Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Remembering Dynamite Magazine

Dynamite, which was produced by Scholastic Press from 1974 to 1992, was the first real magazine I read on a monthly basis. I did read MAD fairly consistently during my youth, but I always sort of filed that in with the comic books. Dynamite, by contrast, was my lifestyle magazine -- the arbiter of every pop culture subject it was deemed my young mind should know about. And that list of important topics of the moment included:

Each issue came with celebrity interviews, kewl komix like "Count Morbida," puzzles and games, free posters and stickers -- just about everything my third-grade heart desired. The magazine was founded by Jenette Kahn, who would later become publisher and president of DC Comics. The first three issues of Dynamite were personally edited by Kahn, with the rest being done by Jane Stine, wife of Goosebumps author R.L. Stine. While one could purchase the publication through the newsstands or subscription, it was the captive audience of school-kids that I suspect was their primary audience -- we had the chance to buy the magazines using Scholastic's "book club" order forms, handily distributed in class.

The makers of Dynamite also had a magazine for the older kids, Bananas. Bananas too had photo covers of celebrities, but more of the Three's Company/Kiss variety. Though the magazine -- which focused on humor and I guess was like Scholastic's version of MAD, had many contributors -- for some reason I always associate it with the prominently chinned/nosed renderings of artist Sam Viviano, who later did a lot of work for MAD itself. Honestly, I didn't read a lot of Bananas, because by the time I was old enough to be in its age-group, I was pretty much into "real" mags like Teen Beat and Starlog. School book clubs were for babies at that point, anyway.

Next time: A look back at Stickers Magazine (maybe. maybe not.)

1 comment:

  1. On another related parallel, Sam Vivianno also drew one-page parodies in every issue, before moving to MAD. Somebody should really go to the trouble of reprinting his side stuff.