Issue two of The Smudge has just landed. The monthly riso newspaper from the US was first dreamt up by illustrator Clay Hickson of Tan & Loose Press after the news of Trump’s election victory; the politically bent project draws its inspiration from the underground and activist publishing scene of 1960s and 70s Chicago, aiming to tackle issues around the current administration through satire and drawing.
While I’ve seen images of the cover circulating on design blogs and Instagram, this is the first printed copy I’ve managed to get hold of: it’s slighter than I had hoped for at eight pages, but an aesthetically lively and energetic piece of print.
Inside, there’s a patchwork of fake ads (above), a satirical advice column (below), and a recipe for a stiff drink to get you through reading the daily news (also below). Instead of providing harsh critique, The Smudge seems more about creating a space for relief and distraction during uncertain times; a longer piece about fake news hints at how the magazine might develop.
It’s a punchy and timely project, enjoyably ambitious and interesting because of its reactionary sensibility and flair, but the satire inside could cut a little deeper. I’m looking forward to seeing how the title will evolve month after month and explore new ways to engage its audience.