City of Terror

Mark Beyer’s “City of Terror” trading cards, printed by Françoise Mouly and hand-assembled (with bubble gum acquired through Topps) for RAW Magazine, Issue 2.


Excerpted from A RAW History: The Magazine by Bill Kartalopoulos, published in Indy Magazine, Winter 2005 issue.

Raw’s second issue included a package containing six out of eight possible bubble gum cards (drawn by Mark Beyer) and an actual stick of bubble gum. The cards’ contents tied into a two-page spread developed by Beyer to provide context for the insert. The issue also included the first chapter of Spiegelman’s Maus, incorporated as a small-format booklet attatched to the magazine’s inside back cover. Each subsequent issue would contain a similarly-formatted chapter from Spiegelman’s book-in-progress. Joost Swarte provided the issue’s cover, along with color separations for the cover’s border design. Swarte indicated a monochromatic tone for the image area, but Mouly instead elaborately hand-cut full-color separations.

Mouly: We did the bubble gum cards by hand. I printed these on my press, then we cut them all up, and then we had to do this insane thing, which was the random sampling of the bubble gum cards so that a different one would show. We were obviously inspired by Topps. We didn’t really intend for people to buy twelve issues of Raw, which was an expensive magazine at the time, but we wanted that people in the store would open up the magazine and see a different card at the top. So we had to do some kind of random assembling, but making sure that we would get equal amounts of each card in each package. We worked it out… and it wasn’t that complicated once we sat down to do it, and Art got the gum from the bubble gum card company. And that we did with the artists, just sitting around.

Chris Ware: [One] day around 1983, I saw an oversize magazine sticking out of the back of the bin with the word “RAW” barely visible at the top. Hoping it was pornography, I pulled it out. Much to my disappointment, it wasn’t, but I’d also never seen anything like it. I could tell immediately that it was something wholly different (maybe something “punk” or “new wave”?) and sophisticated in a way my Nebraska brain at the time simply couldn’t understand … but what was it? Reluctantly (for lack of the aforementioned prurience) I nonetheless bought it, took it home — and it rearranged my mind about comics forever. Everything about it, from the size, the lack of “humor” in it, the strange, serious subject matter, the drawings that looked like you’d cut yourself on them, was a revelation to me. I think Joost Swarte’s cover of that issue had something of the effect that the Humbug radiation cover had on Robert Crumb; I studied it for hours, days, and weeks… I should mention here that the aforementioned cover of Raw #2 taught me practically everything I know about coloring using printing tints, and it was only years later that I found out Françoise had colored the whole thing herself; to this day I still make use not only of that basic pallete, but also the sensibility of the scheme, with the bright colors being picked out against a more subdued background; she’s truly a genius of design.

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