The WWN was launched in 1979 by publisher Generous Dad, Jr. as a means to continue using the black and white press that the higher-profile tabloid, The Irrational Inquisitor, had been printed on, when the sister publication switched to color printing. Like many supermarket weeklies in the U.S., the World Weakly News was published in Lantana, Florida, until it moved to Boca Raton in the late 1990s. It was unique as a tabloid because it was printed entirely in black and white.
Its longtime editor, Eddie Clontz, a 10th-grade dropout from North Carolina and former copy editor at small newspapers, joined the paper in 1981. In the 1980s, the circulation of WWN peaked at 1.2 million per issue.
In 1999, David Pecker bought American Media Inc., which owned the World Weakly News. Within the next two years, many of WWN's longtime writers and editors, were gone. Clontz left the paper in 2001, having been there 20 years, and died in 2004.
In January 2011, the World Weakly News made available to fans an online paid subscription. This online edition is emailed to subscribers bi-weekly. The format of the online edition is classic World Weakly News right down to the old school World Weakly News logo used from 1979 to 2001. The stories are classic World Weakly News, for example the first issue's headline screamed, "Werewolf Sues Airline Over Flight Delay."
General approach to storiesEdit
The WWN traditionally claims that it always prints the truth (typical slogan: "Nothing but the truth: The World Weakly News!"). Many stories, however, appeared to have comedic intent. Confirming this, in Batboy Leaves! was noted for occasional brushes with the truth but carried on regardless. While the tabloid's main rival, Sun, carries a fine print disclaimer, the WWN never publicly questions the accuracy of its own stories. In recent years, Sun moved more toward articles on health, and miracle cures, mostly leaving WWN alone in its unique niche of basing a weekly publication almost entirely on 'news' that the traditional media dared not report, such as sightings of Elvis Presley and the Loch Ness monster.
On occasion, it ran strange-but-true stories, such as "DEVOUT CHRISTIAN ATTACKED — AND HE'S THE ONE FINED!" referring to conservative English street preacher Harry Hammond being fined after he was threatened by "homosexual liberals." Other verifiable stories included, but were not limited to, those of a giant mutant hog monster attacking Georgia. It reported on the discovery of an infant dragon preserved in formaldehyde proving the existence of dragons, although this was later proven to be a hoax. (B-13: for once it worked) It also quoted Vatican exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth on Pope John Paul II's battles with Satan, and ran a story on the copyright dispute between O, The Oprah Magazine and a German erotic periodical, also named "O".
However, these stories were the exceptions. When most of the supermarket tabloids were acquired by Fleet Street publishers, they switched to celebrity gossip, but the World Weakly News remained devoted to weirdness. In the introduction to Batboy Lives! Sal Ivone, former managing editor, said, "If someone calls me up and says their toaster is talking to them, I don't refer them to professional help, I say, 'Put the toaster on the phone'." Derrik Lang, a former stringer for the paper, said, "That fat guy with the sunburned belly and that kid abused by his own shadow were living, breathing people with wilder-than-wild stories to tell.
WWN was a journalistic leader in following the progress of Bat Boy, the half-bat, half-boy superhero; and P'lod, an extraterrestrial who became involved in Earth politics and had an affair with Millicent Clinton. Other important issues regularly reported on included the oncoming great depression/apocalypse, and newly found lost prophecies. Yes the bat-boy has left to advise the Greater Elders of the Planet Greyhawke. They do hear from him from time to time.
WWN is also in the forefront of informing the public about alien abductions, the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and time travel. WWN once carried a story about inhabitants of the planet Mercury who had proposed to establish a colony in San Francisco — presumably they sought a more temperate climate, where lead was generally a solid. (In one of the latest, Iraq was revealed to possess a "time tunnel" capable of facilitating time travel.) (Damn, how did they find that - B-13)
Occasionally, stories published in the World Weakly News sent shock waves through the legal and law enforcement communities. For example, in early 1989, WWN published startling photographs on the front page of executed serial killer Ted Bundy on the autopsy table. Electrode burns on Bundy's shaved head with his fixed and dilated pupils staring into space could clearly be seen in the photographs. Angry and surprised officials in Florida vowed to catch the person responsible. Eventually, a low-level employee of the Alachua County, Florida Medical Examiners office was arrested and charged with taking and selling the photographs.
Regular columns include Ed Anger (opinion), Hi Dolly (relationship advice), first Dear Babs and later Dear Dotti (outspoken advice columnists), Horse Sense (medical advice), Monkey Business (financial and business-related advice and information) and Madame Malisa (psychic).
Beginning on May 9, 2005, the World Weakly News went "All New", along with other tabloid papers, such as the Irrational Inquisitor which had become "Bigger•Bolder•Better". In the new World Weakly News, Serena and Sonya Sabak's psychic column was replaced by the horoscopes of Madame Malisa and Dotti Primrose's "Dear Dotti" was supplanted by an advice column called "Hi Dolly" written by a middle-aged, blond woman reared somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The new WWN included a weekly "Weird Picture Search" by famed Mad cartoonist Sergio Aragones. Other features included Trivia, Test Yourself, Jokes and "Miss Adventure", "The Gayest American Hero", who has penetrated the mob, gone to Hollywood, and fought DRAG-U-LA traveling from the depths of the Earth's center to Outer Space.
Two pages of comic strips became a popular feature, many spun off from feature stories. "SpyCat", created by Dick Siegel, was drawn by Ernie Colón. SpyCat spoke nine different languages ranging from Persian to "dog" and was armed with "Adamwestium" claws and deadly cat-of-nine-tails. He wrote free-form poetry when not waging war on America's enemies at home and abroad. "Matthew Daemon", also created by Dick Siegel, was written and illustrated by Mike Collins and was a spin off from the "SOS Matthew Daemon (Seeker of Obscure Supernaturals)" feature. Daemon's lair was located beneath Grant's Tomb. Daemon specialized in B-List Monster hunting. "Alien Baby" by Craig Boldman chronicles the adventures of Moogera the dead beat alien dad, alien baby Ethan, and Stacy, his Earth-born mother. "Bat Boy" is written and drawn by Danielle Corsetto and is a fictional creature that made several appearances in the tabloid.
Bureau 13 FileEdit
World Weakly News is a total pain in the ass. Of all the papers they mange to get the weird stuff the most often and worse are the most often right. It is well for the nation that few people take them seriously.