Magazine Bestiary

Dog BoneThe Dog Bone

(Canis not lettus-goess)

Bringing new meaning to the phrase, “I’d rather be right than popular,” this stubborn ol’ coot just won’t hunt when it comes to backing down in the face of withering critiques. In fact, it is a wonder how he survives at all in an environment where every criticism requires defending his position to the death, and every alteration request becomes a slight to his good name. Like a dog with a bone that just won’t let go, the Dog Bone disregards authority, logic, deadlines, budget and even common sense to bathe in the satisfaction of Getting His Way.

Illustration by Ralph Butler

The Reproofer

Reproofer(Blulinus Non-finitus)

Can there ever be too much attention paid to your magazine? The answer, of course, is no — and yes. Not so much a question of how much but when. The Reproofer only really looks at the magazine after it’s been submitted to the printer, and then finds myriad of mistakes. From rewriting heads to re-positioning photo credits, nothing eludes the withering eye of the Reproofer — but only when it’s the most expensive and potentially dicey to fix.

The Reproofer is no longer the dangerous animal he once was. At least sending a new PDF of a page is easier and cheaper than having an entire signature rebuilt from negatives. But regardless of the cost, the real damage of the Reproofer is the self-aggrandizement that accompanies every late find — despite the fact that they should have all been found earlier.

Illustration by Jason Clarke


Micromaniac(Nolo Confidenciary)

Nothing spoils a smooth production like a bottle-neck, but who wants to tell this monster-in-charge that they could do better with just a tad less supervision? Micromaniac delegates work, and then proceeds to harass, over-critique and “help” the delegee, ultimately re-doing everything while protesting he’s just “touching up a few rough edges.” If that suffocating feeling isn’t his ego sucking all the oxygen out of the room, then it might be his invasive tentacles uncoiling from behind you, swarming around to “demonstrate” his idea of a “better way.” Micromaniac can usually be heard mumbling, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

Illustration by David Helfrey

Last-Minute Looey

Last Minute Looey(Fait Accompli-heehee)

Some people don’t play well with others, but the worst of the lot are the ones who won’t play at all. This monster holds onto his work like an anal-retentive infant holds onto, well, you know. Constantly promising to present but then finding a lame excuse to put the meeting off, Last-Minute Looey wields the power of the deadline to get his way. By delivering stuff right near the issue close, it’s just too late to reject the work. This master passive-aggressor forces everyone to take it or leave it, and who wants a big fat hole in the middle of a magazine?

Illustration by Ryan O'Rourke

The Other-Shoe Dropper

Other Shoe Dropper(Mistake-us Succsubi)

When things are going swimmingly, that’s the time for this creature to sneak up from the deep and put a dot on the “i” of “I screwed up.” Making promises based on suppositions, guesstimating prices on the spur of the moment and impulsively rewriting during final galleys are all opportunities for an attack by this fiendish beast, who relishes the feeling of despair and humiliation that occurs when the victims realize that — thinking they’ve knocked one out of the park — they’ve totally Blown It and It’s Too Late to do anything but Eat It and hope their credibility hasn’t been Totally Ruined.

Illustration by Dave Black

Gutter MonsterThe Insatiable Gutter Monster

(Engulficus editorialus)

This beast lurks in the center gutter of every perfect-bound magazine, waiting for the feckless designer to just try and run a headline across a spread or move a copy block too close to the binding. It doesn’t matter how much extra space you allow, this beast somehow manages to swallow just enough copy to make reading an exercise in completing sentences from incomplete words. So, beware using words like “shirt” too near the center of a double-truck headline.

Illustration by David Clark