Friday, May 29, 2020

The Comic Reader #92 (December 1972)

I really miss fanzines and newszines like this. The Internet and Web sites just aren't the same, and the kind of research required to compile an issue like this is far beyond what goes into most Web writing. When reading this issue last night, I was struck by two things. At the time of this issue's publication, editor Paul Levitz was 16 years old. And this specific issue was published in the very month in which Levitz got his first freelance work at DC—when Joe Orlando hired him to write text and letter pages. Working on the zine helped him not just become known by the DC staff, but also to develop relationships with them. That in turn led to a career in comics; Levitz eventually became editor, vice president, executive vice president, and president of DC.

This zine is awesome in and of itself, regardless of what kind of career it led to. In a digest with relatively small typesetting, Levitz collects and compiles a snapshot of what was going on in comics in late '72. The news columns include items about new and planned titles, staff assignment changes, creative assignments, lineup changes, promotions, cancellations, and health concerns. "Coming Comics" details—and in some cases speculates on—the contents of upcoming comics, including storylines, writing and art assignments, and cover art reproductions courtesy of the publishers. And "Late News and Corrections" announces Howard Chaykin's nuptials, new books of note, and recent newspaper coverage of comics—with fans offering photocopies at cost.

"Et Al" offers a slighter wider range of fandom-related news and notes, addressing media, fan deaths, zines, conventions, and books. Liam O'Connor reviews relevant fanzines, including Fandom Spectacular 1972, Comic Crusader #13, Funnyworld #14, and The Comic Detective #2, as well as other items. Steve Utley reviews Southwesterncon; Manny Maris reports on National Lampoon, Lancer Books, Swank, Ace, Ballantine, and other related markets and publishers; Tom Greeniones reports on the state of comics in Rumania; and Paul Hugli reports on the first ever Fantasy Film Con—given that that took place in Los Angeles, I might have to recreate its lineup while quarantined!

I cannot think of a single periodical or Web site today that captures the breadth, depth, range, or energy of this 36-page digest. And it wasn't produced by a staff or a company, but by a teenager. Such a good zine, with plenty of rabbit holes to explore.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Creeps #24 (June 2020)

Editor: Rich Sala; Associate Editor: Don Glut; Cover: Jeff Easley; Artists: Nik Poliwko, Benito Gallego, Santos Zaballos, Reno Maniquis, Martin Peniche, and Mansyur Daman; Writers: Don Glut, Nicola Cuti, Billy Grim, and Artie Goodwin.

I was relatively late to arrive at the joys and wonders of magazines such as Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella, and even Famous Monsters. When I was younger, I was much more interested in the humor magazines—perhaps edging into the Conan and Marvel magazines—but didn't spend much time on the spooky side of the street. Now that I'm older, I realize what I was missing... though I wouldn't trade my youthful reading for a single minute.

This magazine, published by Yucca Valley-based Warrant Publishing, is a modern-day appreciation of those older horror black and whites... and it's amazing. Drawing on the still vibrant talents of artists and writers who actually worked on the original Warren publications, this is a loving modern take on a very comfortable and creative magazine approach to comics. More than an homage, it's a direct descendent of those magazines—and a lively force of its own. (And, it seems that Warrant plans to launch a Vampi homage of sorts later this year: Vampiress Carmilla.)

Conan Saga #20 (December 1988)

Editor in Chief: Tom DeFalco, Editor: Craig Anderson, Assistant Editor: Sue Flaxman, Traffic/Production Coordinator: Virginia Komita, Technical Advisor: Glenn Lord, Cover: Earl Norem, Frontispiece: Dave Simons, Soul and Inspiration: Robert E. Howard

P. 4: "Jewels of Gwahlur," Script: Roy Thomas, Art: Dick Giordano, Adapted from the story by Robert E. Howard. The original Conan short story "Jewels of Gwahlur" appeared in the March 1935 issue of Weird Tales and was originally titled "The Servants of Bit-Yakin." This comics adaptation first appeared in Savage Sword of Conan #25 in 1977 and is reprinted here.

Cracked #146 (November 1977)

Editor and Publisher: Robert C. Sproul; Associate Editor: Bill Sproul; Writers: Joe Catalano, George Gladir, Eugene Parnell, Elaine Ozimok, and Peter Hansen; Artists: Howard Nostrand, Sururi Gumen, Don Orehek, and Warren Sattler; Preuf Reider: Errin Spelin; Janitor: Sylvester P. Smythe.

P. 4: "Lettuce from Our Readers," 12 letters of comment from readers in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia,  Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia; and Manitoba, Canada. The best letter was sent in by Mrs. Elenore Palmer, of Old Lyme, Conn.: "I believe I am your oldest reader. I will be celebrating my 86th birthday in November and have enjoyed your magazine for many years. ... Grey power and my love to you all!"

P. 6: "Star Warz," film parody drawn by John Severin. Highlight includes comic strip- and science fiction-related graffiti throughout: "Sally Forth was here," "Wilma—I miss you! Buck," and "Dale, come home—love, Flash."