That’s right, it is another issue of The Collector! Issue 23, homeslice!
The Collector 23: May, 1971
Editor and Publisher: Bill G. Wilson
Yes, it is true I have profiled The Collector several times so far in this column. Why? Because it deserves it! Editor and publisher Bill G. Wilson published 29 issues of this fanzine, and you could tell the effort, care, and love that went into each issue. This installment we are focusing on issue 23. Above you see a combination of a logo by Alan Hanley and Wilson’s Hyperman character, drawn by Wilson and inked by pro Joe Sinnott (who would make several appearances in the fanzine, despite a heavy professional workload). By the way, Bill Wilson is on Facebook, so go tell him what a great job he did! Also, you can see previous issues 13, 29, 28, 14 and 15, and 16-19, and 21, by clicking on the links.
This issue starts out with one of the finest Martin L. Greim fanzine illustrations I can recall (seen below). Now, from what little I know, Martin did his share of swiping (most of us did), so this might be collated from one or several sources. However, that doesn’t take away from the clean line work, exciting composition, and intelligent zip-a-tone work in this piece. This cover, as well as several illustrations inside, accompanies a story by Tom Fagan featuring the Flying Dutchman.
Once inside, we are treated to the always pleasantly retro work of Alan Hanley. An ad hoc group of heroes called The Thunderbolt Brigade is illustrated by Hanley, with a map of who’s who on a flyer that was included with the fanzine (illustration and pertinent illustration from the flyer seen below). It’s funny that the X-men character Quicksilver is identified as “I think his name is the Whizzer.”
An editorial follows, and then a pro spotlight on the meticulous work of Kenneth Smith. I remember his ad for his fanzine, Phatasmagoria, circulating in many fanzines at the time (including this one as well), and how I marveled at the incredibly beautiful and detailed inking, as well as his wonderfully rendered dinosaurs, full of personality.
Bill Wilson perpetuated his own superhero character, Hyperman, through the run of The Collector. This issue contains a three page story that is treated a little differently. Each page, though penciled by Wilson, is inked by a different inker! Page one is by Joe Sinnott, page two by John G. Fantucchio, and page three by Robert Kline (who is finally on Facebook!).
One fanzine regular who also gets a profile/interview is Jim Jones. His goofy style was presented in later issues of The Collector, as well as other zines such as Fantastic Fanzine. It’s always interesting to see behind the scenes and get background information on your favorite creator, but it is especially interesting when you are dealing with someone using such a singular style, as Jones did. I would have not been surprised to find out Jim was a private detective working in some seedy NYC office, tracking down mob figures and cheating husbands while doing doodles on the side. Jones actually started out trying to be a panel cartoonist, submitted to various professional magazines, and even scored at least once in Playboy! Johnny Souza, the interviewer, references the singular style, but does not press Jones for any information on it, which was a bit of a disappointment. At left you see a representative of Jones’s work, a spot illo of tricky Dick Nixon.
In addition to the inking of the Hyperman page, the late great Don Newton contributes a beautiful and wonderfully textured centerfold of Doc Savage. Don was one of the best of those artists that could be considered realists, made his rounds through many fanzines, broke into professional comics at Charlton, and later worked for DC and Marvel. He is so missed. Below you see one small reason why.
Another professional inker that made several appearances in The Collector, and does here, is Dan Adkins. He gives us a full page Tarzan pin up, as well as some very interesting non comic work. The latter is part of an article written by Adkins called “Besides Comics.” Adkins even gives his address, so interested parties can ask for commissions…although, considering this fanzine was published over 40 years ago, I doubt he is still there! Imagine this, at the time, the price of a black and white commission was….ten dollars! Below you will see the Tarzan full page illustration as well as a few of the decals that form a small part of the commercial work he was doing at the time, as well as a back cover illustration.
The fanzine concludes with a fiction by Ralph Alfonso (llustrated by Collector regular Doug Potter), and a letters page (including letters from Greim, Gary Groth, Alan Light, and Joe Sinnott). Keep in mind you can see the whole issue in the pdf, which includes illustrations not seen here by the likes of Bill Black, Edward Romero, Jones, Fantucchio, Greim, Mickey Mason, and a very young Dave Stevens!
Thanks this time goes out once again to the ever helpful Aaron Caplan, for loaning me copies of this fanzine I either lost along the way, or never had. I hope you have enjoyed your stay here back in the early 70s…don’t forget to leave your flared jeans and cassettes with me!
Ken Meyer Jr.