Ready to get cosmic? Bill Mutschler’s fanzine,
Entropy Cosmix might help you reach that psychedelic plateau!
Entropy Cosmix 2: Fall, 1976
Publisher and Editor: William Mutschler
Actually, I lied. We aren’t going to be getting all cosmic this time out. Although, judging from the editorial in this, the second issue of Entropy Cosmix, the intention was there from publisher and editor Bill Mutschler. But, as in many things, events don’t always go as we intend. Mutschler published another fanzine, Graphex, and said that he hoped with Entropy Cosmix to produce “an underground fantasy comic that dealt with mind bending seemingly drug induced topics that had a dash of philosophy as well.” What we end up with, though, dovetails nicely with last month’s installment, since both that zine and this one rely heavily on InterFan, the fan organization that gathered together fan artists and writers to regularly produce quality work for any fanzine that wanted it. The subject matter jumps all over the place, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, right? And hey, my work is there, too, as seen below, done all the way back in my first year of college! In fact, the two illustrations in this fanzine are a few of my very first published illustrations.
In my Deadman “spot illo” you see both simulated and real zip-a-tone, folks! Journey with me back, waaaay back into the past, when we used archaic tools such as waxers, rubylith, rapidograph pens, duoshade paper, and even xacto knives! But, I digress.
Above, in addition to my silly little drawing, you see a somewhat equally silly, but much better rendered illustration by the team of Bill Neville and Sam De La Rosa, probably also supplied by the the aforementioned InterFan. Bill will figure very heavily in this fanzine, as you will see as we progress through its black and white pages. By the way, you can see more of Bill’s work on his website here. You will notice he has been published by Marvel, DC, and a host of other publishers.
The first of the three InterFan supplied strips we view is “Ellery Jack,” which looks to be an all Neville production. It is a cute and well rendered whodunit parody, as seen below.
After that bit of fun, we head into the letters page, which contains a nice full page illustration by Tom Sciacca, which is inked by Mutschler. The editor/publisher actually inks a large number of the illustrations in the fanzine,and the quality seems to depend on how tight the actual pencils were on any given piece. In the piece to the left, you can see the inking is fairly controlled, whereas in the piece below, not so much.
Following the letters column is a nice full page illustration seen at right by the great Rick McCollum, inked by Jim McPherson, who added some nice tones to Rick’s usually very linear work. You
can see an Ink Stains devoted to this much underused and criminally under appreciated genius here.
Proving that the members of InterFan were versatile, the next story, “The Horns of Sand,” is a western…not your usual comic fanzine fare for sure! Written by InterFan founder Steve Clement, penciled by Bill Neville, inked by Sam De La Rosa, and lettered by Rick Burchette, it features what might be considered the InterFan “supergroup.” By the way, if you want to see more of De La Rosa’s work, feel free to visit his website here. Want more of Sam? Check out his Facebook page here! You can see a sample of the story below.
There is a short breather of a one page prose story by Frank Watson (with an illustration by Mutschler) before jumping into another InterFan provided story entitled “Helios, Inc,” a sort of solar powered “hero for hire.” Fun, light, and very well drawn, it is a good example of what InterFan was capable of. This strip is written by Samuel James Maronie, drawn by (who else?) Bill Neville, and inked/lettered by Burchette. You can probably tell these strips were meant to be reproduced on full size 8 1/2 x 11 pages, not the half size of Entropy Cosmix. Below you can see a few pages from this fast paced and well done little story.
You will notice in the page above, spread across the middle, is a “shared background” series of panels. Though a few artists had used this technique, I don’t recall seeing it in wide use until many years later.
The very last thing in the fanzine is a full page illustration by then Charlton artist John Byrne of Batman, inked by Alan Limacher, and is most likely a convention sketch.
That wraps up our coverage of the adventures of William Mutschler and his buddies at InterFan! Tune in next month for another blast from the past, and thanks for dropping by! Don’t forget to look at the whole zine as a pdf here! Oh, and a note about that pdf…the first page is actually a wraparound “bug proof mailing cover,” and has my old college address on it!
Ken Meyer Jr.