20 of our best and worst City Paper covers 

They’re all our children, but we will play favorites

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Scott Suchy has worked as art director 2007-present

 Deep in the depths of the Charleston City Paper compound you’ll find large posters lining the wall, one for every year since 2007. Each poster displays cover images, one for each week we’ve published — proudly put forth into the world like newborn babes. As the art director, my job is to see each of these covers through, most times as its progenitor, sometimes … more like a midwife dealing with the result of someone else’s series of bad decisions following a late night at the Recovery Room several months ago. And just like any long-time parent (or pet owner) would know, some children turn out to be great successes. While others are just a painful reminder that chugging a bottle of Grand Ma’ during the comedy festival can lead to many regrets you’ll have to just live with.

So here I present to you 20 City Paper covers of note, mostly ones from my tenure — ones we can comfortably talk about in front of them at the dinner table.

Quirky: Nyan Cat (2011)

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Nyan Cat was big online, so why not create a “real” one for the cover of the College Student Guide? I wound up winning a Press Association award for it, even though, according to their comments, the obviously older judges had no idea what it exactly was.

Just Good: Twisted Pretzels (2014)

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This was a practical effects kind of image done with the help of the folks at Bay Street Beirgarten.

Funny: Nate & Di are Smokin’ (2006)

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A great homage to Cheech and Chong. Google it, youngins.

Just Good: Little Brother (2016)

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Maria Fabrizio’s thoughtful yet simple illustrations always seem to hit the mark.

BAD: State of Design (2004)

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This one was before my time, so I can’t say I know the reasoning for the design decisions on this one; but, I just can’t get over the lovely Charleston Big City skyline used in the collage about the rise of local Charleston design.

Debatable: Cooking with Coolio (2017)

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I can’t with a straight face say that this is in any way an image that relays the content inside with a glance. It’s just not an effective cover image. ….BUT, it’s also really hard to argue with the instant appeal (for many of us) of an attractive half-naked cam girl in the photo — sex still sells whether you want to admit it or not.

BAD: Ectotour (2011)

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Would a little old-fashioned double exposure trick be fun for a story on hauntings? Sure! Would a poorly executed ghost costume be a little uncomfortable in the Deep South? Absolutely! [Fortunately, I don’t recall anyone misreading the image or intent.]

Quirky: Zombie Economy (2009)

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Just a fun illustration to do about the housing market during tough times. Who doesn’t like zombies?

Just Good: Lit Issue (2016)

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I’ve come to love our annual Literary Issue because I get to play and have fun with an illustration of my own.

Funny: Degrees of Success (1997)

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A great illustration by Ashley Holt, I still laugh every time I think of Albert Einstein with his flair on.

Just Good: Joe Riley Time To Go (2011)

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Can anyone really say that a little cartoon Joe Riley Jr. isn’t cute as the dickens? I specifically wanted Stegelin’s illustration to break the fourth wall and be peeking out of the image frame.

BAD: Best of the Blotter (2002)

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This was pre-having-a-Steve-Stegelin-on-staff. I’ll never take him for granted again.

Funny: SEWE (2010)

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This was the first year that SEWE really highlighted the wild game dinners and demos. So, with that in mind I set out to create an eye-catching cover that would convey the message without getting all cleaning your kill gross (we’d get there on down the road, see: 2014’s raccoon stew cover). Funny thing is, we still had an anonymous phone message complaining about the implied eating of “such majestic creatures.” Apparently they missed the memo on what SEWE was about.

Quirky: Man-Baby (2015)

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Creepy, but in a fun underrated meme kind of way.

Quirky: Charm School Dustin (2015)

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Creepy, but in a severely disturbing kind of way.



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