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WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing
May 4, 2012 7:40 AM   Subscribe

WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing covered a range of cultural issues and was widely known for its innovative use of graphic art. Started as a simple one-man operation that included artwork and text solicited from friends and acquaintances, the production, team, and circulation of the magazine would grow over the years. Its content also evolved to cover a wider expanse of stories that captured a smart and artsy Los Angeles attitude that was emerging at the same time as punk, but with its own distinct aesthetic. The magazine’s energetic creativity and flair for the absurd would remain a constant. As design problems arose, solutions were often improvised on the spot, creating a quirky and prescient editorial sensibility that remains one of WET's most enduring legacies. Its layout and design helped to catalyze the graphic styles (NSFW) later known as New Wave and Postmodern.
posted by Trurl (9 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Would've been great to read more content, but geez, what great covers! There really is something distinct about the L.A. New Wave aesthetic---a kind of stretched, gleaming, matte-colored pop style that's very different from NYC's crowded and filthy magazine covers or the U.K.'s seams-showing collage.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:05 AM on May 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


This and RAW were two magazines that made living in the 80's tolerable.
posted by SPUTNIK at 8:39 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I saw about ten of the issues displayed somewhere when I was in my early 20s, and the thing that struck me was that month-to-month, the issues weren't of a consistent page dimension. The largest one on display was close to Life Magazine size and one was not a whole lot bigger than Reader's Digest. There were probably four sizes. At the time, I assumed it was an intentional snub of convention; perhaps it was, perhaps it was caused by switching printing facilities frequently. Either way, I thought it was particularly cool and still do.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:43 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, those are really neat. I would love to have print copies to look at and page through.
posted by Forktine at 8:54 AM on May 4, 2012


Thanks for the linkage! But check the Intro page to see the cover of Leonard's new book, Making WET, which is now available.
posted by Rash at 9:12 AM on May 4, 2012


Matt Groening's first professional (as in paid-for) cartoon, “Forbidden Words,” appeared in the Sept/Oct. 1978 issue.
posted by issue #1 at 9:40 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Neat! I'd never heard of WET, but I'm really, really interested. It looks like Koren's set up a website for WET, along with a reference at the end to something called "Dribble", which is "set to commence a few days before the summer solstice". Neato!
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 10:05 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


There were probably four sizes

No, WET just came in two, regular and Life-magazine-sized. Size info and page counts are listed on my cover pages. RAW came in various sizes also, I remember some of them were more Readers Digest-sized.
posted by Rash at 10:39 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


WET Revisited, recently in Salon.
posted by Rash at 6:36 PM on May 4, 2012


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