by Chaim Mattis Keller
Before we begin our regularly-scheduled letter column, I wish to first state for the record that I am completely blameless in the April Fools joke that was played on all of us last month. I fell for it just as much as anyone reading this. Now, on with two months' worth of letters accumulation...
Subject: Birds of Prey issue.
Hi to you from England.
A while back I had little interest in the female characters of the D.C. U. but having read the latest issue of Fanzing, your articles had me searching the back issue boxes at a recent comic market for "Birds of Prey" comics.
Thanks for the tip in the right direction.
Now a question for you. One of your archive articles gives a timeline for D.C comics of the seventies. This well researched piece made me wonder; to your knowledge has anyone put together in one place a complete index of every D.C comic published?
The Overstreet Guide lists all of those over a given value, but not easily searchble in one section. If you know where this info can be found please let me know.
Many thanks for your time,
Our editor, Michael Hutchison, replies:
In answer to his question, I don't know if anyone has an absolutely complete list. There might be one in our links section; I can't remember if that site went down or not.
I (your humble letters editor) recommend you try the Grand Comics Database Project. You can use the "Advanced Search" feature to search by publisher, and it might allow you to browse a complete list by publisher as well.
It doesn't get much better than this - look who enjoyed our Birds of Prey issue!
Thanks for your efforts. In these troubled times a comic book about two ladies who manage to keep their clothes on for 22 pages needs all the help it can get!Chuck Dixon"
This little baby keeps on generating more feedback...
From: David Ellis (email@example.com)
Subject: How to Save the Comics Industry
What a great site! I just finished reading your "...Comics Industry" article and wanted to add a couple of thoughts.
I'm 32 years old and have been reading comics (on my own) since I was 5. I fondly remember making my mother read issues of World's Finest to me to get me to go to sleep. (In fact, it was the issues of Superman, Jr. and Batman, Jr. I remember most.)
I've watched the comics industry go through many cycles over the last few decades, but none as disheartening as the lows of recent years.
Distribution is indeed part of the problem. As is the price of an individual comic. But I believe its the convoluted history of comic's characters and the rampant speculation market of the 90's that really sealed the coffin. In order to enjoy most comics today (especially the likes of Superman, Batman, etc.), you have to be well versed in that character's history. And in most cases the history is so complex the resulting brain seizure is strong enough to negate any potential enjoyment. Mark Waid always says "every comic is somebody's first comic", so he tries to make sure he gives enough information to that first-time reader. But even so, almost every issue of every comic is filled with little Editor's notes referencing the reader to another issue which, in a lot of cases, came out YEARS ago.
The speculation market didn't help much either. Buying comics just to tuck them away like savings bonds ensures they aren't getting read. And if they're not being read, then we aren't grabbing interest. And if we're not grabbing interest, we're not grabbing readers.
I could also blame the early Image years (partly, anyway). The 'great art, poor writing' philosophy did little to ensure a potential reader's staying power.
I'm sorry. I'm rambling. I can't help it. Comics mean a lot to me. Every time I think I'm ready to give them up, they suck me back in.
Thanks for your time.
P.S. Do you accept black and white artwork, or do you prefer color?
Thanks for your thoughts. As to art, we're happy to accept black-and-white as well.
From: Bongsun Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: a question (Face to Face)
Hi I was reading a fanfiction on the latest issue and really loved it and I was wondered couple of things.
One is the previous parts posted anywhere? perhaps the authors homepage?
Second I would really like to commend the author and I was wondering if it is possible to have her mail address. ( Marilee Stephens- the author)
I look forward to the next issue of fanzing (^^).
PS I LOVE the fact you have lot of Nightwing fanfictions often (someone once complained, if I remember correctly). I think you are doing a great job, please keep it up.
Our Editor, Michael Hutchison, replies:
You're referring to "Choices", right?
When reading "Choices", you'll see a menu to the right which lists all 18 chapters. You can access them all from there. I'll try to make it a little more noticeable.
Glad to hear you are enjoying the stories! If you love Nightwing fanfic...please peruse the archives for dozens of Nightwing stories that we've published before. And yes, there will be more of them in the future.
As for Marilee's e-mail address...I thought she was on the Staff page, but she isn't yet. You can contact her at email@example.com.
Regarding our article on the cuts made to a recent Batman movie:
From: Tim Fuller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Re: Permission request
Didn't until you told me. Nice, VERY nice. Liked your CENSORSHIP piece and I'll definitely go back and read the rest when I'm not up past by bedtime.
Darn great work, sir. Thanks for letting me know and for your constant willingness to help and share information. That's what helps keep this industry alive, I think.
PS I saw an advanced uncensored version (loaned to me by a friend) of the BATS BEYOND flick, but had not seen the edited version. Great insight and a major difference, I concur.
Looks like I'm not the only one my fellow Fanzing staffers scammed...
From: D. E. Kesler (email@example.com)
Subject: Loved the April Fools Joke!
To be honest, I visited your site to just see Wonder Woman naked. Before diving into your April issue with its promise of sexy images, I was blissfully distracted by your insightful and intelligent articles. Finally, when I got around to actually looking at issue #33, I was not too surprised to learn that it was only a joke designed to make me visit your fine site. Was I disappointed? Not at all. Thanks to your clever marketing, I have found an intelligent source for Comic Book news.
Regards and Best Wishes,
Donald Eric Kesler
From: Morton J (SApS) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: RE: Fanzing's April Issue
Well you really had me going... I was afraid to look (I check the site from the University - it's handy contributing some lecturers on comic books for the Science Fiction criticism programme). Congratulations on the best April Fool I've seen this year!
I got 9/12 on the quiz. Does that make me an official fanboy?
...but some people were hoping for more serious stuff.
From: Mark Anderson (email@example.com)
Subject: For Fanzing Mail Room
Did I just overlook installments to the "Vile Vial" this month(April) or were there just not any which measured up?
Just one more quick comment, the Green Lantern story, "Legacy" from last month was great.
I wasn't sure where to send my questions and praise. Where exactly is the feedback button, I would suggest putting the address inside the "Letters" area so that you won't get tons of stuff like this replying back to the Announcements address. Additionally it should appear at the bottom of the main page each month, with the cool Fanzing Mail Room banner used on the letters page in Fanzing #32.
Thanks and keep up the great work,
Our Editor, Michael Hutchison, replies:
Thanks for the comments!
The April issue was an all-silly issue, so there wasn't any serious fiction. Believe me, we will have plenty of Vile Vial stuff for May.
As for the mail link...there is a "Mail" text link in the upper right corner of each page, next to the nav buttons. It was never intended to be permanent, but it's taken me longer than I thought to make up the graphics.
It's also a good suggestion to put the mail link at the bottom as well. I'll see what I can redesign.
Another fan of our movie section:
From: Jerry Ramos (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Video Clips
I loved your animations. Have you considered doing anything based on DC's Kingdom Come?
I don't know what our movie man, Steven Conroy, has planned next, but this one sounds like a great idea.
Someone's been browsing the archives...from Fanzing 16...
From: Jason Allin (email@example.com)
This Plasticman idea is great! I'd buy it!
Here's a message from our editor, Michael Hutchison, to someone elsewhere who had asked about buying and selling comics:
First off, you can post your request at Fanzing's "Buy, Sell and Trade" board.
Dixonverse (Chuck Dixon's Web Site) also has a Barter Board.
There are probably tons of other web sites for buying comics. Certainly, you can find them on eBay.com.
I hope that helps. We'll post this in the letters column so that if anyone wants to respond, they can. Also, people might post links to other buy/sell sites in our Fanzing Forum.
Well, that's it for these months. Until next time...keep looking up in the sky.
All characters are DC Comics
This piece is © 2001 by Chaim Mattis Keller.
Fanzing is not associated with DC Comics.
All DC Comics characters, trademarks and images (where used) are DC Comics, Inc.
DC characters are used here in fan art and fiction in accordance with their generous "fair use" policies.
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