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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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24 Comments


  1. Kristin

    I like the name of this one. Basically, All Violence. But “No Sex” has a little kick to it.
    I really enjoy reading these, Ken. Even if they’re all about a bunch of old guys I’ve never heard of. 🙂



  2. Oh, Kristen, thou dost wound me to my deepest hearts of hearts. I am one of those old guys! But, glad you like the column, I love writing it and I hope I am providing a good service for all these cool old magazines.



  3. Oh, it’s just because I don’t know a lot about comic books. Which is why I like this column; it’s like looking at the first step for a lot of people in the industry. It’s just rather interesting, and kind of educational.
    If we were talking about old guys like Osamu Tezuka, Hayao Miyazaki, Masamune Shirow or Akira Kurosawa…those are people I’ve heard of. But equally old (or, more likely, older, in some cases). My knowledge is just in other areas.
    And anyway, I’m 26. Everyone is “old.” 🙂


  4. InfiniteSpeech

    wow! loved this! nothing like seeing the hard work of people pay off!



  5. Where’s my free pdf?



  6. Well you know what they say; Sex sells.

    And what the heck is a mimeo-zine? A wordless comic?



  7. Ellis, my man….thanks for pointing that out to me…the link should be there now!

    Kristen, you are forgiven.

    Andy, a mimeo-zine is a zine produced on a mimeograph machine, an obsolete printer no longer used…pretty much the lowest quality you could get!



  8. Ah, ok. That makes sense; I was way off.


  9. Earl Geier

    Nothing like memories to make one feel…old…
    A nice overview of the zine.



  10. Oh, Earl, we’re not old, we’re just seasoned.



  11. Brings back old feelings. Really good feelings. Thanx, Ken. A lot.



  12. Ah, good to hear that, Willie…it’s very hard to not just say ‘those were the days.’


  13. Matt B

    Wow, Ken, I’m really digging this series.

    Back in the 1970s, David Heath Jr. was a hero to me. He was Mr. Cool, the Fonz of fandom. He was complex — larger than life. A world-traveling military man who rode a tank. A science fiction and horror movie geek. A motorcycle enthusiast who looked damn cool in dark sunglasses and biker leathers. An artist in every sense of the word. A technology buff. A long-time fanzine publisher who was an ardent believer in everything fanzines stood for: the power of community and friendship, of artistic expression, of communication and debate. David was a man of steady friendship and great generosity of spirit, with an infectious enthusiasm. Dammit, I miss him.


  14. Jim Gray

    Wow, what a strange feeling to see my old cover! I had gotten into airbrush art in 1980, and when I saw Heath’s “Treasure Hunt” story published in Earl Geier’s zine, it inspired me to copy his drawing style and do a cover illo based on that story. Heath was so excited by it that he decided to give me a cover and reprint his story in No Sex.
    I had “discovered” David Heath in the 9th grade, and encouraged and badgered him over the years to develop his immense cartooning talent. When he started publishing No Sex, I kept submitting cover illos, but the airbrush panel finally won him over.
    That was an exciting time for me, him, and No Sex; I felt that the quality was improving rapidly, even getting artists of Hernandez’s caliber. He was really getting some buzz, with a positive review by cat yronwode in the Buyer’s Guide (tho I never got to see that review, as everyone I knew threw their copy away before I could see it), and some good talent coming aboard.
    My friend Steve Campos had written a story that I drew (tho not very well) but David credited it to “Cosmo Ellis” instead of us individually. I was using that name as a secret identity/nom de plume for solo works, but Heath, being the free range chicken that he was, blew my “cover” without even asking me.
    David Heath was one of my 3 or 4 very closest friends thru most of my life, and his passing has left a major hole in my existence, but no matter how much he meant to me, I think he would agree that he could be really difficult, and he loved to play games with people. He would often ink one of my drawings and intentionally alter it just to piss me off, and to remind me that he was in charge. He was not a bad person, but he did have a mischievous, not to mention mean streak.
    Our major disagreement was over his eagerness to publish “crap art” as I called it; while none of us were pros or ready for prime time, some of us actually cared about anatomy, perspective, proportion, etc., while others just slopped out anything they could manage, and Heath would praise them as “great art.” My stuff was crap compared to the industry standard, but at least I was trying to learn and improve. David, tho, just enjoyed giving print space to anyone who came along, and I see his point, but simply disagree with it.
    Back to the cover, I asked him to have the printer half-tone my airbrush painting, so that it would reproduce properly, but, just to get the issue out a day earlier, he ignored me, and it was printed as a line-cut instead of a halftone, turning all of my delicate shading into a smudgy, horrible, ugly abomination, and I was so deeply hurt that we argued bitterly about it for years afterward. My best work had been cavalierly butchered, but he essentially never really cared about anything, by his own admission. I can hardly stand to look at it, but seeing it here brings back mostly the good memories. I prefer to remember the times he’d ride his huge Yamaha hog down from Ft. Knox to stay with us in Atlanta, with his Apple II strapped on his bike, or his newfangled VCR with classics like “Silent Running.”
    I’ve even given some thought to publishing an issue of No Sex myself with some of the tons of unpublished David Heath art I own, with my cover properly reproduced for clarity, but that’s probably another one of the things I’ll never get around to doing.
    Despite my disappointments, I’m still pleased and excited to see this posting, so thanks Ken! Those were the days!


  15. Matt Bucher

    Wow Jim, thanks a million for sharing your memories with us. You knew David so well, better than any of the rest of us. And your honest writings here only serve to illustrate how complex the man really was.



  16. What a great bunch of comments! Jim, I thank you for writing some a long, well thought out and honest appraisal of David as a person and an ‘art director.’ I now remember his somewhat cavalier attitude towards what he would publish and I do think the overall quality suffered somewhat due to this…but I also like the ‘come one come all’ nature of the zine. Too bad he did what he did to your art…you know, if you still have it, still care, and want to send me a scan of it, I would be glad to put it up in whatever column is coming up.

    I am just damn glad the column is generating a small buzz, that all of you care enough to write, and that these zines are seeing a little wider audience.


  17. Jim Gray

    I’m glad my comments weren’t taken as negative, as I was trying to be honest and balanced. David obviously meant an awful lot to me, for me to have remained friends despite our intense disagreements.
    Funny thing, after he died, the National Fantasy Fan Fed published a tribute, and when I told the editor that I regretted some of our arguments, she said “I’m sure he enjoyed every one of them!” That made me feel better, as David was definitely from another world, and his curiosity about human nature took him outside of mundane social niceties. (One thing he said he liked about military life was the in-your-face blustering confrontations that were so common.)
    That he really seemed to like my work, probably more than it deserved, was a source of pride for me.
    I’m going out of town for at least a week but when i return i plan to submit a scan of the original art, so that the world can now see what was originally intended (minus that dreadful logo he stuck over it; he never would use any of logo submissions, and then would just slop something like that onto my art).
    But, it’s especially nice to see No Sex return from the mists of time and forgetfulness!
    Thanks for the nice words of support!



  18. oops, I wrote too fast…I meant ‘such a long…’

    looking forward to the scan, Jim!



  19. […] appears in many other fanzines, including previous Ink Stains subject No Sex. He contributed to over a hundred fanzines in a 15 year period, and was poised to garner more […]



  20. […] volume of Bald Ego has a story (“Cold Steerage”) you might have seen in the previous No Sex column, but the other issues should be all new to you. In addition to a portfolio, Geier has five […]



  21. […] this time, having had work in many zines, including earlier column subject, David Heath Jr.’s No Sex, admittedly Peppers’s favorite zine to work on. You could see Peppers’s enthusiasm for […]



  22. Hello. I’m David’s youngest sister. I really enjoyed reading the article and the remarks. I couldn’t help but laugh from time to time remembering the good the bad and the ugly of being human. Thank you for presenting this opportunity for the community to connect and remember David! Fabulous!!!

    Angel


  23. georgehagenauer

    Thanks for such a great article- I never had much money for fanzines (in fact did not even have a cbg subscription most of the time) so bought very few of them – in sadly selling off a friends estate I ended up with 8 pages of David Heath art (that have been yet to be sold since I am honest and tell buyers it is not early Vaugh Bode work!) so it is nice to know more about Heath’s zine and actually be able to read a full one.
    The art belongs to Chuck Hawks widow- Chuck helped run the Racine Wisconsin Comic book club for years and edited their Kapow fanzine which ran 100 issues- I have not seen any of Heath;s art in the issues that still exist though Mark Heike is prevalent noir were there any No Sexs in Chucks fanzine collection though they may have been traded off- there is a very good chance that Heath and Hawk met at the Chicago Comicon.– Now if I can only find out who did the page with the ax murder on it probably from another zine!



    • Hey George…for some reason, I am only now seeing this post…thanks for looking, first. Yeah, Heath was one of a kind, such a great guy. You can email a jpeg of that ax piece and maybe I can identify it, but not promising! You can email me at kenmeyerjr@yahoo.com



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