Sunday, June 07, 2009

Nickelodeon Magazine (1993-2009)

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.


meg said...

Bob, this was such a good post to read. I will heartily miss Nick, my biggest regret is I didn't get to do more work with them. Whenever I saw your work in there it just looked awesome, I'm sad not to see it in that outlet in the future.

maura said...

makes me sad, too, Bob. :( i really love(d) Nick Mag (at 38 years young!). such a great, fun, silly, goofy, great publication. seems like so many mags are facing the same thing these days. maybe the mag will resurface in another form someday. those folks at Nick are super creative... who knows what they'll come up with!

Bob Flynn said...

Meg: Thanks so much! I read your post a few days ago and was inspired to do the same. The most fun part about picking up a mag when you're in it is to see who else is in it as well. As you mentioned—so cool to share the pages with so many talented peers (you included!)

Maura: I expect something to spring forth as well...maybe online if that's where kids are heading these days. There will always be an audience for fun material—it's just a matter of putting it together.

Jason Curtis said...

Oh man, this isn't making for a happy Monday morning. I was shocked and saddened when I read your post this morning Bob (I haven't been keeping up with news lately).

Nickelodeon Magazine was always so much fun to flip through, filled with quality artwork that could be enjoyed by both young and old.

Rest in piece Nickelodeon Magazine.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. I was just thinking the other day why are there not more magazine's like this. It's all very frustrating but I think there is a place for comics like yours and others. Do you have any plans to push your comics onto the iPhone or other media? It would be great to see quality work like yours on mobile devices. Also wanted to thank you for the nice compliment on my blog. it means a lot coming from some one with so much talent. take care

Bob Flynn said...

Thanks Jason, and thanks for visiting, Frank!

I don't expect creators of kid's comics will go quietly. Nick Mag was just the perfect outlet for it. The Comic Book was a really unique place in the publishing world, with impressive circulation because it was part of a national distributed popular kids mag.

Right now my goal is to make comics, period. Drawing them and putting them on my blog would be enough for the most part. What was fun about Nick Mag (and currently great about ARGH!) is having your work in print, and seeing your work alongside your peers.

There is definitely an audience, it's just a matter of figuring out hot to adapt to the changing media landscape.

Chris Duffy said...

I don't have many regrets when it comes to my run as comics editor at Nick Mag. But not asking you to do comics for us earlier, Bob, is one of them!

Thanks for the kind words! We shall meet again!!!!!! Count on it, boyo! (Where'd that "boyo" come from?)

Chris Duffy

David DeGrand said...

Quite a shame to see it go and I really agree with you that the kids are the ones that will suffer most, it truly was a quality magazine in a class of its own that many kids will miss. Let's hope a new magazine gets up and going soon, all those great cartoonists (including yourself of course) need to be seen by kids!

Bob Flynn said...

Chris: #1 regret—not pitching piles of comics to you! Btw, that might be you in the 4th panel. Ha! Definitely keep me in the loop, wherever your adventures take you.

David: I hope so to!

Kyle T. Webster said...

So sad, so sad. I want to be optimistic, but I don't know if anybody is going to step in and carry the torch, at least not in a printed form.

david said...

Hopefully they will continue it, or a semblance thereof via the internet. Something at least.

CTON said...

Aw man.... NOOOOOOOO!

I had no idea.