Ever since the Internet caught on, publishers have been moaning about how the electronic invaders would one day gobble up the printed media audience. Well, at last the prediction has come true: Weekly World News is shutting down!
Yes, the famous black-and-white supermarket tabloid is going out of print after 28 years of the best noir-surreal pulp tabloid fantasy on the market. Of interest to geeks is that the rag provided a window into the state of graphics work through the years, producing mind-bending warped images which came across as grainy and gruesome in saturated black ink that stained your hands for days afterward.
You could track what the market for graphic designers was like by glancing at the cover. Good quality work meant hard times, if somebody with any talent was reduced to working for them. Not only this, but the quality of writing was skin-crawlingly horrible - to the point where it was a Zen art form. You sit down and try to write sentences like "I'm madder than an Islamic fundamentalist at a nudist camp!" and "World's Fattest Lemur Confesses to Affair with Alien - as told by Elvis!" and make it all come off amusing and yet sounding earnest at the same time.
As a science fiction fan and a geek, I had a brief bit of fandom for the WWN in my early 20's. Hanging out with the wild party crowd, the pack of us staggering home from bars or parks, and stopping at a corner market for stale hot dogs, you couldn't resist snagging this horrendous fish wrapper for late-night reading back at the dorm, and perhaps some perusal the following morning to go with your hangover. I'd read it for the same reason I'd watch Plan Nine from Outer Space and Krull. I have a feeling that's why anybody else would read it, too.
RIP, Weekly World News. Today the world is a saner, but much more boring, place. And what the hell are vampires going to read, now?
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