Saturday, March 02, 2024

What In The Sam Hill Have I Learned After 25 Years of Running A History Magazine?

 March 2, 2024

    Had some fun with this one.

Daily Reworked Whip Out:

"Hanged For Being A Damn Nuisance"

(Russian Bill)

  This September marks my 25th year of co-owning and running True West magazine. I was talking to our editor Stuart Rosebrook yesterday about doing some sort of progress report in the magazine on what exactly it is that we have learned during this long stretch of time. And, more importantly, what is the future of True West? Does history, as we know it, even have a future? So, some of the following thoughts and notes you might see in our August-September issue.

   This morning, I asked Kathy Sue the same question, what does she think we have learned? (nobody has had more of a front row seat at this table that my long enduring, some would say suffering, life partner). Here is what Kathy said: "Just because it's groovy doesn't mean the public will buy it."

   Ouch! True that. Over the years, we came to call this concept "too hip for the room." Certain covers or layouts might have been too hip and a little too groovy for our history loving audience. For example, here is a cover that did not do well on the newsstand and I think it might be because it was too hip for the room. 

   Plus, I think it pissed off hardcore Lone Ranger fans: read that white Lone Ranger fans. 

   This is Dan The Man at his best and I personally love this cover, but Stuart Rosebrook deemed it "too Razz" a reference to Dan and my humor era magazomic, The Razz Revue. In our defense, our graphic heroes at that time were the crazy folks at National Lampoon and Esquire in the 70s and 80s and perhaps, this is not the best way to appeal to our conservative leaning tribe? On the other hand, Art T. Burton, has this cover framed and hanging in his house. So, there's that.

   And, speaking of perhaps being too hip for the room, my musician amigo Rob Mathiasch came up with this T-shirt design based on an old Razz Revue cover photo.

"Bring quarters! Be quick!"

   I think this is hilarious, but, do you need to know that the last message Custer sent at the Little Bighorn was, "Bring packs. Be quick"? Or, does it work in spite of knowing this history? Inquiring minds want to know.

   We have been scrambling and pushing for so long—a quarter century!—to get out of the woods, and, well, here is my final take on that.

"I have learned that no one is ever truly out of the woods."


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