For its current issue, Newsweek tried something new, bringing in Stephen Colbert as its first-ever guest editor. But for the issue's cover, it resorted to something not so new, borrowing a visual joke from the long-defunct satire magazine Spy:



The Spy cover is from 1989. Of course, just about every magazine with any semblance of a sense of humor has been accused of stealing from Spy at some point (and Radar, where I worked for a year, was accused on a near-weekly basis). It's probably impossible to commit satire in magazine form without echoing Spy. But you'd think Colbert, as a comedian, might have a little more professional pride than this; Newsweek editor Jon Meacham says the cover treatment was Colbert's idea.

UPDATE: Speaking for himself and his Spy co-founder, Graydon Carter, Kurt Andersen says of Newsweek's tribute, "It pleased me. And I think we're both relieved that today, as opposed to 1989, America's most entertaining and WASPiest make-believe conservative Republican is the host of a TV show instead of president of the United States."

Earlier: Can Colbert get new Newsweek noticed?

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