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                                                            The Early Independents


witzend was the first of the independent or “indy” magazines.  Premiering in 1966, it published 13 issues over almost two decades, most of them between 1966-1971 and provided a welcome link between mainstream comics and the then-new underground movement.  Although, at times, particularly in the early issues, it seemed to suffer from the lack of a strong editorial hand at the helm, that was actually at Wood’s insistence.  He made it quite clear in his original editorial in #1 that this magazine was intended as a showcase for writers & artists, with little or no editorial direction or interference.  witzend certainly showcased many important artists of the period and pointed out a direction for every self-publishing writer/artist to this day.  witzend publisher & editor Bill Pearson has supplied some comments in the notes.  His contributions are in quotes.



    1. cover: collage of panels from interior stories done by Archie Goodwin/back cover: Frank Frazetta (Summer


                1) Statement Of NO POLICY [Wally Wood] 1p   [text article, frontis]

                2) Savage World [Wally Wood/Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta & Angelo Torres] 8p

                3) And In The Offing [Wally Wood/Gray Morrow, Leo & Diane Dillon, Dan Adkins, Jack Kirby, Steve

Ditko, Gil Kane] 2p   [text article]

                4) Two Swordsmen [Reed Crandall] 1p

                5) And Thereby Hangs A Tale [Ralph Reese] ?p

                6) Sinner [Archie Goodwin] 4p

                7) Poems [Wally Wood?/Angelo Torres] 1p

                8) Bucky Ruckus—Dedications And Credits [Wally Wood] 2p   [text article]

                9) Animan, part 1 [Wally Wood] 7p

                10) Absurd Science Fiction Stories [Jack Gaughan] 10p

                11) Subscription Info And Errata [Wally Wood] 1p   [text article & ad/ on inside back cover]


Notes: Thanks to Emanuel Maris, we now have credits for this issue!  witzend originated from an idea on Dan Adkin’s part to publish a magazine called Outlet, then turned into Wally Wood’s Etcetera.  A logo was prepared using that title but when Wood discovered another magazine with a similar title, the magazine’s title was changed witzend, after it was solicited but before actual publishing.  There were two printings of witzend and, after selling out rather quickly, a bootleg copy was produced by unknown characters around 1969-1970.  The counterfeit copy has slightly different paper for the cover—a slight pebble-grain.  Many dealers nowadays are unaware of the existence of the counterfeit.  The original appears to have the same type of paper as #2.  ‘Savage World’ was drawn in 1954 and intended for Buster Crabbe Comics.  The comic was cancelled before the story was used and Williamson accepted the art back instead of payment.  Wood wrote a totally new script for the story for this appearance as the original was lost.  Best story here was Archie Goodwin’s chilling ‘Sinner’, which was reprinted in Marvel’s B&W magazine Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction Special #1 in 1976.  Best art is by Wood on ‘Animan’.


    2. cover: Wally Wood/back cover: Ralph Reese (1967)

                1) What Is It… [Wally Wood/Tajana Wood] 1p   [text article, frontis]

                2) Orion [Gray Morrow] 6p

                3) Hey Look! [Harvey Kurtzman] 1p   reprinted from ?

                4) Hey Look! [Harvey Kurtzman] 1p   reprinted from ?

                5) If You Can’t Join ‘em…Beat ‘em! [Warren Sattler] 4p

                6) A Reed Crandall ERB Portfolio [Reed Crandall] 5p   [pin-ups]

                7) Poetry [Wally Wood, Ralph Reese & Bill Pearson/Frank Frazetta] 2p 

                8) Cartoon [Will Elder] 1p

                9) A Flash Of Insight, A Cloud Of Dust And A Hearty Hi-Yo Silver [Art Spiegelman] 3p

                10) Midnight Special [Steve Ditko] 1p

                11) …By The Fountain In The Park… [Don Martin] 2p

                12) Animan, part 2 [Wally Wood] 9p

                13) Herein, And Furthmore… [Wally Wood/Al Williamson] 1p   [text article]

                14) A Word From Wood…Subscribe! [Wally Wood/Roy G. Krenkel] 1p   [text article, on inside

back cover]


Notes: $1.00 for 36 pages.  Gray Morrow’s ‘Orion’ serial would not be concluded until its printing in Heavy Metal in 1979.  Although Wood wanted all the material in witzend to be original or, at least, appear there for the first time, he broke his own rule to allow Kurtzman’s ‘Hey Look!’ pages to be reprinted.  Ditko’s cute one pager is a reminder that the guy had a sense of humor, something that is sometimes lost when regarding his work.  Spiegelman’s work was a wordless strip.  Martin’s was probably a rejected strip for Mad.  Crandall’s Edgar Rice Burroughs’ portfolio, which would stretch out over the next four issues, had some excellent artwork.


    3. cover: Wally Wood/frontis: Leo & Diane Dillon/back cover: Al Williamson (1967)

1) Mr. A [Steve Ditko] 5p

2) Poetry [Ralph Reese/Leo & Diane Dillon] 1p

3) Reed Crandall’s ERB Portfolio, part 2 [Reed Crandall] 4p    [pin-ups]

4) Harold Sunshine [Art Spiegelman] 3p

5) Hey Look! [Harvey Kurtzman] 1p   reprinted from ?

6) The Invaders! [Richard Bassford] 3p

7) The Chase [Roger Brand] 4½p

8) Poetry [Wally Wood & Bill Pearson] ½p

9) Pipsqueak Papers [Wally Wood] 3p

10) Vanessa [Sam Kobish/Roy G. Krenkel] 1p   [text story]

11) Last Chance! [Frank Frazetta] 9p  

12) Hey Look! [Harvey Kurtzman] 1p   reprinted from ?

13) Contents And Portents And Otherwise Words [Wally Wood/Al Williamson] 1p   [text article,

on inside back cover]


Notes: Williamson’s back cover featured Flash Gordon, whose comic book he was illustrating during this period.  That same back cover also promised that witzend #3 would be an Al Williamson SF spectacular, which didn’t actually happen.  This was the debut of Ditko’s famous {or infamous—depends on your outlook} Mr. A.  While not as strident as later strips, it still clearly depicts Mr. A’s black & white outlook on the world.  Whatever you though about the actual story you couldn’t deny that it was beautiful artwork.  Frazetta’s story was a comic strip tryout from 1950 refashioned into traditional comic pages by Bill Pearson.  Roger Brand’s work was very good and shows a strong Krigstein influence.  This is an excellent issue.


    4. cover: Wally Wood/back cover: Frank Frazetta (1968)

                1) Words From Wood [Wally Wood/? Conroy] 1p   [text article, frontis]

                2) Pipsqueak Papers [Wally Wood] 4p

                3) Mr. A [Steve Ditko] 10p

                4) The Rejects [Wally Wood & Bhob Stewart/Wally Wood] 3p

                5) Reed Crandall’s ERB Portfolio, part 3 [Reed Crandall] 4p   [pin-ups]

                6) A Proper Perspective And Several Strange Viewpoints [Wally Wood & Bill Pearson/Leo &

Diane Dillon] 2p   [poetry]

                7) The Sneeze [Bill Pearson/Grass Green] 3p  

                8) Virtue Ever Triumphant [Roger Brand] 6p

                9) The World Of The Wizard King [Wally Wood] 5p   [text story]


Notes: Frazetta’s back cover was very good, showing an American Indian being carried off by a pterodacytal.  It’s possible it was done for one of the Edgar Rice Burroughs’ books. Wood’s ‘Pipsqueak Papers’ was a cute and oddly innocent erotic fable.  Both Ditko & Brand delivered strong stories & art and Pearson’s ‘The Sneeze’ was quite amusing.  Wood’s illustrated prose story, ‘The World Of The Wizard King’ would be reworked into traditional comic form and published as a graphic novel in the late 1970s.  Another good issue.


    5. cover: photo of an rhinoceros’s backside/back cover: Ed Paschke (Oct. 1968)

                1) Editorial [Bill Pearson/Art Spiegelman] 1p   [text article, frontis]

                2) The World Of The Wizard King, part 2 [Wally Wood] 5p   [text story]

                3) The Junkwaffel Invasion Of Krupenny Island [Vaughn Bode] 4p

                4) JAF [James Frankfort] 8p  [art & story credited to Jaf]

                5) A Reed Crandall ERB Portfolio, part 4 [Reed Crandall] 3p   [pin-ups]

                6) Pipsqueak Papers [Wally Wood] 5p

                7) Prevue: The Adventures Of Talon [Jim Steranko] 3p

                8) Homesick [Roger Brand] 8p

                9) Editorial Matters [Bill Pearson] 1p   [text article, on inside back cover]


Notes: Publisher & Editor: Bill Pearson.  Wood sold witzend to Pearson for the sum of $1.00 along with the promises to publish through at least #8 {the issue that Wood had sold subscriptions up to} and to run any story already accepted by Wood as is.  Steranko’s Talon preview was for a Conanesque barbarian swordsman.  The artwork looked great so it was too bad the promised story never appeared.   Steranko later used the spelling of the word Prevue as the new title of his renamed Mediascene magazine {which was itself renamed from the original Comicscene title}. Thanks to the mystery artist JAF’s daughter Michelle, we’re happy to announce the identity of JAF.  His real name is James Frankfort who was a successful cartoonist/commercial artist for a number of years in Greenwich Village and taught at New Paltz University.  He died in 2005, an independent artist his entire life.


    6. cover: Mike Hinge (Spring 1969)    [wraparound cover]

                1) Alien [Bill Pearson/Jeff Jones] 6p

                2) An Interview With Will Eisner [John Benson & Will Eisner/Will Eisner] 5p   [text article w/photo]

                3) Subscription Ad [Bill Pearson/Wally Wood] 2p  

                4) Qwamb! [Bill Pearson] 7p   [credited to Sorrel Garika]

                5) The Spawn Of Venus [Al Feldstein/Wally Wood] 8p

                6) The Avenging World [Steve Ditko] 10p

                7) Pin-Up [Gray Morrow] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: According to Bill Pearson, the intricate, detailed cover took a huge amount of time & labor to achieve in 1969’s pre-computer production days.  ‘The Spawn Of Venus’ was a previously unpublished EC story, originally intended for an EC 3-D Classic issue.  Check out Bill Pearson’s comments for #7 for further information on Ditko’s ‘The Avenging World’.  Benson’s interview with Eisner is not only well done but provides the interesting information that, as of Sept. 10, 1968, Eisner had no knowledge whatsoever of the existence of his future publisher, Warren Publishing.  BP: “Mike Hinge was another overlooked genius.  He was a designer, not a cartoonist, but when he came to me with the idea for this cover, I was immediately intrigued.  Eddie Glasser, my business partner in Wonderful Publishing Company and the head of the photography dept. at Admaster Prints where I worked as production manager of the art dept., produced dozens of intricate cels with overlapping machinery patterns and Mike and I both put in dozens of hours creating the final wraparound design and logo.  The printer had a challenging job too!  Except for the printer, not a one of us made a dime for all the work.  In fact, we lost money that could have been made for freelance work during those hours but it was worth it.  So many people have told me over the years that something they saw in witzend inspired them, and there’s no greater reward than that!”


    7. cover: Vaughn Bode/back cover: Kenneth Smith (1970)

                1) Editorial [Bill Pearson/Ralph Reese] 1p   [text article, frontis]

                2) Cobalt 60 [Vaughn Bode] 10p

                3) Letters’ Page [Dan Adkins] 2p

                4) Mr. A: The Avenging World, part 2 [Steve Ditko] 8p 

                5) The Strange Adventure Of Ike And His Spoon [Roger Brand] 6p

                6) Pin-Up [Ed Paschke] 1p

                7) Limpstrel [Berni Wrightson] 1p

                8) untitled [Bill Pearson] 1p

                9) Mr. E [Bill Pearson/Tim Brent] 2p  

                10) Limpstrel [Berni Wrightson] 1p

                11) The Journey [Betty Morrow/Gray Morrow] 8p   [Final page is printed on the inside back



Notes: $1.50 for 48 pages.  Bode’s cover was extremely gruesome.  His interior story, ‘Cobalt 60’ was just as gruesome but it was also his best straight SF tale.  Beautifully drawn and powerfully written, this featured the best story & art in this issue and is a genuine classic of the comics genre.  Ditko’s ‘The Avenging World’ was not actually a story but a political/philosophical essay told in comic form.  The artwork was some of his most innovative.  Paschke’s pin-up depicted Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Little Dot, Dennis the Menace, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Little Lulu and Little Orphan Annie as dope fiends in an opium den!  Bill Pearson’s ‘Mr. E’ strip was a rather savage satire on Steve Ditko’s Mr. A character.  It was also printed sideways and was actually four pages in length.  The third & last ‘Limpstrel’ story appeared in another fanzine in 1972.   BP: “Ditko had been one of the most supportive contributors to witzend.  Even after I became publisher, he came to my apartment a couple of times and spent hours with me stuffing envelopes and helping with the other drudge duties involved in maintaining the subscription files.  This was AFTER his Marvel years with Spider-Man and Dr. Strange.  But I HATED publishing that ‘Avenging World’ diatribe of his, and would have preferred to reject it and hope he couldn’t find another publisher either.  I felt about him just as I did about Wood.  Throughout our long association I tried, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, to keep him from publishing personal revelations that betrayed flaws in his character or deficits in his intellect.  BOTH of these men were master cartoonists, genius talents, but they DID need editors.  I really debated with myself about running ‘Mr. E’, but just had to offset Ditko’s strong positions.”   As mentioned in the notes for #5, Pearson’s agreement with Wood prevented him from rejecting any Ditko stories that Wood had accepted and that agreement apparently covered ‘Avenging World’.  The Morrows’ strip was blessed with a good story and downright stunning erotic art.  One of witzend’s best issues.


    8. cover: Ralph Reese/Bill Pearson (1971)

                1) Why, It’s…witzend [Bill Pearson] 1p   [text article, frontis]

                2) The World Of The Wizard King, part 3 [Wally Wood] 5p   [text story]

                3) untitled [Bhob Stewart] 1p

                4) Barf The Insurance Salesman [Bill Pearson/Ralph Reese] 7p

                5) Foxtale [Nicola Cuti/Bill Stillwell] 2p

                6) Holding The Bag [Dr. Seuss] 1p   reprinted from Judge Magazine (? 1932)

                7) The City In The Sea [Edgar Allan Poe/Frank Frazetta] 10p   [poem]

                8) The Break-Out! [Steve Ditko] 1p

                9) The Hunting Of The Snark [John Richardson] 8p   from the poem by Lewis Carroll


Notes: The title logo appeared in the mouth of the devil depicted on the back cover.  Reese’s cover was a panel blowup from the interior story.  Frazetta’s artwork for ‘The City In The Sea’ was originally done in 1960 {or earlier} for an unpublished one page adventure Sunday comic strip.  It was reformatted {similar to what was done for Last Chance!} by Bill Pearson and combined with the Poe poem.  According to Bill Pearson, the actual artwork was very large, the same size that Hal Foster used to illustrate the Prince Valiant Sunday pages.  One panel from the original page was not used.  It easily has the best art & poetry for this issue.  Perhaps someday the original tryout page will be printed.  Cuti’s ‘Foxtale’ was somewhat of a preview or prototype for his 1980-1982 series for Warren, entitled ‘The Fox’.  ‘Barf The Insurance Salesman’ was an amusing tale in the National Lampoon vein of humor.  After this issue, witzend began to fizz out, with years occurring between issues.  There were still good issues and stories to come, but I don’t think any of them had the impact of these first 8 issues.


    9. cover: Jeff Jones/titlepage & back cover: Bill Pearson (1973)

                1) The Films Of Charles Bogle [Bill Pearson] 7p   [text article w/photos]

                2) The Bank Dick: His Very Own Photo-Story [Bill Pearson] 4p   [fumetti-style strip]

                3) The Films Of Otis Criblecoblis [Bill Pearson] 2p   [text article w/photos]

                4) Complete Filmography Of W. C. Fields [Bill Pearson] 1p   [text article]

                5) Adversity: The W. C. Fields Game [Bill Pearson] 12p   [game]

                6) Between The Scenes/A Fussy Old Man In The Movies [photo display] 13p

                7) Alan Wood, On Stage With W. C. Fields [Allen Wood] 1p   [text article w/photo]

                8) W. C. Fields Pin-Up [Bill Pearson] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: This was a W. C. Fields special.  Publisher: Phil Seuling.  Editor: Bill Pearson.  $1.50 for 38 pages.  No comics in this issue whatsoever.    BP: ‘The printer screwed up the cover by Jeff Jones, so I hastily had some full color prints of the painting made, and included them with the magazine.  This issue got almost no distribution {I hadn’t solicited subscriptions beyond #8} and Phil Seuling and I dissolved our business partnership soon after publication.  He financed #8 & #9.  I had HUNDREDS of copies, but it became known as the ‘missing’ issue of witzend.  They were all destroyed in my house fire, so now it really IS a rare publication.”


  10. cover: Wally Wood (1976)   [wraparound cover]

1) Kym: Lost In A Dream! [Bill Pearson/Dick Giordano] 8p

2) 39/74 [Guyla & Alex Toth/Alex Toth] 10p

3) On March 17, 1969… [Howard Chaykin] 3p

4) Pin-Up [Terry Austin] 1p

5) Sally Forth [Wally Wood] 6p

6) Pin-Up [P. Craig Russell] 1p

7) The Avenging Dodo [Bill Pearson/Mike Zeck] 8p

8) Pin-Up [Walt Simonson] 1p

9) My Furry World And Welcome To It! [Nicola Cuti/Joe Staton] 10p


Notes: Publishers & editors: Bob Layton & Bill Pearson.  $3.00 for 48 pages.  Printed in conjunction with CPL/Gang Publications.  ‘Kym’ was a three part dream sequence that would take 6 years to conclude.  Based on the November completion date noted in Chaykin’s artwork, this book had to come out in Dec. 1976.  ‘39/74’ is copyrighted by Marvel Publications so it must, at one time, been intended for a Marvel magazine.  It’s well drawn, but the story itself is not particularly interesting.  Wood’s ‘Sally Forth’ story had the appearance of being a reformatted comic strip.  Russell’s pin-up appeared to be a slightly redrawn Dr. Strange cover or splash page.  Best story & art goes to Chaykin’s rather chilling solo effort but both ‘The Avenging Dodo’ and ‘My Furry World And Welcome To It!’ were amusing and well drawn.    BP: “By this time, I wasn’t making much money, but coerced Bob Layton into financing what I think is a pretty nice issue.”


  11. cover, frontis & back cover: Bill Pearson (1978)

                1) Introduction [Bill Pearson] 1p   [pin-up and brief intro]

                2) Kym Pin-Up [Bill Pearson] 1p

                3) Spurt Starling [Bill Pearson] 1p

                4) A Portfolio: The Wicked World Of The Wizard King  [Wally Wood] 12p

                5) Early Poop [Bill Pearson] 1p   [credited to Q. P. Hamstrung]

                6) The Care And Feeding Of Geks [Nicola Cuti/Mike Zeck] 8p

                7) Spurt Starling II [Bill Pearson] 1p

                8) The Enormous Slug Suckers From The Planet Mars!! [Bill Pearson] 8p

                9) The Slugsucker Diagram [Bill Pearson] 1p   [diagram]

                10) Kym: Encounter [Bill Pearson/Ruben Yandoc] 8p

                11) Early Poop II [Bill Pearson] 1p   [credited to Q. P. Hamstrung]

                12) Spurt Starling III [Bill Pearson] 1p

                13) Kym Pin-Up [Dan Adkins] 1p

                14) Pin-Ups [Bill Pearson] 3p   [last pin-up on inside back cover]


Notes: $4.00 for 48 pages.  The Wally Wood material consisted of unused panels or sketches intended for his Wizard King graphic novel, which itself was a reworking of the earlier text story that had appeared in witzend.  The portfolio pages included here were considered too erotic for the graphic novel itself.  ‘Early Poop’ was an X-rated spoof of ‘Alley Oop’.  ‘Spurt Starling’ was a spoof of ‘Flash Gordon’.  Best story here was the delightful ‘The Care And Feeding Of Geks’ by Cuti & Zeck although Pearson’s ‘Early Poop’ and ‘Spurt Starling’ are funny.  BP: ‘I thought I was producing a spoof of underground comix, but lost all editorial judgement and used too much of my own art…and the reaction was silent embarrassment.  I conned Bill Black into co-financing this issue {sight unseen} and I suspect he junked his half of the print run.”  This, along with #9, are the hardest issues to find.


  12. cover: George Bush/frontis & inside back cover: Jerry Bingham/back cover: photo of woman posing

as Kym (1982)

                1) Editorial [Bill Pearson] 1p   [text article]

                2) My Ship Of Dreams [Henry C. Pitz] 1p   [poem]

3) Stargazer [J. R. Blevins & Dennis Janke/Dennis Janke] 12p    [Janke’s story & art credited to Z.


4) Bugs In The System [Al Sirois & David Stone/Al Sirois] 4p

5) The Phantom Pin-Up [Gray Morrow] 1p

6) The Real World [Bhob Stewart/John Norton] 4p

7) untitled [Don Martin] 2p

8) Booby Trap [Steve Ditko] 1p

9) Kym: The Awakening [Bill Pearson/Mike Zeck & Ruben Yandoc] 9p

10) Lunar Tunes [Wally Wood] 12p

11) Wallace Wood 1927-1981 [Richard Bassford] 1p


Notes: $3.50 for 48 pages.  Bush’s cover was a rendering of Humphrey Bogart based on a photo still of his character from The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre.  This was the 3rd and last installment of the dreams of ‘Kym’  ‘Lunar Tunes’ must have been one of Wally Wood’s final stories.  Jerry Bingham’s pin-ups were quite well drawn but the barbarian theme seemed a little out of place in this bunch of stories.  Some interesting alternative work here.  BP: “This is a nice issue, I thought.  I conned a gangster {well, he was a major league drug dealer} into financing this issue, and he too kept half {2500 copies} of the print run.  You better believe I paid him back as soon as I sold my 2500 copies!  He surely eventually junked his 2500 copies.”


  13. cover: Dennis Janke/frontis & inside back cover: Victor Perard/titlepage: Bill Pearson & Wally

Wood/back cover: Bob McLeod (1985)

                1) Good Girl Pin-Ups [Rich Chidlaw; Bill Pearson ; Frank Frazetta; Roy G. Krenkel; Willy

Pogany; Zolne Rowich; Norman Price; ? Bauer; Stan Drake; Kenneth Smith; Hannes

Bok; ?; Vince Alascia-Charles Nicholas; Jack Gaughan; Bruce Miller; John Beatty;

Richard Bassford; David Karbonik; Brad Foster; Wally Wood; Ed Paschke; Frank

Godwin; Trina Robbins; V. T. Hamlin; Mike Zeck; Heinrich Kley] 36p


Notes: Final issue.  $3.00 for 36 pages.  An all ‘good girl’ pin-up issue.  No comic stories at all.  Some beautiful pin-ups and sketches here with great artwork from everybody involved.  I particularly liked the Wally Wood witzend cover mockup; Bill Pearson’s efforts, Bob McLeod’s back cover , the Krenkel sketchbook art and Heinrich Kley’s {a Jewish artist who disappeared during Hitler’s regime} artwork but all of the artwork is of high quality.  If you like pin-up art {especially of mostly naked babes} this is a pretty good book.  Rowich’s art was a drawing of Sheena of the Jungle from the cover of Jumbo Comics #46.  BP: “I think I somehow financed this issue myself, and it was the most popular number of the entire series.  Bud Plant kept reordering for years.  Not counting the hundreds of man-hours I put into it, this issue actually broke even!  Also destroyed in [my] house fire were approximately 140 pages of what I hoped would be the ultimate issue of witzend, many years in the making, an eclectic mix of some really fabulous material.  But it wasn’t to be.” 





1.       cover & back cover: Wally Wood (1980)

1) Statement Of Policy [Wally Wood] 1p   [frontis]   reprinted from witzend #1 (Summer 1966)

2) witzend #3 cover [Wally Wood] 1p   [pin-up]

3) The witzend Story [Bill Pearson/Wally Wood] 2p   [text story]

4) Pipsqueak Papers [Wally Wood] 3p   reprinted from witzend #3 (1967)

5) Pipsqueak Papers [Wally Wood] 3p   reprinted from witzend #4 (1968)

6) Pipsqueak Papers [Wally Wood] 5p   reprinted from witzend #5 (Oct. 1968)

7) The World Of The Wizard King [Wally Wood] 15p   [text story]   reprinted from witzend #4-6

& 8 (1968-1971)

                8) witzend #2 cover  [Wally Wood] 1p   [pin-up]

                9) The Rejects [Wally Wood & Bhob Stewart/Wally Wood] 3p   reprinted from witzend #4 (1968)

                10) Animan [Wally Wood] 15p   reprinted from witzend #1-2 (1966-1967)   [one page from part 2


                11) witzend #4 cover [Wally Wood] 1p   [pin-up, on inside back cover]


Notes: Although not officially an issue of witzend, this reprint volume {not to be confused with the 1970s Wood newsletter of the same name} of Wood’s work for witzend came out in 1980 and was, in effect, an issue of witzend.  The back cover was actually the splash page from the second part of Animan.




I’ll Be Damned

    1. cover: Frank Frazetta/titlepage: ? (1970)  

                1) Pin-Ups [Kenneth Smith] 1p

2) Introduction [Mark Feldman/Jim? Miller] 3p   [text article]

                3) Dr. Demono [Jim Miller] 5p

                4) Michael Kaluta Interview [Mark Feldman & Michael Kaluta/Michael Kaluta & Roy G. Krenkel] 5p  

[text article]

                5) Cheech Wizard: Race To The Moon [Vaughn Bode] 6p

                6) Vaughn Bode Interview [Mark Feldman & Vaughn Bode] 2p   [text article]

                7) Vampires Of The Mind [Steve Hickman & Mike Cody] 6p

                8) Pin-Up [Robert L. Kline] 1p

                9) The E.C. Answer To Comic Book Originality [Meade Frierson III] 3p   [text article]

                10) Next Issue Previews [Michael Kaluta, Tom Sutton & Berni Wrightson] 2p  

                11) Portfolio [Kenneth Smith] 4p   [pin-ups]

                12) John Severin Interview [Mark Feldman? & John Severin/John Severin] 5p   [text article]

                13) Pin-Ups [Steve Hickman & Steve Harper] 2p

                14) Tom Sutton Interview [Mark Feldman? & Tom Sutton] 2p   [text article]

                15) Pin-Ups [Frank Frazetta & Berni Wrightson] 2p

                16) Berni Wrightson Interview [Mark Feldman & Berni Wrightson/Berni Wrightson] 1p   [text article]

                17) Nick Fury & the Yellow Claw Pin-Up [Jim Steranko] 1p

                18) Da-Kar [Mike Miller] 3p

                19) Pin-Up [Steve Hickman] 1p

                20) Jeff Jones Interview [Mark Feldman? & Jeff Jones/Jeff Jones & Sal Buscema] 3p   [text article]

                21) Pin-Ups [Steve Hickman, Jeff Fantuccio, Richard Corben, Dave Cockrum] 4p


Notes: All information for this issue was provided by Jeffrey Clem.  It’s much appreciated, Jeff!  Publisher & editor: Mark Feldman?  $? For 72 pages.  Frazetta’s cover was repeated on the back cover sans copy.  Sal Buscema’s sketch in the Jeff Jones interview featured the Avengers battling Ultron and had nothing to do with Jeff Jones at all.  Dave Cockrum’s pin-up also featured many Marvel characters in a “bigfoot” art style.  Severin’s interview art featured his work on Cracked’s mascot logo.  Sutton’s interview featured no art at all.  The next issue ad included artwork for Michael Kaluta’s story ‘Hey, Buddy, Can You Lend Me…?’, which ended up in the fanzine Scream Door {see below}.


    2. cover, titlepage & back cover: Kenneth Smith (July 1970)

                1) Nest Egg [Alan Simons/Steve Hickman & Robert L. Kline] 3p

                2) Pilgrim [Tom Sutton] 5p

                3) Stake-Out [Berni Wrightson] 4p


Notes: Publisher & Editor: Mark Feldman.  $.35 for 12 pages.  Very thin, magazine-sized fanzine.  Wrightson’s strip featured the Old Witch, the Vault Keeper & the Crypt Keeper from EC comics.  Both ‘Nest Egg’ & ‘Pilgrim’ were serials {and, to my knowledge, neither were ever concluded}.  ‘Pilgrim’, in particular, appeared to have promise.


    3. Never Published (see notes for Scream Door #1)


    4. cover & frontis: Berni Wrightson/back cover: Frank Brunner (Jan. 1971)

                1) Out On A Limb! [Berni Wrightson] 6p  

                2) Pilgrim, part 2 [Tom Sutton] 5p

                3) Pin-Ups [Frank Brunner & Gray Morrow] 2p

                4) Nest Egg, part 3 [Alan Simons/Dan Adkins & Steve Hickman] 3p

                5) Frankenstein Pin-Up [Tom Sutton] 1p


Notes: Final issue.  Wrightson’s ‘Out On A Limb!’ was originally intended as the cover story for the never published Web Of Horror #4.  Sutton’s Frankenstein pin-up was done just before he began writing & illustrating the character for Skywald.  Brunner’s back cover was a preview page for a proposed series that was to have been called ‘Red Man’s Burden’.  Wrightson’s cover showed the same frontier coot that would headline the story ‘King Of The Mountain, Man’ from his early collection Badtime Stories while his frontispiece was a try-out page dealing with Frankenstein.  Another page from the same try-out appeared as the cover to Scream Door #1.  Good issue & art.





    1. cover:


Notes: At this time, information is not available for this issue.  Infinity was somewhat of a hybrid fanzine, combining articles which featured a great deal of artwork as well as the occasional comic story.


2. cover: Frank Brunner/frontis & titlepage: Roy G. Krenkel/back cover: Jeff Jones (197?)  

           1) Pin-Up [Frank Brunner] 1p

           2) Editorial [?] 1p   [text article]

           3) Pin-Ups [Virgil Finlay] 2p

           4) Berni Wrightson Interview [? & Berni Wrightson/Berni Wrightson, Jim Steranko & Gray Morrow] 10p   

[text article]

           5) Pin-Up [Joe Schenkman] 1p

           6) Frank Frazetta Interview [? & Frank Frazetta/Frank Frazetta, Frank Brunner & Steve Hickman] 4p   [text


                7) Roy G. Krenkel Portfolio [Roy G. Krenkel] 3p

                8) Richard M. Nixon Illustration [Gray Morrow] 1p

                9) Letter’s Page [illo by Dave Berg] 5p  

                10) Pin-Ups [Jim Steranko, Roy G. Krenkel & Michael Kaluta] 3p

                11) Editorial [?/Ed Eschweller] 2p   [text article]

                12) Pin-Up [John Fantuccio] 1p

                13) Editorial [?/Robert Kline] 1p   [text article]

                14) Pin-Up [Joe Schenkman] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: $1.50 for 48 pages.  The Steranko illo that appeared in the Wrightson interview depicts Marvel’s Black Panther character.  Information on this issue provided by Jeffrey Clem.  There were at least two printings of Infinity #2 with a few of the illustrations dropped and new ones added in their place.


    3a. cover: Frank Brunner/frontis: Michael Kaluta/titlepage: ?/back cover: Robert L. Kline (1971)

                1) Introduction [Alan Malin & Gary Berman/Kenneth Smith] 2p   [text article]

                2) Pin-Up [Michael Kaluta] 1p

                3) Wrightson Portfolio [Berni Wrightson] 3p

                4) Jeff Jones Interview [? & Jeff Jones/Jeff Jones] 6p   [text article]

                5) Pin-Up [?] 2p

                6) Virgil Finlay [Doug Murray/Virgil Finlay] 2p   [text article]

                7) Frank Brunner Interview [? & Frank Brunner/Frank Brunner] 9p   [text article]

                8) As Night Falls: Cheryl’s Song [Michael Kaluta] 2p

                9) Pin-Up [Jeff Jones] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: Publishers & editors: Gary Berman & Adam Malin.  $1.50 for 28 pages.  Brunner’s cover was originally intended for the never published This Is Legend #2.  This issue was split into two separate magazines, with an additional supplement of six sketch pages given to subscribers.  The supplement features sketches by Al Williamson {Flash Gordon}, Jack Kirby {Captain America}, Mark Rydell, Randy Yeates, Frank Frazetta, Joe Sinnott {The Thing}, Syd Shores {Captain America} & Randy Yeates-Mark Rydell.  Kaluta’s ‘As Night Falls’ dream series had three separate parts, the other two appearing in other fanzines during 1971-1972.


    3b. cover: Jeff Jones/frontis: Gray Morrow/titlepage: Kenneth Smith/back cover: Berni Wrightson


                1) The Mating [Bruce Jones] 2p   [story never concluded?]

                2) Bruce Jones Interview [? & Bruce Jones/Bruce Jones] 4p   [text article w/photo]

                3) A Portfolio By Roy G. Krenkel [Roy G. Krenkel] 10p

                4) Life Among The Beetles, Boners, And Hi And Lois [Mort Walker] 2p   [text article w/ cartoon


                5) Mr. Wizzy… [Mort Drucker] 1p

                6) Candy Camera… [Mort Drucker] 1p

                7) Pin-Up [Frank Brunner] 1p

                8) Reality Ad [Michael Kaluta] 1p  

                9) Wallace Wood page [Wally Wood?] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: The second half of #3.  This issue included a lengthy letters’ page with artwork by Kenneth Smith, Al Williamson & Randy Yeates.  Robert L. Kline, Gordon Love, Kenneth Smith & Randy Yeates sent in letters.  Jones’ little two-page strip was the first part of a intended serial but it was never concluded.  Wrightson’s back cover was a depiction of Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater.  A similar page appeared in the portfolio section of #3, part 1.  These may have been try-out pages for the adaptation of that nursery rhyme that appeared in Abyss #1.


    4. cover: Richard Corben/frontis: Joe Schuster/titlepage: Al Williamson/inside back cover: Berni

Wrightson/back cover: Larry Todd (1972)

                1) Editorial [Adam Malin & Gary Berman/Kenneth Smith] 1p   [text article]

                2) Pin-Up [Jeff Jones & Joe Sinnott] 1p

                3) Fastest Gun In The West [? Mooney] 2p

                4) Comix!: A Phenonemon [Jack Jackson/Jack Jackson, Gilbert Shelton, Roy Crumb, ?, Roy G. Krenkel,

Richard Corben & more] 11p   [text article]

                5) Jimi Hendrix Pin-Up [Tom Yeates] 1p

                6) Frank Brunner Portfolio [Frank Brunner] 5p

                7) Creation: The 1971 Art Convention [Adam Malin/Roy G. Krenkel] 5p   [text article w/photos]

                8) Michael Kaluta Interview [Adam Malin, Doug Murray & Michael Kaluta/Michael Kaluta] 6p   [text

article w/photos]

                9) Mr. Odd [Mort Drucker] 1p

                10) The Artist’s Corner [Roy G. Krenkel, Jeff Jones, Gray Morrow, M. Serignt] 4p

11) The Deer [Michael Kaluta] 3p  

12) Pin-Ups [Clyde Caldwell, Roy G. Krenkel, Berni Wrightson, ?, Howard Chaykin, Steve Harper, ?, Al

Williamson & Frank Frazetta] 8p

13) Steve Harper Interview [Adam Malin, Doug Murray, Dave Kaskove, Mike Kaluta & Steve

Harper/Steve Harper] 5p   [text article]

14) Phase Ad [Ken Barr] 1p

15) A New Beginning [Al Feldstein/Al Williamson] 6p   reprinted from Weird Science?

16) Island Fable [Jan Strnad/Jeff Jones & Roy G. Krenkel] 4p   [text story]

17) Pin-Up [Berni Wrightson] 1p

18) Gray Morrow Portfolio [Gray Morrow] 3p

19) Letter’s Pages [Kenneth Smith, Roy G. Krenkel] 3p

20. Phantasmagoria Ad [Kenneth Smith] 1p

21) Butch Malin and The Berman Kid In Convention Crisis! [Adam Malin/Randy Yeates & Rick Rydell]



Notes: $3.00 for 80 pages.  Joe Schuster’s frontispiece is a 1940’s era cheesecake pin-up (it’s rather faint but very well done).  ‘Fastest Gun In The West’ was signed “Mooney 1972’ but the writer/artist’s full name was not included on the titlepage and the artist is unknown to me.  Kaluta’s story is wordless, but has word balloons.  The reader was encouraged to script the story and it’s possible this effort at reader participation was inspired by Web Of Horror’s similar artist contest. The artwork appears to be based on the same Chinese legend (involving a were-deer) that Nicola Cuti used for two different stories in the 1970s and 1980s—one for Charlton & one for Warren. One of the Wrightson pin-ups is described as unused letter’s page art for Web Of Horror, but the artwork actually does appear in WHO #2 &3.  Jack Jackson, Tom Yeates & William Stout sent in letters.  The Wrightson back cover is another wash page depicting the Headless Horseman.  Wrightson did a number of these for various fanzines in the early 1970s.  This is a very impressive package with stellar artwork from Brunner, Yeates, Kaluta and others and striking covers from Corben & Todd.  Some of this issue’s information was provided by Jeffrey Clem (Thanks, Jeff!).


    5. cover: Larry Todd/frontis: Tom Yeates/titlepage: Vaughn Bode/back cover: Michael Kaluta (Summer


                1) Notes From The Editors [Adam Main & Gary Berman/Gray Morrow] 3p   [text article]

                2) A Portfolio Of Watercolors by E. Maroto [Esteban Maroto] 4p    [pin-ups]

                3) An Interview With Richard Corben [Jan Strnad & Richard Corben/Richard Corben] 10p   [text

article w/photos]

                4) Tarzan’s Chicago Adventure! [Mike Olshan/Frank Brunner] 2p

                5) Infinity Fiction: The Man In The Middle [Jan Strnad] 2p   [text story]

                6) Eyefull: Notebook Pages [Larry Todd] 4p

                7) A Report On Creation Convention 1972 [Gary Berman & Adam Malin/Larry Todd & Vaughn

Bode] 4p   [text article w/photos]

                8) Sketch Pages [Al Williamson & Larry Todd] 3p

                9) Warp [Doug Murray/Neal Adams] 7p   [text article]

                10) Letters’ Page Art [Randy Yeates, Tom Yeates, Gene Colan, Alan Weiss, Larry Todd, Bruce

Jones, Rich Bucker & C. Lee Healy] 7p   [pin-ups]

                11) Junkwaffel [Vaughn Bode] 1p

                12) 5:30 PM—N.Y.C. [Larry Todd] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: $? for 48 pages. A color print by Berni Wrightson, depicting a macabre rock band called the Cryptics, was inserted in this issue.  Underground artist Jack Jackson & future cover artist Clyde Caldwell sent in letters.  The Warp article covered the Chicago stage play and included many of Neal Adams’ costume design pages, including the lead character’s Killraven-like costume.  ‘Junkwaffel’ was printed sideways.




This Is Legend

1. cover: Berni Wrightson/frontis: Michael Kaluta/back cover: Bob Juanillo (Sept. 1970)                           

1) Introduction [Richard L. Jennings/Kenneth Smith] 1p   [text article]

                2) Titlepage [Kenneth Smith] 1p

                3) The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow [Mary Skrenes/Jeff Jones, Alan Weiss & Berni Wrightson] 11p   from the

story by Washington Irving   [story credited to Virgil North]

4) Scroll Call [?/Kenneth Smith] 1p   [text article]

                5) Pin-Up [Robert L. Kline] 1p

6) From The Book Of Useless Information [Richard L. Jennings?/Kenneth Smith, Ken Kelley &

Steve Harper] 3p   [text article]

                7) Pin-Ups [Bob Juanillo, Steve Hickman, Ray Cioni, Randy Broecker] 4p

8) Editorial [Richard L. Jennings/Kenneth Smith] 2p   [text article]

9) Pin-Ups [Randy Broecker, Bonnie Moore, Ken Kelley, Bob Juanillo, Frank Brunner, Kenneth

Smith, Roy G. Krenkel] 8p

10) The Gardener [Michael Kaluta] 5p

11) The Story-Telling Stone [Richard L. Jennings/Ken Kelley, Kenneth Smith & Roy G. Krenkel]

4p   [text story]

               12) Pin-Ups [Ken Kelley, Randy Broecker, Kenneth Smith, Bonnie Moore, Rick Rydell, Randy

Yeates, Bob Juanillo] 8p  

              13) Abyss Ad [Berni Wrightson, Michael Kaluta, Bruce Jones & Jeff Jones] 1p

              14) Pin-Ups [Randy Yeates, Frank Frazetta, Steve Fritz, Steve Hickman, Bruce Jones] 5p

              15) The Last Word [Richard L. Jennings] 1p   [text article]


Notes: $2.00   Publisher & editor: Richard L. Jennings.  The Rydell pin-up appears to be a tryout strip (entitled Trolls) for Creepy’s Loathsome Lore.  The Frazetta pin-up is a Conan sketch.  Only two actual strips appear here, though both are quite good.  This is largely a pin-up book.  Mary Skrenes used the penname of Virgil North during a period when female names (at least names that were clearly female) were frowned upon by comic publishers. 





1. cover: Jeff Jones/frontis: Roy G. Krenkel/back cover: Virgil Finlay (Nov. 1970)        

1) Quasar! [Steve Hickman] 7p

2) This Is Legend Ad [Kenneth Smith, et al] 1p

3) Jeff Jones Interview [Robert Gerstenhaber & Jeff Jones/Jeff Jones] 12p   [text article]

4) Pin-Ups [? & Michael Kaluta] 2p

5) Death Is The Sailor [Len Wein/Michael Kaluta] 4p

6) Endless Chain! [Joe Manfredini/Frank Brunner] 5p

7) The Making Of A Knight [Graham Ingels] 1p

8) Abyss Ad [Jeff Jones, Berni Wrightson, Bruce Jones & Michael Kaluta] 1p

9) Kenneth Smith’s Phantasmagoria Posters Ad [Kenneth Smith] 1p

10) Editorial [Robert Gerstenhaber/Kenneth Smith & Michael Kaluta] 1p

11) Pin-Up [Kenneth Smith] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: $1.50.  Publisher & editor: Robert Gerstenhaber.  Gerstenhaber was 14 years old when he published this fanzine.  The Wein/Kaluta strip is only part 1 of the story.  Both it and ‘Quasar’ were originally intended for the never published Web Of Horror #4.  Ingels’ story/art page, depicting a knight, was done in 1955, shortly after EC folded and apparently intended for Classics Illustrated.  Best story here is Steve Hickman’s ‘Quasar!’, although if ‘Death Is The Sailor’ had been printed in its entirety it would have been chosen.  Best art is Frank Brunner’s on ‘Endless Chain’.  Check out the 2007 interview with publisher Robert Gerstenhaber at the end of this page!


    2. cover: Larry Todd/back cover: Michael Kaluta (1971)                                                     

1) Artificial Limbs [Michael Kaluta] 1p   reprinted from ?   [frontis]

2) Titlepage art [A J. D’Agostino] 1p

3) Tidbits [Robert Gerstenhaber/Reed Crandall] 1p   [text article]

4) Pin-Up [Berni Wrightson] 1p

5) Webster’s Page [Michael Kaluta] 1p

6) Death Is The Sailor [Len Wein/Michael Kaluta] 6p

7) Outside-In [Bruce Jones] 7p

8) Centerfold Pin-Up [Frank Brunner] 2p

9) Fandom, Writing, And Catching Up [Jan Strnad/A. J. D’Agostino, Reed Crandall & Al

Williamson] 3p   [text article]

10) Kenneth Smith: Portfolio [Kenneth Smith] 5p

11) Renegade! [Howard Chaykin/Howard Chaykin & Bill Stillwell] 2p

12) The Amazing Liver [Larry Todd] 2p

13) As Night Falls: Michelle’s Song [Michael Kaluta] 2p

14) Pin-Up [Al Williamson] 1p

15) Phantasmogoria Ad [Kenneth Smith] 1p

16) Heritage Ad [Al Williamson] 1p   [features Flash Gordon]

17) Time Lapse [Michael Kaluta] 1p   reprinted from ?   [on inside back cover]


Notes:  $2.00 for 36 pages.  The front & back cover appear to be reversed, causing the magazine’s logo to appear only on the back cover, but publisher Robert Gerson assured me that this was intentional.  He wanted a full bleed painted front cover without any type.  He was inspired to do this based on Jerry Weist’s efforts with EC fanzine Squa Tront’s 3rd & 4th issues.  Kaluta’s back cover is quite nice. The first four pages of ‘Death Is The Sailor’ were reprinted from the first issue, with the first two pages being combined and printed sideways on a single page.  The actual story length is 7 pages.  ‘Webster’s Page’, ‘Death Is The Sailor’ & ‘Outside-In’ were all originally intended for the never published Web Of Horror #4.  Other ‘As Night Falls’ segments were published in various fanzines from 1970-1972.  There were three segments in all.  ‘Revenge’ marks then-Queens College student Howard Chaykin’s comics debut.  Best story is ‘Death Is The Sailor’ while both Bruce Jones & Michael Kaluta share honors for best artwork. 





1. cover: Berni Wrightson/frontis: Jeff Jones/back cover: Michael Kaluta (Nov. 1970)

           1) The Hunter And The Hunted [Michael Kaluta] 4p

2) Apprenticeship [Michael Kaluta] 4p

 3) Specimen [Bruce Jones] 8p

4) Union [Jeff Jones] 8p

 5) Wrightson’s Revolting Rhymes [adapted & illustrated: Berni Wrightson] 8p  from the nursery

rhymes ‘Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater’ & ‘Jack Sprat’

6) Pin-Up [Bruce Jones] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: $2.00 for 32 pages.   Published & edited: Berni Wrightson, Bruce Jones, Jeff Jones & Michael Kaluta.  This one-shot effort has some very nice artwork (much reprinted over the years) and may have been done in reaction to the cancellation of Web Of Horror earlier in the year, which Wrightson & Bruce Jones were to have edited.  Kaluta’s first strip & Bruce Jones’ contribution could easily have fit in that magazine’s framework.  The best story is Kaluta’s ‘The Hunter And The Hunted’ while Jeff Jones’ artwork on ‘Union’ takes the best art honors. 




Scream Door

    1. cover & titlepage: Berni Wrightson/frontis & back cover: Steve Hickman (1971)

                1) Rat! [Tom Sutton] 7p   [story & art credited to Seane Todd]

                2) An Uneventfull Flight [Mark Feldman] 1p   [text story]

                3) Pin-Up [Steve Hickman] 1p

                4) Someone Is Coming… [Bob Juanillo] 3p   [story never concluded]

                5) Phantasmagoria Ad [Kenneth Smith] 1p

                6) Hey Buddy, Can You Lend Me A… [Michael Kaluta] 5p

                7) Web Of Horror #4 cover mockup [Berni Wrightson] 1p

                8) Pin-Up [Steve Hickman] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes:  Publishers: Mark Feldman & Robert Lewis.  $? for 20 pages.  This was probably intended as the third issue of I’ll Be Damned as it follows much the same format and is from the same editor of that fanzine title.  [Emanuel Maris, who purchased the fanzines when they first came out, confirms that this should be considered I’ll Be Damned #3).  Oddly, the interior pages are slick paper while the cover is rough card stock.  Wrightson’s cover is a try-out page for a Frankenstein story.  With the exception of the Juanillo strip, all of the comic stories published here were originally intended for Web Of Horror #4.  Although Wrightson’s original cover disappeared when Major Magazines publisher Robert Sproul moved his offices, Wrightson retained a mock up of the cover and that is what appears here.  Sutton’s pseudonym, Seane {or Sean} Todd, was used when Creepy & Eerie publisher James Warren forbid any of his regular writers or artists to work for the rival B&W mag, Web Of Horror.  Tom Sutton provides both the best art & story here.





    1. cover: Gray Morrow/back cover: Bill Stillwell (1971)

                1) Introduction [David Jablin/Neal Adams?] 1p   [text article, frontis]

                2) Next Issue Ad [Bill Stillwell] 1p

                3) Explored [Jeff Jones] 3p

                4) The Catalonian Chapel [?] 1p   [text story]

                5) Tangent [Neal Adams] 3p

                6) A Gift Of Love [Bill Stillwell] 6p

                7) A Trace I

                8) Lady Madonna [Howard Chaykin/Bill Stillwell] 5p   [script credited to Eric Pave]

                9) Tanganyika [?] 1p   [text story]

                10) Poems [?/?] 2p

                11) Conjure Woman [Berni Wrightson] 3p

                12) Nova Christus--O’Saving Grace: A Preview [Howard Chaykin/Howard Chaykin & ?] 3p  

                13) Necromancy [Michael Kaluta] 3p

                14) Dark Domain Store Ad [Gray Morrow] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: Publisher & editor: David Jablin.  $2.00 for 32 pages.  The next issue announcement advertises an adaptation of a “classic” SF story by Neal Adams.  To my knowledge this was never done.  ‘Tangent’ was an unpublished syndicated daily strip tryout.  The copy I have is actually a second printing.  According to Emanuel Maris, the 1st printing’s back cover was far too dark to reproduce the halftoon pencil work, so a month after it came out, Jablin returned most of the 1st printing and had a second printing done.  He also replaced a three page strip that appeared in the 1st printing with the Nova Christus material by a very young Howard Chaykin.  According to Chaykin himself, he didn’t ink that three pager and isn’t sure who did.  Eric Pave appears to be a house name that was used for several different creators. 





    1. cover: Ken Barr/frontis: Syd Shores (Sept. 1971)   [wraparound cover, Shores’ frontispiece depicts

Captain America] 

1) Pin-Up [Berni Wrightson] 1p

2) Sword Of Dragonus [Chuck Robinson & Frank Brunner/Frank Brunner] 10p

3) Impact [Ernie Colon] 2p

4) Pin-Up [Bill Stillwell] 1p

5) The Coming Of The Piranhas [Denny O’Neil/Steve Skeates] 5p

6) Duel [Gerry Conway/Gray Morrow] 6p   [text story]

7) Don’t Be Phased Out [Sal Quartuccio/Tony DeZuniga] 1p   [text article]

8) Soul Food [Phil Seuling/Chris Notarile] 3p

9) Comes The Gray Dawn! [Marv Wolfman/Rich Buckler] 2p

10) Home [Jeff Jones] 4p

11) Veteran [Kathy Barr/Ken Barr] 3p

12) Pin-Up [Murphy Anderson] 1p

13) Hero [Bil Maher] 10p   [story never concluded]

14) As Night Falls: Sally’s Song [Michael Kaluta] 2p

15) Getting The Point [Kenneth Smith] 7p   [text story]

16) Pin-Ups [Dan Recchia & Billy Graham] 3p

17) The Comic Book Freak! [Tom Sutton] 2p

18) Yesterday’s Rain [Steve Fritz] 4p

19) Pin-Ups [Ken Kelly & Bill Stillwell] 2p

20) Dragon Slayer [Len Wein/Tony DeZuniga] 2p

21) Pin-Up [Dan Adkins] 1p

22) A View From Without… [Neal Adams] 8p

23) Conan The Barbarian Pin-Up [Billy Graham] 1p

24) Editorial [Sal Quartuccio] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: Publisher: John Carbonaro.  Editor: Sal Quartuccio.  $5.00 for 74 pages.  In 1971 dollars that’s close to $25-30 bucks today!  A very expensive book!  A crude attempt was made to censor pubic hair on the DeZuniga story ‘Dragon Slayer’ but whatever they did actually ends up highlighting it!  ‘Sword Of Dragonus’ was originally intended for Web Of Horror.  I’ve gone on record before (see the notes for Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #1) about my high regard for Adams’ ‘A View From Without…’, a story I believe to be one of Adams’ best works.  He uses virtually every type of comic art available in 1971, including fumetti, pen & ink, wash, charcoal, shaded, and straight pencils, with each panel being practically a comics textbook in artwork and layout for young artists.  There’s an artistic homage to Joe Kubert & Sgt. Rock on page 5.  The story, originally called ‘Greetings’, is a horrific view of the Vietnam War, narrated by an extraterrestrial observer who is portrayed by Adams himself in photo inserts.  Adams apparently completed the story several years earlier and perhaps intended it for Archie Goodwin’s Blazing Combat series.  Whatever your opinions may be on the war itself, the story is a tour-de-force, on a par with Kregstein’s ‘Master Race’.  I’m amazed it’s only been reprinted once {in Marvel’s Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #1 in 1975}.  This story justifies the entire existence of this book.  Other good work appears from Ken Barr, Marv Wolfman, Rich Buckler, Frank Brunner, Jeff Jones, Tom Sutton, Michael Kaluta, Tony DeZuniga and Billy Graham. 




Colour Your Dreams

    1. cover & frontis: Jeff Jones (1972)

1) One page pin-ups [Phil Trumbo, Henry Pitz, Howard Chaykin, Howard Pyle, Berni Wrightson,

Mike Nally, Frank  E. Schoonover, Lawrence Kamp, John Linton, J. Allen St. John,

Barry Windsor-Smith, Robert Lewis, Dennis Fujitake, Yvon Sovereign, Michael Kaluta,

Joel Pollack, Fred H. Ball, Arthur Rackham, Eric Friedrichs, Marc Cheshire, Dave

Cockrum, Walt Simonson, Norman Lindsay, Verlon Vrana, Maxfield Parrish, Roy G.

Krenkel, John Lawson, Sherry Ives, Steve Hickman] 30p


Notes: Publishers: Robert Lewis & Joel Pollack.  Odd & (as far as I know) unique attempt at a fine arts/comic artists combo coloring book.  The well-known fine art illustrators’ work is beautiful.  Most of the comic artists were just starting out and the artwork ranges from quite good to basic fanzine artwork.  There’s lots of nudity so I’m not sure who the intended audience was. The indica notes that Wrightson’s artwork is from 1968 and it looks it.  Windsor-Smith’s rising sun/samuari art appears to be from 1969-1970 and is reproduced from pencils.  Cockrum, Jones & Chaykin provide the best work here.  Jones’ cover is reprinted sans copy on the back cover.





    1A) cover: Alex Raymond/back cover: Frank Frazetta (1972)

                1) Introduction [Doug Murray] 1p   [text article]

                2) Flash Gordon Faces Reality [Jeff Jones] 4p

                3) Flash Gordon: Super Serial [Allan Asherman/Reed Crandall] 13p   [text article w/photos]

                4) Smash Gordon: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Mongo! [Frank Brunner] 4p

                5) Gray Morrow’s Flash Gordon [Gray Morrow] 4p   [pin-ups]

                6) A Talk With Buster Crabbe [Allan Asherman & Buster Crabbe/Frank Brunner] 14p   [text

article w/photos]

                7) Kenneth Smith’s Flash Gordon [Kenneth Smith] 4p   [pin-ups]

                8) Flash Gordon: Crash-Landing [Michael Kaluta] 4p


    1B) cover: Al Williamson & Gray Morrow/back cover: Wally Wood (1972)

                1) Introduction [Doug Murray] 1p   [text article, frontis]

                2) Flash Gordon Pin-Up [Berni Wrightson] 1p

                3) Flash Meets The Amazons [Reed Crandall] 5p

                4) The Girls Of Mongo [Mike Royer] 5p   [pin-ups]

                5) Interlude [Bruce Jones] 4p

                6) An Evolution Of The Flash Gordon Strip [Larry Ivie/Alex Raymond, Austin Briggs, Mac

Raboy, Frank Frazetta-Dan Barry & Al Williamson] 12p   [text article w/photos]

                7) Stanley Pitt’s Flash Gordon [Stanley Pitt] 3p   [pin-ups]

                8) The Thrilling Adventures Of Flash Gordon [Steve Harper] 4p

                9) The Warrior [Neal Adams] 5p

                10) A Flash Gordon Portfolio [George Evans, Carlos Garzon, Roy G. Krenkel & Reed Crandall]

4p   [pin-ups]

                11) Flash Gordon? [Adolfo Buylla] 4p

                12) Flat Gordon [Carlos Garzon] 2p

                13) Al Williamson’s Flash Gordon [Al Williamson] 6p   [pin-ups]

                14) Even Legends May Die [Esteban Maroto] 4p


Notes: Publisher: Bruce Hershenson {for 1B only}.  Publishers {for 1A only} & editors: Doug Murray & Richard Garrison.  $? for 72 pages each.  Flash Gordon tribute titles.  Each issue was perfect bound, magazine-sized trade paperbacks.  Al Williamson provided spot illos throughout both volumes.  With the exception of Neal Adams’ wordless tale, all artists were apparently restricted to four pages apiece.  Adams’ story also featured John Carter of Mars and Tarzan.  There really are no great stories there but the art is impressive and most of the stories are entertaining.  I particularly liked the Michael Kaluta, Mike Royer & Bruce Jones contributions.  The Ivie article is also good reading. 





1. cover: Frank Cirocco/titlepage & back cover: Brent Anderson (1972)

            1) Introduction [Frank Cirocco & Brent Anderson] 1p   [text article]

            2) Advent Ad [Gary Winnick/George Chelemedos] 1p

            3) Pin-Up [Frank Cirocco] 1p

            4) The Incident [Brent Anderson] 6p

            5) Grimley’s Tales [Frank Cirocco/Brent Anderson] 1p

            6) ‘Tis Just As Well [Scott Burdman/Brent Anderson] 1p   [poem]

            7) Garthan’s Quest [Frank Cirocco] 9p

            8) Grimley’s Tales [Brent Anderson] 1p

            9) Grimley’s Tales [Frank Cirocco/Brent Anderson] 1p

            10) A Tall Tale… [Frank Cirocco] 2p

            11) Elfrid [Gary Winnick] 3p

            12) Pin-Ups [Gary Winnick] 2p

            13) Grimley’s Tale [Brent Anderson] 1p

            14) Pin-Up [Frank Cirocco] 1p


Notes: $.75 for 32 pages in a magazine-size format.  Publishers & editors: Frank Cirocco & Brent Anderson.  This first issue is very much a fan production with neither Cirocco’s nor Anderson’s artwork anywhere close to a pro level.  They show definite promise though.  Best stories are the one-page Grimley’s Tales gag strips which are nearly professional and quite amusing.


    2. cover:


Notes: No information is available for this issue at this time.


    3. cover: Gary Winnick/frontis: Neal Adams/titlepage: Michael Kaluta & Frank Cirocco/back cover:

Frank Cirocco (1974)

1) Conan The Cimmerian Pin-Up [Jim Pinkoski] 1p

                2) Flashback [Frank Cirocco] 5p

                3) Gimmmley’s Tales [Brent Anderson] 1p

                4) Bugz [Frank Morant/Gary Winnick] 8p

                5) Pin-Up [Frank Cirocco] 1p

                6) Green Arrow Pin-Up [Neal Adams] 1p

                7) San Diego ’73 [Frank Cirocco/Jack Kirby & ?] 2p   [text article w/photos]

                8) Batman  & Angel Pin-Ups [Neal Adams] 2p

                9) Grimmley’s Tales [Brent Anderson] 1p

                10) Pin-Up [Gary Winnick] 1p

                11) Sin-Eater [Frank Morant/Frank Cirocco] 4p

                12) Grimmley’s Tales [Brent Anderson] 1p

                13) B.C. Comic Strips [Johnny Hart] ½p   [on letters’ page]

                14) Original Artwork Ad [Brent Anderson, Gary Winnick & Frank Cirocco] 1p

                15) Deadman Pin-Up [Neal Adams] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: Publisher: Horizon Zero Graphiques.  Editors: Frank Cirocco, Gary Winnick & Frank Morant.  $1.00 for 32 magazine-sized pages.  My copy came with a pen sketch of a fish by Steve Skeates, who doesn’t appear anywhere in the actual issue.  Neal Adams’ frontispiece is a drawing of the Vision.  Although Adams’ superheroes sketches are usually widely reprinted.  I’ve never seen any of the artwork included here printed elsewhere.  They are clearly convention sketches, though.  This is a nice little fanzine, although it received some heavy criticism at the time it was being published, particularly from RBCC.  Cirocco’s art is easily the best in this although both Anderson & Winnick show a great deal of promise.  Anderson’s ‘Grimmley’s Tales’ are rather amusing, too.


    4. cover: Frank Cirocco/ titlepage: Michael Kaluta/back cover: Gary Winnick (1975)

                1) Introduction [Frank Morant/Frank Cirocco] 1p   [text article, frontis]

                2) Pin-Up [Gene Day] 1p

                3) Backworld Brigands [Gary Winnick] 8p

                4) Grimmley’s Tales [Brent Anderson] 1p

                5) Pin-Up [Kenneth Smith] 1p

                6) Batman: Flasher [Frank Cirocco] 1p

                7) “…And On The Seventh Day We Rested.”: The 1974 San Diego Con [?/Charles Schultz] 1p  

[text article w/photos]

                8) Pin-Up Centerspread [Frank Cirocco] 2p

                9) Grimmley’s Tales [Brent Anderson] 1p

                10) Batman: Horny [Jim Pinoski] 1p

                11) Pin-Up [Carl Potts] 1p

                12) Pin-Up [Gary Winnick] 1p

                13) Synapse [Frank Morant/Frank Cirocco] 5p   [text story]

                14) Batman: Well Hung [Brent Anderson] 1p

                15) Pin-Up [Eric Vincent] 1p

                16) Letters’ Page Art [Ron Winnicle, Jim Starlin & Frank Cirocco, Don Newton, Tony Salmons &

Brent Anderson] 2p    [Starlin’s art features Marvel’s Captain Marvel]

                17) Grimmley’s Tales [Brent Anderson] 1p

                18) Parting Thoughts [Frank Cirocco & Gary Winnick/Larry Todd] 1p   [text article, on inside

back cover]


Notes: The three Batman pages are gag strips and rather amusing ones.  Winnick’s back cover features Tarzan.  Kenneth Smith  & Don Newton sent in letters.   Not quite as good as the previous issue but not bad at all.  The issue I have has a one-page insert ad for original art with a little note on the back from Frank Cirocco asking ‘R.W.’ to write a letter for the letters’ page.


    5. cover: Neal Adams/frontis: Gary Winnick/titlepage: Jeff Jones & Tony Salmons/back cover: Alex

Nino (1976)

                1) The Triad [Horizon Zero Graphiques/Frank Cirocco & Steve Leialoha] 11p

                2) War Affair [Eric Toye/Brent Anderson] 4p

                3) Rogue World [Gary Winnick & Brent Anderson/Gary Winnick & Brent Anderson] 11p

                4) Pin-Up [Frank Cirocco] 1p

                5) Letter’s Page Illo [Jeff Jones] 1p

                6) Pin-Up [Alex Nino] 1p

                7) Unrendering A Conclusion [Carl Potts] 1p

                8) Pin-Up [Frank Cirocco] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: Editors: Gary Winnick & Frank Cirocco.  $1.25 for 32 pages.  Format change to a regular comic size with color covers.  Clearly this is an attempt to upgrade this fanzine into a magazine similar to Star*Reach or Quack.  The stories are good.  The artwork is good.  Too bad the magazine didn’t keep going. 




New Paltz Comix

    1. cover: Michael Gilbert (July 1973)

                1) New Paltz Comix Comix [Michael Gilbert & Raoul Vezina] 1p   [frontis]

                2) Confrontation [Michael Gilbert] 10p

                3) Cain And Abel  [Raoul Vezina] ½p

                4) Cartoon [Richard Fox] ½p

                5) City [Michael Conway, Michael Gilbert & Larry Hogan/Larry Hogan & Michael Gilbert] 6p

                6) Observations [Michael Gilbert] ½p

                7) Cartoon [Richard Fox] ½p

                8) Merrie Felonies: Hare-Brained Fox in “Trooper Blooper” [Raoul Vezina & ? Lowe] 4p

                9) untitled [?] 1p

                10) Cartoon [Richard Fox] ½p

                11) Cartoon [Michael Gilbert] ½p

                12) In The Interests Of Science [Harvey Sobel/Michael Gilbert] 3½p   reprinted from the

Commack High paper, Varohi

                13) This Is Bill [Richard Fox] ½p

                14) Asteroid [Michael Gilbert/Raoul Vezina & Michael Gilbert] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: Publisher & editor: Michael Gilbert.  $.50 for 32 pages.  ‘In The Interests Of Science’ was originally published in a college newspaper.  Gilbert became publisher of this fanzine by accident.  His college newspaper at SUNY New Paltz, in upstate New York, was supposed to print this comic.  It was a project that had been in planning for years.  In 1973 they actually shot the film and had enough money to print it.  Gilbert {obviously} was a major contributor to it.  However, at the end of the year, the school put on a big party and the paper used all the printing money for fireworks!  The book literally went up in smoke!  Although they promised to try again the following year, Gilbert would graduate before the end of the year, so he took the negatives.  Another cartoonist in the book, Chris O’Leary, promised to split the publication costs with Gilbert but pulled his art and himself out at the last minute.  O’Leary would go on to publish his own fanzine while Gilbert took $500 of his school loan cash and printed 4,000 copies of New Paltz Comics---then sold them door to door on campus for 50 cents a copy.  Later, other underground publishers would distribute copies. 


2. cover: Raoul Vezina/alternate cover: Jeff Eisenberg/frontis: Ned Young (1974)   [a flip issue, all of

Eisenberg’s stories & art are credited to “Ironmountain”.]

1) Rubber Soul [Michael Gilbert & Raoul Vezina] 8p

2) New Paltz Gazette [Brian Buniak] 5p

                3) See No Evil… [Ned Young] 3½p

                4) Replay [Michael Gilbert] 3p

                5) Candy And Sugar [Brian Buniak] 1p

                6) Editorial [Michael Gilbert] 1p   [text article]

                7) Rorschach Review [Linda Kent] 2p

                                Alternate side

1) untitled [Jeff Eisenberg] 4p

2) More Kleen Kut Komics [Bruce Metcalf] 1½p

3) A Day In The Life Of Bobby Baloon! [Richard Fox] ½p

4) The Miracle [Linda Kent] 2p

5) Candy And Sugar [Brian Buniak] 1p

6) More Kleen Kut Comics, part 2 [Bruce Metcalf] 4p

7) Cain And Abel [Raoul Vezina] 1p

8) Thoughts… [Linda Kent] 3p

9) Johnny Joint—That’s Me! [Vince Kimszal/Vince Kimszal & Michael Gilbert] 3p

10) More Kleen Kut Komics, part 3 [Bruce Metcalf] 1½p

11) New Paltz Comics [Vince Kimszal/Vince Kimszal & Michael Gilbert] 1p


Notes: $.75 for 48 pages.  This is a flip book, with two front covers.  One side was ground level comics and the other X-rated underground comix.  This issue was subtitled Amazing Adult Fantasies on both covers.  Brian Buniak’s ‘The Sprite’ is a Spirit/Mr. A spoof.  ‘New Paltz Comics’ parodies the ‘Peanuts’ and ‘Blondie’ comic strips.  Best art was on ‘Rubber Soul’ while that story and ‘The Sprite’ share best story kudos.  Other interesting work appeared from Bruce Metcalf, Linda Kent and Ned Young. 


3. cover: Larry Todd/back cover: Michael Gilbert (1977)

           1) In The Interest Of Science [Mark Roland] 1p   [frontis]

           2) Madhouse [Jeff Bonivert] 8p

           3) Food [Raoul Vezina & Bob Kessell] 3p

           4) In Spite Of Ancient Astronauts [Kevin Meeks/Kevin Meeks, Michael Gilbert & Al Gordon] 2p

           5) Orion Colonies Slave Girl Pin-Up [Clifford Neal] 1p   reprinted from Dr. Wirtham’s Comix #1


                6) J’nnn J’nnzz, Manhunter From Marzz!: The Rebirth [Harvey Sobol/Michael Gilbert, Tim

Boxell, Raoul Vezina, Larry Rippee, Brian Buniak & Mark Roland] 6p

                7) Pin-Up [Steve Leialoha] 1p

                8) Asteroid [Michael Gilbert/Raoul Vezina & Michael Gilbert] 1p   reprinted from New Paltz #2


                9) Rot [Jeff Bonivert] 3p

                10) Editorial [Michael Gilbert/Larry Rippee] 3p   [text article]

                11) Old Fruit [Tim Boxell] 7p   [story & art credited to Grisly]

                12) Pin-Up [Nestor Redondo] 1p

                13) Ooops! [Michael Gilbert/Michael Gilbert & Al Gordon] 3p

                14) There’s No Race Like Home [Mark Roland] 9p

                15) RIP [Brian Buniak/Brian Buniak & Michael Gilbert] 2p

                16) Black As Ink [Jeff Bonivert] 3p

                17) Welcome Home, Traveler… [Michael Gilbert] 3p


Notes: $1.25 for 56 pages.  ‘Asteroid’ was reprinted from #1 because the last line of the story had been left off by mistake.  “J’nnn J’nnzz” was a retelling of DC’s J’onn J’onzz, Martian Manhunter origin.  Apparently DC’s legal eagles weren’t looking too closely.  Leialoha’s pin-up features Pan reading Marvel’s ‘Warlock’, a comic that Leialoha had been the inker on.  Gilbert only provided layouts on ‘Ooops!’  Bonivert’s three stories were some of the earliest printed from this unique cartoonist.  They’re all quite dazzling and are the highpoints of the issue.  However, the entire issue has strong art and stories.  There are no weak spots here.  Just great entertainment in a magazine that is well worth looking for by a serious collector.  The inside back cover reprints the back cover in B&W.


    4. cover: Michael Gilbert (1984)   [wraparound cover]

                1) Fairies [Michael Gilbert] 1p   [frontis]

                2) All In A Day’s Work [Raoul Vezina] 6p

                3) Explorer [Mark Shaw] 9p

                4) Numen Of The Night Sun [Barbara MacLeod] 10p

                5) Editorial [Michael Gilbert/Larry Rippee] 1p   [text article]

                6) Numen Of The Night Sun, part 2 [Barbara MacLeod] 10p   [story never concluded]

                7) Mr. Quidd & Me [Roger Stewart] 5p

                8) Consumo’s Last Meal [Scott Deschaine] 8p

                9) Exodus On Babble 3 [Brian Buniak] 6p


Notes: Final issue.  Now magazine-sized.  $2.50 for 56 pages.  Vezina’s story is the best effort here but the rest of the material is rather weak.  ‘Fairies’ was written & penciled in 1971 and intended as an installment of ‘Creepy’s Loathsome Lore’ for Warren. 




High Adventure

    1. cover: Robert L. Kline (1973)   [wraparound cover]

                1) Annikki Pin-Up [Mike Royer] 1p   [frontis]

                2) Nimbus [Mark Evanier/Robert L. Kline] 5p

                3) Annikki [Mike Royer] 8p

                4) Lord Sabre [Mark Evanier/Steve Leialoha & John Pound] 11p

                5) The Stalker [Mark Evanier/Robert L. Kline] 8p

                6) 78 rmp Records Ad [Robert Crumb] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: Publisher & editor: Denis Kitchen for Kitchen Sink Press.  $.50 for 32 pages.  Worth buying just for Mike Royer’s superb artwork on Annikki {the story ain’t bad either}.  Also fun early work by Leialoha, Pound, Evanier & Kline.  A rare ground level comic from a company that, at the time, published mostly underground comix.





    1. cover:  (? 1974)


Notes: Publisher: Punk Publications.  Editors: James Waley & Matt Rust.  $1.00 for 72 pages. A fanzine out of Canada.  No information is available for this issue at this time.


2. cover: Richard Robertson/back cover: Rob McIntyre (July 1974)

                1) Orb-Editorial [James Waley] ½p   [text article]

                2) Plague [Gene Day] 6p

                3) The Galactic Queen [Paul Savard & John Allison/Paul Savard & Gene Day] 15p

                4) Musical Roulette [Ronn Sutton] 3p

                5) The Seeker! [Matt Rust] 4p

                6) The Northern Light: The Guardian Of Mars [T. Casey Brennan/John Allison] 7p   [color]

                7) Next Issue Ad [John Allison] 1p   [color]

                8) Dark Fantasy Ad [Gene Day] ½p

                9) No-Man’s Land [Paul McCusker] 8p

                10) The Continuing Adventures Of Kadaver: Salvation [James Waley] 8p

                11) Reeve Perry [Bruce Bezaire] 10p

                12) Small Talk [John Ellis Sech? or Greg Landry?] 4p


Notes: T. Casey Brennan was already a pro and had worked for Warren, Skywald & Red Circle.  His ‘The Northern Light’ was a superhero series.  Bruce Bezaire was also working for Warren at the time, although this is the only time I’ve seen him actually draw a story.  His artwork, although not of professional quality yet, was pretty good and his story was excellent.  Almost everybody else was just starting out.  ‘Reeve Perry’ was the best story, while Ronn Sutton’s ‘Musical Roulette’, which was heavily influenced by Jeff Jones’ one page strips in National Lampoon, featured the best art.  I also like Gene Day’s ‘Plague’.  The grim little Viet-Nam story, ‘Small Talk’, has no credits.  Fanzine publisher George Henderson sends in a letter.


3. cover: Bill Payne/frontis: Rob McIntyre/back cover: Ronn Sutton (Dec. 1974)

           1) Orb-Editorial/John Allison Profile [James Waley & John Allison/John Allison] 1p   [text


                2) Lepers [Paul McCusker] 6p

                3) Orb Poster #1 [Rob McIntyre] 1p

                4) Half-Life [John Allison] 10p

                5) Orb Poster #2 [Dan Archambault] 1p

                6) Cheezy Nuggets [Alex Emond] 4p

                7) Super Student! [Ken Steacy] 2p

                8) The Northern Light: The Lone Guardian [T. Casey Brennan/Jim Craig] 10p   [color]

                9) Orb Poster #3 [Paul Savard?] 1p

                10) Escape The Truth [Richard Robertson] 4p

                11) The Astounding Origin Of Karkass [Matt Rust] 4p

                12) Orb Poster #4 [Ronn Sutton] 1p

                13) A Shroud Of Tattered Grey [Gene Day] 6p

                14) The Rescue Of Raniff The Fair [Mary Skrenes & Steve Skeates/Ronn Sutton] 9p


Notes: Mike Friedrich, publisher of Star*Reach and cartoonist Jay Lynch send in letters.  Lynch also sends in a caricature of himself.  Gene Day and John Allison share the best art & story for ‘Half-Life’ and ‘A Shroud Of Tattered Grey’.  Ken Steacy makes his professional debut.


    4. cover: Doug Martin (Nov.-Dec. 1975)

                1) Orb-Editorial/Gene Day Profile [James Waley & Gene Day/Gene Day] 1p   [text article]

                2) Electric Warrior [Kerri Ellison/Ken Steacy] 8p

                3) Orb Poster #5 [Jim Craig] 1p

                4) Encore Une Fois! [Matt Rust] 4p

                5) Gothic Glitter! [George Henderson/Peter Hsu] 7p

                6) Bakka Bookshoppe Ad [John Allison] 1p

                7) Dark Ninja [Vince Marchesano] 1p   [color]

                8) The Horror Of Harrow House [Gene Day] 6p   [color]

                9) The Continuing Adventures Of Kadaver: Child Slayer—World Saver? [James Waley & Matt

Rust/Art Cooper with an assist from Jim Craig] 11p

                10) Orb Poster #6 [Jim Beveridge] 1p

                11) The Origin Of The Northern Light: Deja-Vu [James Waley & George Henderson/Jim Craig]


                12) Orb Poster #7 [Norm Drew] 1p

                13) Spaze Scouts [Matt Rust] 1p   [color, on inside back cover]


Notes: After a publishing gap of one year, Orb becomes a magazine-sized book.  $1.00 for 56 pages.  Steacy’s art took a huge leap upward from his contribution in the previous issue.  The first installment of ‘Electric Warrior’ also was the best written & drawn story this issue.  ‘The Horror Of Harrow House’ by Gene Day looks a lot like an attempt at a Skywald style horror story. 


    5. cover: Gene Day/frontis & back cover: Don Marshall (Jan.-Feb. 1976)

1) One Man’s Madness [T. Casey Brennan/Gene Day] 6p

2) Dark Ninja: Harbinger Of Doom! [Russell Wallace/Vince Marchesano] 8p

3) Electric Warrior, part 2: Retribution [Gene Day/Gene Day & Peter Hsu] 8p

4) Man O’ Dreams [George Henderson/Don Marshall] 8p   [color]

5) Orb Profile: George Henderson [Geroge Henderson/?] 1p   [text article]

6) The Origin Of The Northern Light, part 2: Denouement [James Waley & Matt Rust/Jim Craig]


                7) The Continuing Adventures Of Kadaver: …My Will Be Done! [James Waley & Matt Rust/A.

Cooper & Jim Craig] 10p

                8) Tilt! Magazine Ad [Matt Rust] 1p


Notes: You’d never know it was a Gene Day cover just from looking at it.  Totally different art style than anything I’ve seen before or since.  The Electric Warrior concluded well, even though the entire creative team changed.  ‘Man O’ Dreams’ had the best art while T. Casey Brennan’s ‘One Man’s Madness’ was the best story.  The Next Issue Ad stated that Augustine Funnell & Gene Day’s leftover Skywald story ‘The Eaters’ would appear but it actually wasn’t published until 1985, several years after Day’s death.


    6. cover: Jim Craig/titlepage & back cover: Gene Day (Mar.-Apr. 1976)

                1) Orb-Editorial/Jim Craig Profile [James Waley/Jim Craig] 1p   [text article]

                2) Cosmic Dancer [Augustine Funnell/Jim Craig] 10p

                3) “Woof!  Woof!” [George Henderson/Matt Rust] 7p

                4) Orb Poster #8: Kadaver [Jim Beveridge] 1p

                5) Orb Poster #9 [Dan Archambault] 1p

                6) Raniff The Fair: Gyk The Barbarian [Matt Rust & John Ellis Sech/Paul McCusker & Jim Craig]

8p   [color]

                7) Trojan Horse [Gene Day] 6p

                8) Dark Ninja: Dawn Of Darkness [James Waley & John Ellis Sech/Vince Marchesano & Gene

Day] 8p

                9) The Flame Of El-Hamman [George Henderson/Bill Payne] 8p


Notes: Final issue.  A next issue ad featured a Viking with a big axe named Bludd, drawn by Gene Day.  An uncredited someone, whose inking style was a lot like Mike Ploog {I don’t believe it’s Ploog, just someone with a similar style} appears to have inked pages for both ‘Cosmic Dancer’ and ‘The Flame Of El-Hamman’.  Whoever they were, they were very good.  Best story was Gene Day’s ‘Trojan Horse’, while the best art was Jim Craig’s ‘Cosmic Dancer’.




Hot Stuf’

    1. cover: Ken Barr/back cover: Richard Corben (Summer 1974)                        

1) Titlepage & Contents page illos [Bil Maher & George Perez] 2p

2) Bug [Richard Corben] 5p

3) Shadow Of The Sword! [Rich Buckler] 8p

4) The Proposition [Dan Recchia] 1p

5) Hot Shot Ad [George Perez & Bob Garrison] 1p

6) The Apple [Mike Snyder] 1p

7) Uncle Sal And Cousin John Go Planet-Tripping! [Bob Keenan/George Perez & Bob Garrison]


8) Poem [written: ?] 2p   [no art]

9) Mice In Veloe [Bil Maher] 15p    [text story]

10) A Thought In The Egg [Doug Moench/Ernie Colon] 4p

11) Flys [Ed Faust/Richard Corben] 5p

12) The Kent State Tragedy: A Documentary Ad [Neal Adams] 1p  


Notes: $2.50.  Published & edited: Sal Quartuccio.  Magazine-sized issue.  This could be Perez’s professional debut.  His contents page artwork & the ad for Hot Shot #1 both advertise the She-Devils, an adventure fanzine which ended up not being published by Quartuccio.  ‘Mice In Veloe’ lists the artist as Baoman Miller while the title page lists Maher as the artist.  It certainly looks like Maher’s work.  The Kent State Tragedy is an ad for the next issue’s lead story.  That particular Adams’ story never appeared, although the extreme graphic violence employed by Adams in the ad reappeared in Warren Publications’ Creepy#75 with the story ‘Thrillkill’.  Corben amusingly describes writer Ed Faust’s misspelling of flies in the story ‘Flys’ as an “alternate” spelling.  Best material here would be either of the Corben stories.  Corben provides the best art on his two tales while the best story is probably ‘Flys’.


    2. cover, frontis & inside back cover: Ken Barr/back cover: Bil Maher (Winter 1975)

1) Pin-Up [Bil Maher] 1p

2) Voluptas [Herb Arnold/Richard Corben] 3p

3) Orion [Gray Morrow] 6p   reprinted from Witzend #2 (1967)

4) Strawberry Tarts [Mike Vosburg] 2p

5) House [Fershid Bharucha] 6p

6) Trigga Mordus [Bob Keenan/Ed Manley] 3p

7) Editorial [Sal Quartuccio/Greg Theakston--Berni Wrightson & Ken Barr] 2p   [text article]

8) Marhar I & II [Bil Maher] 1p

9) The Champion’s Match [Bob Keenan/Robert L. Kline] 3p

10) Centerfold [Neal Adams] 2p

11) The Mad Barber [Bil Maher] 10p

12) The Mist [Bob Keenan/Will Meugniot] 2p

13) Orion, part 2 [Gray Morrow] 10p

14) A Case Of Possession [Ernie Colon] 3p

15) The Scarecrow Ad [Bil Maher] 1p


Notes: $4.00. This is a pretty good issue.  Ken Barr’s cover is quite striking and would have made a great poster.  It does appear as the cover for Barr’s recent book collection of his cover paintings.  The Theakston/Wrightson painting (reproduced in B&W) on the editorial page looks as thought it might have intended as a cover for a Warren or Skywald horror title.  Adams’ ‘Centerfold’ is a Playboy type X-rated cartoon spread over two pages (The pun is unintentional but, based on the art, quite accurate).  Hot Stuf’ would feature ads for several years promoting Maher’s Scarecrow character but the story never appeared.  Too bad, the artwork is very intriguing.   Best artwork & story is probably Morrow’s work on Orion but most of the artwork is very good, especially the Corben, Adams, Meugniot, & Vosburg work and the stories are generally quite good as well.  Last magazine-sized issue.


    3. cover: Richard Corben/back cover & frontis: Herb Arnold  (Winter 1976)

1) Eirvthia: Prologue [Herb Arnold/Tim Kirk] 6p

2) The Pawn [Stan Dresser] 10p

3) Interlude [Herb Arnold/Tim Kirk] 1p

4) The Dwellers In The Dark [Richard Corben & Herb Arnold/Richard Corben] 11p

5) Interlude 2 [Herb Arnold/Tim Kirk] 1p

6) The Feaster Of Souls [Herb Arnold] 21p

7) Color Art Prints Ad [Richard Corben] 1p

8) Pin-Ups [Stan Dresser, Herb Arnold & Tim Kirk] 3p


Notes: $1.50.  Now comic-sized.  The entire issue is a single fantasy saga extending over many years, overseen by Herb Arnold.  Best art & comes from the Arnold/Corben chapter.


    4. cover: Ken Barr/back cover: Robert L. Kline (1977)

1) Titlepage art [Ernie Colon] 1p   [frontis]

2) Space Station Dora [Jan Strnad/Robert L. Kline] 8p

3) The Vanguard [Alex Toth] 10p

4) House On Whore Hill [Mike Vosburg] 4p

5) Pin-Up [Herb Arnold] 1p

6) Scarecrow Preview [Bil Maher] 6p

7) Orion, part 3 [Gray Morrow] 6p

8) Mercy [Bob Keenan/Ernie Colon] 4p

9) Kenshi Blade! [Bill Stillwell] 8p


Notes: ‘The Vanguard’ was originally done for Atlas in 1975 and intended to be the new direction for Howard Chaykin’s The Scorpion.  Chaykin wasn’t informed of this and was so angry when he accidentally saw the art that he quit the strip.  Morrow’s Orion was continued & concluded in Heavy Metal in 1979.  Best story is Jan Strnad’s ‘Space Station Dora’ while the best artwork is Toth’s ‘The Vanguard’.  Good work also appeared from Mike Vosburg, Bil Maher, Gray Morrow, Bill Stillwell & Ernie Colon.


    5. cover: Richard Corben/back cover: Herb Arnold (1977)

                 1) Editorial [Sal Quartuccio] 1p   [text article, frontis]

 2) Tales Our Of Eirvthig, Book II: The Four Demi-Gorgons [Herb Arnold/Tim Kirk] 6p

 3) The City Of The Black Idol [Herb Arnold/Stan Dresser] 9p

 4) Interlude [Herb Arnold/Tim Kirk] 1p

 5) Chard [Herb Arnold/Richard Corben] 10p

 6) Interlude II [Herb Arnold/Tim Kirk] 1p

 7) Crown Of Fear [Herb Arnold] 18p

 8) Pin-Up [Bill ?] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: Again, this is a full-length fantasy saga set in the same world as #3 and, again, the best art & story is the Arnold/Corben chapter.


    6. cover: Rich Larson & Steve Fastner/back cover: Rich Larson (1978)

1) Titlepage art [Herb Arnold] 1p   [frontis]

                2) 12 Parts [Mike Nasser] 8p

                3) The Apprentice [Gail Schlesser] 8p

                4) The Walls Of The City [Steven Grant/Rich Larson & Tim Boxell] 6p

                5) Hornamania [Bil Maher] 6p

                6) Manimal [Ernie Colon] 8p

                7) Steel Souls [Dan Recchia] 2p

8) The Winter Of ’94: Troubadour [Jan Strnad/Rich Larson & Tim Boxell] 8p

9) Pin-Up [Ernie Colon] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: $2.00.  Both ‘Manimal’ and ‘The Winter Of ‘94’ were new series and both led off with strong starts.  Best art were the two efforts by the team of Larson & Boxell, while Strnad scored again with ‘The Winter Of ‘94’.


    7. cover: Michael Kaluta/back cover: Rich Larson & Tim Boxell (1978)

                1) Titlepage art [Bil Maher] 1p   [frontis]

                2) Manimal, part 2 [Ernie Colon] 8p

                3) Hornamania, part 2 [Bil Maher] 10p

                4) All The King’s Man [Howard Hill/Sonny Trinidad] 8p

                5) The Winter Of ’94: People [Jan Strnad/Rich Larson & Tim Boxell] 8p

                6) Steel Souls [Dan Recchia] 1p

                7) Editorial [Sal Quartuccio/Bil & Nish Maher] 2p   [text article]

                8) To Tell The Truth [Bil Maher] 8p

                9) Pin-Up [Terry Austin] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes:  Kaluta’s cover was reused (and reproduced much more clearly) as the cover to Epic Illustrated #4 (Winter 1980).  It appears to be a try at a Conan cover.  The artwork on Quartuccio’s editorial is from a never published story entitled ‘Barbi Meets The Dirty Dworns’.  Best story is again Strnad’s installment of ‘The Winter Of ‘94’ with best art being Ernie Colan’s work on ‘Manimal’.


    8. cover: Neal Adams/back cover: Rich Larson & Tim Boxell (1978)

                1) Titlepage art [Bil Maher] 1p   [frontis]

                2) The Americanization Of Japan [Bil & Nish Maher] 8p

                3) The Winter Of ’94: The Death Of Dreams [Jan Strnad/Rich Larson & Tim Boxell] 8p

                4) Heartfelt Thanks [Kathy Barr/Ken Barr] 7p

5) Editorial [Sal Quartuccio/Bil Maher] 1p   [text article]

                6) Manimal, part 3 [Ernie Colon] 8p

                7) Starblind [Nicola Cuti/Charles Roblin] 5p   [poem]

8) The Winter Of ’94: Conclusion [Jan Strand/Rich Larson & Tim Boxell] 8p


Notes: Final issue. The editorial promises a next issue cover by Neal Adams & Richard Corben, as well as stories by Ernie Colon, Mike Nasser, Bil & Nish Maher, John Bryne, Terry Austin, Steven Grant and others as well as the long anticipated Scarecrow story by Bil Maher but it never happened.  The Manimal strip was collected in a one-shot comic by Renegade Press in 1986.  It’s also cover featured here with a great painting by Neal Adams.  Best stories here were Strnad’s final two chapters of ‘The Winter Of ‘94’.  Best artwork is Ken Barr’s work on ‘Heartfelt Thanks’.  




Hot Shot Presents: She Devils

    1. cover & back cover: George Perez (1975)   back cover reprinted from Hot Stuf’ #1 (Summer 1974)

                1) Introduction [James Glenn] 1p   [text article]

                2) She Devils: The Deadly Sparklers! [George Perez/George Perez & Bill Garrison] 28p

                3) Conjure Ad [George Perez] 1p

                4) The Dragon Poster [Geroge Perez] 1p   [pin-up]


Notes: As seen in the notes for Hot Stuf’ #1, this issue was probably done in 1973.  By 1975 when this work finally appeared, Perez was already a professional working at Marvel.  She Devils features story & artwork by a very young Perez, and looks it.  The artwork is quite crude but it shows a lot of promise.  The story is unimpressive.  Publisher & editor: James Glenn.  $1.00 for 32 pages.




Big Apple Comix

    1. cover: Wally Wood/back cover: Ralph Reese (Sept. 1975)

                1) Foreword [Denny O’Neil/Michele Brand] 1p   [text article, frontis]

                2) The Man Without A City [Lou Schwartzberg/Marie Severin] 3p

                3) Peep Shows [Archie Goodwin] 2p

                4) My Word [Wally Wood] 3p

                5) Can You Spot The Air Breather? [? Petchesky] 1p

                6) The Tube [Wally Wood/Al Williamson & Dan Green] 3p

                7) “A Nice Place To Visit, But…” [Linda Fite] 1p

                8) Over & Under [Larry Hama & Neal Adams] 5p

                9) New York City: The Future [Paul Kirchner] 1p

                10) The Battery’s Down [Alan Weiss] 5p

                11) Lotsa Yox featuring Rodger Farnsworth USAAF [Herb Trimpe/Herb Trimpe & Wally Wood]


                12) The Silent Minority [Mike Ploog] 2p

                13) Token [Herb Trimpe] 4p

                14) Backword [Flo Steinberg] 1p   [text article, on inside back cover]


Notes: Publisher & editor: Flo Steinberg.  $1.00 for 32 pages.  Steinberg was well known in the comic community as Marvel’s receptionist in the 1960s and as Warren’s Captain Company head in the 1970s.  This is really an underground comix book about New York City done by mainstream artists and writers.  It’s not bad, either.  Wood’s ‘My Word’ is an X-rated follow-up to his EC story ‘My World’.  While my personal favorite was Ploog’s largely wordless strip, I also liked ‘Peep Shows’, ‘My Word’, ‘The Tube’ and ‘Over & Under’.  ‘Over & Under’ features the parallel lives of a gutter street whore {no, not a prostitute or hooker, this girl is a whore!--written & illustrated by Hama on the right hand side of each page} and a upper class advertising slut {written & illustrated by Neal Adams on the left hand side of each page} and how their lives are not as far apart as one might assume.  Goodwin’s ‘Peep Show’ is a very amusing view of the early 1970s “adult” bookstore offerings.  This is a rather impressive package with some extreme sexually graphic depictions and storylines.  Well worth a look.




Dr. Wirtham’s Comix & Stories

1. cover & back cover: Clifford Neal (1975)

                1) The Editor Speaks:  [Clifford Neal] 1p   [text article, frontis]

                2) Chichen Itza Comix [Clifford Neal] 8p

                3) Decoding The Codex [Clifford Neal] 2p   [text article]

                4) Startling Confessions! [Clifford Neal] 7p   [pin-ups]

                5) Crime Comics [Clifford Neal] 6p  

                6) Decoding Crime Comics [Clifford Neal] 1p   [text article]

                7) Pin-Ups/Cartoons [Clifford Neal] 9p  


Notes: Publisher & editor: Clifford Neal.  $? for 32 pages.  All of Neal’s stories & art were credited to Oisif Egaux.  Dr. Wirthham’s was largely an underground comix but also published some ground level material.  This is the only issue that Neal contributed all of the artwork for.  His text article ‘Decoding The Codex’ is largely incomprehensible {at least to a non-artist}.  His artwork isn’t bad.  His stories are particularly good.


2. cover, titlepage & back cover: Clifford Neal (Winter 1976)

1) Hot Dog! [Will Meugnoit] 7p

2) Alien Mercy [Mike Roberts] 5p   [credited to a Max Frizbee on the splash page]

3) Snuff-Box [Clifford Neal] 5p

4) ‘Snuff Box’ And Binary Systems Analysis [Clifford Neal] 1p   [text article]

5) Hitler Pin-Up [Larry Rippee] 1p

6) Grave Concern [Steve Bissette] 2p

7) The White House Horror [Rick Veitch] 9p

8) Bumpen Grinder Burger Contest & Pin-Ups [Clifford Neal] 5p   [text article]

           9) EC Pickins [Bill Black] 4p   [miscredited to Bill Flack on the splash page]

           10) Angel Of Death [Larry Rippee] 1p

           11) Dr. Wirtham’s Ad [Clifford Neal] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: ‘Grave Concern’ was  Bissette’s professional debut.  Mike Roberts’ artwork was heavily influenced by Richard Corben.  Nice selection of early Meugnoit, Veitch, Bissette & Rippee art.


    3. cover: Greg Irons/titlepage: Clifford Neal/back cover: Mike Roberts (1977)

           1) Until Death Do Us Part [Mark Burbey/Doug Potter] 6p

           2) Heavenly Bodies [Mike Roberts] 7p

           3) Pin-Ups [Clifford Neal, Larry Rippee & Al Davoren] 4p

           4) Dead Heat [Clifford Neal] 6p

           5) Love Among The Worms [Mark Burbey/Rich Larson] 7p

           6) The Brain Meets The Zarg [Hector Tellez] 1p

           7) Dr. Wirtham’s Ad [Clifford Neal] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: Pretty much a horror issue.  Best stories here are by Mark Burbey.  Best art is on ‘Until Death Do Us Part’ by Doug Potter and ‘Love Among The Worms’ by Rich Larson.


    4. cover: Greg Irons/titlepage: Clifford Neal/back cover: Mike Roberts (1979)

1) Cheating Time! [Mark Burbey/Gene Day] 8p

2) Martian Meringue [Mike Roberts] 9p

3) Tales Of Gregor, Purpleass Baboon [Greg Irons] 2p

4) Some Binary Notes On 20th Century Fox [Clifford Neal] 1p   [text article]

5) 20th Century Fox [Clifford Neal] 6p

6) No Clues [Larry Rippee] 1p

7) …People Are Strange… [Par Holman] 1p

8) The Hood: 3-Deep Threat [Steve Vance/Steve Vance & Bill Black] 9p

9) Death & Dumb [Mark Burbey/Rich Larson] 8p

10) The Tell-Tale Fart! [Steve Bissette & Rick Veitch] 9p

11) Dr. Wirtham’s Ad [Clifford Neal] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: $1.50 for 48 pages.  Roberts’ art again looks heavily influenced by Richard Corben.  It’s pretty good, though.  In fact, all of the artwork in this issue is impressive.  ‘The Tell-Tale Fart’ is quite amusing potty humor.  ‘Cheating Time’, ‘Martian Meringue’ and ‘Death & Dumb’ are also quite good.  A very good issue.


    5. cover: Greg Irons/alternate cover: Steve Bissette & Rick Veitch/titlepage: Clifford Neal (1980)   [This

is a flip book with each cover being a front cover.]

1) Black Cat City [Jay Kinney] 3p

2) Cell Food [Rick Veitch & Steve Bissette] 8p

3) A Portrait Of The Arteest As A Burnt Baboon [Greg Irons] 2p

4) Mirror [Eric Vincent] 8p

5) Diary: One Night On Market Street [Michael Gilbert] 1p

6) Pin-Up [Larry Rippee] 1p

7) The Puzzle [Greg Budgett & Gary Dumm] 8p

8) The Pen Is… [Clifford Neal] 1p

9) Sloty Beagle And The Scab King [Greg Budgett & Gary Dumm] 1p

                Alternate side

1) Dr. Wirtham’s Ad [Clifford Neal] 1p   [frontis]

2) Crazyworld [Mark Burbey/Marc Hempel] 10p

3) Squaw-Man [John Ellis Sech/Robert L. Smith] 9p

4) Little Minds [Mark Burbey/Rich Larson] 6p

5) Tools Of The Trade [R. C. Harvey] 2p

6) Pin-Ups [Jay Kinney, Eric Vincent, Will Meugniot & Clifford Neal] 4p


Notes: Final issue.  $2.00 for 48 pages.  Another largely horror issue with some excellent art & stories.  ‘Cell Food’ by Bisette & Veitch is probably the most impressive work here but Iron’s underground style wears well on ‘Portrait Of The Arteest…’, while there’s also high quality work from Vincent, Gilbert, Hempel, Burbey, Sech, Smith & Larson while Budgett & Dumm show considerable promise.  No real weak spots at all.  This is one fine magazine.  ‘Sloty Beagle…’ is printed sideways. 





    7. cover: Ken Macklin/frontis: Neal Adams/ back cover: Tony Salmons (Spring 1977)

                1) Editorial [Charles Boatner] 1p   [text article]

                2) Me An’ Stick [Steve Oliff] 1p

                3) The Defense [Ken Macklin] 4p

                4) Tower Of Death [Eric Toye/Brent Anderson] 6p

                5) Digging Around [Ken Macklin] 2p

                6) Mean Stick [Steve Oliff] 1p

                7) The Agony Of Will [Mark Clegg & Charles Boatner/Mark Clegg] 11p

                8) Robots [Charles Boatner/Charles Boatner & Anna ?] 14p

                9) Pin-Up [Frank Cirocco] 1p   [color, on inside back cover]


Notes: Publisher: Graphic Stories Guild of UCSC.  Editor: Mark Clegg with M. C. {Charles} Boatner listed as assistant editor.  $1.00 for 32 pages.  Apparently this is the continuation of All-Slug Comics {which presumably were #1-6}.  This may be Ken Macklin’s professional debut.  He provides the best two stories in this issue.  Steve Oliff’s work is also noteworthy.  Anderson’s art is still somewhat crude, not yet of professional quality.  Most of the issue is taken up by the editors’ contributions and the best that can be said is that they are ok, non-pro material.  This magazine eventually evolved or served as a prototype for the later professional magazine Dragon’s Teeth.




The Journal Of Popular Culture

    1. cover: Steve Bissette & Rick Veitch (1977)

                1) Deadline [George Erling] 1p   [frontis]

                2) Frabbit Comix’s [?}

                3) Moorzen: Pinball Death [Jack Venogker & Tucker Petertil/Tucker Petertil] 6p

                4) Sees [Al Greener] 1p

                5) Barefootz [Howard Cruse] 1p

                6) Drivin’ That Train [Joel Milke] 2p

                7) Day After Tomorrow… [E. F. Pasanen] 1p

                8) Carnival Pin-Up [?]

                9) Warehouse Archives [Tom Veitch] 1p   [text article]

                10) Two-Fisted Zombies page [Rick Veitch] 2p  

                11) Squopoite [Al Greener] 1p

                12) Mind Probe #4 [Ray Weiland] 3p

                13) Big Bang Real American Comix [Doug Hansen] 1p

                14) Bang-Up All  American Comix [Doug Hansen] 1p

                15) Weird Dick [Rick Grimes] 1p

                16) B.B. Brain [Ray Weiland] 2p

                17) Another Duck [Rick Grimes] 1p

                18) Carmalita [Kathleen Kenoe] 3p

                19) Barefootz [Howard Cruse] 1p

                20) Arena [Jack Venooker & Steve Bissette/Steve Bissette] 3p  [last two pages on the inside and

back covers]


Notes: Publishers: Jack Venooker & Walter Gachner.  $2.00 for 32 magazine-sized pages.  There’s a big gap here between artists who were clearly almost professionals and artists who were clearly never going to be.  Noteworthy material appeared from Doug Hansen, Steve Bissette, Rick Grimes, Joel Milke and Rick Veitch.  Best work here belongs to Howard Cruse.  The rest of the book is pretty much awful. 




Faerie Star

1.       cover: Ken Raney/back cover: Tom Kirby (1977)

    1) Introduction [John David Cothran] 1p   [text article, frontis]

            2) Marla Ravenhair: The Hunt [Ken Raney] 7p

            3) The Unbeliever [? Giovammo/Tom Kirby] 2p

            4) Captain And The Sorcerer [Charlie Thompson/Dave Sim] 9p

            5) Olde And Younge: Dealers In The Strange [Will Meugniot] 10p

            6) Paper Dragons [Gene Day] 5p

            7) Time’s Revenge [John David Cothran/Earl Geier] 4p

            8) Hobo Dreamer [John David Cothran/Gene Day]3p

            9) Contributor’s Notes [John David Cothran] 1p   [text article w/photos, on inside back cover]


Notes: Publisher & editor: John David Cothran.  $1.75 for 40 pages.  Ken Raney’s art looks very much like

Barry Windsor-Smith’s circa 1973.  This is a pretty good little fanzine.  Strong art from Sim, Day, Raney, Meugniot & Geier and the stories are decent as well. 





    1. cover: John Allison/frontis: Robert McIntyre/back cover: Paul Rivoche (Sept. 1977)

                1) Editorial [Dean Motter] 1p   [text article]

                2) Pin-Up [Franc Reyes] 1p

                3) The Man Who Walked Home [John Allison/John Allison & Tony Meers] 24p   from the story

by James Tiptree, Jr.

                4) The Escape And Pursuit Of Jeanne d’Arc [Dean Motter] 19p

                5) A Day At Ygsrd’s [Jason Ross] 2p

                6) Troll: Cerebral Swamp [Don Marshall] 1p

                7) Arik Khan Ad [Robert McIntrye] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: $1.25 for 48 pages.  Publisher: Bill Paul.  Editor: Dean Motter(?).  Somewhat similar in intent and approach to Mike Friedrich’s Star*Reach, this Canadian fanzine focused on SF adaptations and one-off stories. Allison’s excellent adaptation of the Tiptree story may have been originally intended for Marvel’s Unknown Worlds.  Jeanne d’Arc is largely wordless and was probably a substitute for the Motter/Steacy serial ‘The Sacred & The Profane’, which was intended for this debut issue but appeared in Star*Reach when this issue was delayed.  McIntyre used the young girl who modeled for the frontispiece several more times. 


    2. cover: Don Marshall/frontis: Robert McIntyre/titlepage: Paul Rivoche/back cover: Dean Motter (June


                1) Process [A. E. Van Vogt/Dean Motter] 16p   [text story]

                2) The Hidden Diaries: She Confronts Reality And Is Betrayed [Ken Steacy & Jeffrey

Morgan/Ken Steacy] 3p

                3) Shawn Of The Ruins [George Henderson/Gene Day & Jim Beveridge] 8p

4) The Dark Side Of The Moon! [Tom Nesbitt/Tom Nesbitt & Nick Pollwko] 20p


Notes: The Van Vogt story may have been abridged by Motter but without the original story I can’t tell.  Gene Day only provides layouts for ‘Shawn Of The Ruins’, however it’s a good story & provides the best art of this issue.  Tom Nesbitt & Ken Steacy also provide good work.  Very nice covers from Marshall & Rivoche.


    3. cover: Paul Rivoche/frontis: Robert McIntyre/back cover: Don Marshall (Sept. 1978)

                1) Editorial [Dean Motter] 1p   [text article]

                2) Wirely L. Wiremire [Tom Nesbitt] 1p

                3) Exile Of The Aeons [B. P. Nicol/Paul Rivoche] 26p   from the story by Arthur C. Clarke

                4) Here’s Mud In Yer Eye! [Don Marshall] 20p


Notes: The nude woman in McIntyre’s frontispiece is a swipe from a Playboy centerfold spread {circa 1976}.  That particular centerfold used to hang on the wall in the painter’s shop I worked for part time in college.  A Eurasian girl, if I remember right.  Best story here (for comics, anyway) is Don Marshall’s ‘Here’s Mud In Yer Eye!’.  Best art is Paul Rivoche for ‘Exile Of The Aeons’.


    4. cover: Ramy Bar-Elan/frontis: Robert McIntyre (Dec. 1978)   [wraparound cover]

                1) Editorial [Dean Motter] 1p   [text article]

                2) The Narrow Land [B. P. Nichol/Tom Nesbitt] 32p   from the story by Jack Vance

                3) For Tomorrow We Die [Brian Lee & Marc Griffiths] 9p

                4) Space Stuff [Tom Nesbitt] 6p


Notes: ‘The Narrow Land’ is a very odd story but well done.  Best art & story here.  I also liked Tom Nesbitt’s solo story, ‘Space Stuff’.  ‘For Tomorrow We Die’ is a wordless story reproduced from pencils.


    5. cover: John Allison/frontis: Robert McIntyre (June 1979)   [wrapround cover]

                1) Editorial [Dean Motter?Paul Rivoche] 1p   [text article]

                2) The Big Hunger [B. P. Nichol/Tony Meers] 25p   from the story by Walter M. Miller

                3) Klang! Klang! [Derek Carter] 4p

                4) Visit [Don Marshall] 2p

                5) The Bellergon Version [written: B. P. Nichol/Tom Nesbitt] 16p


    6. cover: Tom Nesbitt/titlepage: Ken Steacy/back cover: Peter Hsu (Nov. 1979)

                1) Alan Dean Foster [Dean Motter] 1p   [text article, frontis]

                2) Why Johnny Can’t Speed [B. P. Nichol/Peter Hsu] 16p   from the story by Alan Dean Foster

                3) Where Do You Get Those Ideas! [Alan Dean Foster/Paul Rivoche] 2p   [text article]

                4) The Metrognome [Alan Dean Foster/Tom Nesbitt] 17p   [text story]

                6) Thrust [Alan Dean Foster/Don Marshall] 12p  

                7) Alan Dean Foster Checklist [?] 1p   [text article, on inside back cover]


Notes: Final issue. Hsu’s art is quite nice and very unlike the Liverpool Press porn cover art style he used for Warren & his own Quadrant series.  Don Marshall’s work is also quite good.




The Horns Of Elfland

    1. cover/titlepage & dedication: Charles Vess (July 1979)

                1) Charles Vess: A Friend Of The Tale [Ragan Reaves] 5p   [text article]

                2) The Shadow Witch [Charles Vess] 11p   [text story]

                3) Demon Sword [Charles Vess] 10p

                4) The Fiddler And The Swan [Charles Vess] 25p   [text story]


Notes: Only ‘Demon Sword’ is done in comic form.  ‘The Fiddler And The Swan’ is very much in the style of Vess’ later The Book Of Ballads material from the 1990s.  Beautiful artwork with fair to middlin’ stories.




Future Day

    1. cover: Gene Day (1979)

                1) Gifts Of Silver Splendor [Gene Day] 16p

                2) Hive [Gene Day] 6p

                3) Days Of Future Past [Gene Day] 6p   reprinted from Imagine #2 (June 1978)

                4) Gauntlet [Gene Day] 6p

                5) Paper Dragon [Gene Day] 5p   reprinted from Fairie Star #1 (1977)

                6) War Games [Gene Day] 10p

                7) Black Legion [Gene Day] 7p   [text story]

                8) What Is A Graphic Album? [Terry Nantier/Steve Bissette] 1p   [on back cover]


Notes: A hardcover magazine-sized book.  These stories may be reprinted from various Canadian fanzines.  Good stories & art throughout.  Well worth buying.




Gates Of Eden

1. cover: Michael Kaluta/frontis: John Byrne/titlepage: Raoul Vezina/back cover: Rick Griffin (May


1) Altamont [Steve Leialoha] 8p

2) The Day J.F.K. Bought The Farm [Michael Gilbert] 1p

3) The Way We Wore [Trina Robbins] 4p

4) I Was A Teenage Mets Fan!! [Fred Hembeck] 4p

5) They Said it Couldn’t Be Done [Frank Stack] 3p   [story & art credited to Foolbert Sturgeon]

6) Pudge, Girl Blimp in Massage Muddle [Lee Marrs] 1p

7) ’69 [Jeff Jones] 1p

8) High School in Limboland [P. Craig Russell] 2p

9) Communal Life… [Rick Geary] 3p

10) Dial M For Monster [Tony Eastman & Kim Deitch] 2p

11) Chicago ’68 [Spain Rodriguez] 5p

12) Nowhere To Run [Sharon Kahn Rudahl] 3p

13) The Return Of The Casebook Of Doctor Feelgood [Frank Stack] 5p   [story & art credited to

Foolbert Sturgeon]

                14) Pocked Lips Now [Gary Hallgren] 4p

                15) Cartoon Page [Randy Caldwell] ½p

                16) Pin-Up [Jim Starlin] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: Publisher: Tom Skulan for Fantaco Enterprises.  Editor: Mitch Cohn.  $3.50 for 48 pages.  This was a magazine-sized fanzine dedicated to telling stories about the life and times of the 1960s.  Both ground level and underground artists participated.  A beautiful cover by Kaluta and a rock poster by Griffin highlight the covers.  There are some pretty good stories here.  I especially liked ‘Chicago ‘68’ by Spain, ‘The Way We Wore’ by Trina Robbins & Michael Gilbert’s JFK 1-pager.  Best art & story, however, goes to Steve Leialoha’s autobiographical ‘Altamont’, dealing with the nightmarish Rolling Stone concert there in 1969.  Other good work appeared from Craig Russell, Fred Hembeck, Frank Stack, Jim Starlin, Rick Geary & Lee Marrs.  A second issue was promised with covers by Jeff Jones, pin-ups by Frank Miller, Trina Robbins, Steve Leialoha & Charles Vess and stories by Neal Adams, Kim Deitch, Rick Geary, Michael Gilbert, George Perez, Leonard Rifas, Spain Rodriguez, Frank Stack & Raoul Vezina.  That second issue never appeared, although Spain’s conclusion to his two-part story did finally show up in a Fantagraphics anthology.  Well worth looking for. 





1. cover: John Pound (1982)

            1) Re:Bop [Catherine Yronwode/Jim Engel] 1p   [text article]

            2) Fandom Confidential Ad [Jim Engel & Chuck Fiala] 1p   [fumetti strip]

            3) Teen Beat ’63 [Fred Hembeck] 6p

            4) Baby Blues [Joe Schwind] 2p   [fumetti strip]

            5) Kitz ‘n’ Katz: The Lost Chord [Bob Laughlin] 1p

            6) Baby, That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll [George Moonoogian/Denis McFarling] 4p   [text article]

            7) East Virginia Blues [Trina Robbins] 7p

            8) Losers Of The Blues [Bruce Sweeney/Dennis Lieberman] 2p

            9) A Night With Bo Diddley [Ron Courtney] 3p   [text article w/photos]

            10) Much Too Much [Jerry Lee Lewis & Cat Yronwode/Billy Fugate] 6p

            11) Reviews: Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On/Jerry Lee Lewis Rocks/Hellfire: The Jerry lee Lewis

Story [Cat Yronwode] 2p   [text article]

                12) Barney Google With His Goo-Goo-Googley Eyes [Murray Bishoff/Billy DeBeck] 2p   [text


                13) The Mystery Dance? [Doug Erb] 2p

                14) Records Reissues Reviews: Hoagy Carmichael/Gerry Mulligan Tentette And Quartet/Helen

Forrest [Dean Mullaney] 2p   [text article w/photos]

                15) Cowboy Song  [Harvey Pekar/Sean Carroll] 1p

                16) Taps [Alex Toth] 5p

                17) Surf City [Rick Geary] 1p   [color, on back cover]


Notes: Publisher: Denis Kitchen.  Editor: Cat Yronwode.  $2.75 for 56 pages.  A fanzine devoted to comic stories & articles about music.  From Pound’s cover depicting dancing jukeboxes to Rick Geary’s back cover tribute to Jan & Dean, this is one lively magazine.  Plenty of highlights with Trina Robbins, Fred Hembeck, Billy Fugate, Cat Yronwode {pronounced Ironwood}, Harvey Pekar, Bruce Sweeney and Denis Lieberman producing great material.  The best story & art however belongs to Alex Toth’s ‘Taps’, a wistful, sad  and moving tribute to Wally Wood & Russ Manning.  One of Toth’s, and thus the comics field’s, best stories.  ‘Much Too Much’ is a comic interpretation of a Jerry Lee Lewis interview.  ‘Losers Of The Blues’ is a parody of Robert Crumb’s ‘Heroes Of The Blues’ card set.  There’s no filler in this issue whatsoever.  Even the ads are top notch.  Just a fine, fine magazine.




D’Arc Tangent

    1. cover: Phil Foglio & Freff (Aug. 1982)   [wraparound cover]

                1) Introduction [Phil Foglio, Melissa Ann Singer & Freff] 1p   [text article, frontis]

                2) D’Arc Tangent: Clues And Omens [Phil Foglio & Freff] 46p

                3) The Perils Of Partnership [Phil Foglio] ½p

                4) Next Issue Ad [Freff & Phil Foglio] ½p

                5) Creators Page: Phil Foglio, Melissa Ann Singer, Freff, M. Lucie Chen & Chris Claremont

Profiles [various] 1p   [text articles w/photos, on inside back cover]


Notes: Publisher: Melissa Ann Singer. Editor: ?, although Chris Claremont is listed as an editorial consultant.  $2.00 for 48 pages.  This is one of the great “What if…?” fanzines.  This first and only issue was quite impressive with a great story, promising artwork and engaging characters.  It was intended to run 16 chapters or issues.  I’ve seen the artwork for parts of the never published second issue and those pages are just as good as #1’s work.  I vividly remember the sense of wonder and joy when I finished this first issue years ago.  22 years later there’s still a nagging sadness over what could have been.  For more on this title, there’s an interview with Connor ‘Freff’ Cochran at the end of this page.





    1. cover: Frank Brunner/frontis: Lela Dowling (June 1983)

1) Pin-Up [Terry Austin] 1p

2) Introduction [Howard Feltman/Lela Dowling] 1p   [text article]

3) Bravo For Adventure [Alex Toth] 21p

4) Murder In The Garage [Rick Geary] 5p

5) Sugar In The Morning [Charles Vess] 1p

6) No Rest For The Weary [Howard Chaykin] 4p   [color]

7) Cheshire Cat [Lela Dowling] 6p

8) Innerviews: Tripping The Light Fantastic [Bark Hawkins Karl & P. Craig Russell/P. Craig

Russell] 3p   [text article]

                9) Pin-Up [P. Craig Russell] 1p

                10) Queenie Hart And The Andromedan Grzblch [Trina Robbins] 8p

                11) The Ghost [Jon J. Muth] 3p

                12) Blimp Tales [Charles Vess] 1p


Notes: Publisher: Nautilus Dreams.  Editor: Howard Feltman.  $4.95 for 60 pages in a trade paperback format.  Excellent issue with a great cover, an installment of Toth’s ‘Bravo For Adventure’ and fine work by Rick Geary, Trina Robbins, Jon Muth & Howard Chaykin.



                                                A 2005 Interview with Connor Freff Cochran!



RA: Welcome & thank you, Connor!  You did a lot of work in the late 1970s, early 1980s using the name Freff.  Can you give us some background on yourself?


CFC: Born in Miami in 1954, middle son in a set of three: the mutant.  My father was a cement salesman and both of my brothers grew up to be cement salesmen, whereas I turned out to be an artist/writer/muscian/composer/actor/producer/techie/CEO/entrepreneur/something-or-other.  This difference is partly some freak of genetics and partly attributable to head injuries and high fevers during childhood.  I took a few hard knocks.


I’m told I had a good time during those first three years in Florida, but I remember nothing about them.  In fact, my first clear memory is a moment on the plane when we moved from Florida to Kansas.  That memory is all about the amazing color contrast between the light beige of the bakelite lunch tray and the bright red and yellow of the catsup and mustard that came with my mother’s meal, each condiment in its own little white paper cup.  So I was seriously into visuals even then.


Kansas is where I really grew up, and still feel like I’m from.  We lived in Prairie Village, which sounds like the middle of Null meets Void but was actually a ‘50s-style suburb of Kansas City.  Winding up there was a stroke of good luck.  The place offered amazing seasonal weather variations, beautiful trees in thick profusion, huge yards around the houses, a landscape of rolling hills and intermittent vistas (the really flat part of Kansas is farther west), great schools, a miles-long creek to wander, and all kinds of inadvertent cultural stimulation.  The rich folks of KC, back in the early 20th century, when it was a cattle and railroad boomtown, traveled extensively in Europe.  While there they bought everything in sight and had it shipped back home.  As a result, KC has beautifully-sculpted marble statues everywhere, a downtown with architecture and decorative tiling straight out of Seville or Madrid, and more fountains per capita than any other city on the planet except for Rome.  It also had enough community support to build and maintain the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art — still an amazing place, and back then arguably one of the two great museums between the coasts, along with the Art Institute Of Chicago.  I took my first drawing and painting lessons there when I was 5 years old.  They were more babysitting classes than anything else, but after each Saturday morning session I got to wander through the museum’s many galleries, studying sculptures and paintings from all over the world.  That part of the experience is what really expanded my perception. 


KC also had the world’s first-ever multiplex cinema, the Ward Parkway 1 & 2, which was an easy bicycle ride from my house.  I practically lived there on weekends.  Other places I spent a hell of a lot of time included the library and the B. Dalton’s Booksellers that opened up nearby while I was in junior high school.


Next big shift — and it was huge — came in the summer of 1969, when my family moved again and landed in Orange County, California, only about eight miles from Disneyland.  That’s where I went to high school, and I never particularly liked the place.  Goodbye seasons, goodbye clean air, goodbye great schools, goodbye trees, goodbye camping, goodbye music classics (my high school didn’t have anything it that department except marching band).  Goodbye lots of things.  The only real bonus was getting involved in SF fandom, and that wasn’t local — that was in Los Angeles, 50 miles away.  Having plenty of incentive I graduated early and got the heck out of there when I was 17.  That’s when I left home and started supporting myself.


During the 33 subsequent years I have been entirely self-employed except for two four-month stints (the last of which ended in 1974), and have lived in Florida again (briefly), California (multiple times), New York (multiple times), Washington, D.C., Virginia, Alabama, Colorado (multiple times), Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Illinois, and Nevada.  These days, home is a variable: I bounce back and forth mainly between San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, with side trips as needed to keep building the creative/business empire.


Married twice.  The first time a youthful mistake, and no regrets.  We stayed together for years, gradually drifted apart, and have remained friends (she and her second husband even do consulting work for my company from time to time); the second marriage, to an extraordinarily brilliant and talented classical pianist, was a flaming disaster interrupted by sporadic flashes of possibility that kept both of us hanging on longer than we should have.  No kids from either union, which wasn’t necessarily my preference but in retrospect is a good thing.


I am the only person I know who has been a comic book writer and artist, a magazine writer and illustrator, a video producer, a soundtrack composer, a science reporter from BBC Television, and a graduate of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College.  An odd life, with signs of becoming even odder.


RA: What types of books or authors did you read as a kid?


CFC: Before I could read I would sit on the floor for three or four hours at a time with the Encyclopedia Britannica, turning pages and staring at them as if I was reading.  Freaked my parents right out.  Once I learned to read for real there were no limits.  I read literally everything.  If it had words I would dive in, whether I understood the material or not.  The local library was one of my escape places, a way to just be on my own with all those universes that were hidden inside books.  I read mainly science and history and classic fantasy like Lewis Carroll and L. Frank Baum during elementary school, and I positively devoured the library’s back-issue stack of Science Digest, Popular Science and Popular Mechanics.  Somewhere in there I discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs (the first paperback I ever bought for myself was A PRINCESS OF MARS) and that inevitably led to E. E. “Doc” Smith, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Peter S. Beagle, Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson, Gordon R. Dickson, Anne McCaffrey, Larry Niven, Roger Zelazny, Samuel R. Delany, Ursula K. LeGuin and all the rest. 


Then in junior high I stumbled across an issue of FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION magazine on a newsstand, which opened yet another door, leading me on to GALAXY and IF and ANALOG and anything else in digest form which claimed to publish science fiction or fantasy; and then Ace Books started putting out their SF Special series with those amazing Leo & Diane Dillon covers…I was completely and totally hooked.  And it was by the art as much as by the fiction.  Kelly Freas, Jack Gaughan, Ed Emshwiller, Virgil Finlay, Hannes Bok, Mel Hunter, John Schoenherr, Richard Powers, the Dillons, these people were all amazing visual forces.  I couldn’t wait for that moment when the new magazines would show up on the rack each month and I would be able to see their covers, and all the interior art, fresh and for the first time. 


By 9th grade I had a 500-volume library of SF and fantasy on the shelves above my bed, and I could tell you everything about every book, almost down to the individual page counts.  And I was still checking out 3-5 nonfiction books a week from the library as well, plus reading Big Historical Novels like THE ROBE                and THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY.  I loved those.


RA: When did you get involved in SF fandom?


CFC: Fandom was something I read about in the SF magazines, but didn’t participate in until after the move to Southern California.  I started around the time I turned 15 by subscribing to Buck and Juanita Coulson’s mimeographed YANDRO (a distinction it turns out I share with Roger Ebert).  Pretty soon I was involved with dozens of fanzines, sending out letters, artwork, articles and awesomely bad poetry {of which thankfully little ever got published}.  Then I discovered LASFS, the LA Science Fantasy Society, and began participating in their weekly APA via the mail.  In 1970 I had a chance to go to my first SF convention, a Westercon, in Santa Barbara, and I was hooked.  The fans, the art show, the huckster room, the authors, the artists, the skinnydipping in the hotel pool…hey, count me in.


RA: When did you first encounter the world of comics?


CFC: Comics…comics were just there, even before I could read and before I had any real interest in drawing.  I would sit for hours and cut brightly-colored figures out of comic books, using any pair of scissors I could get, small or large.  It was no good to cut on the printed lines.  I had to cut one infinestimal skootch outside them, so they were preserved, but not framed by any extra newsprint.  All kind of obsessive, really, but phenomenal training in terms of hand-eye coordination and fine motor control.


Eventually, thank goodness, I started reading them just to read them.  And as with all other reading, I was an equal opportunity guy.  I liked them all.  DC or Marvel?  No, both.  And everything else, too.  Once again it was the art grabbing me as much as anything.  I liked the stories and characters, but I didn’t really think about them that much (aside from coming up with a really great explanation for Robbie Reed’s Hero Dial).  On the other hand, I thought obsessively about what I liked and didn’t like in the art.  Some of the stronger influences: Wally Wood, Gil Kane, John Buscema, Gene Colan, Neal Adams, Russ Manning, Joe Kubert, Jim Aparo, Jim Steranko, Steve Ditko, Murphy Anderson, and on and on.  I even loved Mike Sekowsky.  And I started copying, but only a few artists.  From the strip world I aped Charles Schultz, trying to capture his misleading simplicity of line and shape.  And from comics my got-to-copy God was Gil Kane, for the drama, power and flow in everything he did.  And let’s face it, to a kid SF geek, the Green Lantern Corps is about as hot as it could get, though Steranko’s SHIELD stuff wasn’t far behind in its own very different way. 


RA: Where and how did you make your professional debut?


CFC: Depends on how you define professional.  The first time I ever sold my pictures was at a community art fair in Kansas City.  I was 12 or 13 and completely stunned to discover that people would buy my drawings and watercolors.  It was mainly because they were cheap, mind you, but the day is burned into my memory.  First actual “published” pictures for money were a set of two article illustrations for a semi-pro fanzine published by Andy Porter.  That was in 1972.  My professional launch in comics happened in October 1973: I’d come to New York at Kelly Freas’s suggestion, to get started on an art career, and I bounced off Marvel and DC like a pigeon hitting an oncoming tour bus.  I really wasn’t good enough yet to be a penciler, and my rapidograph-and-crowquill inking style was years away from being accepted by the industry.  So I dropped downmarket and found myself in Wally Green’s office at Gold Key Comics.  Wally didn’t need any more so-so artists {he had plenty of those}.  But he did need writers, so I put my hand in the air and said “I can do that!”  He and Paul Kuhn accepted my first pitch, a five-pager for their TWILIGHT ZONE comic book, paid me $50 for it, and I was in. 


Soon I was selling them 6-10 stories a month for their various titles, such as TWILIGHT ZONE, GRIMM’S GHOST STORIES, BORIS KARLOFF’S TALES OF MYSTERY, RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT, ADAM-12, STAR TREK, DARK SHADOWS, etc…, and I kept that up steadily for the next three or four years.  Len Wein had done the same thing for them just before me.  I pretty much stepped into his shoes when he left, but then didn’t step further.  Some of the ideas in these pieces were good, but since we were aiming by design at readers under the age of 8, none of the executions were terribly memorable.  The only thing I’m proud of after all these years is that John Warner and I managed to get around official company policy and actually sneak continuity-based storytelling into DARK SHADOWS. 


The money I was making there was more than enough income at the time, given how cheap my lifestyle was, plus by the next spring I’d also found my way into illustrations via Jim Baen at GALAXY and IF.  Jim had just become editor.  The magazines were incredibly poor and paid very, very slowly.  So he needed people who could either turn the stuff out extremely fast (like Jack Gaughan) or else were willing to do just about anything to break in (like me and Wendy Pini).  I’m not complaining: along with a lot of forgettable garbage I also got to illustrate Roger Zelazny and Joanna Russ and some other great authors, and I was there when John Varley’s first work showed up in the slush pile, four utterly astonishing stories appearing out of the blue.


RA: Besides Gold Key, you worked for both Atlas and Marvel.  Did you work for any other companies?  What work did you do for them?


CFC: I did minor stuff at DC.  A friend of mine once said that I was “little known in many fields”.  In comics the description is apt.  I inked {or penciled or inked} a handful of character art pages that ran in ads and in their STAR TREK guidebooks.


My work for Atlas never got published.  Dave Kraft had become an editor there and was desperately seeking help to turn things around.  I got handed TARGITT, MAN-STALKER, a book about a psychotic revenge-killing FBI agent (the Mob murdered his family, you see) who wore body-amplifying bulletproof exo-armor (don’t ask).  Gerry Conway was the credited writer on the first three issues, but they were so stupendously, mind-bogglingly bad that I’m certain Larry Leiber rewrote every word of Gerry’s scripts.  There was literally nothing workable in this material.  My solution would be standard stuff, today, but it was radical thinking for 1974: I introduced a new supporting cast, a mysterious uber-villain/conspiracy, a mutant Ditko/Kirby lunatic android hunchback as the immediate threat…and I killed Targitt.  Resurrected him two pages later, to be sure, with the intent of launching him on a multi-issue transformative quest.  But BANG, YOU’RE DEAD all the same, after four or five pages of total humiliation.  I also planned on making his love interest the Vietnamese wife of his maritally-challenged brother-in-law, another mold-breaker for 1974 that wouldn’t raise an eyebrow today.  Anyway, the book got penciled {by George Tuska, I think}, and then Atlas went under before it could be inked.  I still have the script in the files and may yet adapt it into something else.  It would make fine television in the ALIAS/LOST mold.


Marvel…ah.  My public work for them was mainly to write articles and do interviews for their B&W magazines (PLANET OF THE APES, DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG-FU, TOMB OF DRACULA, plus a PEOPLE knockoff called CELEBRITY).  I did vast amounts of that stuff and in the process taught myself the basics of nonfiction article writing.  I also drew a few one-page horror pictures for TOMB OF DRACULA and --- childhood fantasy attained — got to ink Gene Colan for a house ad.  That was real joy, both because it was Gene and because I was inking for Marvel, which had rejected my earlier work so forcefully. 


But the Marvel work I’m actually proud of doesn’t have my name on it.  I ghosted several issues of TARZAN and the two-issue MAN-WOLF ‘Stargod’ story that ran in MARVEL PREMIERE.  These books were plotted by Dave Kraft, and fully credited to him, but I wrote all the captions and dialog.  What happened — as I understood it — is that Dave had gotten into some kind of big argument with Jim Shooter, and Shooter was trying to come up with a legitimate excuse for firing him.  Since the fastest and easiest way to do so was to be able to say Dave wasn’t delivering on schedule, Shooter loaded him up with too many assignments, more than any one writer could handle.  Dave’s elegant solution was to go to people who weren’t currently working for Marvel and subcontract.  Me, I got TARZAN and the MAN-WOLF set.


I am still absurdly happy whenever I hear some comic book fan call those the best MAN-WOLF stories ever, which has happened often enough to make me think Dave was really on to something with that concept.  Marvel should consider relaunching it. 


RA: You’ve also worked as an essayist and interviewer.  How did you get involved in that and what were the highlights?


CFC: The need to pay a higher rent (I was in Washington, D.C. by this point) coincided with an opportunity.  I’d become friends with John Warner when we were both writing for Gold Key.  After he became an associate editor at Marvel—on the B&W magazines that they started publishing in 1975—he dragged me along.  There was no scripting work to be had, but as a cost-cutting measure Marvel had decided to fill one-third of each magazine with articles and photos instead of the comparatively expensive comic pages.  The pitch to readers was that they were being offered a greater variety of material, but in truth it was just about making the books more profitable.  Now, these nonfiction articles and interviews didn’t pay enough to be attractive to any of the established comic writers at Marvel, and required a kind of writing quite different than anyone there knew.  So the door was wide open for someone like me who could string relatively clear sentences together over a great enough length and hit a deadline.


It was all pure hackwork, but I’d like to stress that word “pure.”  There was an innocence to it.  While I was on the job I really was fascinated by the subject matter of each article, no matter how pointless it really was.  I mean, really: a detailed comparative analysis of all the PLANET OF THE APES movie novelizations?  Interviews with virtually every human being who had ever crossed paths with Bruce Lee?  Hah!  But gradually I learned how to do the job well.


My two favorite pieces from that period were both interviews.


One was with screenwriter Sterling Silliphant {ROUTE 66, VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, CHARLY, THE TOWERING INFERNO, THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE}, the only human being I’ve ever met who actually spoke in flawless English.  All the rest of us wander around, and start and stop sentences at random, and generally speak so poorly that a truly accurate transcript would be a public embarrassment.  Not Sterling: his precision of word choice and perfection of phase were uncanny.  You could literally hear his semicolons.  Easiest after-interview transcription I’ve ever had to do.


The other great interview was with Stephen King, who really is plugged into something deep and dark and primal in the fear zone, yet who is also so unabashedly pop culture that one of his favorite childhood comic books was the Jack Cole PLASTIC MAN.  The interview was conducted through the course of one long evening, at a home he owned in the Maine woods.  In the middle of the session I had to go out to get more cassette tapes and film from my luggage, and after talking with Stephen for only a few hours it was terrifying to stand there in the dark and open the trunk of my car.


What I’m proud about in these pieces, and others, is that I learned to get past the obvious questions that my subjects usually got.  I was able to surprise them, which led them to speak in new and revealing ways instead of repeating practiced Standard Responses.


Becoming an essayist came much later, when I got a gig writing a regular column about creativity for KEYBOARD magazine.  That was a whole different kind of nonfiction writing and put me through an entirely different set of changes.  In between the two, marking a transition, I wrote more than half a million words of articles for various computer and music magazines.


In the decade between the MARVEL phase and the KEYBOARD phase I actually wrote close to a million worlds of articles for various computer and music magazines.


RA: Your artwork is striking and very unlike most comic artists’ work.  Who were your artistic influences?


CFC: That’s a nice compliment — thanks — but I’m not sure I’d agree.  If there really is any difference, it may come from the classical art and sculpture I unknowingly absorbed by growing up in Kansas City, combined with the fact that I was more influenced by the work of my favorite magazine illustrators, people like Virgil Finley and Jack Gaughan and Kelly Freas and John Schoenherr, than I was by the work of my favorite comic book artists (with the possible exception of Gil Kane:  I see a lot of Gil’s hand in my linework and the shapes I tend to reach for as I draw).  And we shouldn’t leave out cinema: there are lots and lots of movies in my visual programming, with an especially strong nod to Stanley Kubrick.


There’s one other thing I can’t really explain, just demonstrate, because it happens on the subconscious level.  While we were working on the second issue of D’ARC TANGENT, Lucie Chin told me that the reason she liked my comic pages was “the drawing behind the drawings.”  When pressed for more detail she said that it was obvious to her that each page had a bigger visual concept, a total image that the panels were just part of, and she said she could  prove it by showing how the lines and shapes in different panels connected to it by showing how the lines and shapes in different panels connected to and/or reflected each other.  I scoffed.   People are programmed by evolution to be pattern-builders, I told her, and she was just inventing a set of perceptions that weren’t really there.  Pure coincidence.


Then we did the second-issue promo ad and I was forced to eat my words.  That ad consisted of six panels that were originally drawn and inked, weeks apart from one another, on six separate pages.  We put them together in the form of three nested pairs, each pair linking panels that originally formed the outer edges of two facing pages, like so: 3L-2L-1L-1R-2R-3R.


<<Click Here for the Image>>


And damn, there it was: Lucie’s “drawing behind the drawing,” plain to see.  Shapes and lines and curves and structures that simply could NOT be lining up this way by accident, no way in hell.  This forced me to accept that somewhere inside my head these individual panels really were part of a single larger picture…and even though they were done on separate boards, at separate times, my subconscious was keeping track and wouldn’t sign off on any of them, wouldn’t tell me a given panel was finally “finished,” until it matched up to a set of specifications I was utterly unaware of.


RA: I thought D’ARC TANGENT had one of the most promising debuts of the 1980s indy scene.  What happened to cause it to appear only that one time?


CFC: We did great.  Great sales, great reviews, great reader mail.  One guy told us he read D’ARC TANGENT the same night he saw the final M*A*S*H, and didn’t mind losing the latter because something wonderfully new had begun.


But it wasn’t to be, at least not in comic form.


The reason it died is simple, and though I understand it, and can even forgive it, I won’t sugarcoat it.  The D’ARC TANGENT comic book was killed by Phil Foglio’s ego, which had been challenged constantly from the beginning of the project and just couldn’t handle any more.


The character and story concepts had started with Phil, years earlier.  But he’d never been able to pull the story together commercially, and on the way to publication other people wound up contributing more than he did.  This is how that evolved: we began issue #1 with the notion that he and I would play it 50-50 down the line as writers and artists, but at each stage that just didn’t turn out to be workable.  D’ARC was a serious science fiction story, not a lighthearted “cartoony” one, and Phil’s style was and is intrinsically cartoony (which I must add, is great for that kind of material; I am a huge fan of Phil’s work on BUCK GODOT and GIRL GENIUS).  In our group plotting sessions (Phil, me, Lucie Chin, Melissa Singer) only a few of his ideas were making the cut.  In our art tests we quickly discovered that I could ink him, but he couldn’t ink me.  In our page tests we quickly discovered that we couldn’t have him draw the aliens and robots and have me draw the people and humanoids, like we’d first thought we could, because mine would be consistent and his kept changing—different heights, different widths, different number of fingers, different costume details, literally from panel to panel.  So we brought Lucie Chin in to help: she would rework Phil’s pencils as needed to make them consistent enough so as not to be jarring in this serious context. 


Phil, not surprisingly, was made uncomfortable by this.  But at least we were getting pages done, albeit slowly.  In the end I wound up writing 80% of the first book, penciling 80% of it, inking 100% of it (though the surviving zipatone work was Phil’s), and doing 90% of the selling.  Truth is, Lucie did as much or more penciling that first time around as Phil, though she never got public credit because Phil refused to let us give it to her.  Phil’s stubborn insistence was also responsible for the fact that he got “creator” appended to his writer/artist credit while I had “producer” appended to mine, despite the fact that I had put three years into story development and actually had created more of the entire planned story’s characters and plotline than he did.  Since the team almost never yielded to him over an art or story argument, we decided not to fight about the credits, which didn’t matter all that much to the rest of us.


Then the book came out, and people were coming up to Phil and telling him it was the best thing he’d ever done.


Since he hadn’t really done very much, obviously that bugged him.  But he didn’t show it.  Instead he soaked up the praise on the outside, smiling, while inside I suspect he was burning up.


During the second issue things got worse.  Phil and I had argued — a lot — during the first issue.  To try and create some insulation Melissa stepped in (she was our publisher and editor, after all) and would go over Phil’s pencils with him before they came to Lucie and me.  If she saw something that needed fixing, she’d point it out to Phil and ask him to try again.  Pages were going back to him five or six times before I ever saw them, and they usually came to me not because they were right, but because they weren’t getting any better — just different — and Melissa knew Phil was near a breaking point.  By the time they came to me they still didn’t work and usually had two new problems as well: (1) Phil wasn’t leaving adequate room for the humanoid characters and dialog balloons, and (2) there was now so much heavy graphite layered on the boards that they couldn’t be inked or lettered.  I’d never seen anything like it.


Lucie and I did the only thing we could do, under the circumstances: we carefully erased every incoming page until there was a clear but ghostly outline of what Phil had been trying to draw…and then we actually drew it, after which I added my own pencils and did the inks.


A horrible process, but the results were really beginning to sing.  The art that got finished for book #2 before everything collapsed was much better than the art in book one.


Long story short, this latest turn of events was especially galling to Phil.  He talked to Richard Pini about taking D’ARC TANGENT to WARP Graphics.  We heard some scuttlebutt about that and asked Phil, in a team meeting, if the rumor was true.  He told us…


1) Yes, it was.


2) He’d talked to a lawyer and he owned everything.


3) If we thought otherwise we could all go piss up a rope.  (That’s a direct quote.)


Then he left the room, whistling. 


Phil hadn’t actually talked to a lawyer, of course.  It was all just bluster and ego.  But that was that.  The book was dead.  And it took nine years, plus me taking him to court — an entirely separate horror story — to truly settle the conflict.


RA: Was the series influenced in any way by Warren’s EXTERMINATOR ONE series.  The first story from that series also was set in 1500s-1600s France and featured a robot masquerading as a human.


RA: Can you give us some examples of the good and the bad in your collaboration?


CFC: Sure.  First, the good side:


<<Click Here for the Image>>


Page 1 is a place where we both managed to shine.  We needed a great opening symbolic image and Phil came up with a doozy for me to tighten and ink. 


<<Click Here for the Image>>



[Here we] successfully combined layout concepts from both of us.  The camera angle in the upper panel is Phil’s choice, but the figure work and Bond-symbol is all mine.  The vertical stack of robots in the lower left panel is Phil’s idea {and a very effective one}, while the middle and right bottom panels are woven from so many small pieces by both of us it would be impossible to tease them out.  This was early in our collaboration, before we fried.  Back then we talked about panel layouts for hours per page, sketching possibilities at each other as we went.


Then the bad:


<<Click Here for the Image>>


This was my first clue that there was serious trouble in collaboration land.  When Phil first brought his pencils over to show me, all the aliens had identical bell-bottomed Smurf legs.  Worse, where a vast techno-cityscape was supposed to be, there was nothing but five seconds’ worth of meaningless squiggles.  When I  lifted an eyebrow he said (and this, too, is an exact quote) “You do that — you’re good with that scratch-ass kind of detail.”


He was right, but…oy.


Here’s an example of the delightfully unexpected:


<<Click Here for the Image>>


Again on page 4 & 5.  Colonel Teel, the bizarre little one-eyed alien, was a throwaway character.  In out plotting sessions the character was a nobody who came in to call our somebody, the Ambassador, to the bridge.  There and gone, never to return.  But what Phil drew was just so damn weird and interesting that I could NOT put normal dialog in the thing’s “mouth.”  So I listened, and listened, and from somewhere on the other side of the universe I plucked out this weird style of translator-mangled speech which was way too cool to give to a nothing character.  Just like that, Teel wasn’t a nobody at all, but part of the main cast.  In fact, he wound up playing a major part in the planned 16-issue story arc.


RA:  What were the intentions for the remaining 15 chapters of D’ARC TANGENT?


CFC: What we planned was to tell an epic love story that was also absolutely straight science fiction.  It was going to run 16 issues in the form of four separate 4-issue arcs, each arc the equivalent of a single novel or feature film.  And then it was going to stop.  Important characters were going to die along the way.  Others were going to suffer terrible tragedies.  And still others would get through, magically, without a dent or scratch.  In other words — and I don’t feel at all self-conscious in making this comparison — we were shooting to do the WAR AND PEACE of science fiction comic books.


And we could have done it, too, or at least come close.  The story we cooked up over three years of development really was awfully good.


RA: Are there any plans to move forward on it today?


CFC: Yes.  The final 1994 legal settlement opened multiple doors.  Original comic book rights went to Phil, but under severe constraints that make it unlikely he’ll ever tackle the project.  Original novel rights went to me, and I have from time to time done some work in that direction.  All secondary rights — including media rights — stayed the property of the group, as administered by Melissa Singer.  That changed in 1995 when we made a movie deal for the property, and a joint venture was formed by me, producer David Nicksay {ROBIN HOOD, PRINCE OF THIEVES, most recently BE COOL}, and Pacific Data Images, the company that went on to do ANTZ and SHREK as the DreamWorks computer animation unit.  I was sole screenwriter, partnering on story development with a friend and business associate of mine, David Roudebush.  Like many things in Hollywood the project never quite gelled due to differing motivations, and in the end I wound up reacquiring all the film rights.  Now development has begun all over again through Changeling, the film unit in my production company, with support from a producer named James Dowaliby and ongoing story work by David Roudebush and (let’s welcome her back!) Lucie Chin — who is an absolute genius at working out action sequences that are also character-based.


What shot down the late ‘90s film approach down, as much as anything, was simple poor timing.  We were ahead of the wave.  Despite STARS WARS, Hollywood had no accepted model for a story that as big as D’ARC TANGENT.  I was constantly telling my joint venture partners “No, it’s not a movie and three sequels.  It’s a single picture that spans four films!”  And they didn’t get it.  In these post-LORD OF THE RINGS days, however, I don’t have any trouble communicating the idea at all.  “You say the first movie ends on a downer?  No problem.  THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING was incredibly depressing at the end, and it still did $861 million worldwide.”


Now we’re doing all four screenplays, and storyboarding all four films, and producing a ton of conceptual art and GCI concept tests.  When the pitch package is ready we’ll start up the studio dance and see if anybody bites.


In an odd way, all the downtime has been a plus.  I’ve had 22 additional years to work on the story, years without Phil’s influence or the then-limitations of the comic book field, and the tale has simply grown richer and deeper for all the extra effort.  When DARC (as it is now titled) finally does make it to the screen, it will be the epic I dreamed about when Phil first brought his failed comic to me and said, “Here, fix.”


RA: Sounds like an exciting project.  Of your own work, what is your favorite?


CFC: In terms of straight prose, I’m most satisfied with some of my Creative Options essays — especially one called “Going Too Far,” which is about having to identify a friend’s body in the morgue — and a horror short I wrote 20 years ago called “A Night On The Docks”.  In terms of screenplays {an utterly different kind of writing}, my favorite is always the one I’m working on at the moment.  At this time, that happens to be an adaptation of Peter S. Beagle’s novel A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE.


In terms of artwork, there’s nothing I’ve ever done that I’m really happy with.  A few sketches here and there are interesting, plus some of the D’ARC pages, a few of my illustrations for John Varley’s TITAN and WIZARD, a few of my miscellaneous Zelazny pieces.  Not much more.  Art is still a sore point.


The personal work I enjoy the most is probably the music I’ve written, and some of the songs.  That is all deeply satisfying.  It’s more fun to work on music than anything else except actually performing in front of an audience — nothing beats the rush when a live show is going right.


I am also having a great time now with the business that I’ve been building since 2001.  Within a year we’ll have published at least a dozen books and a half-dozen audiobooks; released three or four CDs; put out prints and posters from multiple artists; and moved a half dozen film stories closer to actual production.  But this is all collaboration, and good collaboration is something I find utterly exhilarating.  Not to mention how much pleasure I get from the fact that all this great creative work is happening, if not through me, because of me.  Peter S. Beagle is one of my clients.  He has now, after 37 years, finally written a follow-up to THE LAST UNICORN.  And not anything half-assed or formulaic, either—something heartbreakingly beautiful.  Getting to be the guy who made that happen, however inadvertently, is a total gift from the universe. 


RA: Do you still follow comics?  Who do you read today?


CFC: In every city I’m operating out of I have my favorite and second-favorite comic shops, and on new comic Wednesday I’m guaranteed to be at one of them.  These days, unlike my childhood, it is the writers who are driving my purchasing decisions: Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, Neil Gaiman, Brian K. Vaughan, Barbara Kesel, Geoff Johns, J. Michael Straczynski, Joss Whedon, Dan Slott, Grant Morrison, Brian Michael Bendis, Kurt Busiek, Scott McCloud (when he joins us), Paul Chadwick, whole bunches more.  And that’s just the ‘straight comics’ writers.  Add in the graphic novel and alternative crowd, and wow — we’ve never had this much literary talent in the field at one time, not ever, and I think it bodes well for the future of the medium.


Though we obviously still need more women writers and artists.  That’s a serious weakness and I’d like to see it change.


RA: Which writers do you read outside the comic field?


CFC: Same as childhood: everything, though there’s now a project-related filter that keeps me from reading as much random stuff as I’d like.  Up ahead on the to-do list is a screenplay set in pre-WWII Thailand, and I’ve got a whole bunch of reference books to devour for that one.  Later this year we’ll be publishing a book called THE MICHELANGELO INTERVIEWS, and there’s a mountain of Renaissance art texts to plow through so I can properly edit and design it.  Last year I was looking at Greg Benford stories for possible movie development, and over the course of a month, I bought and read everything he’s written.  That sort of thing.


David Roudebush says the world can be parsed into two categories: things I am insatiably curious about, and things I am not insatiably curious about…yet.  He’s got me nailed.


RA: What are you involved in nowadays?


CFC: The majority of my waking time — and since I only sleep about five hours a night, that’s a lot — is devoted to building the company.  The structure is simple.  There is a central holding corporation called CCI, for Connor Cochran, Inc.  I am chairman, president, secretary and treasurer.  CCI operates sub-divisions which deal in specific tasks and/or media: Conlan Press is the book and audiobook publishing division, ACE-Kobata Music handles live performances and recordings, Changeling Films is the cinema division, Silver City Graphics & Fine Arts does prints and posters and anything purely visual.  Church of Superdog is the artist management group, etc.  There are at least 20 such divisions already launched or on the planning board.  Each has someone {or several someones} who is actually in charge of the local turf, while I kibitz at will and keep the whole multi-division machine spinning together productively.  For example, I am publisher of Conlan Press, but my editor, John Douglas, and my co-publisher, David Roudebush, will be doing the lion’s share of the actual work once the division is completely off the ground.


Conlan is the first division to go public, via the website.  Our initial release is an unabridged audiobook of Peter S. Beagle’s THE LAST UNICORN, which we are promoting by also putting out a limited edition hardcover of “Two Hearts”, that coda/sequel story to THE LAST UNICORN that I mentioned earlier.  To get the new story, you have to buy the audiobook: simple.  And there will only be 3000 copies of the collector’s hardcover to go around.  Response has been great so far.


Beyond that we have too many projects and releases to cover in detail, in too many different realms.  I’ll say only that I am intensely excited by the work that is coming along, and truly honored to get to collaborate with and support such talented writers, producers, artists, composers and designers.  CCI may never wind up going toe-to-toe with Disney or Sony or Universal someday, but we’ll make a good run at it, and have a lot of fun in the attempt.  The art of business, the business of art, and a chance to change the world, even if only a little bit.  Who could say no?


RA: Thank you, Mr. Cochran!




A 2007 Interview with Reality publisher Robert Gerson!


RA: Can you tell us a little about your background?


RG: Born and grew up in New York City as Robert Gerstenhaber.  When I was 21 I shortened my last name to Gerson, largely because my last name was rarely spelled or pronounced correctly.  I’m an artist, book cover illustrator and graphic designer.  Some of my paintings and illustrations can be found at Primarily self-taught with studies at The School Of Visual Arts in Manhattan and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia where I studied figurative and portrait painting.  Moved to Santa Barbara when I was 21 and have also lived in Colorado and the Brandywine Valley in Pennsylvania;  I currently live in the Santa Ynez Valley just north of Santa Barbara with my wife Annette.


RA: How did you get involved in publishing Reality?


RG: Reality was the result of two of my passions as a teenager: becoming an artist and collecting comic book and illustration art.  The comic art community of the 1960s-70s, which started with and evolved from the efforts of Jerry Bails, Roy Thomas and Maggie & Don Thompson along with many others, was an amazing creative environment for a young artist to learn from.  I discovered the first independent magazines that were being published around the country thanks to Phil Seuling’s NYC comic art shows and G. B. Love’s RBCC.  After a few years of reading and being inspired by Graphic Story Magazine, Alter Ego, Fantastic Fanzine, witzend and Squa Tront, I decided to give the publishing world a try at the ripe old age of 14.  For a young artist those magazines offered a glimpse of the creative potential in comics, graphic design, and sequential art illustration.


There was also a friendly “New York neighborhood” aspect of getting Reality up and running, thanks to my across the street rivalry with my school pal Adam Malin.  We were in school together since kindergarten, read the same comics, copied and did our first drawings from the same Kirby and Steranko pages together.  Adam was planning to publish Infinity magazine and we had a fun rivalry going back then about who could get the most interesting art and interviews for their magazines.  Adam is still a very close friend today and we have a blast going back in the time machine to the days when we published our magazines.


Reality, like most creative endeavors, was the result of a specific time and place.  There wre several independent magazines published in the late 1960s that inspired me to create Reality.  I recall studying several of the current issues of those magazines as I thought about what reality’s contents would be.  I was very impressed with Alter Ego #10 where Roy Thomas had a perfect balance between informative articles and interviews with rare behind-the-scenes art along with just the right amount of humor.  Then there was Jerry Weist’s great EC-devoted magazine Squa Tront, particularly #3 and 4 where Jerry was creating probably the most exciting graphic design work of all the independent magazines published during that era.  His magazines were more creatively designed than most of what was appearing on the newsstands at the time.  There there was Wally Wood’s witzend.  Wood, and later Bill Pearson, really created one of the great illustrator and comic artist magazines.  What I really liked about witzend was the blending in each issue of works by artists who started out in the 1940s and 1950s such as Reed Crandall, Frank Frazetta, Wally Wood and Harvey Kurtzman with then next generation from the 1960s, including artists like Art Spiegelman and Vaughn Bode.  witzend really did set the table for the next wave of creativity in comics and graphic stories.


RA: Where did your contacts with the artists and writers come from?  There were some pretty heavy hitters in the two issues of Reality that you published.


RG: The first time I met some of the artists who were published in Reality was at Phil Seuling’s July comic art show.  This was at the 1969 and 1970 shows at the Statler Hilton Hotel in Manhattan.  Looking back I don’t know how at 14 years old I got the nerve to approach Jeffrey Jones, Bernie Wrightson or Michael Kaluta.  I was a rather shy, introverted teenager.  On the one hand they were all just starting out in their careers and were only about 10 years older then me so it was easier to talk to them than walking up to Al Williamson or Frank Frazetta, both of whom I recall being very accessible and friendly.  My initial contact was with Kaluta who, along with Bernie Wrightson, was walking around the summer 1970 show.  I had two of the very first original art purchases that I’d bought at the show: a Graham Ingels’ Classics Illustrated page and an Alex Raymond drawn Rip Kirby daily.  Both Kaluta and Wrightson went wild over the originals.  Raymond and Ingels were some of their main artistic influences.  I ended up selling (or possibly trading for one of his drawings) the Ingels original to Wrightson with the agreement that I could print it in the magazine I was planning to publish.  That quickly got the conversation going about both of them contributing to the magazine which, in turn, led to an introduction to Jeffrey Jones.  So maybe I have Graham Ingels to thank for getting the whole thing going.


Another artist that I admired who first published in the late 1960s is Kenneth Smith.  He was creating all of those exquisitely detailed illustrations and title logos for Squa Tront, witzend and other magazines before he moved on to do cover work for Warren’s Creepy and Eerie magazines along with paperback covers.  I don’t recall how we initially met.  I think I may have asked him to design the logo for Reality through the mail or by phone.  After Reality #1 was published I would share convention tables with Kenneth as he was beginning independent publishing with his own magazine Phantasmagoria.  He also published several limited edition print series around that time.  He would display several of his oil painting that he’d done for the Warren covers as well as his latest paperback assignments at our table.  I remember Al Williamson and Roy Krenkel and other artists stopping by to chat with him.  As a young, aspiring artist I just soaked it all up.  It was very inspiring meeting all of these artists whose work I’d been collecting for years.  I would go back to my family’s apartment after the shows and sit at the drafting table that my Dad had built for me and create my first drawings inspired by all of those experiences.


RA: Why did the story ‘Death Is The Sailor’ (written by Len Wein & illustrated by Michael Kaluta) get split in two for publication?  It clearly was not intended to be published that way.


RG: Yikes!  I still cringe when I open issue one and see that story only partially printed.  What can I say except that I was 14 years old.  Clearly my editorial judgment and experience was minimal.  I recall having too much art for the first issue, primarily because I had promised several free ad pages to other people who were publishing their own magazines at the time.  So the rather silly decision to break that story into two parts was the result.  Probably it would have been better to pull some of the full page drawings instead.


RA: A number of the stories were originally intended for the professional B&W magazine Web Of Horror.  Were any of the stories done specifically for Reality?


RG: The stories that were specifically commissioned for Reality were the Kaluta 2 page piece ‘As Night Falls’, the Frank Brunner story ‘Endless Chain’ and the Howard Chaykin/Bill Stillwell story ‘Renegade’.  The Chaykin work was his very first published comic story.  Chaykin was a Queens College classmate of my sister’s boyfriend and one day they both appeared at our apartment while I was putting the first issue together.  Howard was very persuasive in getting me to publish his work.  Of course, Howard went on to create some very innovative work in comics, creating covers and pages that were more in touch with various illustration styles than most traditional comic art had been up to that point.  Like acquiring so many of the Web Of Horror stories, being the first to get Howard’s work into comics was another one of those odd little twists of fate that happened around the summer of 1970, when I was first putting the magazine together.


As for the Web Of Horror stories, I was certainly in the right place at the right time for them.  Web Of Horror had just folded after only three issues.  Most of the artists had just received their unpublished art back and they were looking for somewhere to get the stories published.  The most logical place would have been the Warren black & white magazines, but I could just imagine that Jim Warren probably wanted nothing to do with the art.  I know Frank Brunner has some interesting stories about saving the art done for the unpublished Web Of Horror #4 and on, which he rescued from the publisher’s offices before they shut down.  (See the hardback version of The Warren Companion from Twomorrows Publishing for Frank’s version of that story.) All those beautifully drawn stories, orphaned from Web Of Horror, launched Reality on an artistic level that was well beyond my wildest dreams when I decided to create the magazine.  I felt very fortunate indeed.


RA: Was your magazine a true fanzine or was it a prozine?  The difference being that a prozine paid artists and writers some amount for publication.


RG: My idea from the beginning was to create Reality as a small, limited edition magazine.  I never really felt qualified to do a fanzine since I wasn’t part of the fan collector’s network, nor did I belong to any of the collector’s clubs that were around back then.  I did pay reproduction rights to print those stories and for some of the full page artwork that was specifically commissioned for Reality, such as Kenneth Smith’s work.  In those days one was quickly labeled a prozine if they had the nerve to actually pay for contributions.  I paid $25 per page for the first printing rights to all those stories.  At the time that was a high rate considering artists were getting $35-$45 per page from the mainstream publishers of that period.  Honestly I couldn’t imagine printing those stories for free.  Why wouldn’t I pay an artist for their work?  There was always a moral cry from the traditional fanzine publishers back then about paying for contributions.  My intention was always to emulate a Warren magazine or witzend when creating Reality.  Crazy ambitions for a 14 year old in hindsight!


RA: Do you still keep involved in comics in any way?


RG: Well I read Mutts everyday, probably the best and sweetest cat and dog comic strip ever created.  I don’t really follow mainstream comics much except for a periodic visit to a comic story.  I tend to read anthologies and collections and some of the graphic novels.  As an artist and designer I really do like the high level of artistic technique, style, and design in comics today and I’m glad to see that the subject matter has grown beyond primarily superhero stories. 


RA: Have you ever considered reprinting the two issues as a standalone trade paperback?  Perhaps with #1-3 of the Web Of Horror magazine included?  Many of the stories have never been reprinted.


RG: Every five years of so I think about doing a reprint issue with new material but it never goes beyond the idea stage.  Rounding up all the copyright holders would be quite a project and I only have about six pages of the original art from the magazine.  I didn’t hold on to the printing plates, which of course today would be useless anyway since all print work is now based on digital pre-press files.  Seeing a reprint of those first three issues of WOH would be nice but rounding up complete story art would probably be quite a challenge. 


RA: What comic writers and artists inspired you in the Reality days?  Do you follow any writers or artists today?


RG: Back in the 1970s the artists I studied and learned from included Frank Frazetta, Jim Steranko, Reed Crandall, Roy Krenkel, Kenneth Smith, Jeffrey Jones, Michael Kaluta, Bernie Wrightson, Victor Moscoso and Rick Griffin.  Their work is woven into my paintings even today and probably always will be.  A few of the comic artists and illustrators I enjoy who are working today are James Jean, Patrick McDonnell, John Paul Leon and Phil Hale.


As for writers, I recall enjoying Archie Goodwin, Jim Steranko, Roy Thomas, Ray Bradbury and Will Eisner.  I loved Eisner’s creative innovations in graphic stories from the 1970s and on.  His commitment to the development of comics into graphic stories is very inspiring.  I never did get to meet him when I studied at Visual Arts.  Today anyone in comics who is doing writing about contemporary life or a creative look at social issues are the writers I gravitate to.  Writers like Art Spiegelman, Craig Thompson and Daniel Clowes.  There is such a lot of interesting new art and stories being published now that I know I’m leaving out many exciting writers and artists.  It really is a great time for graphic stories and comics.


RA: Any interesting anecdotes or stories that you’d care to share?


RG: The Bernie Wrightson illustration in Reality #2 is the prototype version of the Swamp Thing character and was the first illustration of the muck monster to appear before Swamp Thing’s official debut in the July 1971 House Of Secrets #92.  At the time I didn’t even know I was publishing a Swamp Thing illustration.  I was at Michael Kaluta’s apartment to pick up some of his artwork for the 2nd issue and I mentioned that I really was hoping to have a piece by Bernie for the new issue, particularly since he hadn’t appeared in the 1st issue.  So I’m asking Kaluta about how to get in touch with Wrightson and at that moment Bernie walks in the door.  Kaluta asks him if the drawing of Bernie’s that he has sitting next to his drafting table can be published in Reality.  Mike grabs this beautiful drawing and shows it to me.  Bernie says “Sure, go ahead and print it”.  It certainly was cool to publish an early Wrightson drawing. 


The color covers to Reality #2 were printed as continuous tone lithography.  Back then, that printing method was quite rare and mainly used for fine art prints and not for mass reproduction.  There were no 4 color screen dots on those covers and that allowed for a more accurate reproduction of each artist’s painting.  Collectors have asked me over the years about the print runs for Reality.  Issue #1 had a print run of 1,000 copies and issue #2 was 2,000 copies.  On both issues I only sold a few hundred copies directly to subscribers.  The rest were sold wholesale to magazine dealers.


It was a real thrill to meet all of those artists and writers at such a young age.  It shaped my life in becoming an artist and still inspires me today.  Thanks for asking me about Reality.  It really is fun to get back to those times now and then.


RA: Thanks, Robert, it’s much appreciated!







                                                A 2007 Interview with Adam Malin!


RA: We’re welcoming Adam Malin, publisher of the 1970 fanzine Infinity.  Adam, can you give us a little information on your background?


AM: I was born and grew up in Queens, New York.  My dad was a commercial artist who specialized in magazine and catalog layout and my mom was one of the first women in advertising, following which she segued into a career as a high school English teacher.  My mom encouraged me to read comics (very unusual for the era) and my dad taught me a lot about magazine design/layout, so starting a fanzine wasn’t that much of a stretch for me.  My lifelong buddy, Gary Berman, grew up a few doors down from me.  He was also into comic books and we used to trade books between each other.  The first of several life-defining moments came for me in the summer of 1969 when I attended Phil Seuling’s comic book convention at the Statler Hilton Hotel.  I was introduced to comic fandom there, a validation and vindication that I would parlay into several businesses over the next four decades.  I discovered that fans were creating magazines featuring art and interviews with their favorite comic book creators, and of course, saw the huge potential in the convention/live event medium that would become my future livelihood.


RA: When did you actually become interested in comics? 


AM: I was a Marvel fiend, and Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Jim Steranko were my early gods.  Fantastic Four was my heaven, and I still maintain to this day (and I’m 51 now) that I am the World’s Number One Fantastic Four fan, just as Stan Lee proclaimed (no doubt based on information he created himself) that the FF was the World’s Favorite Comic Magazine.  To see the movie ads for the Silver Surfer—“Rise”—as the star of the second FF movie is pretty much coming full circle for me.  I can’t wait to see it, and I know my pal, Doug Jones, who is playing the Surfer, will bring the same amazing talent to this character that he did in several of Guillermo Del Toro’s films as well.  The only question is, how will they handle Galactus?? 


Jim Steranko was the other Marvel talent who really blew my mind, and I’m proud to say that he was the first guest at the very first Creation Comic Art Convention that Gary and I produced in 1971.  Steranko’s work on Nick Fury remains a high watermark of 1960s comic books.  During this period I also stumbled across EC Comics, and they had a profound impact on me as well—I fell in love with Graham Ingels, Frank Frazetta, Al Williamson, and all the others in their stable.  To this day I hate Dr. Frederic Wertham for almost single handedly bringing the demise of those beloved books.


I also made the acquaintance of Doug Murray, a super fan about 10 years my superior, who took an early interest in me while I was still practically in diapers (and no, he’s not a pedophile).  Doug was a mentor of mine who turned me on to the worlds of fantasy/sci fi art beyond the limited scope of books I had personally experienced.  He went on to publish an excellent fanzine of his own called Heritage, in addition to writing many comics, including The ‘Nam for Marvel. 


RA: What inspired you to begin the Infinity fanzine?


AM: A genuine love of comic art and the graphic story medium.  I had begun collecting comic art (as did Gary) and we also drew art—really, they were swipes—of all our favorite comic characters.  We published a Xerox fanzine called Electra Fanzine, of which the less said the better.  Suffice it to say that we used our own artwork which was silly, but it got us into the publishing business.  Once we got past the stupidity of using our own art, and we began to accumulate some great pieces by some of our favorite artists, we knew we were almost ready to start a real publishing venture.  However, we knew we had to score some interviews with our favorite artists, and Doug Murray was instrumental in assisting in that regard.


RA: Did you consider it a fanzine or a prozine?


AM: I’d say we were a fanzine in terms of our editorial content (almost non-existent and certainly juvenile, at least at the beginning), but we were a prozine in terms of art quality.  Doug contributed some interviews that were of professional quality, and he remains a fine journalist and comic book writer today.


RA: Robert Gerson mentioned the friendly rivalry between you and he regarding getting the best artists and writers for your respective books.  Could you tell that story from your side of the fence?  Are you the same age?  One of the reasons I ask that is that your responses in the letter’s pages seemed a good deal more mature than the average 14-15 year old.


AM: Robert grew up down the block from Gary and myself.   He and I were in class together until I moved out further on Long Island during high school.  We have been lifelong friends, and I love him dearly.  Robert has that rare combination of artistic chops and great design sense.  Even in those days he had genuine editorial direction, which I feel I lacked in some degree.  It may have been a friendly rivalry in those days but as I look back now I realize how much admiration I had for his magazine Reality, and how much gratitude I have for all the good times we’ve shared.  We’re both the same age and we both now live in southern California, so we see each other quite frequently.  It’s so much fun to reminisce about the glory days.


RA: Robert’s Reality was a magazine that ran actual comics while Infinity was largely a comics related magazine, although you did run some comic strips—quite good ones actually.  What prompted the format decision? 


AM: Infinity’s focus was on interviews and features on art talent, and less on actual graphic stories.  Issue #4 had a gorgeous full color cover painting by Richard Corben (and to this day I hit myself over the head for selling that piece) and some cool Larry Todd work, very subversive.  Basically, we had the money to afford some very great art, and we published it in a high quality manner, including full color process covers in most cases.  I also had all the type set in typeset (during the era before desktop publishing and computer text existed) for the later issues, which certainly increased the production values.  We were pretty good on layout too, a carry over from my Dad’s tutelage in magazine design.


RA: How did you locate and get artists to contribute?  You had some very impressive ones doing covers, strips or pin-ups, including Frank Brunner, Bruce Jones, Jeff Jones, Roy G. Krenkel, Kenneth Smith, Bernie Wrightson, Michael Kaluta and more.


AM: Many of these artists attended our early comic conventions, and we got to know them through the events and/or by seeking them out.  In particular, the “Studio” artists, which were Wrightson, Jeff Jones, Barry Windsor-Smith and Kaluta—were favorites of ours.  There are some funny stories concerning those guys.


Jeff Jones: a brilliant painter who unfortunately has been facing some challenges these past few years.  I will always love his work.  In those days he was married to Louise Jones, who went on to marry Walt Simonson.  Jeff struggled with gender orientation/identification even in those days (and sadly it was a much less forgiving era socially) and in that sense he found a kindred spirit in dear Vaughn Bode (himself the brilliant artist of Cobalt 60 and Cheech Wizard, who allegedly died of autoerotic asphyxiation in 1975).  Jeff had his gorgeous paintings all over his apartment in New York’s Village, and I had the honor of visiting there on several occasions.  Did I mention that I owned several Jones paintings, including the nude girl that was the cover of Reality #1?  Like a schmuck, I sold all my Jones paintings over the years, much to my eternal regret.


Barry Windsor-Smith: Sensational talent who was fluent in a variety of media, and lived up in Woodstock, NY.  I don’t think we ever had any of his work in Infinity, but he was a good friend and displayed at several of our early events.


Michael Kaluta: Again a brilliant artist and graphic storyteller, who was featured in both Infinity and Reality with strips and paintings.  Doug did a great interview with him which was featured in an issue of Infinity.


Bernie Wrightson: Possibly the most brilliant of the lot, Bernie invited me up to his house in the Village on several occasions, where we interviewed him and watched his amazing creative process.  He, of course, went on to Swamp Thing and then to his amazing work illustrating Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein.  I’ve got a Swamp Thing painting by Bernie hanging in my office that I’m very proud of.  One time I got my hands on a beautiful strip by him called ‘Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater’ (originally published in the one-shot prozine, Abyss) which was done in sepia gauche.  Each panel was magnificent, so what did I do?  I cut the page into individual panels and published each separately, forever dismembering the page—typical of my “editorial style’, both immature and disrespectful.  I guess in a certain sense it’s the ultimate compliment, as each panel was to me a painting deserving of its own placement in our fanzine.  Bernie attends my shows even today, particularly the Fangoria Horror Shows I coproduced in Los Angeles every year.


Frank Brunner: Was/Is an amazing talent, and for some inexplicable reason I ended up with a pile of his full-sized painting, some of which I published.  They were gorgeous.  We had them underneath a dealer’s table we had at some show back in the early 1970s, and Frank came by and asked to get some of the paintings back (they were on loan or somesuch).  I pulled up a painting with a big fucking hole in it!  Somehow we had damaged the piece.  Frank nearly did a shit fit, but somehow he forgave us.  Again, typical juvenile hi-jinks from us as teenagers.  At least we knew great art when we saw it!


Bruce Jones: a fine writer and artist who contributed both individual art and stripwork to us.  We started to run his written/illustrated strip ‘The Mating’ but it was never completed.  Bruce has gone on to have a fine career in the graphic story field.


Roy Krenkel: A dear man, one of the greats of the EC era.  We published several pieces by Roy before his untimely passing.


Jack Kirby: Incredibly, the King was the brother of one of the teachers at the high school my mom taught at, and so I finally got to meet my idol.  We published at least one or two pieces by him.  After Jack moved to California, he continued to attend some Creation Comic events.  Jack never lived to see how his wonderful creations made it to the movies, nor did he properly get compensated for his incredible achievements. 


Vaughn Bode: One of the most subversive and original talents in comics in the 1960s and early 1970s.  my best memory of him, other than his amazing slideshow extravaganzas that he present at our shows, was a poignant scene that took place in the hallway at one of our shows.  The great Wally Wood, arguably EC’s most prolific and finest strip artist, was a chronic alcoholic who was reduced to almost homeless status by the early 1970s.  At one of our early Thanksgiving shows I found Wally crumpled on the floor in a hallway with Vaughn sitting cross-legged next to him.  Wally was sobbing about how his life was over, that no one gave a shit about him.  Vaughn was lovingly hugging Wally, reassuring him that he was still the greatest artist of his era.  Wally never came out of his funk, but Vaughn deeply impressed me with the depth of his humanity, and I was very depressed upon hearing the news of his passing those many years ago.


Larry Todd: One of the Haight Ashbury pack, who worked with Gilbert Shelton on the Classic Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers underground comix as well as his own marijuana-tinged parable, Dr. Atomic.  Larry was a lovable rascal who gave us many fun pieces of art as well as some beautiful paintings.  Robert’s Todd painting for the cover of Reality #2 is still a classic—particularly as enhanced by Robert’s use of the giclee-like reproduction which eliminated screen dots.


RA: Why was there a supplement pamphlet issued with Infinity #3A & #3B?  For that matter, why did you do a 3A & 3B set of issues and not simply a #3 and a #4?


AM: The two issue set of Infinity #3 was a progressive way of housing all that beautiful content.  We felt we had two volumes worth of cover material, although, sadly, we didn’t have the money to print Jeff Jones’ aborigine painting in color.  It was gorgeous, in burnt umber and sienna tones.  We also had two issues worth of interior content, so it just seemed to make sense then, and still does.  By the way, does anyone really have copies of these fanzines other than you and me, Richard?  I thought the Infinity series was completely lost to posterity.


RA: Well, I don’t have a complete set.  I’ve only the double #3 set and #5, which features a pretty cool Larry Todd cover.  I keep my eye our for 1970s era fanzines all the time though.  Every once in a while, something turns up. 


Why did Infinity end?


AM: Gary and I realized producing live events was where we wanted to be, not publishing, and 36 years later it’s obvious that we made the right decision. 


Until Gary and I graduated college, essentially we did one show a year—the Thanksgiving convention in Manhattan, which took place at any number of grade B New York venues, including the Statler Hilton, Commodore, Diplomat, McAlpin, Roosevelt, New Yorker, Americana and more.  I am an expert on funky, aged New York venues of the 20th century.  Perhaps in some future narrative I will recount a history of those misbegotten, aged facilities and their place in the history of early fan conventions.


Just as a matter of history, we spent our first 15 or so years running comic book conventions, which slowly mutated into Sci Fi/Fantasy films and TV events (beginning with Telefantasy in 1976, which was coproduced by Doug Murray, Allan Asherman and ourselves.  Then we went on to individually-themed events for Star Trek, Etc. 


At this point in my life, Creation Events has defined 2/3s of my life.  Doug Murray still manages some of our events to this day, and occasionally some of our good friends from the comics era come by to participate.  We book Stan Lee occasionally, and he’s as wonderful and hyperbolic as ever. 


RA: Do you have any anecdotes you’d care to share?


I have a good Stan Lee story.  Back in the early 1970s, we would pay Stan a speaker’s fee of $1000, which was a lot by the standards of those days but only a tiny fraction of the fees he now commands for a public appearance.  After Stan’s appearance was over, I was to bring Stan’s fee—in cash—to him in his green Volkswagon station wagon parked on the street outside the hotel.  I did this several times over several years.  It was funny and idiosyncratic.


Jim Steranko was known for his maverick ways, and one year he proposed a radical entrance for an appearance he was to make at the Statler Hilton.  Those that attended events at that property (which went on to become the Pennsylvania Hotel and is currently being reborn as a condo) should remember that the fabled 18th floor, the top floor of the hotel, had the Sky Top and Penn Top meeting rooms.  Steranko’s scheme was to fly into the event from a helicopter, which would hover just above the hotel.  In those days helicopters had not yet been banned from downtown and the disaster over the Pan Am building had not yet occurred.  Anyways, Jim fancied himself another Harry Houdini and, in fact, he was an amazing illusionist and escape artist.  So his plan was to hang upside down, bound in a strait jacket and dangling from the helicopter.  He would extricate himself from the jacket and drop down onto the balcony of the hotel which ran the length of the building outside the ballroom.  We were all set to play out this ridiculous and dangerous scenario when the hotel caught wind of the plan and promptly shot the idea down.


RA: Do you keep up with the comics field today?


AM: Of course!  I just attended Wizard World in LA and I try to stay on top of the latest talent in the field.  Continuity in the series themselves, on the other hand—forget it.  Fantastic Four is up in the 500s now and I could never keep track.  It’s an exciting time in graphic stories, what with the convergence of comic work and filmmaking.


RA: Any of the current crop of writers and artists that you particularly admire?


AM: The expected suspects, like Jim Lee, Tad Williams, Michel Turner, Adam Kubert, Brian Bendis…there are so many talented people today.  And, of course, it’s amazing for me to see guys like Frank Miller and Steve Ditko up on the screen.  Between 300, Sin City, Spiderman, etc, it’s the second renaissance for the graphic story.


RA: Anything you’d like to say in conclusion?


AM: Infinity was and is only a small part of the fanzine puzzle of the 1970s.  There were magazines with much stronger editorial values, including Squa Tront, witzend and Reality, but I think we had a youthful exuberance and some nice art combined with good production values that set us apart from a lot of the publications of the era.  In a sense, Infinity was the springboard from which I transitioned from publishing into producing live events, and for that I’m grateful, both for the exposure and the insight that it gave me.  If anyone is interested and doesn’t already know about my current business and roster of events, go to to check us out.


RA: Thank you, Adam!




                                                A 2007 Interview with Doug Murray!


RA: Hi, folks, we’re talking today with comics writer Doug Murray.  Can you give us some details about your background?


DM: I was born in Booklyn, New York in 1947—makes me a baby-boomer.


My folks were anxious to give me the best education they could.  They read to me from the time I was old enough to understand.  Through the use of Golden Books and, later, Superman and Batman comic books, they taught me to read before I turned five years old.


Television wasn’t a really big thing then—we got a set when I was about five—one with an enormous five-inch screen.  I loved Howdy Doody but when Rocky Jones, Space Ranger came on the air, then Superman, I was hooked!  I had an uncle who was a real science fiction fan and he introduced me to written SF and SF movies—I saw War Of The Worlds when I was five, brought the paperback book (which I still have) on my way home, and have read SF and Fantasy ever since.


I kept my interest in comics and SF right through Elementary School and, after a move to Long Island, Junior High as well.  In 1958, I discovered Famous Monster of Filmland and started a correspondence with Forry Ackerman that led to some writing in the magazine—my first ‘professional’ work—which I wasn’t paid for.  Still, it was a start and I began doing movie articles and reviews in a lot of magazines.  I kept it up right through college (I went to Columbia and majored in History and Education).


I went to the World Science Fiction Convention in 1964—the same year Forry Ackerman visited my house.  I loved the Con and purchased my first piece of artwork there—a cover rough by Jack Gaughnn.


A couple of years later, I hurt a leg playing basketball and got drafted!  Spent almost five years in the military doing this and that.  During that time I got in touch with several artists, including Kelly Freas, Roy Krenkel, and Al Williamson.  I already knew Frank Frazetta—although not as an artist—I had played baseball with him before my Army days!  I only found out that he was the same guy who did those great Conan paintings when I was assigned to interview him by Take ONe magazine in 1968 or so.


It was around this time that I became aware of fandom and fanzines.


RA: What got you interested in comics?  What was the first you remember buying?


DM: Comics were one of the way I learned to read.  I started reading around the end of the Golden Age and I always bought Superman and Batman books.


RA: Did you have any favorite writers or artists?


DM: I couldn’t have told you then who drew or wrote anything in the comics—nobody was credited and there was no way in the 1950s to find out that information.  I just bought the book for the character.


RA: Were you involved in the fan movement of the late 1960s/early 1970s?


DM: I was sort of tangentially involved in the fan movement.  Mostly through contact with Al Williamson and Roy Krenkel—I was never a joiner so I was never a part of anything organized in any way.


RA: You did some work with both Infinity and Reality, which were early fanzines.  How did you get involved with them?


DM: I can’t really remember how I met Adam Malin and Gary Berman, the publishers/editors of Infinity.  I think they contacted me at some point because someone they were talking to gave them my name.  I had really gotten involved in collecting artwork by this time—had a lot of Virgil Finlay stuff along with many SF paintings.  Adam and Gary needed interior illustrations and, for me, that was a great situation—I provided stuff from my collection (for a few dollars) and used what they paide me to buy more art.  As time passed, I got pretty friendly with Adam and Gary (a friendship that continues to this day), who were fairly young at the time.  I’m not sure what their folks thought of the situation—I was older than them, but it was a different time and the kind of thing that happens so often now was much less frequently heard of then.  Today’s a different story.  I know Adam and Gary introduced me to Reality’s publisher & editor Bob Gerstenhaber (as he was then known), and I helped him a bit as well—but his concept of a fanzine was different than what Adam and Gary were doing so I had less to do with him.


RA: What brought about your own fanzine, Heritage, and why did you pick Flash Gordon as the focal point?


DM: Heritage actually came about for two main reasons.  First, I had become friendly with Richard Garrison, a recent addition to my neighborhood on Long Island.  He was into many of the same things I was and was really interested in doing a fanzine. 


I, on the other hand, was still in the Army and still collecting artwork.  A fanzine seemed a good way to get artwork from some of the artists I was interested in and have a way to recoup what the art cost.  Also, it was a chance to do something that hadn’t been done in a big way up to that time.  I liked the fanzine ‘I’ll Be Damned’, which had featured some comic stories, but I thought it would be more effective to do something with a single subject.


Al Williamson had become one of my most valued friends at this point, and Flash Gordon was my favorite movie serial (as well as his).  Doing an entire book on the character just seemed like a good idea.


RA: Who were Bruce Hershenson & Richard Garrison, your co-publishers on Heritage?


DM: As I said above, Rich Garrison was a fan who moved into my home town around the time that the Heritage idea took shape.  It was fortunate that he did, because I got sent overseas just before it was to come out—Rich took control and was instrumental in getting the final pieces put together.


Bruce Hershenson was a friend of Ron Barlow, who was another friend who was at that time involved with some Bernie Wrightson projects.  He’s since moved to Las Vegas and has a huge collection of movie posters, a subject that he’s done several books on.


RA: With the exception of Neal Adams, most of the artists in Heritage submitted stories of four pages or less.  Was that a requirement?


DM: I was paying what was at the time a very high per-page rate.  My budget demanded that I keep the stories to four pages.


RA: How did you get in touch with the writers & artists?


DM: I knew many of them before I did Heritage.  The ones I knew were often able to put me on to the others.


RA: Do you have any anecdotes about the publication of Heritage that you’d care to share?


DM: Neal Adams’ story was the last one delivered.  He was always slow and I ended up sitting next to his desk for about a week to make sure he got the job done.  That turned out to be a good thing as I ended up being friendly with everyone at the Adams/Giordano studio and did some work there later on.


RA: When and how did you become a professional comic writer?


DM: I became a comic writer quite by chance.  I knew a lot of contemporaries, of course—I played poker with Len Wein, Marv Wolfman and some others.  When I got out of the Army, I spent a lot of time at Adams’ studio and did a bit of pick-up work there.  Larry Hama was one of the artists working there.  He and I became friends and later on, about 1984, when he was an editor at Marvel he decided to do some Viet Nam stories in a relaunch of the Savage Tales title.  He knew I was capable of the work and that I’d had the wartime experiences to fuel the stories.  Savage Tales attracted a lot of attention, leading directly to the four-color comic ‘The ‘Nam’ which made me a comic writer.  I’ve done a lot of stuff since.  Oddly, as I write this, I just contracted to do some stories for a new incarnation of Savage Tales.  The wheel just keeps on turning.


RA: Of your own work, what would you consider to be your favorite?


DM: I think the first 12 issues of ‘The ‘Nam’ are hard to beat.  Mike Golden’s artwork was just fantastic and I wasn’t struggling with any kind of editorial nonsense.  It was a really good time to work at Marvel and I’m very proud of those books.


RA: Whose work in the comic field do you enjoy following today?


DM: I don’t buy a lot of comics these days.  I got kind of spoiled when I was working for Marvel and got everything for free.  I do follow Frank Cho’s ‘Liberty Meadoes’, ‘Astro City’ (when that one comes out) and pretty much anything by George Perez, Adam Hughes and Jim Steranko—and anthing that just looks cool or sounds intriguing.


RA: What projects are you working on today?


DM: I’m currently doing a new series called ‘Jungle Girl’ for Dynamite Entertainment with Frank Cho!  Frank is my partner on the series and will be doing covers and layouts.  The interior pencils will be by Adriano, one of DE’s overseas guys who does some really nice work.  Issue #0 (my first #0) comes out at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and I’m looking forward to the reaction.  I’m also doing an as yet-unamed series for the new Savage Tales.


RA: Any final thoughts?


DM: It’s been an interesting time.  I think I’ve been blessed—I love the fantasy world and have spent much of my life living and working in it.  I have a great wife, good friends (including Adam and Gary whom I’ve now known for what, 30 years?!) and still enjoy what I do.  What more can you ask for?






This bibliography is copyright 2003-2007 Richard J. Arndt.

© 2003-2007 R. Arndt.


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