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Spy: The Funny Years

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  118 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Just in time for the 20th anniversary of Spy's creation comes the definitive anthology, inside story, and scrapbook. Spy: The Funny Years will remind the magazine's million readers why they loved and depended on Spy and bring to a new generation the jewels of its reporting and writing, photography, illustration, design, and world-class mischief-making. It will demonstrate ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Miramax Books (first published 2006)
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Todd N
Nov 15, 2007 rated it liked it
i work with the ex-publisher of spy but the bastard hasn't autographed it for me yet. when i was going to college at purdue in the cultural hell (well it was to me at the time) of indiana spy magazine was like a letter from the outside world. i had never left ohio and indiana not counting campgrounds so what the hell would i understand in a new york monthly? maybe 1/2 of the jokes? but the stylized layout and the tiny fonts were somehow a great comfort to me. the featured pieces aged very well. ...more
Peter Smith
May 19, 2012 rated it liked it
I used to be a big fan of Spy magazine back in the early '90's and I bought this book thinking that it would have a lot of the hilarious articles I remember reading way back then. Well it does have some, but mostly this book is an oral history that talks to just about everyone involved. And your enjoyment of that mostly depends on how interested you are in the business of getting a magazine started in New York in the late '80's or the backstage shenanigans with the writing staff. Not that some o ...more
Eric Smith
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Nick Wolff
I loved SPY back in the late 80's when I lived in New York and I still consider it a milestone in American humor. This book is an amazingly well-produced and well written compilation of SPY articles and commentary by the two founders and an important SPY writer. It moves along, it is funny, it recaptures the time, and it has a plot line that reads like the classic startup: difficult birth, making it barely, moving to the mainstream, selling out, and then a long fade to irrelevance. I can't say t ...more
Dec 09, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Nostalgic Snobs
Unfortunately, this handsomely designed coffee-table book is more informative than entertaining. Spy was an important part of my development but truthfully its content was more enjoyable to me when I knew less about the priveleged lives of its creators. The reprinted original Spy content is still shockingly great - and its humbling to realize how much the magazine's style actually changed (rather than merely influenced) both the form and content of popular publishing in the years since its timel ...more
Mar 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book really only rates three stars because Kurt Anderson and Graydon Carter were too busy resting on their laurels to actually write it, which task they outsourced to editorial bitch George Kelogerakis. Still, all the reprinted stuff is spit-out-your-bourbon funny. Their humor has kind of infused a lot of other writing, but nothin' -- Nothin' -- beats the original SPY for imprecation-hurling strings of pure invective, and some solid political reporting. My mordant sense of humor owes this m ...more
Feb 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-arts
This is a veritable primer on how not to run a magazine, but somehow, Graydon Carter and Kurt Andersen managed to create a classic that actually holds up well many years after its demise. In fact, many of the departments and innovations found in the original Spy found imitators in the New Yorker, Esquire, crudely done in magazines like Maxim, and elegantly done at Carter's new editorship, Vanity Fair. Spy was an early inspiration to me in both design and writing, and it's still pretty fun to rea ...more
Hank Stuever
Aug 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Spy's influence is still very much felt (especially in the tone of the default voice of the web). If, like me, you tossed out your carefully saved issues of Spy, you can now find them on Google. This book has some great excerpts and a lot of interesting behind-the-scenes history of the magazine. But be careful: Under close scrutiny and free of nostalgia, not all of Spy is as clever or absorbing as some of us remember. You kinda had to be there.
Dec 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
a retrospective of the early (aka the funny) years of SPY magazine. i named my first zine "Smart.Funny.Fearless." after their old tagline. Its funny looking back on this and wondering how as a teenager i could've been into this. High-brow, snarky commentary on politics and culture that fit in well with my love of Bloom County.
Curt Hopkins Hopkins
Jan 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor
If you weren't around during Spy, this book does a good job of explaining in part the cultural world you live in. If you were around, it takes you back. In my case, I realized I am who I am to some degree because of Spy. High quality and low cunning. Gleeful viciousness toward self-celebrating boobs. And the Fine Print.
Aug 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
Well, I really just skimmed this book. It was meant to be skimmed. I really wanted a "Best of SPY" book; I used to love that magazine. I was probably the only person in Youngstown to buy it, and DEFINITELY the only 14-year-old girl in Youngstown to buy it. I missed it heyday, though, and would love to read some of the early issues. Maybe someday . . .
Jan 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
put it on your bookshelf to look progressive and sentimental at the same time!
Paul Madarasz
May 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Truly funny! And for us older folk, it brought back a lot of memories from the time I subscribed to Spy (actually, I kept all my issues, and drag them out every couple years or so).
Leonard Pierce
Oct 03, 2008 added it
Shelves: humor
Ah, Spy. How I loved you, even if you didn't love me back. Only a bit too much inside-baseball stuff about the New York publishing scene saves it from the fifth star; this is really terrific stuff.
Apr 12, 2009 marked it as to-read
Shelves: entertainment
I've been wanting a copy of this for awhile, and happened to find it on the sale shelves at Taylor Books - yay!
May 24, 2010 marked it as to-read
Shelves: humor, trashy
I think I turned out the way I did because I read my Mom's Spy magazines as a kid (those and Texas Monthly's Bum Steer Awards issues). Hooray for hilarious, corrupting influences!!!
Lynn Randall
Oct 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Reliving my youth.
Aug 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: humor
I was really hoping that there would be more FROM Spy and less ABOUT Spy.
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Edward Graydon Carter is a Canadian-born American journalist and author. He is editor of Vanity Fair. He also co-founded, with Kurt Andersen and Tom Phillips, the satirical monthly magazine Spy in 1986.
More about Graydon Carter...