That First Time I Wrote a G.I. Joe Book – Part Two

In our last episode, Tim decided to write an entire issue of the RISD student newspaper.

Mixed Media had its own office next to the Tap Room, which served alcohol before my time (hence the name), and is famous for being the site of an early, if not the first, Talking Heads performance.  When I was at RISD, this was a seldom-used space for music and drama, and tucked away next to it was a claustrophobic closet with a scanner, a Mac, and two desks.  The Mixed Media office.  Weekly meetings took place there, but no one attended besides editor Andy Dill, designer Sean Deyoe, and calendar organizer James Holland.  I had joked to Andy that he could take off for the issue, that me writing the whole thing was tantamount to guest editing it, and he was fine with that.  I sat down with Deyoe and explained that I wanted to have a lot of images.  Deyoe was a talented graphic designer, and had used MM as a place to experiment and play.  Because no one cared about it, the stakes weren’t high, but since it was a “real” publication, printed by a press on newsprint, it was a worthwhile project.

Deyoe was impressed (and later, probably bothered) at how many images I had ready.  This meant extra work for him.  Again, MM was dying of attrition.  The issue prior to mine had 16 pages (one of them blank) and 7 images, and the issue before that ran a paltry 8 pages (one of them blank) and featured three images.  Three!

Mine was a return to form:  32 pages with 64 images.

The contrast was clear.  I knew that even if people didn’t care for my content, they would notice this hefty issue, four times as big as the issue before the issue before.  Even better, Dill reasoned that since we had left over printing money from the previous few issues, we could splurge on mine, and offered a single color ink, something to go with the black.   The choice could only be a military green.  I solicited articles and art, and got three comics from friends, and polished my giant history and episode guide.  Holland brought in the calendar and I beefed it up with several fake G.I. Joe-themed events on and around campus, including a five-day Cobra invasion of Providence.   Deyoe scanned all my photos and comics, picked fonts, redrew the Cobra logo in Illustrator (for someone’s t-shirt design, not MM), and didn’t mind when I pitched him a back cover concept that would take longer to lay out than entire issues – a MM version of the 1980s Real American Hero toy card backs.  I also drew the cover, badly, which my roommate Peter Demarest, posed for.

"Tim Finn" "Sean Deyoe" RISD

Front cover/back cover, art by Tim Finn, design by Sean Deyoe

What happened when the print run arrived the following Monday?

Check back Friday to find out.  Next week kicks off my new posting schedule:  Mondays for small bits of art or commentary, Thursdays for these articles on the making of the book.

2 Comments

Filed under Prehistory

2 responses to “That First Time I Wrote a G.I. Joe Book – Part Two

  1. 50 Deluxe editions of ARAB include this mag… They cost a little more though. 🙂

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