It’s ironic, but Hell For Leather seems to be the publication of record for any items involving print motorcycle magazines these days, i.e. the whole “Dexter Chronicles” affair and the busted Kawasaki ZX-10R embargo. So the following may be of interest. Elaine Anderson, Cycle World‘s longtime art director, is no longer with the magazine, a move lost in all the recent firings and bloodletting at the Newport Beach offices. Given the shoddy way I was shown the door after 25 years at CW, I doubt Elaine will get the send-off she deserves. Loyalty and long service don’t seem to count for much anymore.
Until late last year David Edwards was the longtime editor-in-chief of Cycle World magazine. Lately, he’s not the only one to feel the pointy end of parent company Hachette’s boot. This past August, the publisher, ad manager, ad coordinator and senior ad man all got the heave-ho. We also hear the marketing guy, in an apparent fit of self-preservation, is jumping ship. Now we find out that among the missing is Elaine Anderson, the magazine’s award-winning art director. — Ed.
When I took over as editor-in-chief in 1988, back in the hoary old pre-Internet days, newsstand sales — always an indicator of a magazine’s viability — needed to improve. To that end, we became as timely as we could, often turning around a major cover story in a week or less to get the news in the earliest issue possible. All that hard work by the edit staff would come to naught, though, if the story looked like it was just thrown at the page last-minute. Elaine was there to make sure that didn’t happen. There may have been better art directors (though I can’t think of any), there may have been quicker art directors, but there has never been a better, quicker moto-mag art director.
On a smaller scale, Elaine was responsible for the look of perhaps the most memorable story ever to run in any motorcycle magazine, Hunter S. Thompson’s “Song of the Sausage Creature.” She insisted that the story needed longtime HST collaborator Ralph Steadman’s artwork and worked with him on the unforgettable lead illustration.
During my tenure at the magazine, Cycle World became the largest-circulation motorcycle monthly in the world, and a large part of that success was due to Elaine Anderson. As she leaves the magazine after 26 years, I just wanted to make sure she got her due.
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