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October 26, 2009
 

Ink Stains 4: No Sex 14

No Sex 14 (1980)

Publisher: David Heath Jr.

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No Sex can be summed up using a blurb from this issue’s contents page, which said “No Sex Fanzine is published in order to provide fans of sf and fantasy with a vehicle to have their works of art, story and article see print.”

Of course, that doesn’t give you the whole story!

David Heath Jr. was a character. A very easy going character, in the military during the lion’s share of the run of No Sex, his love of science fiction was worn on his sleeve and published in black and white. In the words of David himself:

No Sex Magazine is a ‘fanzine’ that was devoted to amateur SF/Fantasy and comic art. I started publishing it around 1973 and continued into the late 80’s. It was put out in order to satisfy a need to create art, story and feature work I liked. It became a forum for fan artists and story tellers to come together and show their wares. It was a lot of fun for me and turned out to be more than I thought it would be. Later on I was obligated to keep the magazine going because I had put out subscriptions to finance it. I also loved to get other people’s fanzines in trade for mine.

The final word on the title of the zine, No Sex, is that it is a play on the phrase ‘sex and violence.’ The phrase concerning the zine would be “No Sex, and all violence.’ At the time No Sex was coming out I was in ROTC and later the army. Many of the issues were done when I was in the army and I was influenced a lot by Vaughn Bode, who featured military art and violence (as well as sex).

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No Sex was first printed while I was in college in my junior year. I already had a history of drawing and art-editing for school newspapers from Jr. High through college. I drew a strip for the University of Hawaii Rainbow, I was art director of the SF Foghorn (University of San Francisco) and the editor of the San Francisco Quarterly (again USF). I had printed a mimeo-zine called David Heath Jr. that featured my characters in Jr. High.

By college I had some strips, family art and things stacking up and that led to the magazine. Issue #1 was on card stock full sized orange paper. The pages were one-sided electrostatic process, very odd looking if you are used to offset fanzines, but it was cheap. It was printed at the USF student press at a student discount. Some might wonder why on a limited budget I would do such a thing. I know my mother and father did. At 100 copies I was able to sell them to family and friends for 50 cents to $1. At some point my brother Guy introduced me to TBG [The Buyer’s Guide] and I bought a few ads there.”

David was an incredibly welcoming presence in fandom. I talked to him on the phone several times over the years (and of course corresponded through the mail a fair amount as well), and you could count on his easy laugh. He published my work very early on, as crappy as it was back then (at that time, I was still in college); along with his “crew” of constant artists and writers that included Jerry Collins, Earl Geier, Klaus Haisch, Jim Gray, and Willie Peppers (who was everywhere, it seemed). Peppers lists No Sex at the top of the zines he worked on, in fact. Geier exhibits similar sentiments in saying, “I just remember what a nice guy he was. Dan Watson introduced me to Dave. I was (and am) a fan of European comics. Dave was stationed in Germany at that time, and while he was unable to get me any good comics, we hit it off, and I started submitting art to his zine. I always thought No Sex was the best title I ever heard for a zine: everyone always went ‘What?’ when they heard it. Dave rode up twice (from Kentucky) for Chicago Cons, in 1980-81, I think. In ‘80 he stayed with Dan Watson, in ‘81 he stayed with me. I remember he had an early home computer, which was amazing. He also had a really blurry bootleg of Raiders of the Lost Ark.” More on Earl Geier in another column when I talk about his zine Bald Ego, but for now, please check out his site here.

Each issue of No Sex would usually consist of a variety of SF themed illustrations from the crew, as well as other creators, along with various articles and reviews, fan fiction, and strips from David himself and others. Issue 14, one of the last issues, falls squarely into this format. Issue 14 starts off with a SF story by Heath called A Treasure Hunt, which shows his love of space ships and his quirky drawing style. Following that is a Rafael Kayanan illustration (seen above), and then one of the many regular columns that populated the pages of No Sex, The No Sexist. The modus operandi of the zine is reiterated in this column, albeit with a sort of value judgment: “You’ll see some stuff in our pages that could almost be pro quality and others not quite that good. These pieces are placed purposefully to give the reader a spectrum of the talent available in fandom.” Though only represented by one illustration in this issue, Earl Geier was one of the Heath regulars. Geier had what some might consider a pedestrian visual style, not as flashy as a lot of artists, but he was a wonderful storyteller. Jaime Hernandez remembers him from his appearances in No Sex by saying, “…one guy I really liked …was Earl Geier. Looking back, he had a very pleasant Jesse Marsh approach to drawing and pacing his stories.” Fellow contributor (and current pro) Rafael Kayanan praised Geier’s “really solid stories.”

Sidebar: Rafael Kayanan

Rafael Kayanan was not really associated with any one fanzine… he was all over the place, if in small quantities. He got his start in fandom like many of us, myself included, through Alan Light’s The Buyer’s Guide. On the first fanzine he bought, he says “I ordered [it] from a small ad published by Alan Light’s The Comics Buyer’s Guide back in the mid 70s. It was titled Fantazine and listed art by Gene Colan plus a bunch of names  I didn’t recognize at the time. At fourteen, I really did not know what I was buying. Fortunately, the rough edges and enthusiasm of all involved appealed to me. The Gene Colan sketch was probably a photocopied con sketch. There was no internet of course, so the only information of the zine’s content one got was from the small type-written ad. It was like-minded individuals, all having a ton to learn about the medium, but they just wanted to be out there; have work seen no matter how naive or crude it was. Some were older and more polished than others, like Earl Geier, who had some solid stories. Others [had] unknowns [like] Dan Clowes and Mark Heike, [who] were still developing.”  Regarding his first published work and the enthusiasm he felt in the fanzine world, Kayanan continues, “I believe the publisher was a sixteen year old kid from Winnetka, IL and that impressed me because I was a 14 year old trying to soak in any drops of knowledge and experience I could get. I probably thought I was a lot better than I really was and could get my work printed alongside these talents. I was living in a real small town in SW Florida, [with] no access to comics beyond the local 7-11 and no friends who actually collected at my age. They were more into album art (remember those?) and fantasy/ science fiction books were also big influences. However, The Buyer’s Guide was like a lifeline to this vast community and the fanzines were a discovery that really lit a fire. I really had no concept of how things were printed or how art needed to be prepped for print. I drew a short fantasy related story that had some alien donned in some hybrid knight armor, just throwing all these influences in and having fun. The results weren’t that good but it gave me a chance to think about why I liked the medium so much and I got hooked on the creative side of it. I was discovering storytelling but I didn’t even know it was a term – just that it was fun!

It was a big revelation that I became aware of a creative world beyond the confines of where I lived, which didn’t have much of an art community let alone a comic community. Young artists today have all these fantasy related sites, games, conventions, tv shows and films, it was a whole other world back then. It took several weeks just receiving a reply from someone if you were communicating through the postal service. So it was awhile before actually seeing your art in another physical representation beyond the original sent off months ago.”

Current work by Kayanan includes a stint as an illustrator for the Spider-Man Broadway musical for director Julie Taymor, a Drizzt, The Dark Elf (see link here) comic for Devil’s Due which is being collected in trade, a recent Wildstorm Resident Evil, a Dark Horse Conan trade paperback and huge Star Wars hardback contain his work. Upcoming covers for Alter Ego and the What If: Daredevil and Elektra issue are coming out from Marvel. Some film related projects are also in the works.

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There are also book reviews, movie reviews, a con report column, fan fiction, a guide to Science Fiction Theater, a portfolio feature by regular Jerry Collins (space ships, space suits and some anthropomorphic character pieces), another SF comic story by Cosmo Ellis, and possibly of the most interest to current fans, a very early story by Gilbert Hernandez titled Inez.

Hernandez says of David Heath Jr. “Oh yeah, he was very kind and patient with my eccentric comics. I’m sorry to hear that he’s passed away. I’ll always be grateful to him and Matt Bucher and Jay Van Bockel for having me in their zines when nobody else would.”

Heath had a website that is actually still up. You can go back in time to when he was still around and read his actual words. Please do so. David Heath Jr. was a hell of a guy. He will be missed.

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Thanks this time around goes to Willie Peppers, Earl Geier, Rafael Kayanan, Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez.

OOPS! I forgot to include the link to the pdf of the whole zine! Thanks to a reader for pointing out my lack of brain power! Download the zine here. Keep in mind the PDFs are not meant to replace the actual zines.

Coming up next is CPL, featuring John Byrne and many others!

Links:

David’s website: http://pages.sbcglobal.net/dheath/index.htm
David Heath interview: http://pages.sbcglobal.net/dheath/Pages/interview.htm
History of No Sex: http://pages.sbcglobal.net/dheath/No Sex/history.htm

Ken Meyer Jr.
ken@comicattack.net

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