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May 10, 2010

Ink Stains 18: Always comes Twilight

No, this is not about the kiddie vampire movie. It’s a fanzine from 1976 with art by Dennis Fujitake, Gary Kato, Robert Kline, Clyde Caldwell and much more! Again…no vampires!

Always Comes Twilight 1: 1976

Editor: Dave Dapkewicz

Publisher: Fantagraphics

I will warn you, I don’t have a lot to add to the fantastic imagery this time out. Because of various issues, I was not able to contact anyone specifically about this fanzine, though I do have some previous input from artists Fujitake and Kato. And though there is a wealth of text (articles and stories), illustrations and sequential stories, this is the Fujitake and Kato show first and foremost, in my opinion. Initially though, let’s take a gander at some of the other creators involved in Always Comes Twilight.

Several of the names will be familiar to readers of this column, one of which did the moody monochromatic cover you see above. That is the work of the precociously talented Robert Kline who, after doing a ton of fanzine work, disappeared into the wormhole of the animation industry. Kline also illustrates an interesting and provocative science fiction story by author Jan Strnad (a frequent partner of illustrator Richard Corben). The story, called Retardate Plus, involves “the computer,” an idiot savant named David Bruner, and God…and when the former two are merged to become as powerful as the latter. Interesting stuff!

Another returning champion, if only for one illustration, is the late and great Don Newton. I just had to show it, though (see right), since it is such a nicely rendered Minotaur. Another artist that you have seen exhibited here in the Ink Stains mansion is Jim Pinkoski, who contributes a story on the subject of man’s first interaction with his soul. Jim’s wonderfully detailed work can be seen at left.

Other contributors you may remember include Ron Wilber, whose detailed pen work and style might remind some of the great underground cartoonist, Robert Crumb. In addition to an illustration for Jim Wilson’s story, Controlled Experiment (in which he shares illustration duties with John McLaughlin, who appears to have referenced the old Leonard Nimoy Spock character), Wilber also assists in illustrating Hanna, by David Anthony Kraft and D. Jon Zimmerman (see below left). Below right you see early work by Clyde Caldwell, who is currently one of the best fantasy illustrators around (see his amazing work here). This illustration is part of an Edgar Rice Burroughs portfolio, which includes other artists such as Ronn Sutton and Gary Kato (more on Gary later).

One wonders what they put in the water there in Hawaii to produce such an array of great artists since, in addition to the aforementioned Fujitake and Kato, Steve Leiloha exhibits his free and expressive brushwork in this fanzine. This work was done just a year or so before Steve started contributing to the creator friendly line of Star*Reach comics published by Mike Friedrich.

John Adkins Richardson (now Professor Emeritus of Art and Design at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville), a frequent fanzine contributor, writes and draws Race Hardun in a format reminiscent of the more illustrative Sunday morning comics, such as Prince Valiant (both in the detailed style and the square panel layouts).  A strange character and a strange strip, as it seems to combine the previously mentioned Hal Foster level of detail with some experimental imagery.

Another sequential story, courtesy of the loose knit fan organization Interfan, combines the talents of writer (and Interfan leader) Steve Clement with artists  Karl Kesel and Mike Machlan, along with Jerry Ordway on lettering. That’s right. Lettering! Set in 16th century France, it comes complete with dusted wigs, a swashbuckling one eyed female vigilante, her dwarf companion and one very evil king of France.

However, as I said before, this fanzine seems to show the deep talent available in Hawaii in the persons of Steve Leialoha, Gary Kato, and in the prime of his fanzine years, Dennis Fujitake. Check out the amazing batch of illustrations below and dare to disagree! Fujitake is at bat first.

Now that you have seen the lithe and limber figure work of Fujitake (who only appears to have the tiniest shred of his old Steve Ditko influence electing  instead to dive wholeheartedly into dramatic Jeffrey Jones territory here), contrast the work of his friend and fellow Hawaiian native, Gary Kato. Gary’s work is slightly more compact, a little more tightly wound perhaps. But Gary had a great eye for design and composition, even way back then.

There are several other very nice illustrations by Gary Kato that you can see, along with a lot of other great stuff in the pdf. Gary Kato lists his influences as Steve Ditko, Frank Frazetta, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert and Wally Wood. Kato went on to work on projects such as Martin Greim’s Thunderbunny, Ron Fortier’s Peter Pan: Return to Neverland, The Original Streetfighter, Boston Bombers, Days of the Dragon and currently the Mr. Jigsaw (where his love of Ditko shows proudly). You can see and order Mr. Jigsaw here.

Thanks this installment go out to Gary Kato and, if he gets back to me in time, Gary Groth!

Click here to check out previous installments of INK STAINS!

Ken Meyer Jr.



  1. Ok, you sold me on RETARDATE PLUS. That’s right up my alley!

    I’m a huge fan of Leialoha’s work in FABLES, so it’d be cool to see some of his earlier stuff here. Everyone should give FABLES a read- it’s brilliant stuff!

  2. Ken Meyer Jr.

    I meant to post the Leialoha pieces in the article…maybe I should rectify that…

  3. Billy

    I’ve thought about possibly picking up Fables. Hmmm…

  4. I have too…if for nothing else than the James Jean covers!

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