Our Winter 2008 issue is showing up in mailboxes everywhere today. Readers are doing double-takes when they see the cover – one excited subscriber called this morning, anxiously inquiring whether cover was really and truly drawn by who he thought it was – and understandably so. (If you select the image at right, you can see a full-screen version.)
We turned over the cover of the issue to comic artist Chris Ware. Not just the bottom 60% – we gave him the whole thing to make his own. (We did this once before, with a special 2006 fiction supplement.) He re-rendered our logo and issue header in his distinct style. Ware’s pixel-perfect drawing style is done by hand, not computer. Check out your print copy up close – look at the edges of the “Q” and the “R” in our logo, or the lettering of “The Virginia Quarterly Review” – and you can see Ware’s individual pen strokes, evidence of its provenance.
And there’s stuff inside this issue, too. The issue focuses on the matter of torture, both contemporary and historical. We’ve got a pair of stunning visual works: Daniel Heyman’s watercolor portraits of former Iraqi prisoners tortured at Abu Ghraib and Fernando Botero’s paintings of the famous Abu Ghraib prisoner photos. We have a symposium on Ryszard Kapuściński, with contributions by Salman Rushdie and Werner Herzog. David Morris on how Ramadi came so far, so fast and Neil Shea on Ramadi a year ago. Post-apocalyptic fiction from Drew Johnson. Jane Hirshfield on justice. Roberto Bolaño on the banality of torture. A new work by Chris Ware. Poetry by Oliver de la Paz, William Logan, and an exciting newcomer, Patricia Lockwood.
This is the part where I write “and much, much more.” And it’s true. That doesn’t mean “there’s just one other thing that I’m not mentioning so I can make it sound like there’s a lot more.” What I’m trying to explain to you is that this is a Big Issue, and you should read it. Some of it is available for free online. But most of it, you’ve gotta read on the dead tree version. Buy this issue now for $14 or just get it over with and subscribe like you’ve totally been meaning to, but just haven’t gotten around to doing.