Sunday, 8 January 2012

Gary Groth's Fantastic Fanzine

I'm rummaging around in my fanzine box today and I've turned up my sole copy of Fantastic Fanzine. It was tough for me to get hold of American fanzines, so I don't have a lot, but this one is...well, bloody amazing is what it is. This was Gary Groth's fanzine, started when he was only 13! There are already all the hallmarks of the Groth approach to comics journalism, with extended interviews and frank editorializing, and the quality of art he solicited from the artists he admired is very impressive. This special issue - Fantastic Fanzine Special #2 was published by Alan Light in 1972. It's notable for in-depth coverage of Phil Seuling's 1971 New York Convention, an interview with inker and artist, Joe Sinnott and a gallery of art from previous issues. The issue runs to 84 page. I've scanned a few of the best pieces for your viewing pleasure. The captions are mine.

Reprinting the cover of Fantastic Fanzine #10
Steranko inked by Joe Sinnott - with classic Swastika boo-boo

The Silver Surfer - A Kirby-inspired pinup by Barry Smith

Joe Sinnott in his studio

Dave Cockrum - pencils

Joe Sinnott - inks

Steranko at the 1971 New York Convention. Nice shirt, Jim.

Gardner Fox and Steranko were honoured at the Awards Luncheon. In his speech Steranko said: "...things like typography, design, photography gimmicks, op art and pop art in my comics, which came from films, from radio, from the pulps, from the ad agency, from business, from everything that I could possibly apply from my entire background, including the magic I have done and the gigs I have played...go into every comic book story. Nick Fury became Steranko."

At an impromptu Q and A session, Steranko was asked about working in the future for Marvel or DC. Steranko's response: "I don't work on comic deadlines again, ever."

And finally...Cosplay 1971 style. Is it just my imagination, or were cosplayers slimmer back then?

Note artist Mike Zeck as Black Bolt, and Kirk (Superman) Alyn judging.


  1. That mr Steranko certainly was a real dandy, was he well turned out when you met him, Dave?

  2. He sure was! Here's a link to a photo from 2009:
    He was 71 then and his handshake left me unable to hold a pen for several hours. He has an incredible regime of diet and exercise that makes him fitter in body and mind than I ever have or ever will be.

  3. Heh, the man knows how to dress.

  4. Another couple of names I recognise in that cosplay lineup are Martin Pasko (no relation), and the late Neal Pozner. Any more?

  5. I noticed a "Mike Gilbert" who could well be Michael T Gilbert of Mr Monster and Elric fame.

  6. Yes! Martin Pasko and Neal Pozner for sure. Michael Gilbert would also be the right age.

  7. "Jerry Sinkovich" might possibly be Jerry Sinkovec of THE COMICS READER, and Mike Nolan is possibly the one who is now noted comic historian Michelle Nolan. And Heidi Saha was a well known costume-contest star who was featured in her very own one-shot pin-up magazine from Warren Publications... at the age of fourteen! Here's a bit of info about that: