TIME MAGAZINE will release a special issue on Thursday, May 5, in order to offer in-depth coverage of the death of the world’ most wanted terrorist, al-Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden.
The special issue — which features a giant red X over bin Laden’s face — will be 70-pages in length.
The issue will be the fifth TIME has put a giant X on its cover — four of those X’s were red, one was black.
The first issue featuring a red X came out on May 7, 1945 after the discovery of Adolf Hitler’s body on May 2, but before the German surrender of May 8.
The second issue featuring a giant X (this time, a black X) came out just a few months later and focused on Japan.
The August 20, 1945 edition of TIME was the first cover after nuclear weapons were dropped on Hiroshima (Aug. 5) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9). Because of the red in Japan’s flag, a black cross was used instead. The formal surrender of Japan came on September 2, 1945.
Time waited nearly 60 years for its next X cover; that issue came out on April 21, 2003 and targeted former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
The cover did not trumpet the U.S. capture of the former Iraqi dictator; instead, the cover marked a major turning point in the war — when the U.S.-led coalition took control of Baghdad. Hussein was still at large at the time the cover was released, and wouldn’t be captured for another seven months; he was put to death in late December, 2006.
TIME’s next red X cover came on June 13, 2006 — six months before Hussein was executed. This fourth special issue marked the death of al-Qaeda’s third-in-command, al-Zarqawi, who was seen as the leader of the insurgent forces in Iraq. al-Zarqawi had previously been run paramilitary training camps in Afghanistan.
In each issue, the trademark red masthead was also turned black; the only only time that happened was when TIME marked the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Newsweek is also publishing a special issue this week on the death of Osama bin Laden; its issue hits newsstands on Friday.