Spy magazine can’t stay undercover. The long defunct humor magazine, famous for its 1990’s grilling of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, is taking over Esquire.com with a “digital pop-up.”
The project, launched today, will last through the presidential election under the guidance of Kurt Andersen, co-founder of Spy.
Josh Wolk, former editorial director at Vulture, will edit the pop-up, with J.R. Havlan, formerly of The Daily Show, and Gabriel Snyder, formerly of Gawker, also writing content.
Jay Fielden, EIC of Esquire, is overseeing the project along with newly appointed Hearst CCO Joanna Coles, and Michael Mraz, Hearst Magazine Digital Media director of content for the men’s group.
“I was speaking to Kurt about the idea of doing something new with Spy, and it turned out that it was something that Jay had been mulling over years ago,” Coles said in a statement. “This is the kind of partnership I love: great minds and incredible brands creating multi-dimensional content that readers are going to devour.”
Spy, which ran from 1986 to 1998, was known for its snark and humor, as well as its willingness to aggressively investigate political scandal.
The magazine has been ever-present through the current presidential election, with former Spy editors discussing their famous characterization of Republican candidate Donald Trump as “the short-fingered vulgarian.” The editors appeared on the podcast “On The Media” in late September, and in 2015 they saw coverage in Salon and Bloomberg.
Vanity Fair has also published a handful of pieces on the brand, which is no surprise since Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter co-founded Spy.
After the August shuttering of Gawker, founder Nick Denton compared the two brands in a goodbye letter to employees, saying, “Gawker.com may, like Spy magazine in its day, have a second act.”
Denton was referencing an earlier resurrection of the magazine after it ran out of money and folded in 1994.
This makes Spy's partnership with Esquire a third act for the magazine — and likely not its last.