More InterFan shenanigans ensue with the very first issue of Willie Blyberg’s Woweekazowie!
Woweekazowie 1: 1976
Editor and publisher: William Blyberg
Awhile back I profiled two later issues of this fun zine, Woweekazowie (see the column here). Now you get to see where it all started! Willie, or William (or Bill) Blyberg, did a ton of fanzine work in the late seventies, including this, his own fanzine. He would later find work as an inker in professional comics, mainly at DC. One of many talented members of the fan organization, Interfan, from which he selected a bunch of buddies to help him out with this first issue.
Above you see Blyberg’s take on Duck Rogers, via Wally Wood. As to how it came together, he says on the inside front cover he met lettercol giant Dean Mullaney on the letters pages of Marvel comics, and they decided they needed to do a zine. Other members of the staff include Bob Rodi, Pete Iro, Kim Thompson (later of The Comics Journal), Jack Frost, KJ Robbins, and there are a few guests as well. Let’s get on to the content, shall we? After the cover, and a nice Warlock inside cover full-page pin-up by Blyberg, a nifty Submariner follows, seen below.
The first article is”The DC Revival Craze,” by Bob Rodi. It also features illos by Blyberg (Dr.Fate, Mr. Miracle, The Creeper), and Don Benner (Plastic Man). The Creeper illustration at left also has some nifty lettering, by either Blyberg or Pete Iro. You will see they make an effort to have professional and entertaining column banners throughout.
KJ Robbins’s “Squeezebox Serenade” chronicles the comings and goings of the Marvel editorial staff at the time, and also features some nice illustrations from Blyberg (with Frost), Iro, and a fun Hawkeye piece by mini mogul Tim Corrigan (with Blyberg) you can see below, as well as a creepy Man-Thing illo by (I think) Iro which appears later in the issue.
Other columns seen in this first issue include Bob Rodi’s examination of “the duck” in comics. Also “Background Heroes” by Kim Thompson, which uses the examples of Man-Thing and The Spirit to illustrate his observation of heroes who are not really the main focus of their own strips. Additional illustrations include several nice ones by Blyberg, Rodi, and Frost. Lastly, a column by Frost examines the age old question, “who is stronger, Hulk or the Thing?” At left you see a few illustrations from these various articles. One last article is by Dean Mullaney and concerns the exit of some of the writers he considered trailblazers, including Don McGregor, Steve Gerber, and Steve Englehart (the writers had been on characters such as Killraven, Black Panther, and Howard the Duck). Mullaney also cites Marv Wolfman, who was just starting Dracula at that time.
There are two strips in this first issue of Woweekazowie. The first is called Savior, written by Blyberg and drawn, inked, and lettered by Iro. Iro has a very clean style and is a darn good letterer, as well. All in all, it is a very professional looking strip, with the story ending with a twist. You can see a few pages below.
Later in the issue, Blyberg writes and draws his character, Victory (lettering by Iro again). Blyberg has an interesting visual style…he is certainly trying to do interesting things with anatomy, though he does overdo the tonal effects a bit in this strip. You can see a few pages below and make your own judgement.
And that about wraps up this first issue of Woweekazowie! I hope you enjoyed your reading, and as always, please download the pdf, so you can see the issue in its entirety. I think you can see why many of these artists went on to careers as professionals in the comic field. One thing Interfan surely did was help its members to do a lot of work and get that work seen. Check the previous column here to find out more about Interfan.
Come back next month for more pulse pounding fanzine action! If any of you have fanzine collections you want to contribute (scans, loans), I would be very grateful. And please, if you have anything to say, leave a comment!
Ken Meyer Jr.