What’s that I hear? It’s Trumpet issue 11!
Trumpet 11: 1974
Editors: Tom Reamy, Alex Eisenstein, Ken Keller
Trumpet was one of those classy fanzines I just missed out on. I was vaguely aware of it, but don’t recall ever actually having any issues. Judging by this issue, the production values were high, and attention was paid to the design, leaving attractive negative space here and there, and utilizing professional looking page design. Sadly, the main editor, Tom Reamy, died in 1977 before his first novel was published (see his wikipedia page here). The fanzine received high praise and was nominated for the Hugo award twice, in 1967 and 1969. This issue shows why, with several beautiful portfolios, a Harlan Ellison column, and numerous other text features. In fact, the first column is by Reamy and recounts his roundabout path to be the “property master” on the porn parody film Flesh Gordon, and the hilariously inept circumstances that surrounded his tenure there. Left is a classy illo by George Barr, who appeared in several other issues of the fanzine.
Following that is an interesting Harlan Ellison fiction entitled “Stealing Tomorrow,” and appears to be a preamble of sorts to his classic story, “Repent Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman. In fact, articles written about Reamy’s fiction liken the editor’s work to Ellison’s. Perhaps that is why the writer is included in this issue, though I do not know the circumstances behind Reamy publishing the well known story. It appeared first in Galaxy, in 1965, and went on to win a Hugo in 1966, and several other awards following that.
Below, you see one of several illustrations by the well known fantasy artist Tim Kirk, this one illustrating the Ellison story.
Following Ellison’s story is a beautiful 5 piece portfolio by cover artist Stephen Fabian. Fabian is well known for his tonal black and white drawings, and appeared in many fanzines and professional magazines at this time, and continues working to this day (see his site here). On his site, he references his beginning interest in art by saying
My interest in science fiction began way back in 1951 when I was a 21 year old airman in the U.S. Air Force at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois, where I taught an electronics course in the Advanced Radio and Radar School. One evening I was at the base PX browsing the magazine rack looking for something to read and noticed some pulp magazines that featured beautiful artwork on the covers. Titles like “Famous Fantastic Mysteries,” “Fantastic Novels,” and “Astounding Science Fiction”. Inside those issues I saw wonderful story illustrations by Virgil Finlay, Lawrence Stevens, Edd Cartier, and Hubert Rogers, and I was hooked. I bought those magazines, read them over the weekend and they turned me into a science fiction fan.
On the difficulties of this technique, also from his website:
When it came to working with black ink and a black color pencil on coquille board, there was no chance of erasing mistakes, every detail had to be worked out in the early pencil stage.
Fabian’s evocative work stood out amongst the more linear work of his contemporaries, partly due to the soft blends he would get by working in ink and pencil on the textured coquille board he so favored at that time referenced above. Below is one of the most beautiful Fabian pieces I have seen. I have a feeling that negative space at bottom right was there to accommodate text, possibly for a story it illustrated.
Next is an article by Ken Nahigian called Spells and Sorceries which appears to list several real spells…however, he ends the article by warning, “…don’t blame me if, instead of gaining immortality, you only get indigestion. Obviously you did something wrong.” Ruth Berman follows with Some Thoughts on Trekkies, accompanied by a cute little William Rostler cartoon (many of his illustrations are sprinkled throughout the magazine…you can see two in the banner at the top of the column). Next Steven Utley explains Why I Can’t Write an Article Trashing Dealers…and then proceeds to do just that!
Following the articles is the next batch of beautiful renderings. This time, it is fan favorite, Robert Kline, who illustrates author Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth. Via email, Robert said of his contribution
The editor of Trumpet asked me to do the portfolio. My best memory is that he asked for those specific scenes from the novel to be illustrated. I remember reading the book and enjoying it very much. I was something of a Jack Vance fan already, and this felt like a genuine publishing assignment even though I wasn’t being paid. There was quite a gap of time between my finishing the illustrations and their seeing print. I remember Jan Strnad saying he felt my city of the future looked particularly authentic. Portraying the cloak of eyeballs presented the most imposing challenge for me. At the time I was still trying to capture the look of Frazetta’s rendering technique.
Below you will see several of the plates from this group of illustrations, showing a pretty wide variety of subjects.
After the Kline portfolio is a two page bit of fiction by W. G. Bliss called Bang (more very nicely designed pages here as well), and then Pill Bugs and Mung Peas by Al Jackson (the subtitle of this story is almost as long as this column), followed by a full page cartoon parodying the old Charles Atlas “kick sand in your face” ads. A nice back cover by…well, someone (there is somewhat of a dearth of art credits in this fanzine, to be honest) ends the fanzine.
Please download the pdf to see more of the portfolios, read the articles and see all the spot illustrations you are missing! Note that getting the pdfs are slightly different now. You just go to the link that takes you to my website, where links to all the columns and pdfs are located.
Thanks this installment go out to Robert Kline for providing the actual fanzine and indulging my questions via email. You can feel free to email me below or my personal email, firstname.lastname@example.org (honestly, I check the latter much more than the former).
Tune in next month for more fanzine goodness and, if you read this column, please leave a comment behind!
Ken Meyer Jr.