We’ve gathered some of the funniest, most celebrated writers and artists from several generations, with the idea of resurrecting — and improving! — the classic humor magazine format.
Using print-on-demand publishing and the ability of the internet to collect like-minded people, we can provide books at a fair price while paying our contributors. (Paid work, what a concept.) And they keep the rights to their material.
But we need your help. Newsstands are a mug’s game, and advertisers hate humor magazines. That’s why there hasn’t been a new one since the late 90s. The American Bystander uses a super-lean publishing model where the money comes from readers — like the old MAD, minus the newsstands. The web is our newsstand; it’s always open, and you don’t have to deal with guys nicknamed “Jimmy Three-Fingers.”
The implosion of book and magazine publishing has left a lot of established artists and writers with no way to reach the readers who love their stuff. And for younger talents, an always-difficult career is now practically impossible. We just couldn’t take it anymore, folks, we had to do something…so we created the first issue. What happens next is up to you.
We need to sell around 3,000 copies of each issue to pay our costs. Everybody’s working for peanuts, because we think that America should have a stable, permanent home for magazine-style humor and cartoons, regardless of the ups and downs of technology or the whims of billionaires.
Things have started well: Issue #1 made its Kickstarter in four days. People immediately started asking for #2, and we’ve started work on that. (Material is flooding in, and it’s good.) Kickstarter paid for #1, now #1 will pay for #2, and so on. If we can sell 5,000 copies of #1, we’ll offer subscriptions. We need a print run that large to offer the kinds of discounts that readers expect.
The more we sell, the lower our price can go… and the more we can pay our writers and artists. Which is the whole point, right? Right.
Inside Issue #1
Publisher’s Letter by Michael Gerber • Connie and the Fifth Time by Brian McConnachie • Treasure Hunting by Julia Wertz • Dear Trusting Sir or Madam… by Steve Young • Preparation Anxiety by Joey Green • A Day in the Life of an Empowered Female Heroine by Mallory Ortberg • David Hockney’s Tricks of the Masters by Mike Reiss • Truly Blessed by Jonathan Schwarz • Call Me Mr. Lucky by Dave Hanson • Fast and Loose by George Meyer • Inspirational Animal Stories #1: The Motivational Tiger by Brian McConnachie • Sizing Up Champagne by Sport Murphy • Boyfriend by Liana Finck • A Brief History of Sandwich Theory by Daniel Immerwahr & Sam Means • Elevator Conversations by River Clegg • Our Coffee Is the Best by David Etkin • Johnny Bullwhip by Brian McConnachie • Kids’ Advice to Lincoln by Jack Handey • The Painter of Pain by Ron Barrett • The Old Codger’s Almanac by Mark O’Donnell & Christopher Austopchuk • The Road Warrior (The Radio Version) by George Meyer • The Truthful Telephone by Terry Jones • Yardwork by Brian McConnachie • Interview: Josh Alan Friedman by Mike Sacks • Goodnight Moon, Hello Martini by Sloane Tanen & Stefan Hagen • Post-Life Survey by Roz Chast • Back of the Bus by Al Jean • Atlas Slugged Again by Ellis Weiner • Chekhov’s Mother by R.O. Blechman • Are You a Middle-Aged Hipster? by Mimi Pond • Notes From Janitorgod by Dennis Perrin • John Wilcock: The New York Years by Scott Marshall & Ethan Persoff • A Dream of Consequence by M.K. Brown.
With art and illustration by Ron Barrett, Kate Beaton, Louisa Bertman, R.O. Blechman, Chris Bonno, M.K. Brown, John Caldwell, Roz Chast, Seymour Chwast, Liza Donnelly, Xeth Feinberg, Liana Finck, Emily Flake, Shary Flenniken, Patricia Gerber, Robert Grossman, Stefan Hagen, Ron Hauge, Danny Hellman, Farley Katz, Adam Koford, Ken Krimstein, Eugenia Loli, Scott Marshall, Ethan Persoff, Mimi Pond, Arnold Roth, Cris Shapan, Mark Simonson, Grant Snider, Edward Sorel, Akiko Stehrenberger, Tom Toro, D. Watson, Julia Wertz, Nathan Yoder, Steve Young, and Jack Ziegler.
Get updates on future issues, secret projects, special events, and God only knows what else. Why the heck not?
Reach Out and Touch Us
Media inquiries, submissions, and general questions can be directed to Michael Gerber at “Publisher [at] Americanbystander [dot] org.”
We’re running this on a skeleton crew, so please be patient. Mike is ridiculously busy setting all this up, but he will reply as soon as he can.