I have to give it up for McSweeney's. Just as the world was ready to say "Newspapers are dead," the publishers printed the one time only Panorama newspaper, reminding us all how exciting it can be to read newsprint with the wingspan of a vulture. And while we've been holding our hammer to put the final nail in the coffin for food magazines (R.I.P. Gourmet), McSweeney's has been readying to release Lucky Peach.
Sad news: Mission Local reports that after eight years on Valencia Street, vegan publishing house Little Otsu is closing its doors this December. Run by Jeremy Crown and Yvonne Chen, the lovingly-curated neighborhood shop is a place to grab comics, books, day planners and other adorable knick-knacks.
If you weren't able to track down a newsy on Tuesday and snag the McSweeney's Panorama for $5, rest assured that it's available at many local bookstores and it is, in fact, worth the $16. (Considering the content, it's probably worth more than that, but shhhh.) But don't expect to read it on the plane to wherever you're going for the holidays. It's heavy, cumbersome, and the broadsheet used is larger than that used by regular newspapers, making it nearly impossible to read in a tight space. The two included magazines, the Panorama Book Review and the Panorama Magazine, are oversized and also a bit awkward but more manageable than the paper.
That said, the beautifully executed Panorama is a treasure chest of writing, photography, illustration, and, my favorite, infographics. No space is left underutilized. Frankly, even advertisers seem to have stepped up their game for this—the ads in The Panorama are more well designed than the average newspaper ads. There are many layers of content—literally and figuratively—to dig through, making its exploration a process. First, you'll want to just look at it, delicately peeling the pages apart, reacquainting yourself with the familiar yet possibly forgotten heap of sections that make up a newspaper. Headlines and images will begin to catch your eye and you'll find yourself reading sidebars, maybe a story or two, noting things you'll return to once you make an initial sweep. But naturally, you'll get sucked into stories and start reading, and you'll quickly realize that these aren't your average-length newspaper articles. This is well composed long-form journalism, embodying the styles of both magazine and newspaper writing.
Dave Eggers and the awesome folks at McSweeney's have spent the last five months realizing their vision of the 21st Century newspaper in The San Francisco Panorama. McSweeney's brought together over 150 writers, artists, and photographers, including Art Spiegelman and Chris Ware, to create a piece of art that's part newspaper, part magazine, and everything about print we'd miss if it went away for good. The Panorama is available for pre-order now in the McSweeney's Store and goes on sale next Tuesday, December 8 in San Francisco for $5 ($16 after Tuesday). The details are fuzzy on exactly where you can get it—"in stores, on the street, or straight from us"—but since McSweeney's lives at 826 Valencia, that's a good place to start hunting.