Welcome to Weider’s  Wonderful Wild West

Never fear, dear reader, the new Wild West is still wild. “And now more wonderful than ever!” exclaimed the old editor, who was not paid (not much anyway) for his ad-lib endorsement. “Eric Weider is the best thing to happen to the American West since Colt’s revolver, Arbuckle’s coffee and Levi’s jeans when worn by Lola Montez!” the old editor burbled on.

It started with the August 2006 cover. Never before had the magazine used the words “damnable,” “whoring” and “TV” right out in front—Deadwood talk…well, almost. Next up was the silver-coated October issue, technically the first one under Weider leadership, which pulled out all stops (including a few “ugly” ads) and added a few nifty design, picture and word elements to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the so-called Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The chance to share well-researched stories and intriguing images about one of his favorite places in the whole world, Old Tombstone, caused such a euphoric high in the president of Weider History Group that he grew a mustache and adopted the name “Virgil Earp” for several weeks. Yes, the new boss prefers Virgil to Wyatt, but what that says about him psychologically, I’ll leave to all the Sigmund “Big Nose” Freuds and Carl “Say ‘Hanged’ Not ‘Hung’” Jungs out there. I have enough trouble trying to figure out why I can relate more to Billy the Kid than Jesse James.

But, as we all must, Eric left his euphoric high and came down to earth—in St. Joseph, Mo., figuratively speaking—in time to lead the direction of the December issue, with photogenic Jesse on the cover and a fact-packed story inside about the days before and after the assassination of the Show Me State’s most celebrated outlaw. Tombstone may be Eric’s first love, but all the Old West hot spots belong to Weider’s world.

Now we present our February 2007 issue, with some further changes that show me that Wild West aims to please every single dear reader. That might be an impossible goal, like trying to make everyone in Lincoln County, New Mexico Territory, happy in 1878. But I ask all you old-time subscribers to give the new look a shot, and all you newcomers to sit back and enjoy each informative issue. Weider realizes that cap-and-ball aficionados didn’t all convert to metallic cartridges right away and that not everyone likes those makeover shows on television. Still, this old editor is convinced that the good old-fashioned wildness remains—Billy the Kid and Bass Reeves are running rampant this month, for instance—while we’ve added some refreshing new departments (“Sold!,” “Ghost Towns,” “Collections,” “Western Enterprise,” “Native Life” and “Roundup”), more powerful Western images and a cleaner, sleeker design. What’s more, the old editor is still the editor. I’m pleased to say that the person who looks over my shoulder (again speaking figuratively) is a Western buff and collector who wants Wild West to give full justice to the era in American history we (him, me and you guys) love most. Believe me it’s not as if I have John Wesley Hardin looking over my shoulder…Virgil Earp maybe.


Originally published in the February 2007 issue of Wild West. To subscribe, click here.