Monday, November 17, 2014

“Dynamite” Magazine (1974-1992)

If you grew up in the 1970s, you remember this magazine. I remember ordering an issue with Superman on the cover through the Scholastic Book Club, or maybe I had a subscription. I thought the image on that cover was this:

But no such cover exists. So I have either the image wrong or the image right but the magazine wrong. This was the Superman cover at the time (1981) that I remember getting it:

(Yay, Greatest American Hero. No, the other one.)

What I did not know till now is that Dynamite outlasted my childhood. The second-to-last cover featured Beverly Hills, 90210, a show that hit big during my college years.

Dynamite came back into my mind (and my possession) because I bought a few back issues for research for a project. One issue had an interesting line in an article about Robin Williams (RIP stranger-friend)—interesting in that you can’t imagine that line running in any children’s periodical today. I’m sure it will pop out at you:

“…pretended to put a hamster into a microwave oven!”

I also noticed several covers featured performers from shows not aimed at kids, notably Gilda Radner of Saturday Night Live.

Lastly, one of the issues I got was practically nonstop with references to disco—another topic that would’ve meant little to most elementary school kids.

But then that was also the era of spotty parental supervision in the neighborhood, no bike helmets, Fluff-stuffed white sandwiches and Twinkies for lunch, and other defunct dangers for kids. What’s a little sexually charged dancing, racy humor, and animal cruelty between bites of your trans fats?


  1. Marc, were you possibly thinking of this Starlog cover?

  2. Thanks John. That link didn't work but I found what I presume you're directing me to, and that does indeed look like the cover I'm remembering...but I'm remembering seeing it in grade school - in the actual school - and doubt anyone would've had it there. Could be wrong. Will never know!

  3. I tweeted at Scholastic a few months ago to ask if they had a secret archive of Dynamite and told them there's a lot of us out here that would love to see either a Best Of book or even digital downloads. All I got was a fairly standard "We'll pass it on to the marketing team."

    Somehow, I can't imagine they have any idea what I'm talking about.

  4. I was a massive Dynamite magazine fan, and I think what I liked most about it was that it was talking about adult-level culture on a kid level; it was acknowledging that elementary and middle-schoolers (or 'tweeners' as we'd call them now) knew about these things that were going on in the world, if they themselves couldn't participate in them, and thus addressed their interest in a way that made them accessible. It walked that delicate balance between being hip and being innocent very well. The celebrity interviews were great, in some ways even more honest than what you would get in "real" magazines because they were talking to kids and treating them seriously.

    Marvel briefly tried their own version of this style of magazine, called Pizzazz, which was a lot of fun too. And they had a Superman cover as well - maybe this is what you remembered?

  5. Dex, I fear you're right - whoever at Scholastic tweeted you back likely has not heard of DYNAMITE. Marc, fascinating! I don't believe the PIZZAZZ cover looks familiar but wild to learn that Superman graced the cover of a Marvel publication!

  6. I have the complete 16 issue run of Pizzazz in cbr format along with a couple issues of Bananas and Dynamite.

  7. Dex how would one get said CBR file ???