Chicago Tribune Sunday Mag
Dear Nissa, I really enjoyed your presentation. Thanks for including some of the illustration and photos that ran in it. I'm trying to get a sense of how much they supported graphic arts versus fine art.
Were the two comic strips the only one they ever printed? Were there single-panel cartoons also - especially caricature and graphic satire? Did the front page usually have an illustration or a photo?
Incidentally, that handwritten text they sometimes put at the top of A1 is completely weird and took effort: it would have had to get written out and then engraved as photos and illustrations were. This means it was a very calculated part of their branding - a very folksy, "personal" touch. Did they do it often?
Dear Jaleen, Thanks for the great questions! The Sunday Magazine did include single-panel cartoons/satires--mostly on a page they called "The Rubberneck Wagon," which was largely material compiled & reprinted from other sources. The front pages are all illustrations, but interior images are a mix of photos and other genres. I have the sense that they commissioned the non-comedic images that ran within the magazine, but the art they used on the covers, I suspect, wasn't created with the magazine in mind.
The newspaper's history with the "handwritten" text is that they used it for their first few months of publication (in Feb-April 1919) as part of a campaign supporting demobilization, then stopped using it, before bringing it back at the end of the year in the image from my slides. I've collected these here: https://nissaren.wordpress.com/2017/09/10/toot-sweet-tribune-banners/ Have you seen examples of something similar used elsewhere?
@nissaren Hi, I have not seen handwritten text used like that outside of comics and maybe advertising (but the latter is usually a script font, not actual handwriting) -- with the exception of editors' signatures at the bottom of a regular editorial column.
It was normal for illustrators to originate and shop cover ideas around to art editors, so this is why so often cover art has nothing to do with the content. As the 'advertisement' for the number on the newsstand, it was more important to simply catch attention. For news supplements where it is tucked inside the paper, however, the cover art often functions as simply a place to show art/illustration, often with seasonal motifs.
I really enjoyed your presentation, Nissa. My expectation - of a weekend supplement launching in Paris in 1924 - was that it would be full of agency photographs, and probably not much else. But what you describe sounds more text-based, and responsive to literary rather visual modernism? Was the Tribune influenced by the European photo-illustrated press? What role did photography play?
Thanks for an interesting presentation, Nissa. I was struck by your remarks about the mixed messages as to intended audience--the specificity of that "everybody," which was expected to be fairly cultured and cosmopolitan. Yet at the same time, you described the Tribune's profile as more "plebian" than the Harold. Would you say the aim was then partly pedagogical, schooling the reader in modernist trends, as the slicks did? Is "middlebrow" a useful category for thinking about its cultural placement?