Nickelodeon Magazine was a children's magazine published by the television network of the same name. It was first published in 1990 at a cover price of $1.95, but also had free distribution with a purchase from participating Pizza Hut restaurants; this first version of the magazine only saw two issues of release. The magazine began regular publication in Summer 1993. Originally published on a quarterly basis, it switched to bi-monthly with the February/March 1994 issue. It then went to 10 times per year starting March 1995, with the bi-monthly December/January and June/July issue; it continued a monthly schedule up through December 2009.
In spite of being related to the network it is named after, Nickelodeon Magazine covered all sorts of topics for kids, whether inside the network or outside (though with an obvious preference for Nickelodeon programming over that of competitor networks such as the Disney Channel and Cartoon Network). It contained informative non-fiction pieces, humor, interviews, comics, pranks, and recipes (such as green slime cake or pranks containing slime).
The magazine's mascot was Zelda Van Gutters, a Lakeland Terrier dog who appeared throughout the magazine with snarky commentary about the contents of each page. On the table of contents, Zelda usually showed up to introduce herself as the magazine's "roving reporter". She was also the star of the magazine's regular photo comic strip "Ruffing It".
In May 2006, the magazine received a makeover in the form of a new logo, but the insides such as the comic book stayed the same.
On June 3, 2009, the Magazine Group division of Nickelodeon announced the discontinuation of the magazine "by the end of 2009", along with sister publication Nick Jr. Magazine, due to economic conditions and the declining influence of magazines for children and teenagers. During the months leading up to the magazine's demise, the magazine suffered from falling circulation and advertising numbers. The magazine ended at 159 issues in December 2009.
In 2015, it was announced that Nickelodeon Magazine would resume publication under management of Papercutz. The first new issue was published on June 24th of that year. However, only eleven issues of the new Nickelodeon Magazine were published before it was cancelled again the following summer.
The Comic Book
Every issue of Nickelodeon Magazine included a section called "The Comic Book". Usually, this insert featured regular comic strips from underground artists. The original editor of the section was Anne D. Bernstein. Since 1997 the comics editor was Chris Duffy, who was joined by Dave Roman a few years later. Comics regularly featured in Nickelodeon Magazine's Comic Book:
- Scene But Not Heard by Sam Henderson - The going-ons of a pink man and a bear, who compulsively pull pranks on each other. As the strip's name suggests, the comic is made entirely of pictures with no dialogue or sound.
- Southern Fried Fugitives by Simon and Kim Deitch - The continuing adventures of a quartet of fried chicken pieces brought to life by a thunderstorm. This serial ran from April/May 1994 to December 1999.
- Sam Hill & Ray-9 by Mark Martin - A boy and his robot dog.
- The Adventures of Underpants-On-His-Head Man by Michael Kupperman - Originally appeared as one of "the worst comic book superheroes ever". He is a businessman who, as his name suggests, wears his underwear on his head. His archenemy is his coworker, Pants-On-His-Head Man.
- Patty-Cake by Scott Roberts - A bossy little blonde with a flower in her hair.
- Fiona of the Felines by Terry LaBan - A girl who was raised by cats. Her strips are occasionally accompanied by a similar strip titled Warren of the Worms.
- Smudgy and Scribbly by P. Shaw! - Two "astonishing inventor" robots run into trouble testing their inventions.
- Impy & Wormer by James Kochalka - These marginal comic strips (featured at the bottom of the pages, under the regular strips) feature a dim-witted bug who does not speak proper English and constantly bothers a grouchy worm.
- Juanita & Clem by Craig Thompson
- Cody by Bobby London- This strip's title character is often misled by the fibs told by his grandfather, Poppy.
- Grampa and Julie, Shark Hunters by Jef Czekaj - This strip's titular pair of a girl and her dim-witted grandfather started out searching for Stephen, the Largest Shark in the World. Their first few story arcs were reprinted in a graphic novel in 2006.
- Teeny Weeny, the Tiniest Hot Dog in the Universe! by Mark Martin - A miniature hot dog with lots of enthusiasm.
- Karmopolis by Nick Bertozzi - An adventure strip in a world where everyone and everything is on wheels.
- The Gag Station by various artists. These always consisted of one-panel gags, often featuring cartoonists such as Johnny Ryan, Mark Newgarden, Ellen Forney, Steve Weissman, Felipe Galindo, Ian Baker, and Mark Martin. A few issues were devoted to having the Comic Book consist entirely of Gag Station panels, with Nicktoon characters even appearing in some.
- The Uncredibly Confabulated Tales of Lucinda Ziggles by Andy Ristaino — A little girl gets involved in fantastic adventures that nobody ever believes.
Nickelodeon Magazine's Comic Book also featured comics based on the Nicktoons, which usually appeared when the shows themselves were about to air a season premiere or special episode. Among the Nicktoons that were featured in the Comic Book:
In the last few issues of the magazine's original run, the comics became spread out throughout the magazine, rather than appearing in only one section. This format would be used during the magazine's short-lived revival under Papercutz, which featured comics based on Breadwinners, Sanjay and Craig, Pig Goat Banana Cricket, and Harvey Beaks. (Comics based on The Loud House were also planned for inclusion in the magazine before it ceased publication. SpongeBob SquarePants comics were oddly absent from the 2015-16 iteration, likely due to the show being licensed to Bongo Comics at the time.)
- Ask the Boss Lady/Hey Herb! - Readers ask questions to the president of Nickelodeon, originally Geraldine Laybourne and later Herb Scannell.
- Ooze News (later Inside Nick) - Interviews and features about upcoming Nickelodeon shows.
- Dear Alien-Readers write in to ask questions to an alien called QZ (which is short for QZXLXZQ), who knows about everything in the universe.
- Say What? - A funny picture with speech bubbles above the characters is presented in one issue, and reader submissions about what they might be saying is published in a later issue.
- Morph than Meets the Eye - two celebrities' faces are morphed together in a five-step process.
- Revolting but True Facts - Gross facts presents in green-and-white comic style, always near the end of the magazine.
- Annoying Songs-Song parody poems occasionally appeared in some issues with themes such as travel, school, showers, bathing, 1996, summer and America.
- → Main article: Nickelodeon Magazine Presents
Nickelodeon Magazine Presents, later retitled Nickelodeon Comics, was a series of one-shot special issues put out by Nickelodeon Magazine. The specials often prominently featured a selected Nicktoon, usually to promote a special episode of the show that was about to air. These magazines mainly contained comics, consisting of both newly-made stories and two-page shorts reprinted from Nickelodeon Magazine, but also featured articles, puzzles, and poster inserts.
GaS: Games and Sports for Kids
GaS: Games and Sports for Kids was a supplemental short magazine (around 10 pages) that came sealed in plastic with some Nickelodeon Magazine issues. The magazine would feature sports word and puzzle games, and interviews with sports celebrities.
- Los Angeles Times: "SpongeBob's still a hit on the screen but a dud on the newsstand", 6/3/2009.
- Comics Reporter: "Nickelodeon Magazine Canceled", 6/4/2009.
- Papercutz.com: Nickelodeon and Papercutz Announce "First Look Deal"