All hail the returning champion, Sense of Wonder returns for its 12th and final issue!
Sense of Wonder 12: Summer/Fall 1972
Publisher/Editor: William Schelly
Confession time! I am up against a few deadlines at the moment; preparing for a convention this weekend, attending a meeting at the school where I teach community classes and a host of other junk you don’t care about. So…since Bill Schelly was nice enough to send me scans of two issues of his, well, wonderful zine, Sense of Wonder, I figured I would do a profile of his last issue, 12. You can see the cover above by the always awesome Don Newton.
Due to my lack of time, I will refer you to last month’s Ink Stains to get more info on Bill and his publication. This time out, I will showcase a few pages from this issue and urge you to get the pdf to see the whole shebang. This issue contains several thoroughly researched articles and a ton of great art, so the pdf is worth seeing.
The issue starts with an article on the Australian Tarzan imitation, Yarmak, and the artist, Stanley Pitt. The cover above by Newton shows his version of the character (and Don contributed another illustration below as well).
I have no trouble admitting I have spotty knowledge of early comics history (heck, much recent comic history too). I have heard the name Stanley Pitt, but did not know much more beyond that, certainly not that he was Australian. The article mentions Stanley and his brother Reginald, as well as several others in their production company. The article by John Ryan is very well written for a fanzine, and has much more depth than most. More images below.
Pitt’s space opera strip, Gully Foyle, is also profiled, as well as Secret Agent Corrigan (written by the late, great Archie Goodwin). Is it just me, or does that rampaging figure below look like a crazed young Ronald Reagan?
The article mentions Al Williamson seeing Pitt as his counterpart down under, and how Al helped secure Pitt work in the US. I see some Williamson (whose art illustrates Pitt’s story above), but at first, I thought of Russ Manning, who is also covered later in the issue. Next up, though, is a strip (though it doesn’t really progress in your average comic book style) by an artist new to me, Joe Wehrle Jr. In the limited time I had to do research, I found that he is both a writer an editor, and appeared in anthologies such as Galaxy back in the late sixties and early seventies. One quote said “Wehrle is noted for work in Galaxy and IF digest science fiction magazines, covers and interior illustrations in Arkham House and other Mirage Press books, illustrations for Burroughs-oriented journals and on a lighter note, the story and drawings in the Big Little Book Cauliflower Catnip.” I found the strip below to have several really interesting moments graphically (and, on a side note, the main character looks to be modeled on singer songwriter Joni Mitchell in several panels). The strip, entitled “The Bandemar,” is based on fiction by Wehrle.
After Wehrle’s strip is an article on Jack Kirby (seen left) by Robert Cosgrove. The page itself is laid out very nicely, utilizing white space and title placement you don’t normally see in a fanzine. Bill mentions later in the zine how he really thinks of Sense of Wonder as not so much an artzine (such as Infinity, for example), but more an “article and lay-out” zine. Bill Black’s version of Big Barda is seen below. This issue of the zine also includes a letters page (hello, Jan Strnad!), a few funny strips by Jim Schumeister, an editorial page, several other spot illustrations, a beautiful full page illustration by Werhle, and more. But, I am sure Bill would see the main feature of the issue as being the second part of an exhaustive (by fanzine standards) Will Eisner article by Australian John Ryan. Several accompanying illustrations can be seen below, after a very, uh, Big Barda.
Both pages above are pre-Spirit work by Eisner. Along with pages like these, you can see some Spirit work by Eisner and Wally Wood as well. Throughout the rest of the zine you can see work by Roy Krenkel, Al McWilliams, Herb Arnold, a young Rich Buckler, C. C. Beck, Kenn Kelley, and Schelly himself. See the pdf on the Ink Stains page here on my site.
I apologize to Bill for my abbreviated coverage of the final issue of his well put together fanzine and thank him again for sharing the files with me so I could cover them here. I also urge you once again to read Bill’s books. I read his two books on fandom one right after the other, and it was an enjoyable and informative experience.
I will end with the previously mentioned full page piece by Joe Wehrle Jr. As always, leave comments, folks!
Ken Meyer Jr.