JUST HOW good has President Trump been for the magazine business?
Well, it’s worth noting that no other president in the past dozen years has twice inspired the best cover of the year, as judged by the American Society of Magazine Editors.
That’s right: The commander in chief whose golf clubs are known for hanging fake Trump magazine covers is sparking a demi-Renaissance in award-winning real covers.
This week, the ASME named “Blowhard,” the New Yorker’s post-Charlottesville page featuring David Plunkert’s illustration of Trump blowing into a Klansman-hood sail, as its best cover from 2017.
“Blowhard” also picked up the honor for “most controversial” cover.
“I’m surprised and honored at my ‘Blowhard’ cover being awarded cover of the year,” the Baltimore-based Plunkert told The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs on Wednesday. The illustrator noted in August that although he seldom renders political content, the White House’s response to the fatal protest in Charlottesville prompted his strong visual reaction.
“Blowhard” is Plunkert’s first cover for the magazine, and he thanked New Yorker Art Director Françoise Mouly and Editor David Remnick for “being able to visualize the potential for a politically jarring cover from my very, very rough sketch,” he told The Post.
Remnick accepted the award Tuesday during the American Magazine Media Conference in New York. More than 100 editors judged the contest’s 261 covers in 10 categories. Entertainment Weekly’s cover last summer featuring RuPaul in patriotic colors won the readers’ choice award.
This marks the first time since the cover-of-the-year award was first given in 2006 that one president has been on two winning covers of the year. The New Yorker previously won for its George W. Bush administration cover “Deluged” after Hurricane Katrina, as illustrated by Barry Blitt, and Rolling Stone won in 2009 for its portrait cover reflecting President Barack Obama’s rise to the White House.
A year ago, Time won cover of the year for artist Edel Rodriguez’s “Total Meltdown” cover of Trump.
Elsewhere among White House-related works from 2017, the Mother Jones cover titled “Trump vs. the Law” (by artist Morten Morland) and the Time cover “Nothing to See Hear,” depicting Trump in a chaotic, wind-swept Oval Office (by artist Tim O’Brien), were finalists in the “news and politics” categories. The Time magazine cover “White House/Red Square” (by Brobel Design) was a finalist for “controversial” cover.
The New Yorker placed a whopping four works among the 10 cover-of-the-year finalists, including its pages spotlighting last year’s Women’s March and the political relationship between Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The former, Abigail Gray Swartz’s Rosie the Riveter parody titled “The March,” won for best “news and politics” cover; the latter, Blitt’s “Eustace Vladimirovich Tilley,” which spoofed the magazine’s iconic monocled dandy, won for “brainiest” cover.
“We can’t let the images be too timid,” Mouly told The Post last year. “When the president of the United States equivocates on matters of hate and xenophobia, artists should not.”