The world has demanded more coverage of The Collector! Ok, just me, here is issue 24!
The Collector 24: August, 1971
Editor and Publisher: Bill G. Wilson
Howdy everyone, welcome to another installment of Ink Stains, where you journey back to a time long ago and far away, when 14 year old publishing magnates flooded the world with basement assembled periodicals of worship to the superhero gods! This time out, we look again at Bill G. Wilson’s The Collector, which improved with each issue. Above you can see the full color (back then, a huge deal for a fanzine) cover by Don Newton and Dan Adkins. Don at that time was still a fan artist, his initial professional work at Charlton still 2 years away. Adkins of course was already a very accomplished and widely published inker.
This issue of The Collector is a convention special, in fact, covering a convention you will see covered in Fantastic Fanzine Special 2, from Gary Groth. To be honest, the photos are a little better and larger there, but it is great to see and read the same events from different perspectives.The convention covered this issue is the 1971 Comic Art Convention, with photos of pros such as Frank Frazetta, Billy Graham, Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, Jim Steranko, and many others. You can also see pro (then fan) Mike Zeck dressed as Black Bolt! The coverage is broken down into panel coverage on subjects such as Warren publications (The Warren Awards), Comedy in the Comics, and other topics, most written by Tom Fagan. Wilson lauds Fagan, saying, “to this day I can’t believe Tom Fagan wrote nearly the entire issue! His passion for all things comics — and the con in particular — are evident in every line. I don’t honestly recall how I managed such a coup, but I seem to remember that it didn’t take much to get Tom revved up if you hit upon a subject he was particularly passionate about. Hell, I even got him to write a Hyperman installment with Lovecraft references!” There are also articles on specific guests, such as Superman actor, Kirk Alyn, Jim Steranko, Gardner Fox, and Harvey Kurtzman. The Kirk Alyn article is interesting, in that it details some of the travails Alyn had to endure while playing the Man of Steel. At left and below you see a few illustrations that accompanied that specific article, by Don Newton and Dave Cockrum, respectively. Below is a quote from editor Wilson about his convention experience way back then.
TC24. The ’71 Seuling con. In many ways it seems like just yesterday…NY’71 was my third (Phil) Seuling con, the first and only for my dad and my last with any “adult supervision.” Subsequent trips were sans parents, with my buddy James Warhola and I hopping the ol’ Greyhound with our folks’ blessing. Man, those were different times! Dad loved it, holding court for all who’d listen and entertaining them with stories about “my boy.” My mom, always the bookkeeper and office administrator, tried her best to keep things under control…often to no avail.Gary Groth and I had been friends for some time, having been introduced by mutual friend John Fantucchio and hanging out with him in Virginia and at previous cons (John was always good about introducing us to like-minded individuals, a great mentor to me, and I think to Gary as well).Alan Light was an acquaintance by mail only until we met at the ’71 con. We shared table space directly across from Jim Steranko — a feat we revelled in, made all the better by the bevy of beauties who seemed to be drawn to Jim like moths to a flame. To this day I don’t know who enjoyed that more — Jim or my dad!Our table was positioned under a balcony, which gave Alan and I the idea to fashion a makeshift banner and dangle it over our table. It attracted the attention we craved, and elevated the table to “big boy” status. Even Jim was impressed, as I recall, and that’s no mean feat!
There are stories of fiction in this issue as well, including chapter 4 of a sword and sorcery character of David Hanley’s by the name of Sinar. Earlier issues of The Collector had illustrations from Robert Kline…this issue, we see a very early illustration from Rocketeer artist Dave Stevens (!) at left, as well as another spot by Skip Olson.
There is also “A Simple Story” from Richard Small about a time after all comic books have been destroyed, which may have been added to complement an article by Gerard Geary called “Was Wertham Right After All?”, positing that Frederic Wertham (Seduction of the Innocent) may have been at least partially correct in his admonitions of EC comics and their adverse effects on children.
More well done art fills the issue, and below you can see a few examples by Doug Potter and Paragon‘s Bill Black (more in the pdf).
Alan Hanley makes another appearance with a few pages of his whimsical and retro style, seen below.
Editor Wilson always seemed to have little trouble securing contributions from the professionals of the day, such as the already seen Dan Adkins and the always affable Joe Sinnott, seen below both in a photo with Wilson and represented by a super clean (as always) full page illustration. Of this illustration, Bill says:
Good friend Joe Sinnott made his annual stop at our table with wide-eyed son Mark in tow, presenting me with the Grit newspaper takeoff that appeared in this issue. But poor Joe was embarrassed and apologetic about that wonderful illustration. Why? Well, I’d experienced a long-awaited (and much-needed) growth spurt since the last time he’d seen me (the last con) and I no longer looked like the chubby little ‘zine hustler he drew next to The Thing! But did I care? Hell no! I proudly published that illustration, and to this day it remains a treasured part of my collection. Joe never forgot, though, insisting he “make it up to me” years later with his wonderful “Au revoir, not goodbye” portrait of me surrounded by tons of famous characters as I walked off into the sunset in my swan song last issue, TC29.
And that concludes another installment of All Hail The Collector! I mean, Ink Stains! See other issues of this great fanzine in other installments 13, 14/15, 16-19/21, 27 (the very first Ink Stains), 28, and 29, the final issue. Bill Wilson is on Facebook here, so go say hi! For a pdf of the whole issue, just go here. You will see how in depth the con coverage is, as well as see art by Fantucchio, Marchesano, Don Rosa, Earl Blair, and Martin Greim. Thanks to Bill Wilson for adding a large amount of “horse’s mouth” information via email!
Who knows what zine I will cover next month? Certainly not I!
Ken Meyer Jr.