Let’s Read Comics Feature, February 1984!

Comics Feature ran from about 1980-1987. That’s approximate, as it’s hard to find substantial information on fanzines. Fanzines, in case you don’t know what separates them from normal magazines, are independent publications dedicated to the core of a fandom. Comics Feature was published by New Media Publications, the distribution arm of which became Diamond Comics Distributors after it folded. I apologize right off the bat for lack of color ads, or ads in general. Fanzines don’t pull in much in the way of advertising money outside of the things that appeal to their core audience. The Comics Feature people put a little effort into accompanying visuals for their features, but mostly the magazine is just cheap printed text. You can tell from the cover’s proud boast that the magazine’s new color inserts that printing things in color is a big deal for them. I also feel that I should apologize to folks who aren’t big comics fans, since the nature of the fanzine is to appeal solely to the most devoted of the niche. I will probably get something wrong or understate something significance purely out of ignorance, for which I apologize in advance.

As you can see, the magazine was a mix of industry inside scoop and general fan chatter about the past and future of comic strips, superhero comics, and animated features. It’s interesting that the Star Wars title mentioned on the cover implicitly refers to Star Wars comics with full confidence that you’ll pick that up, because why would they discuss anything else?

Eh. It’s a table of contents. The way that “departments” gets cut off because it doesn’t fit across the top is really bugging me. Also there’s weird inconsistent spacing and nope I don’t like it at all, actually.

Comic books began to organize themselves a serious fandom just about twenty years ago…”

Comic book people – discuss? I got nothin’.

Again, Star Wars people and comic book people and Star Wars comic book people have way more on how this turned out than I do. All I know is that someone probably put their fist through the wall when her response was “I’m not going to say”.

Good insight into the life cycle of animated features, as almost everything mentioned as being in development here came out about five or six years later. Also of note is the upcoming release of “The Duck Factor”, aka The Duck Factory, a one-season flop that starred a very young Jim Carrey. The black and white “Vincent” short that’s making waves was the solo debut of Tim Burton.

From a review of upcoming Vampirella comics.

I swear 90% of these titles sound made up.

John Byrne’s interview was given a luxurious 20 pages of space, so I only included what I figured would be the highlights – namely, dishing on Superman, the entry-level rate for an artist in the comics industry in the 70s, why nobody likes Iron Fist, threatening children who don’t know who Neal Adams is with bodily harm, sooooo much talk about Chris Claremont and how the X-Men are no longer his babies, and something about something called Alpha Flight which was like X-Men but more Canadian?

Cosmic Canadians!

From a feature on the golden age of Quality Comics, which folded in 1956 and sold many of their character rights to DC, including The Spirit and Plastic Man. The top comic, “Hawks of the Seas” was written by Will Eisner under a pen name.

Really interesting article on the then-burgeoning trend of fostering fan engagement between editor and audience, credited to Stan Lee (of course). That second to last paragraph about the future of fan influence on comics when the old guard of editors ages out is certainly something.

I had to look up what “Mando Paper” is. Mando paper is a higher quality paper than the default cheapo newsprint-esque stock paper that most comics (and this fanzine) were printed on at the time.

A section on upcoming releases. I wonder what they mean by “the first imaginary story of Superman“.

From that same section on upcoming comics, in which Archie got its own little sub-section for new releases. I’m guilty of utilizing valley girl slang, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone in my entire life say something is GRODY TO THE MAX!

I am sad to find that Ms. Tree comics are not the adventures of a female-identified tree ala some kind of Lady-Groot, but at least it is REASONABLY WELL-TOLD.

Apparently everyone just wanted to talk about Star Wars in 1984, regardless of what other fandom you pledged yourself to, so even the Star Trek fanzines were all about it.

And our no-expenses spared back cover brought to you by Cosmic Visions of Tampa, Florida. I don’t know when the store went under, but research tells me that there is now a nail salon at that address. Time is so brutal. But hey, maybe they would have stayed in business if they eased up on that no mail order policy?

Thanks for reading another week! This one was light on commentary in part because I am saving up my energy for next week’s review:

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GQ from October 1979, featuring peak-celebrity Christopher Reeve and a bunch of young hotshot flashes in the pan like “Michael Jackson” and “Steven Spielberg” and “Tim Matheson” and “Tony Danza”. And SO MUCH gay-coded advertising and bad fashion and oooh I can barely stand it! I’m so excited!

Also earlier this week, Romanes Eunt Domus wrote a wonderful feature on French sci-fi magazines from the 60s, so if you haven’t checked that out you really should.