by David R. Black
Fanzing's impending end next month has me in a bit of a nostalgic mood. Rather than review current comics or discuss the state of the comic industry, I'm going to do a little Fanzing related theorizing.
I recently read "A Sense of Wonder: My Life in Fandom," an autobiographical tale written by comic fan Bill Schelly, in which Schelly reminisces about his involvement in early comics fandom and the early fanzines. Coupled with Alter Ego's issue featuring Xero, a fanzine published during the silver age, these two TwoMorrows publications have me pondering an important question:
Will anyone remember Fanzing 30 years from now?
Will an up and coming writer or artist in the year 2032 track down Editor Michael Hutchison and interview him regarding Michael's six years with Fanzing? Will Fanzing be viewed as an innovative concept - the first e-zine in the technologically turbid late 90's and early 00's?
Will one of our contributors have made it big by 2032? Will back issues of some long lost e-zine named Fanzing be prized for their collection of early works by Syl Francis, Yusuf Madhiya, Phil Meadows, or Rosaline Terrill?
Will Fanzing have a historic reputation as a launching pad to the pros, much like the CPL and Alter Ego of lore?
I don't know the answers to these questions. I can only hope that I know the answers.
I sure hope Fanzing is remembered years from now, and although my motive for wishing so may sound a bit selfish, I hope the next generation of fans discovers the intelligently written articles, well crafted fiction, and beautifully rendered art Fanzing contains. I hope our work brings a smile to someone who needs it, acts as source material for a student researching comics, or shines as a testament to a dream fulfilled. I hope future readers can feel the energy and enthusiasm which with we put Fanzing together.
Most of all, I hope all of our hard work doesn't fade into nothingness. The Internet is an ethereal object - ever changing, ever adapting. The Internet of 1992 bears little resemblance to the Internet of today, and I doubt the Internet of 2012 will look much like today's Internet, either.
While he was in Philadelphia last month, D.J. LoTempio and I got together and had a great conversation, about things both Fanzing related and unrelated. (I've met D.J. twice - the only Fanzinger I've personally met - and not only is he a nice guy, he's very intelligent and a great conversationalist). In the course of the evening, D.J asked me if I had any plans for life after Fanzing.
"Life after Fanzing? Is there such a thing?" I joked.
In all seriousness, I don't have any concrete plans for future activities in the comics industry. Many of our contributors are making serious attempts to turn pro, and many are on the verge of succeeding. I've also heard that a few of our writers are working on prose novels, using their experiences at Fanzing as a solid stepping stool to the literary world.
What about me? To be honest, I joined Fanzing with the intentions of one day becoming a pro. At first I wanted to be a writer (as evidenced by a lot of fiction with my name on it in issues 13 through 35), then I decided I wanted to be an editor (much like Roy Thomas, who started with Alter Ego and ultimately became Marvel's E-I-C in the 1970's).
But now, after 54 issues (hey, don't forget Fanzing's #0 and #-1 issues!), I've learned that I don't want to be a comic pro.
I've learned that continually being creative is a difficult task. Like a firecracker, I can sustain short bursts of creativity, but in the long run, I can't sustain the intensity and I burn out. Working for Fanzing has filled me with a great respect and admiration for comicdom's creators - writers, artists, editors, everybody.
I've also learned that working for Fanzing has stifled some of the "sense of wonder" comics had for me previously. Reading comics as a hobby is one thing, but analyzing them, researching them, and writing about them is an entirely different animal. Somewhere along the line, the fun becomes more like real work.
I've enjoyed Fanzing immensely, but I need to step back and rediscover comics' wonder. My personal sense of wonder needs recharging. I need to feel the paper, smell the musty odor, and savor the artwork in an old comic without worrying about reviewing later for a future column. I need to read comics purely for enjoyment's sake.
But I'm not going to disappear entirely. Once I'm recharged, I plan on answering D.J.'s question and my concerns about Fanzing's legacy in one combined effort.
Namely, I plan to take Fanzing (or at least parts of it) into the world of printed paper. With 54 issues worth of contents, we have enough material to make many volumes of TPBs or books.
How would a printed version of a collected "Vile Vial" storyline sound? How about a collection of all Matt Morrison's "Mount" columns? How about an all-Fanzing coffee table book showcasing our artists?
It's worth a shot! Not all persons interested in comics are on-line, and we can reach a wider audience through the physically printed page. I'd love to, for example, put a hardbound collection of John Wells' columns about comics history into libraries everywhere.
The Internet medium is fleeting; the printed page is forever.
Additionally, Fanzing's history needs to be documented. Once the message boards fade and the computer screens dim, much of our story will be gone. The archivist in me cannot dream of something so horrible happening.
Thus, as a first step towards achieving this, I've created a list of all artists who illustrated Fanzing's covers. Our front and back covers create the initial and parting impressions readers associate with Fanzing, and as such, it's only fitting that Fanzing's history begin at the covers and work it's way inside!
Old Fanzing 4 - John Karl Haynes - JLA: A Fallen Guy Gardner
Old Fanzing 5 - John Karl Haynes - Batman Halloween
1 - Jas Ingram - Heroes of the DCU
2 - Melissa Wilson - Firehawk
3 - Jas Ingram - Kingdom Comedy
4 - Simon Brown - Sword of the Atom
5 - Bill Wiist - Shining Knight
6 - Bill Wiist - Gren Lantern on Trial
7 - Rick Blackwell - JSA
8 - Bob Riley - Celebrating 60 Years
9 - Bob Riley - Crisis on Infinite Earths
10 - Bob Riley - Sidekicks
11 - Bob Riley - DCU Magicians
12 - Kierston Vandekraats - Batman the Detective
13 - Christian Moore - Crisis
14 - Bill Wiist - Behind the Cape
15 - Bill Wiist - Elseworlds
16 - Joey Fuentes - "Joker's Wild"
17 - Kurt Belcher & Jeremy Greene - "Truman's Heroes"
18 - The Brothers Grinn - The Titans
19 - Bill Wiist - Suicide Squad
20 - Christian Moore - The JLA Watchtower
21 - Kevin A. Voith - Parallax
22 - Scott McCullar - Batman
23 - Bill Wiist - Doom Patrol
24 - Bill Wiist - Phase and Phantom Girl
25 - Joe Singleton - Jay Garrick
26 - The Brothers Grinn - 80 Page Giant
27 - Mervson - Cancelled Heroes
28 - Anthony Cranfield-Rose -"Ted Knight"
29 - Bill Wiist & Nate Melton - Classic JLA
30 - Bill Wiist - "Dick!" photomanipulation
31 - Ted Bragg - Birds of Prey
0 - Marla F. Fair -Fafhrd and Mouser
32 - Jim Coder - Affirmative Action Comics
33 - Yusuf Madhiya - "Superboy: Falling Rock"
34 - Yusuf Madhiya - Superman
35 - Tiril - The White Witch
36 - David Ellis - "Superboy in Battle"
37 - Carol Strickland - Wonder Woman Watercolor
38 - Brad Parnell - Adam Strange
39 - Kevin A. Voith - DC Archers
40 - Matthew Minnich - Robot Thanksgiving
41 - Kevenn T. Smith - Wonder Woman, Cheetah, and Dr. Psycho
-1 - Yusuf Madhiya - "Gangbuster in Limbo"
42 - Yusuf Madhiya - Superman & Fanzing Man
43 - Phil Meadows - Ambush Bug
44 - Erik Burnham - Hawkman
45 - Chris Franklin - "Crisis on Earth C"
46 - Rosaline Terrill - Superman: July 4th
47 - Rosaline Terrill - Wonder Girl
48 - Erik Burnham & Phil Meadows - Beyond the DCU
49 - Rosaline Terrill - Mr. Mxyzptlk
50 - Kinsey Stewart - Nifty Fifty
51 - Yusf Madhiya & Carlin Trammel - Dawnstar
52 - Rosaline Terill - Elongated Man
(Back covers debuted in issue #13, and thus, there are no back covers for issues #1-12.)
13 - Uncredited - Big Barda, Scott Free, and Oberon
14 - Bill Wiist - Elseworlds
15 - Bill Wiist - Superman & Wonder Woman as Avengers
16 - Uncredited (probably Bill Wiist) - Sgt. Rock
17 - Uncredited (probably Bill Wiist) - Donna & Dick
18 - Bill Wiist - Villains
19 - Bill Wiist - My Hero
20 - Bill Wiist -Ice and Deadman
21 - Bill Wiist - Batman
22 - Bill Wiist - Teams
23 - Bill Wiist - Hourman
24 - Bill Wiist - Speed Force
25 - Bill Wiist - 80 Page Giant
26 - Bill Wiist - Chase
27 - Bill Wiist - Starman
28 - Bill Wiist - JLA 40th Anniversary
29 - Bill Wiist - Dick Grayson
30 - Bill Wiist - Birds of Prey
31 - Bill Wiist - Affirmative Action Comics
0 - Marla F. Fair - Fafhrd and the Beer Girl
32 - Bill Wiist - The Shark
33 - Yusuf Madhiya - Blue Devil
34 - Bill Wiist - Superman Goes to War
35 - Bill Wiist - Legion of Super Heroes
36 - Tony Smith - Kara Zor-El
37 - Phil Meadows - GLC World Tour
38 - Bill Wiist - Green Arrow
39 - Bill Wiist - Robots, Man
40 - Bill Wiist - Times Past
41 - Bill Wiist - Crisis on Earth Fanzing
-1 - Yusuf Madhiya - Reboot!
42 - No Back Cover this month
43 - Phil Meadows - Hawkman
44 - Bill Wiist - The Zoo Crew
45 - The Brothers Grinn - Zoo Crew Generation 2
46 - Russ Yocum - Green Lanterns
47 - Nikoru-Chan - Codename Knockout
48 - Kurt Belcher - Phantom Zone Villains
49 - Yusuf Madhiya - Fanzing Man
50 - Yusuf Madhiya - Superboy & Tana
51 - Yusuf Madhiya - Elongated Man & Supergirl
52 - Yusuf Madhiya - The End of Fanzing
David R. Black is Fanzing.com's magazine editor and chief archivist. A big fan of "The Warlord," he has a cat named Shakira and is looking for a girlfriend named Tara....
All characters are © DC Comics
This piece is © 2002 by David R. Black
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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