The NYT Magazine All-comics Issue

This is cross-posted from my newsletter that I Co-Edit with Em DeMarco, The CoJo List, about online nonfiction comics.

This week, we’re taking a break from our usual format to focus on an important development: The New York Times Magazine New York Stories issue. Only time will tell if this issue will be a quickly forgotten anomaly or CoJo’s Snow Fall (seen in our industry as an important turning point in journalism). Either way, this deserves a close read.

What’s Wonderful:

  • Bill Bragg’s “The Window Gazers” is an elegant start to this all-comics edition. Using a lush, thoughtful, and wordless story as the first comic really shows the potential of the medium.
  • A detail we loved: the table of contents represented by a map of NYC’s boroughs. Ok, ok we admit that we’re suckers for anything that begins with a map — maybe it was all of those fantasy books we read as kids — but it’s great way to kickoff the magazine.
  • Speaking of tone, it’s a nice touch to use (what we think is) Tom Gauld’s typeface throughout the issue.
  • The shining star of this edition is Tillie Walden’s “Twin Flames.” A perfect match between artist and subject matter. To see a spirit monster in The NYT Magazine gave us goosebumps.
  • This is the first time we’ve seen live text in comics online. This could have a far-reaching impact on all sorts of things — from SEO to shareability — if developers elsewhere learn how to copy it.

What’s Weird:

  • Unless you have an extremely fast connection, it takes way too long to load on desktop or mobile. And we noticed a few odd sacrifices between print and the web. The beautiful horizontal panels in “Hot Fun” are too small online. And text that’s in the print edition mysteriously disappears in the digital version.
  • We love the Kevin Huizenga intro, but want more of that framework throughout the magazine. A little more hand-holding (like a panel showing the process before each story) would have been great. Especially for readers who are new to comics!
  • Overall we absolutely want to know more about the mechanics of this edition. How did they handle adapting the Metro Desk’s stories into comics? How much latitude were the cartoonists given to reconstruct scenes? How was the dialogue handled? So many questions. (P.S. Longform Podcast — we’re looking at you to give us the interview we crave ASAP.)

Let Them Know!

The NYT Magazine encourages their readers to write to magazine@nytimes.com and share their opinions. If you want to see more CoJo in the NYT, you should consider writing, especially now that there’s no more Public Editor.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to send us nonfiction comics to read!

-Josh & Em

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