Superhero Summer

by Lisa Stamos


What if you could be the voice of an entire generation?

Well, QB’s summer interns did just that! Their assignment? Produce a sizable feature in the magazine that defines their generation—Millennials—and create content that would please peers and represent their point of view. It was made clear from the start that they were the editors and I had little say, if any. Ariel Majewski, a journalism major at the University of Illinois, was in her third summer with us. Sutton Rettig, a journalism major at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater joined us this summer after completing our intern program last year (as had Ariel) for media training with a defined curriculum. I wanted to put their training and education to work.

The project started with a trip to Barnes & Noble at the Deer Park Town Center where the given task was to walk up and down the magazine shelves and grab anything that appealed to them (and boy did they!). They grabbed magazines on every subject, from foodie to professional make-up to sports. Toting two large bags filled to the top, we headed back to the QB office.

If everything we learned in kindergarten still applies, this project started with a visceral trip back to those days—tearing pages out of magazines, taping pictures together, pinning photos to the wall, playing with colors, and cutting out shapes—baby steps to being an editor. The editor’s journey then takes a universe of information and possibilities and finds paths and themes upon which to narrow the ideas and make decisions about what to include, or not. Once the topics were chosen, all content had to be researched and presented for the Barrington market, referencing local people, places, and resources.

My hopes, in turning two Millennials loose on a project like this, was that the start-to-finish job of choosing content, writing, taking photos, editing, presenting to our staff, and working closely with our designer, Nicole, to produce the pages, would give Ariel and Sutton superpower strength for their futures. What I didn’t quite expect was how much I learned about this oft-maligned generation and the level of understanding I now have of the disruptive and chaotic environment of their childhoods, the impact of in-hand global technology, how they have adapted, where they struggle, and what motivates them.

As we neared our deadline, I called on Frank Kasy, an illustrator, to give our interns the superpowers of their choice, and bring their likenesses to our cover. It’s so ironic that Frank is the model and face of DC Comic’s Superman, by illustrator Alex Ross. Ariel and Sutton met with Frank and worked with him on a page in their feature. It’s been a superhero summer for us, and we hope you enjoy the results!

As the back-to-school time resumes, we wish you a happy end of summer, and more warm days ahead. Please remember our advertisers when you go to market. In the pages ahead, you’ll see that they contribute to our communities in a variety of wonderful ways.

Have a wonderful summer,


Sutton Rettig

Image: Frank Kasy

Ariel Majewski