This Month: Texas Monthly

Issue: January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Launched: 1973
Circ: 300,000
Editor: Evan Smith
Publisher: Emmis Communications
Art Director: T.J. Tucker
Photo Editor: Leslie Baldwin
Photo Illustrator: Darren Braun
Photograph: AP/Charles Dharapak

Every January, Texas Monthly publishes its annual “Bum Steer Awards,” an issue saluting the actions of the past year’s most bizarre, funny, idiotic and endearing Texans (or those who bumbled in Texas) who made headlines. The January cover usually showcases the “Bum Steer of the Year,” and for 2006, editor Evan Smith knew that no other incident had been talked about more than Dick Cheney, who accidentally shot a 78-year-old attorney while quail hunting last year. It was Smith who came up with the idea to put a spin the famed 1973 National Lampoon cover which featured a gun barrel pressed against a dog’s head with a coverline reading, “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog.” It was that cover that inspired the coverline “If You Don’t Buy this Magazine, Dick Cheney Will Shoot You in the Face.”

Art Director T.J. Tucker wanted to keep Dick Cheney looking like Dick Cheney, rather than turning him into some kind of character. “We could have done something more obvious—put him in camouflage gear or make him look like Elmer Fudd but I wanted this to be the Vice President as the Vice President,” says Tucker. “I wanted it to feel like you’re in your living room, watching TV, the doorbell rings, you open the door, and there’s Dick Cheney with a shotgun.”

The majority of the cover was created by Tucker and his staff, except the image of Cheney’s face, which was something photo editor Leslie Baldwin found. Photo illustrator Darren Braun created sketches based on three different photographs. From there, the remainder of the cover was pieced together one element at a time.

”Great cover!  Break the copy with “the Face” at the bottom right, but not essential.”
-Thoralf Tollefsen, Northstar Travel Media

“Didn’t Texas Monthly do this idea with Ann Richards about 10 years ago?”
-Criswell Lappin, Metropolis Magazine

“I love the concept and the photo illustration is wonderful but they have gone too far by also attempting to copy the Lampoon cover’s layout, right down to the light blue logo. The one exception is covering up the logo with Cheney’s head, which makes the magazine appear to be called “BUM STEERS!” due to the unusually large skyline where one expects the logo. I do not care for the placement of the cover story headline on the lower right corner. This headline would be much more effective centered up under his hands where it could relate better to the subject.”
-Bryan Canniff, Bryan Canniff Designs