Tag Archives: Alternative weeklies


defeatRahm Emanuel failed to get 50% and one vote on Tuesday, so he now has to face Chuy Garcia in a runoff mayoral election April 7. The Chicago Reader has some fun with Rahm’s “defeat” on the cover of the issue that hits newsstands tomorrow.

Reader managing editor Jake Malooley says of the cover: “It was masterminded by Reader creative director Paul John Higgins. In the photo holding the cover mock, that’s our political columnist, Ben Joravsky, in the office on election night. Along with the Reader’s Mick Dumke, Ben has been writing about why a runoff would be good for Chicago (and potentially for Rahm).”

* Dumke on February 18: Why Chicago needs a mayoral runoff (
* Joravsky & Dumke: Now it’s time for a real mayoral debate (
* “A national political embarrassment” for Rahm Emanuel (

eBay listings

Bay Guardian staffer Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez tells Romenesko readers: “It’s a shame folks are trying to make a buck off a paper that professed access to all for everything from housing to health care. That said, I’m a bit insulted it wasn’t more! The art alone is freaking gorgeous. Jeremy Fish is a talented and known guy in the art world.”

Update — Editor Steven T. Jones writes: “We know that people quickly snapped up our final issue for a variety of reasons (I still haven’t gotten my hands on one yet). It’s certainly a powerful symbol and collector’s item, in addition to being just a beautifully designed issue. I don’t like the idea of people profiteering off our final free newspaper, but that’s sorta the world we live in now. Greed is squeezing out progressive values, and that makes me and many in my community quite sad.”

* “Assholes” sell the free Bay Guardian on eBay ( | Bay Guardian on eBay
* The Bay Guardian and the decline of the alt-weekly (

P.S. Mueller‘s cartoons have run weekly (or almost weekly) in the Chicago Reader and many other alternative papers for decades. This morning he was told by Reader editor Mara Shaloup that his work would job now be published only occasionally, “most likely to prevent me from saying I’ve been sacked.”

“It’s been a great 35-year run,” Mueller tells Romenesko readers, “and I believe, as far as cartoonists go, there is no one left there to turn the lights out.” He notes that “I owe my career to what the Reader was [in its heyday].”

For the past year or so they have been running me weekly after getting rid of all the other cartoonists. [Reader co-founder and former editor] Bob Roth started me out in ’79 at a generous $35.00 per, then later jumped it to $80.00. I’ve gone from [being published in] over 60 alt weeklies to less than a dozen these days, though I never know for sure if that has changed from week to week.

Mueller, who once had a side job as the voice of Onion Radio News anchor Doyle Redland, adds: “I suspect the prospect of some kind of continuation would prevent a lot of folks from making public mention of the whole thing, but really, for me the Reader hasn’t been the Reader for a good while. (The alt-weekly was sold to the Sun-Times’ parent in 2012 for $3 million.)

I’ve asked editor Shaloup about cutting Mueller’s publication schedule.

* Mueller in 2011: “I figure I can probably continue doing [my cartoons] until 80” (

Philadelphia City Paper cover by Art Baxter

Back in April, there was a mini-flap over the Village Voice not paying “Comics Issue” contributors. Editor Tony Ortega told me at the time that “in order to fill [the issue] out with so much art, we asked some artists to donate their work.” In Philadelphia, the City Paper told artists they had to donate their work and pay $5 to even be considered for the annual Comics Issue. (Cash prizes went to the winners.) It sounds like the alt-weekly won’t be doing that again. Here’s what the A&E editor Patrick Rapa wrote:

Also new this year was the $5 submission fee. Oh man, what a terrible idea. We wanted to “reward” the artists whose stuff we liked enough to print, but probably ended up discouraging some fence-sitters from taking a shot. Lesson learned.


How many entries did you get this year vs. average of previous years?

I haven’t figured that out – and I can’t right now; Tuesday’s our deadline day – but I’m certain we got fewer entries.

Do the published cartoonists then get a cash prize/compensation, or is getting published the reward?

All the money collected goes to the artists whose work got published in the issue. The top comic, as chosen by our expert judge Art Baxter, gets $100. Everybody else gets the divided-up remains of the entry pool. I still haven’t worked out how much that will be (we’re having a minor PayPal issue right now) but I’m hoping to bolster it with some money from the paper if we’re under our editorial budget. Even then it will be meager. I’ve already warned the winners not to quit their day jobs.

I saw the one comment from a cartoonist who wanted his $5 back [I’ve posted it below]; what other reactions are you getting?

Well the initial reaction, when the contest was first announced, was decidedly negative. Pretty much all the complaints were about the entry fee. Once we announced we’d enlisted Mr. Baxter, however, at least some of our detractors appeared to be satisfied. Since the
issue came out, the only negative responses I’m aware of were left as comments, both from people whose comics didn’t get chosen for print, for whatever that’s worth. I do agree with the one who wishes we’d printed more comics. The one who’d like his/her $5 sent back is out of luck.

One last thing: We use the $5-per-entry/winners-get-the-money model for our annual fiction/poetry contest and everybody seems to like it, so that’s why I thought it would work with comics. I was wrong. The comics world is a different animal.

From the City Paper’s comments:

I want my $5.00 back. As a professional cartoonist, I don’t agree with your choice for first place. First of all, it was too talky. Yes, the text was interesting but in a comic strip a picture should speak a thousand words, not a thousand words a picture. Second, the drawings appeared to be rushed. There was very little line variation, the scenes were too dark and in the last panel the art was way too busy . My wife and I barely made out the Invisible man, we thought he was part of Frankenstein’s jacket. And the tiny captions in that panel were unnecessary. The smiles on the monsters faces (except for the Invisible Man) showed that they were glade to see the Count. May I suggest that you run all of the submissions, including mine, on line and let the readers choose the top 10.

Check out that “too talky” winning entry, by Mike Sgier.