Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Comic Reader #183 (September, 1980)

It should be evident to anyone who has read my blogs or listened to my podcasts that I'm a big comic reader. However, I'm not big on The Comic Reader, one of if not the longest lived fanzines of the medium (unlike the much earlier Alter Ego, which became a prozine and then a proper magazine.) The publication was always slight on editorial content, likely due to a lack of access to the big companies and their talent, as well as its dependence on their good graces for the book's main service to the community, solicitation art & copy. For instance, the specific issue being covered today ran 60 pages and change, 13 of which were paid advertisements, 18 were newspaper strip reprints, 3 well drawn but unfunny animal strips, and 1 a photo comic featuring the guys who did those strips that actually is kind of funny. Pretty near everything else looks like an early Previews catalog.

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That said, the magazine pioneered the use of original full color professional cover art, and has shown much love to J'onn J'onzz in that regard, including issues 159, #197, #219 and this number right here, described inside as "The original JLA as portrayed by new DC inker Dennis Jensen, and Supergirl and Batgirl by TCR cover artist Bob Staszak." This was actually around the time the Manhunter from Mars saw a sharp uptick in usage, including appearances in Justice League of America and DC Comics Presents, with black and white cover art from the second part of Mongul arc (featuring Supergirl) displayed inside. Detective Comics #500 is also discussed, including "Paul Levitz and Joe Kubert do a HAWKMAN story which investigates the 'Strange Death of Dr. Erdel,' the man who brought J'onn J'onzz to Earth." There's also the brief mention that "Polygram Films has announced that BATMAN is on their release schedule for 1982. Michael Uslan and Ben Melnicker are the producers named."

Over at Marvel, their graphic novel line was meant to begin with an X-Men story by Claremont, Byrne & Austin, while Frank Miller was set to both draw AND write an issue of DAREDEVIL "featuring a new villain called Electra." Their spelling. Did that Daredevil back-up strip "The Ninja" by Hama and Simonson ever happen? Or the Howard the Duck radio show?

Wooo-- there's a fan letter that references an episode of Tomorrow with Tom Snyder that featured a co-interview of Stan Lee and Carmine Infantino! Wait-- I just did a bit of research, and apparently only audio of the episode still exists, and includes Julie Schwartz! Why has no one leaked this to YouTube?

Hey, remember when comic conventions only had one guest? There's a show in here with just Walt Simonson and the dude who played Twiki, and I should have asked Howard Chaykin how his gig in Indiana went when I talked to him this weekend (all three have done Houston shows in the past year.) Say, the top 100 comics are listed her! Okay, forget what I said earlier-- these later issues of the magazine are actually neat. I bought a few issues for a few bucks at Amazing Houston, and if anything Alien Atlas appears, I'll pass it along...

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