Saturday, January 06, 2007
Fanzines of the 1970s (Part 1)
Comics fanzines were numerous in the 1970s. Each title usually produced by one person (the self-appointed editor, publisher, and main writer) and in formats restricted by budget (mono or spot colour, photocopied or litho if you were lucky) they nevertheless served an important purpose for fandom. They not only brought us news of upcoming comics but also, via the busy letter columns which often spanned pages, brought together comics fans for discussion and friendly banter.
They're all gone now; replaced by slicker magazines like Comics International and Wizard and countless internet forums, groups, fan sites etc. All of which serve the same purpose and bring the same enjoyment and information as the fanzines of old, only much faster! (Many of the old fanzines had sporadic publication times, - some only appearing a couple of times a year.)
Above are a selection of just four of those old fanzines. Click on the covers to see the full size versions. (Another four below, in part two. The size limitations of this blog meant I had to do the scans in two parts.)
Bemusing Magazine No.10 (August 1976): Later abbreviated its title to Bem (which we'd always called it anyway). Published by Martin Lock, who went on to write for Eros Comics! A great little fanzine full of news, informal features, reviews, fan art etc.
Comic Media No.11 (December 1973): Published by Nick Landau, who went on to start up the Forbidden Planet shops and is the publisher of Titan Books! (Didn't he do well?) The most professional comics 'zine of the time I think. This issue contains a Syd Jordan interview and also runs the Jeff Hawke strip, as well as Modesty Blaise and The Seekers. (This is the very first fanzine I bought, via a mail order ad in the UK Marvel weeklies.)
Comic Media News No.28 (Oct-Nov 1976): Published by Richard Burton, who went on to be an editor on Tiger, 2000AD, and Sonic the Comic (amongst others). A very nicely produced 'zine, very professional in its attitude, and the news source for us back then. (One of the news items in this issue tells of the opening of Nostalgia and Comics, - Birmingham's first comic shop, which is still running today.)
Comics Unlimited No.43 (February 1977): Published by Alan Austin, this long-running fanzine was a great place for fans old and new, with its lengthy letters pages and features. This particular issue featured my first fanzine contribution, - a letter published! I was dead chuffed.