From Ward Sutton's Vault: "Start Your Own Publication"

From Ward Sutton's Vault: SUTTONSIGNER.jpgBy Ward Sutton

In 1991, I was living in Minneapolis and working as a cartoonist and kind-of assistant art director for the alt weekly Twin Cities Reader, when I decided to move to Seattle. I arrived with one job interview scheduled and a lot of hope that I could pick up where I left off in Minneapolis.

When I arrived at the offices of the Seattle Weekly, I sat waiting in the lobby for what seemed like a long time as I nervously clutched my portfolio. Abruptly, some lower level member of the art department came out to tell me the art director wasn't going to meet with me. "He said to tell you we don't use cartoons here." That was it.

Minneapolis at that time had been a town whose media fit into two categories: mainstream (the daily newspapers: The Star Tribune and The Pioneer Press) and alternative (the weekly papers: the Twin Cities Reader and City Pages).

Seattle, I quickly learned, was more complex. There were two mainstream, daily papers, but the alternative press was further subdivided into differing factions: the Seattle Weekly was the "establishment alternative," run primarily by baby boomers, The Rocket was the "rock 'n' roll alternative," covering the music scene, and then, arriving shortly after I did, was The Stranger, the "upstart alternative" that was the launching pad for "Savage Love" and initially produced out of publisher Tim Keck's house.

The Stranger seemed to come out of nowhere and it spurred countless Generation X Seattleites to think, "Hey! We could start our own publication, too!" For years afterward it seemed there were always new, free publications showing up in the entryways of coffee shops and concert venues. Most of them barely lasted three months, if even. I was involved to varying degrees with a number of these idealistic ventures, and it inspired this piece.

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Ward Sutton Website

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