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

In our last episode, Tim wrote an entire issue of the RISD student newspaper!

All that's left of the original print run

When the print run was delivered the following Monday – The kickoff day of G.I. Joe Week! – I was giddy.  3000 copies were waiting at the mailroom, and I spent my lunch hour placing them in student mailboxes.  (RISD had 2000 students, so naturally I figured I would take the remainder.)  Regular editor Andy Dill helped, which I wasn’t expecting, but greatly appreciated.

I got great feedback from friends and acquaintances.  Some specifically loved the issue.  Others were just impressed by the commitment to take on the project.  And others still had different reactions.  Giant trash cans and round metal recycling bins lined the mailroom, overflowing each night with the day’s junk mail from 1800 undergraduates and 200 grads – catalogs, opened envelopes, memos from school.  After I disseminated Mixed Media, I hovered to see a few random reactions from people opening their mailboxes.  What was this green thing inside, anyway?  I also rescued about 30 copies from the trash.  I had plans to mail the issue to family and friends far and wide, and a vague notion to take a few hundred up the road to Hasbro, in Pawtucket.  (That never came to be.)

I was standing next to a trash can while two young women sorted through their mail.  They were in a hurry since lunch time was short.  “Bill, bill, junk, junk,” complained one, “What the fuck is this?!” she demanded of no one, looking at my masterpiece.  She threw it in the trash can and walked off in a huff.  Her friend finished her own sorting, tossed a few papers and her Mixed Media, and then noticed me standing right there, looking back at her and the trashcan.  In my arms were 40 copies.  She paused, looked in the direction of her friend, looked back at me, looked in the trash can, slowly pulled out her copy, and darted after her friend.

The issue turned out better than I expected, and I floated through the rest of my boring Wintersession short term class.  Designer Sean Deyoe had smartly separated the main article and the episode guide through margins and differing font sizes.  He had cropped and zoomed in wherever he wanted, and with me sitting quietly next to him, had slaved away on that killer back cover.  Two small production errors appear in the final edition – on the front cover and back cover, no less! — but I’m still so giddy with the end product that they don’t bother me.  Either because he was ready to move on or because my issue had broken him, Deyoe quit one issue later.  Andy Dill hung on as editor for a bit until some movement at the Office of Student Life installed two friends, Cory Mitchell and Mark Hoffmann, as new editors before the year was out.  They stayed on through our senior year and nicely revitalized the newspaper.  I would go on to write another article and submit a comic or two, but they were school related.  My ‘80s pop culture intrusions on Mixed Media were over.

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