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Our Most Memorable and Expensive Issues

Our Most Memorable and Expensive Issues

Polar bears and bare bums.
By Marion LaVigne, Ronne Heming
Oct 01

There’s one cover of Up Here that people always remember. Our second issue showed a bunch of fried eggs nailed to a wall. It illustrated a story about a “bushed” camp cook who lost it and did exactly that: nailed fried eggs to the wall. Since then we’ve created hundreds of covers with people, polar bears, and scenic vistas, but none have lodged in the collective psyche like the fried eggs.

In July/August 1988 we featured our first polar bear cover. It did well on the newsstands, so we decided to bring out the polar bear cover again from time to time. Over the past 35 years, we’ve featured a polar bear on the cover 12 times, most recently in March of this year. Dogs, also good sellers, rank second to polar bears. We’ve had seven covers with northern dogs.

Our most expensive issue, however, was July/August 2006. It featured an article on nude hiking in the Yukon. The cover showed a back view of a nude hiker with type strategically placed over the model’s bare backside. Unfortunately, when it reached the seat pockets of all Canadian North flights, a passenger complained, and Canadian North asked that the issue be pulled from its planes.

Since we always promise our advertisers seat-pocket distribution, we had to come up with something different in a hurry. One week and $5,000 later, we had a magazine with a new cover. This time, a well-covered man and a naked fish.

Up Here has always been designed and assembled in the North, but printed in the south. Today, when the magazine is ready for the printer we push an upload button. Life was not that simple 35 years ago. First, we had to have the type set and called out
in long strips called galleys. Then we had to assemble all the pieces on art-boards using tools unknown to today’s designers (x-acto knives, parallel rules, lots of wax as an adhesive, rubylith and a glass roller, to roll it down and make sure it all stuck).

When all this was done, we packed the artwork and the photos into a large box, securely taped it, and then dashed to the airport to get it out on the last plane of the day leaving Yellowknife. We still experience deadline anxiety, but we now know that some computer geeks in Winnipeg will find any technical glitches that we might have missed. And believe it or not, with today’s technology, the printing bill is lower than it was 35 years ago.