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Best of times, worst of times. In the same week that The Guardian, one of the most respected liberal newspapers in Britain, announces tentative plans to expand into the United States, The New York Times blares this headline, "Failed Magazine May Be Revived." Oops. For the second time in its short 11-year publishing life, The Oxford American was shut down. The July/August issue had just hit the shelves when At Home Media Group pulled the plug--ad revenue just wasn't there for future issues. This following another blockbuster Annual Music Issue in May. OA's Marc Smirnoff released a statement that he and other editors and writers planned to do "all they can to continue publishing the magazine, in one incarnation or another."

The Guardian, with a worldwide Internet readership of seven million, had noticed an increase in readership after the September 11th terrorist attacks, while The Oxford American, which seemingly tried every trick in the industry to spike subscription interest, reached a top rate of only about 32,000 households.

Remember Jolene, The Independent's beloved (or not) "fake news" political candidate a few years back? Raleigh's Lather Weekly is going one step further. Their feature writer, Dani Nation, really is running for city council. Nation will keep a diary for the magazine, and maybe then we'll find out what the hell she stands for.

Remember David Rees? Last spring he was dropping off his little self-published zine, My New Fighting Technique is Unstoppable, all over the area's print neighborhoods. Then came his brilliant web comix, the war(s), and nationwide publishing deals. The same thing just might happen for Lars Martinson, whose Young Men of a Certain Mind showed up last month in record stores and coffee shops. This pint sized comic chronicles the life of a graphic designer, who is looking for satisfying employment. The pen and ink art, the expressions, the humor and clean layout all combine for a kinder, gentler R. Crumb look.

Durham's Lissa Gotwals delivers a full page documentary, text and photos, in Clamor 19. Visiting, talking and shooting a Maine bowling alley in midweek, Gotwals makes the scene come off the page. More and more often, this is the engaging style of Clamor, a stew of politics, pop culture, and media reviews, home-based in Bowling Green, Ohio. Each issue grabs a theme, exploring "new perspectives on politics, culture, media and life" with "a loud and continued uproar of many human voices." The latest issue on health and wellness isn't something you'll find on a waiting room table at your usual medical center. Previous themes have included food, fashion, sex, technology and sports. How'd these guys get so good? They're a bi-monthly publication of Become the Media, publishers of the popular annual Zine Yearbook. EndBlock

Contact info:

Lars Martinson, 1943 Walnut Street, Saint Paul, MN 55113
Contributing Writer John Valentine can be reached at ajcg@acpub.duke.edu

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