What a way to find out Fu Manchu is dead.

§ August 18th, 2023 § Filed under zines § 14 Comments

Sorry again, it’s been busy at Chez Mike this week, so the dreaded Low Content Mode struck again at Progressive Ruin Industries. Don’t worry, I’m still here, I’m still “blogging” on my “website” here on “the Internet,” and despite popular demand, I’m not going anywhere.

But I saw that in the comments to my last entry folks were mentioning other cool comic ‘zines of the ’80s, and, well…here’s the thing. I was going to dip into the ol’ magazine boxes and pull out my copies of various ‘zines that were mentioned, but, well, I’m in the midst of a huge reorganizing project with my collection, and not everything is where it should be. I know, for example, I have Comics Features, or at least the one with the Steve Bissette/John Totleben Swamp Thing art gallery inside. And somewhere I have the first issue of Comic Collector.

I did find my fun of Comics Scene, which was a good mag that brought comic news to the general public in an appealing way. (I believe it was an article in Comics Scene that first got me interested in Cerebus.) And I found the one issue I own of Four Color Magazine, a slick color news/interviews mag.

Something else I did find, and this is a relatively recent acquisition, is LOC #1 from 1980:

Taking its name from the abbreviation for “Letters of Comment,” the black and white magazine featured news, reviews, and general commentary pieces. You can kind of get an idea looking at some of the subjects on the cover there (and I feel like the placement of the “Why Don’t Women Read Comics?” blurb right below one of the possible answers is on purpose.)

I don’t recall seeing it on the stands at the time, though it’s possible it may have ended its run before I started frequenting comic book stores and other unsavory joints. But I have a few of these things and they have quite the interesting line-up of contributors. That #1 has a cover by Frank Miller and Terry Austin. Contributing writers include Kurt Busiek, Peter Gillis, Carol Kalish (who wrote the “Why Don’t Women Read Comics” article), and several other familiar names.

At my store, I know I have more copies of this magazine, along with a few more Comic Features and other ‘zines of the period, but I’m leaving them there until I get the mag situation at home nailed down.

So, did any of you read LOC at the time? Any other comic news/reviews mags that you can think of the from period? Let me know in The Usual Spot!

14 Responses to “What a way to find out Fu Manchu is dead.”

  • WizarDru says:

    Yeah, Carol Strickland’s ‘Rape of Ms. Marvel’ article is pretty famous for detailing how Chris Claremont made the character worth something on her own title and how Avengers #200 did…really terrible things with her, once her comic had ceased publication. It was an awful story then and it reads possibly worse now. Claremont wrote a story later specifically to have Carol reappear and tell the Avengers (and by extension, Editorial) what Bullshit that story was.

  • I had that LOC,and a few others. IIRC, it didn’t last long. It had a sister publication, but I can’t recall the title.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Wow! So much to unpack here!

    What if…Frank Miller had taken over Wonder Woman instead of George Perez? Apparently she would have become Red Sonja! Why did Miller draw WW’s left leg shorter than her right leg…or is she doing a victory dance? Also, in the modern context, instead of: “The Wonder Woman Who Wasn’t” that blurb could be switched out for: “The Wonder Woman Of The New 52” –or did WW start carrying weapons prior to New 52? Also, Austin should ink Miller more often! Also, didn’t Miller draw at least one WW cover in the early ’80s where she us depicted as a skeleton…? Maybe that issue should have been labeled: “Weird War Tales of Wonder Woman!”

    I wonder if “The School of Comics Over- Writing” referenced anybody in particular…Roy Thomas, Chris Claremont, Don McGregor, Marv Wolfman…? Nowadays it would be: “The School of Decompressed Comics Writing” or “The School of Deconstructionist Comics Writing” or “The School Of Not Giving A Crap About Continuity Comics Writing.”

    “The Future New X-Men” blurb, which I guess refers to “Days of Future Past,” could nowadays be swapped out for “Mining The Past With The Future New X-Men Because ‘The House of Ideas’ Has Run Out of Ideas.”

    The “When Titans Clash — They Really” blurb could be switched nowadays to “Too Many Titans!”

    “The Assassination of Fu Manchu” blurb nowadays would probably be celebrated since the character is viewed as a negative stereotype from a less enlightened bygone era.

    What happened to Carol Danvers on Shooter’s watch was wrong, but nowadays she’s a major character and has her own film franchise…and it’s good that Claremont stood up for her. So, she’s not doing too bad for a character who was initially created as a love interest for Mar-Vell.

    I think the one thing that has been fixed is that comics are much more diversified and many women read comics nowadays.

    The “Burn Your Comic Collection” blurb was no doubt provocative and outrageous at the time, but in terms of modern comics, they might have a point…

  • Sean Mageean says:

    I forgot to add that Wonder Woman, as drawn by Miller and Austin as a bad-ass Amazon, looks pretty “loc” (as in loca) on the cover of LOC!

  • Thom H. says:

    Yeah, having Ms. Marvel give birth to her own rapist was truly terrible for so many reasons. I came to comics just a year or two later, so I only knew Carol Danvers from the X-books (i.e., powers stolen by Rogue, turned into Binary). When I finally read the story from Avengers #200, I honestly couldn’t believe it had been published.

    This is the first time I’ve seen Miller and Austin’s work together, and I agree they should have collaborated more back in the ’80s. Really beautiful. I imagine a Frank Miller-written Wonder Woman book would be full of gory fights.

  • Dave-El says:

    When I was a kid, my small home town had 2 spinner racks for comics, in a drug store and a convenience store. By the time I went off to college, those two racks disappeared. That was a sad discovery when I came back home to visit.

    However, over in the magazine section, one could find “Comics Scene”. It was like finding TV Guide in a village without television.

  • adam says:

    i would love to read that carol kailash article. is it online somewhere?

  • Matthew says:

    A modern comics zine I’d recommend is Bubbles. The first issue has a feature on music inspired by the Nancy comic strip.

  • LouReedRichards says:

    I got into comics too late for the original Comics Scene run but was all in for the relaunch in ’87. The slicker production, color artwork and large images made it seem so much more professional than the mostly black and white ‘zines. Looking back, it was probably a matter of style over substance kind of thing, but at the time 15 year old me was hooked.

    Issue #3 was my first introduction to Moebius – my mind was (and still is) blown by his amazing work.

    I also got my first real exposure to McFarlane there as well, I was entranced by his stand alone images. That spell quickly wore off once I got a better taste of his sequential work, again, style over substance.

    BTW: The Benjamin J. Grimm reference never gets old!

  • As I recall, though I haven’t read the article for a long time, I was speaking of the “character assassination” of Fu Manchu in the pages of MASTER OF KUNG FU.

    Obviously I don’t agree with the statement that the character ought to be killed off, though that’s because I always think first of the character from the prose books, rather than the versions that have appeared in films, comics, and television shows.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “So, did any of you read LOC at the time”

    I never even SAW that one. I did read one or two Comics Interview issues.

    “Also, Austin should ink Miller more often!”

    Looks kind of an odd combo to me. I like em fine with others! Austin w/Bryne, Miller w/Janson, for example.

    “Chris Claremont, Don McGregor”

    These 2 are MOST guilty of over-writing, though they’re certainly good (or even great, in Claremont’s case) writers.

    “could be switched nowadays to “Too Many Titans!””

    Too Many Spin-Offs!

    “but in terms of modern comics, they might have a point…”

    “Recycle All Shadowhawk Comics!”

  • Snark Shark says:

    I feel I should mention BACK ISSUE and ALTER EGO are still around!

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @ Snark Shark

    To my eye, Austin inking Miller doesn’t look too dissimilar to Austin inking Marshall Rogers.

    Out of all the early Images Comics I’ve stumbled upon in dollar boxes I’ve only really found Gen 13 to be of much interest.

    And as far as Marvel’s New Universe comics, there was one guy who disliked Kickers Incorporated so much, every time he found copies in a dollar box he would buy them just to be able to rip them up.

    Alter Ego is a great resource for comics history…it’s great that Roy Thomas keeps it going. I don’t know when the last time was that they interviewed Jack Katz (First Kingdom), but he’s about 96 now, so Roy should get on it while there’s still time.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “there was one guy who disliked Kickers Incorporated so much”

    I can’t blame him. but I’d have gone w/ NFL Superpro. It’s surely Marvel’s most boring comic.