Esquire has revived SPY, the biting NYC-based satirical mag that ruled the pre-Internet zeitgeist before shutting up shop in 1998.
Now a digital pop-up that'll run until the end of election season, the new SPY lives on as a channel on the men's magazine's website. In a profile, the Wall Street Journal suggests the revived mag will publish five new articles per day.
“Back in the late '80s and early '90s, SPY magazine pretty much had the American satirical-journalism field all to itself,” wrote co-founder Kurt Andersen this morning on SPY's new site (Vanity Fair’s E. Graydon Carter was the other founder). “Then came the full-blown Internet, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, mainstream journalists getting snarky, and everybody cracking wise on social media 24/7 — some of which SPY prefigured and spawned and influenced.”
However, with the “withdrawal of Stewart and Colbert,” the demise of Gawker and especially the return of Clinton and Trump, Anderson saw an opening, and one perfectly timed for the 30th anniversary of the magazine's original launch.
The old SPY had its favorites: Trump (famously labeled a “short-finger vulgarian”), the Clintons, JFK Jr., Schwarzenegger, etc. The targets now? Based off the first few articles, it’s going to be heavy on the Trump angle (“Is Trump Genetically Defective?”) with a solid dose of Hillary (“TV Writers Know How to Make HIllary More Likeable”).
The former even got the cover treatment for the site's launch:
The SPY team has an intimate history with the Republican presidential nominee. Earlier this year, Carter noted in an NPR interview that the mag’s “short-fingered” quote from the '80s still irks the real estate mogul. “He'll send me pictures, tear sheets from magazines, and he did it as recently as [last] April. With a gold Sharpie, he'll circle his fingers and in his handwriting say, ‘See, not so short.’”