Alternative Press Magazine Celebrates 300th Issue with Gerard Way-Designed Cover

The 28-year-old music publication gets a makeover courtesy of the former My Chemical Romance frontman.

Cleveland-based music magazine Alternative Press is celebrating a milestone: the publication of its 300th issue, complete with aesthetic overhaul and a specially designed cover created by former My Chemical Romance singer Gerard Way.

Merging the magazine's past (it was launched as a fanzine back in 1985) with its present and future, Way was enlisted to help re-create one of his band's most iconic covers -- and MCR's first in the U.S. -- for the July 2013 issue.

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"Gerard was the perfect choice," the magazine's founder and owner Mike Shea tells The Hollywood Reporter. "He's such an innovative and creative individual, and when we told him we wanted to rerun MCR's original first cover story, he suggested to actually redo and update not only the cover art, but also the entire features design."

The redesigned magazine displays a book-like layout and new paper, upped from glossy to a 50# uncoated stock.

Surviving as a print publication in an increasingly digital era is no small feat, but Alternative Press' merch-inspired philosophy seems to be working, especially where die-hard fans are concerned.

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To wit: the MCR issue has seen a "crazy" response from online preorders alone, adds Shea. "For us, with our demo of young adults, print had to change into something more valuable than just a traditional magazine. Kids were hit the hardest in the recession, so they are even more picky where they spend their money, especially since they figure they can get most content online somewhere for free. So for us, our readers are uber-fans of these artists. They collect everything these artists do, follow them religiously online and know more about their careers than they do. It only made sense that what we needed to do was to make AP into a piece of merch essentially because merch is the one area of the music industry that hasn't and won't collapse."

The magazine, which is helmed by longtime editor-in-chief Jason Pettigrew, plans to tweak its look over the coming months based on reader feedback to address any issues their subscribers may have with the design and new columns.

Alternative Press’ 300th issue hits newsstands on June 4.

Twitter: @THRMusic