Not one but TWO issues of Martin Greim’s Comic Crusader!
Comic Crusader 5 and 6: 1969
Editor and publisher: Martin L. Greim
Comic Crusader is one of those fanzines that really exhibited a real love for fandom and the comics and characters it covered. Editor and publisher Martin L. Greim not only published this fanzine, but his clean (if derivative) illustrations appeared in many other fanzines of the day. He was prolific, consistent, and like many other editors of the day, did his best to showcase his fellow fan artists and writers.
Above you see the cover to the first of two issues in this installment, issue 5, published way back in March of 1969. That Steranko image was procured at a convention, and it looks to me as if Greim inked it himself (I also have a feeling he added that hourglass, which isn’t exactly matching the perspective of the rest of the piece). Steranko appeared in several issues of Comic Crusader and seemed to have a real liking for the young publisher. Other artists you will see repeatedly in the CC stable include Steve Fritz, Bob Cosgrove, and John G. Fantucchio. John did the striking pin up below of Wildcat and Mr. Terrific (that’s right, Mr. Terrific).
Comic Crusader was not an art zine, it was always chock full of articles, interviews, and other text features. This issue includes “The Fan in Mind (Selective Buying)” by D. L. Dillinger, part 2 of an Airboy article by well known fan Tom Fagan, “32 Years of Gardner Fox” by Cosgrove, Greim, and Jerry Bails, a trio of small half page pieces, Comic Chatter, and an installment of “History’s Heroes” featuring “EC’s Wonder Woman,” Moon Girl. Lastly, in an article on “Fandom’s Finest,” Grass Green and his creation, Xal-Kor the Human Cat, appear. Below you can see Bob Cosgrove’s interpretation of this popular and long running original fandom character.
Also, like a few other fanzine creators, Greim had his own character, the Defender, which you can see a few pages of below.
The last thing you will see from this issue is a back cover by Dennis Fujitake below. Dennis had yet to develop his sleek and lithe Jeff Jones-like style, but there is real dynamism in this.
Moving on to issue 6, John G. Fantucchio makes the cover with an atmospheric rendition of Airboy, illustrating an article inside, the third part of the Airboy series.
The Airboy article starts the issue off, and others follow, including follow ups to a JSA piece, a Flash Gordon villains column, a sixth installment of “History’s Heroes” by Cosgrove, Comic Chatter, a two page piece on pro Joe Orlando (“From EC to DC”), and lastly, another installment of “Fandom’s Finest.” This issue the character The Eclipse is showcased, originally done by Ron Foss. Below you see two interpretations of the character by Cosgrove and Foss himself.
A major coup for editor Greim was convincing the legendary Steve Ditko to contribute a Mr. A story to this issue. Mr. A is a champion of truth, and is known to be a doppelganger for Ditko himself and his beliefs. You can see the first page below (but have to download the pdf to see all four pages!).
As I mentioned earlier, Steve Fritz was one of the “staff” at CC, and I wanted to showcase a few of his stylish and sinewy pieces below.
Lastly, I will grace you with another gorgeous Steranko pin up.
You can see both issues in their entirety here. You can see other issues reviewed here in Ink Stains, including issue ten, and another double dose (11 and 12) here. I hope you enjoyed this double dose of Martin L. Greim’s Comic Crusader, and will both leave some comments below and tune in next time! Thanks this time, yet again, go out to the mighty Aaron Caplan!
Ken Meyer Jr.