Word has probably gotten to most of you by now that Nickelodeon Magazine has been canceled after a 16-year run. If not, I'm sorry to bring you the news. The story hit the internet last week via the L.A. Times, and has since been covered well by The Comics Reporter (1, 2). The news came as a shock to me, but apparently it boils down to a shortfall in ad revenue which is hitting everyone hard right now in print media. Viacom simply decided to pull the plug.
The news also hit my personally. I've had the pleasure of contributing illustrations and comics to the magazine for 4 years now. I know only a handful of the dedicated staff who worked so passionately to deliver one of the best magazines that ever existed for kids. I wish I had the chance to get to know more of them, but that group includes Debby Albenda (who first contacted me back in 2005), Chris Duffy, Frank Pittarese, Caitlin Keegan, Catherine Tutrone, and most recently Gordon Whiteside. These folks were the best clients (and are the best friends) a cartoonist could ever have.
My career in cartooning has been relatively short. I considered Nick Mag a home—my work hasn't appeared in too many publications, and I always felt welcome in the pages of the magazine. Few things made me happier than to receive a call or email to draw some goofy, wacky, or gross illustration. And more recently, getting to write and draw SpongeBob comics was nothing short of a dream come true. The illustration and comics communities benefited greatly from the publication. Many a talented cartoonist got their start in the notable comics section of the magazine called "The Comic Book." And it was truly a golden standard of what kid's comics could be.
Which gets to who this will affect the most—the kids. Meg Hunt put it really well in her eulogy of sorts: "They’re going to miss out on a quality magazine that introduced them to great artwork (even if they didn’t know it) and fun content that wasn’t just regurgitating information from their network." Besides Highlights, I can't think of another major magazine that spoke directly to kids.
On a positive note, I would credit those at Nick Mag with being directly responsible for the resurgence and popularity of comics for kids. Talented folks like Corey Barba (creator of YAM) gained a following in the magazine, and now have their comics published in book form. That's great news for kids and creators.
I thought I'd share this comic which appeared in the April 2006 issue of the magazine. It was called "Another Boring day at Nick Mag". I was asked to spice up what was a typical day running the magazine (written by the staff). It features cartoon versions of staffers, but I'm not sure who is who at this point.
I think I can speak for everyone that we'll all miss you, Nickelodeon Magazine. My sympathies and wishes go out to all those involved. And thank you.