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May 1, 2013

Ink Stains 50: Comic Crusader 11 and 12


Martin L. Greim published one of the most consistent and longest running fanzines, Comic Crusader! A double shot this installment, issues 11 and 12!

Comic Crusader 11, 12, 1971, 1972

Publisher and Editor: Martin L. Greim


If you have been reading Ink Stains for a while, you have seen many of the artists and writers contained in the pages of Martin L. Greim’s long running fanzine Comic Crusader. Russ Maheras, Maelstrom publisher and frequent Buyer’s Guide cover artist, said “Comic Crusader and The Collector were two of my favorite zines during the early 1970s. Both had top quality contributors, editorial standards and offset printing. They were benchmarks for the rest of us fan publishers.” I covered issue 10 a while back, and this time out you get two for the price of one! Below you see the covers for issues 11 and 12.

These two issues of this incredibly consistent fanzine each have different overall themes, which you can probably figure out by the covers. Most of the material in issue 11 centers around Flash Gordon, while issue 12 has an overriding theme of barbarians in general. Greim’s stable of artists gives us dozens of great illustrations, and there are lengthy articles throughout, as well…so, let’s get started!

As you can see, issue 11 starts off with an elegant cover by the incredible Al Williamson. Comic fans of today (and even myself included) would do well to search out Williamson, whose strip and comic book work was always incredibly rendered, with lush backgrounds and intelligently composed images. You can see a very nice article on Williamson here. Exhaustive articles on the films/serials featuring Flash Gordon are written by editor Greim, as well as artist Mike Royer, and Bob Cosgrove. Various photos from the films are scattered throughout the fanzine as well, a few of which can be seen below. Royer has had an expansive career in comics, including working with Russ Manning AND Jack Kirby, among others. You can read more about him here.

As I mentioned earlier, there is a plethora of gorgeous illustrations throughout the fanzine, including work by Greim (who always had a very clean, if derivative style), Ronn Sutton, Dave Cockrum, Joe Sinnott, Royer, Robert Kline, Gray Morrow, Berni Wrightson, John Adkins Richardson, Bill Black, Williamson, Gary Kato, Dennis Fujitake, Wayne Pond, Dan Adkins, Keith Fukumitsu, and Steve Fritz. You can see a sampling of the various pieces below.





Above you see the always impeccably realistic work of Gray Morrow, someone I have always felt was overlooked, underused, and under appreciated in the comics biz. You can see a ton of Gray’s amazing work here on the blog by Steven Thompson.

The illustration above by perennial nice guy Joe Sinnott depicts editor Greim with Flash and Dale Arden, similar to the full page illo Sinnott did for Bill G. Wilson and his Collector, seen here. Don’t forget to download the whole zine, at the link at the end of the article, as there are many other great illustrations I just don’t have the space for here. So, let’s move on to issue 12…it’s a Barbarian issue, by Crom!

Above you see sequential designer par excellence Jim Steranko…that might be his barbarian character, Talon. The main and initial article of issue 12 is by author Tom Fagan, and is a tongue in cheek critique of several serials in the 40s magazine Planet. The article is titled “Tom Fagan…The Last Words of These Are,” and is illustrated by Greim, and features characters such as the archer, Hunt Bowman (seen below).

Not quite barbarian fare, to be honest, but close enough. Following this article is a beautiful illustration by the late Don Newton (seen small in the banner at top), and an even more tongue in cheek entry by Dennis Fujitake and friends, “The Coming of Nolan” (the remedial barbarian). The art shows Fujitake at the crossroads of his disparate influences, Steve Ditko and Frazetta/Jeff Jones. See a sample below.

Berni Wrightson makes an appearance in this issue, as well, with the illustration below. Even at this early stage of his career, his rendering and “black spotting” skills were far beyond many of his peers.

The illustration precedes an article by Tony Isabella, which recounts his writing a few plots for Marvel Conan writer Roy Thomas (both of which are included in the article). Following this article is a Tarzan piece by Bob Cosgrove called “A Happy Accident.” The article covers Burroughs’s creation of the character, as well as the various artists that portrayed him in the comic strips, such as Hal Foster, Burne Hogarth, and (at the time) current artist Russ Manning. Unrelated, but worth seeing, is an action packed illustration by Mike Roberts. Below, you can see his Steranko influence showing through.

Other articles include “Comic Chatter,” a Frank Thorne interview by Craig Battmer, an article on foreign comics by Greim and John Mansfield about Carlos Gimenez (and illustrated by John Byrne, though you wouldn’t know it by looking at it), and a letters column. Also included is a strip by fan fave Ronn Foss, featuring his character Eclipse (seen below). Foss is mentioned in the Bill Schelly fandom book Founders of Comic Fandom (the Foss entry seen here).

As with issue 11, there are many other pieces of finely rendered art that I don’t have space for here, including work by Bill Stillwell, Dave Cockrum, Greim, Keith Fukumitsu, Clyde Caldwell, Frank Thorne, Byrne, John G. Fantucchio, John Buscema/Joe Sinnott, and Jim Garrison. So, please, go to the link to download pdfs of the whole issues.

Thanks very much for stopping by and entering my time warp…don’t forget  your bell bottoms and pet rock!

Ken Meyer Jr.



  1. Aaron Caplan

    As always, a great column! By the way, Wrightson’s Flash Gordon Vs Ming (shown above) illustration from Comic Crusader 11 is being auctioned off at Heritage Auctions this very moment:


    It’s going for a measley $2000 … guess I won’t be bidding anytime soon. I wonder if Martin Greim is the seller?

  2. ken meyer jr

    Wow, what a crazy coincidence! Thanks for the comment, Aaron…starting on your portrait soon!

  3. R. Maheras

    I love that Wrightson drawing of Flash and Ming, but two grand is way more than I can spend.

    Wrightson did so much great fanzine work — much of which is now “lost” except for places like “Ink Stains.” Keep it coming!

    I love the Fujitake splash page. It looks like he was just starting to evolve out of his early “Ditko” phase.

  4. ken meyer jr

    You are right, Russ…Dennis was sorta in transition in that strip…still a little goofy in the Ditko like splaying of limbs, but showing a little of the elegance that would come later. And yeah, Wrightson did a TON of great fanzine work, much more than many of his contemporaries…and I have only scratched the surface! Thanks for reading, buddy!

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