Arthur Hochstein, writing for Time.com’s list of top 10 magazine covers of 2008, says #1 goes to The New Yorker, Nov. 17, 2008 cover:
“Why is the cover great? It doesn’t do a victory dance. Rather, it whispers to the reader (the tribe): “Everything’s okay now — we have our country back.” It’s set at night, a time when creepy things happen, but also a time when people sleep, safe and sound. It is beautifully rendered. Simply spectacular.
As I’ve already declared the cover one of the best of the next 50 years, I obviously agree with Hochstein’s choice. As a reminder, here’s what I wrote when the magazine came out:
The most daunting challenge a magazine designer and editor face is a cover of an issue when every magazine on the newsstand is going to be featuring the same story. How do you capture the event and moment uniquely? Secondly, an illustrator for the New Yorker has an additional competitive challenge: how to tell this story more dramatically than all of the previous New Yorker covers that appeared following unique historical events. This cover responds to the challenges on many levels: evoking both Lincoln and Martin Luther King. However, what makes this cover a masterpiece to those who love magazines is its striking awareness of context — this is not merely an illustration: it is a magazine cover and the “O” of the magazine logo is providing the illumination of the story. This, “my friends,” (to quote the losing candidate) is one of those times when genius is an easy label to apply.
Later: You can purchase a print of the cover from NewYorkerStore.com. (Please note: I am receiving no payment whatsoever for that link.)