Christoph Hitz
January 2009
Car Czar, come again?
This isn't exactly a quick read cover, visually I wanted to intrigue the reader, make him/her linger, think and be amused before opening the magazine.
On any given day, my studio radio is usually tuned to my favorite radio station, WAMC. A few weeks back all the news from NPR and the BBC seam to be humming with dire news regarding the American car industry. The CEO's had just testified in Congress and the media stream started to swell with the new buzz word: "CAR CZAR!" I couldn't believe my ears, weren't the czars extinguished just about 10 years after the car was invented? Who was the evil genius who said, "It has to rhyme to sell?" The proposal of a reviving a Russian royalty title in conjunction with the a job title to oversee the big 4 crisis seamed preposterous, something from a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Would his royal tzarness have to power to ax production costs, slash robot labor and lay down the law of green technologies? Heck, was this proposed tile inspired by the Russian car industry with such memorable companies like: Lada, Avtovaz, Gaz, Pobeda and Kamaz all shinny examples of the Soviet Union's past achievements? Hell no.

On a loose sheet of paper next to my lightbox I started to doodle some czarist period creatures.  Somehow the press and the politicians seam to hash out a fictional saviour figure that begged to be drawn. By now I was sick of hearing "Car Czar" this and that, heck why not give the appointee a German, Italian or Japanese title at least they know how to build cars! In the meantime, my sketch had grown into this dark doodle with plenty of slash and burn capable type "A" characters. Handing out alternative job titles to my freshly minted creatures made me feel like I was in charge of my dire news inspired doodle.

With the Bush presidency in it's final days, my "Alternative Car Czar" cover layout got returned by The New Yorker with the standard rejection note. I'm glad the times of hoodwinking people with words like "enhanced interrogation", "engagement theater","Freedom Fries" and for that  matter "Car Czar" are soon over.

Exhuberant riddance.

Did I mentioned I had a blast doing this layout?  I did.
I had great fun creating last weekend's CITY section cover for the New York Times.The story is about neighborhood blogs that bring out the worst and the best in people. Just like here on Drawger, choices needed to be made; should disruptive negative commentators be curbed? Or should they be permitted to spew repeat negative and sometimes racist remarks?
Here is the full story.
The first set of sketches where based on log images. Because blogging is adding text in small increments, and the cross sections of trees are a living record of time and history, it seemed like a good idea at the time to play with log visuals.
For the second round I decided to play with comic strip elements such as speech bubbles gone wild to illustrate the bloggers dialogs.

I used the translator widget for the Chinese lettering.
Gathering signatures to reroute traffic.
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