that had a pop culture focus.  Each of these magazines were for a different age group.  Starting with the youngest group the magazines were Peanut Butter, Wow, Hot Dog, Dynamite and finally Bananas that was for ages 13 and up.  

Wow was edited by Richard Hefter who later became well-known for his Sweet Pickles book series and Stickybear computer games.  Illustrator Philip Johnson also contributed largely to this magazine.  In addition to acting as designer, Hefter contributed much of the art and writing of the magazine which featured pop outs, posters and games.

  • Smash Magazine 1974-1976 (published by the Xerox Co.)

Smash magazine, was a direct competitor of Dynamite magazine and had a similar focus on popular culture for elementary school aged readers. Jenette Kahn, who edited the first four issues of Dynamite, left Scholastic to start this magazine for Xerox Educationcal Co.  Smash ended when she left Xerox in 1976 to join DC comics where she eventually became the publisher and president.  

Smash was also an interesting magazine because it had two very notable art directors.  The first one was Mark Rubin, an illustrator who set up the unique style and initial logo.  Rubin, who was a young designer at the time, had just had his first picture book published by Franklin Watts.  The Boy Who Painted Wallpaper (1974) was a creatively eccentric picture book that he both wrote and illustrated.

Milton Glaser, of PushPin Studio fame, quickly took over the chores as head designer for the magazine. Glaser is most well known for his I NY logo and Bob Dylan poster.

  • Bananas Magazine  (1975-1984) was a sort of cross between Scholastic Scope and Mad Magazine paired with the Electric Company.  Aimed at high school readers, it was decidedly wacky.  The magazine was edited by R.L. Stine who is famous for later writing the Goosebumps books.  The magazine featured popular celebrities of the time and humorous comics.  What makes early issues to unique to me was the stylish design sense through the contributions of Michael Doret, Lou Brooks and Doug Taylor.
Doret provided the excellent logo as well as numerous logos within the magazine itself for features that were reused in many issues.  Samples below:

The bold line work of Lou Brooks was very distinctive. (below)

Doug Taylor also had this bold line work and a very unique style all to his own.  His work was also seen in Dynamite.  I believe he would later do lots of work for magazines such as Playboy and Philip Morris. (samples below)

Mary Schenck, who was the art director for The Electric Company magazine, also contributed some illustrations:

  • Sesame Street Magazine

    While not a "forgotten" magazine, Sesame Street Magazine began in 1970, less than a year after Sesame Street premiered on public television.  In the early years the magazine, like the show, had a great deal of experimentation and hired artists with a wide range of styles.  Also, it really set the standards for the above mentioned Wow and Smash with its aesthetic.  For older kids, The Children's Television Network also published The Electric Company Magazine and Enter Magazine (I will eventually do a post on those magazines as well). Below are just some of my favorite covers from Sesame Street's long run.  You can see I have a preference for the first fifteen years. Many of these are early works by designers and illustrators that would become quite well known for their art.
(October 1973, art by Bill Charmatz.  He also illustrated for Sports Illustrated and TV Guide)

(February 1972, art by Reynold Ruffins.  Ruffins was another founder of Push Pin Studios)

(June 1973, Ivan Chermayeff.  Ivan designed such memorable logos as NBC, PBS and National Geographic)

(September 1977, Doug Taylor - also created a memorable cover for The Electric Company magazine.)

(December 1972, Carroll Spinney aka "Big Bird")

(May 1972, Lionel Kalish - also drew a cover for Life magazine.)

(September 1985, Ajin Noda - A Japanese artist)

(May 1984, Ajin Noda)

(Enter magazine 1985, more amazing cut outs by Ajin Noda)

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