Graphics of Fantasy!

*Too busy with stuff today.

*Went fishing in the quarter bins - got some prime stuff, including some awesome Fantagraphics finds. Issue #2 of “Mechanics”, the 1985 three-issue colorized reprint miniseries of early “Love and Rockets” material, with some good original stuff and an introduction by Wendy Pini (issue #3 apparently sports an essay by Chris Claremont!). It was nice enough that it prompted me to get the also-color “Maggie and Hopey Color Fun Special” #1 from 1997, at a little more than a quarter. No big deal.

But the big Fanta quarter find is a real winner: Jay Disbrow’s “The Flames of Gyro”. At first I thought “Hey, flames are awesome and gyros are delicious so OH GOD is that a pun on 'hero'?! Oh be still my heart!” before really examining the book, and noticing that Fanta was the publisher (by checking the legal text - there’s no logo anywhere on the book’s front and back cover). The magazine-sized comic was released in 1979, which has to make it one of the first books published by that venerable independent comics mainstay, though of course they’d been in charge of “The Comics Journal” since 1976, then known as “The Nostalgia Journal”. The inside back cover of “The Flames of Gyro” sports a full-page ad for the 1979 Journal, headquartered in delightful Stamford, Connecticut. And what does Journal ’79 feature?

“*NEWS. What’s going on at Marvel, DC, Warren, Heavy Metal? What’s happening with underground publishers, comic strip syndicates, the fan press, and book publishers? Look to THE COMICS JOURNAL…

*REVIEWS. Not every comic is as good as it should be. Some are gems. And a very few are true works of Art. From regular 32-page superhero comics to expensive hard- and soft cover ‘graphic novels,’ our writers examine the latest offerings - with sometimes surprising results…

*COMICS CHECKLIST. A comprehensive compilation of forthcoming issues, telling you who’s writing and drawing your favorite comics and when they will go on sale

And so on and so on. It was particularly great seeing that the Journal provided a nice pre-internet compilation of creative and scheduling info. Of course, my knowledge of the late-70’s comics and fan press is almost nil, and I don’t know how widely such services were offered or available to fans through independent media.

Maybe “The Flames of Gyro” will get a bigger review later. Tomorrow we’ll get back to the reviewing regardless, maybe with some more overarching thoughts on my finally-completed reading of “Voice of the Fire”.