Time Magazine Resurrects ‘Is God Dead?’ Cover

From LBJ and Vietnam to DJT and Twitter

The April 8, 1966 cover of Time magazine was the first one in the magazine’s history to forego an image. Instead, in red against black background, the publication wondered: “Is God Dead?”

For this week’s April 3, 2017 issue Trump cover story and telephone interview by Washington bureau chief Michael Scherer, the magazine is paying homage to that famous graphical moment. In a fashion that involved some retro-graphic effort:

In order to produce an exact rendition of the typeface, Time graphic artist Lon Tweeten hand-drew each letter form with fine precision, as we could find no modern type foundry which has an exact interpretation of the one used on the original cover.

The 1966 cover typography was based on Bodoni Poster, created by Chauncey H. Griffith in 1929. That issue had a letter from Henry Luce explaining the thinking behind the cover. This week’s features a similar assessment from Nancy Gibbs:

Trust is a transaction between leaders and those they lead. Throughout our history, the deeply held beliefs of various Presidents have taken the nation into war, delayed the pursuit of peace, alienated allies, appeased enemies. At other times, presidential beliefs have conquered the continent, freed the slaves, taken us to the moon because the President firmly believed we could get there. As citizens, it is vital that we be able to believe our President; it is also vital that we know what he believes, and why. This President has made both a severe challenge.

And here’s Scherer, talking about his interview with Trump:

“Trump has discovered something about epistemology in the 21st century. The truth may be real, but falsehood often works better… In the radical democracy of social media, even the retweets of outraged truth squadders has the effect of rebroadcasting false messages. Controversy elevates message.”