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Comics fanzines

Comics were mentioned and discussed as early as the late 1930s in the fanzines of science fiction fandom. Famously, the first version of Superman (a bald-headed villain) appeared in the third issue of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's 1933 fanzine Science Fiction. Malcolm Willits and Jim Bradley started The Comic Collector's News, the first comics fanzine, in October, 1947. By 1952, Ted White had mimeographed a four-page pamphlet about Superman, and James Taurasi issued the short-lived Fantasy Comics. In 1953, Bhob Stewart published The EC Fan Bulletin, which launched EC fandom of imitative EC fanzines. A few months later, Stewart, White and Larry Stark produced Potrzebie, planned as a literary journal of critical commentary about EC by Stark. Among the wave of EC fanzines that followed, the best-known was Ron Parker's Hoo-Hah!. After that came fanzines by the followers of Harvey Kurtzman's Mad, Trump and Humbug. Publishers of these included future underground comics stars like Jay Lynch and Robert Crumb.

In 1960, Richard and Pat Lupoff launched their science fiction and comics fanzine Xero. In the second issue, "The Spawn of M.C. Gaines'" by Ted White was the first in a series of nostalgic, analytical articles about comics by Lupoff, Don Thompson, Bill Blackbeard, Jim Harmon and others under the heading, All In Color For A Dime. In 1961, Jerry Bails' Alter Ego, devoted to costumed heroes, became a focal point for superhero comics fandom and is thus sometimes mistakenly cited as the first comics fanzine.

Contacts through these magazines were instrumental in creating the culture of modern comics fandom: conventions, collecting, etc. Much of this, like comics fandom itself, began as part of standard science fiction conventions, but comics fans have developed their own traditions. Comics fanzines often include fan artwork based on existing characters as well as discussion of the history of comics. Through the 1960s and 1970s, comic fanzines followed some general formats, such as the industry news and information magazine (The Comic Reader was one example), interview, history and review-based fanzines, and the fanzines which basically represented independent comic book-format exercises. While perceived quality varied widely, the energy and enthusiasm involved tended to be communicated clearly to the readership, many of who were also fanzine contributors. During the 1970s, many fanzines (Squa Tront, as example) also became partly distributed through certain comic book distributors.

At times, the professional comics publishers have made overtures to fandom via 'prozines', in this case fanzine-like magazines put out by the major publishers. The Amazing World of DC Comics and the Marvel magazine FOOM began and ceased publication in the 1970s. Priced significantly higher than standard comics of the period (AWODCC was $1.50, FOOM was 75 cents), each house-organ magazine lasted a brief period of years.

In Britain, there have since 2001 been created a number of fanzines pastiching children's comics of the 1970s and 1980s (e.g. Solar Wind, Pony School, etc.). These adopt a style of storytelling rather than specific characters from their sources, usually with a knowing or ironic twist.

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