Even early on, Infinity boasted a myriad of big name artists, including Berni Wrightson, Roy Krenkel, Jeff Jones, Frank Brunner and more…all this and more in the second issue!
Infinity 2: 1970
Editors/Publishers: Adam Malin and Gary Berman
As regular readers know from reading my profile on Infinity 5, editors Adam Malin and Gary Berman did not scrimp on the art or content of this, one of the best fanzines of its time. “The boys” did their best to garner some of the biggest names for illustrations, interviews, and articles. This second issue holds to that pattern.
As was the fashion in many of the higher end “art zines” of the day, the editors decided to go with a completely text free cover. No logo. No title. No issue number. It was just known, I guess, how good the zine would be. People just had to know what they were looking for! Below you see an oil painting on the cover by Frank Brunner, who would go on to do a large volume of work for Marvel, and who is now doing private commissions, among other things. Check out his own website here. Now, it bears mentioning that the editor’s notes mention Brunner’s contribution as the back cover, with the actual Jeff Jones back cover mentioned as the front cover. So…it seems the Oscar might have gone to the wrong person! Still, both paintings are as good as anything else you would have seen in fandom at the time.
It is also mentioned in the editor’s notes that a valued member of the Infinity team “left the building,” taking a large amount of art that had been planned for this issue, and leaving Malin and Berman in the lurch. However, with the help of many fellow fans and collectors, the pair did a great job securing a great selection of art and other content. Below you see one of the other Frank Brunner pieces, a bit of fantasy cheesecake. Don’t worry…there is more on the way!
The big “get” this issue was probably the Berni Wrightson interview conducted by editor Adam Malin. This was still very early in Wrightson’s career. As stated by Berni in the interview, his King Kull story had yet to appear in Marvel’s Chamber of Darkness. Berni talks about his work in magazines such as Web of Horror, his favorite fanzines, comic characters, etc. In addition to the illustration to the right, we are treated to a gorgeous illustration from Wrightson’s King Kull, and a little head shot of Frankenstein. This master of the horror genre would figure heavily into Infinity as it went on, as would his “Studio” mates, Mike Kaluta and Jeff Jones. Below you see a typically atypical pose from Jeff Jones in one of the full page illustrations from this issue. While on the subject of Web of Horror, you have to go to the incredible Blog, Golden Age Comic Book Stories. You can see the three issues of WOH, as well as tons of other great subjects!
And, before I get too ahead of myself in this installment, I should show the just mentioned King Kull illustration from Berni.
That illustration seen above is dedicated to “Doug,” who I am pretty sure is Doug Murray, the writer who not only conducted a nice interview with Frank Frazetta in this issue of Infinity (ink sketch by Frazetta seen below), but went on to write the incredible The ‘Nam series for Marvel about 15 years later. Coincidentally, it’s mentioned that Doug conducted this interview in late 1967, but was drafted and served in Viet Nam, gaining all the knowledge and experience that went into creating that amazing series. The interview sat unpublished until Infinity 2.
At the tail end of the Frazetta interview, mention is made by Murray of a lunch meeting at the New York Comic Convention including Murray, Frazetta, Wrightson, and Ace paperback cover artist (and much more) Roy Krenkel. After Frazetta got up to leave, Krenkel said rather sadly, “I wish I had his talent, I’d like to be good.” I have heard of Krenkel’s feelings of inferiority to Frazetta’s talent, and possibly his impressive personality and physique. It is sad, because Krenkel had a career full of beautiful and impressive work of his own. I can remember myself collecting a wide array of Ace paperbacks by Burroughs with great covers by Krenkel. Crazily enough, following the Frazetta interview is a Roy Krenkel portfolio featuring both pencil and ink work, seen below. By the way, you can see more work in a great little bio here.
Many other artists grace the pages of Infinity 2, including Mad Magazine‘s Dave Berg. I was astounded to find out that Berg, who died in 2002 at the age of 81, attended the prestigious Pratt Institute…at age 12!!! A whimsical illo by Berg is seen below, followed by another Brunner illustration, and an oil painting by a young Mike Kaluta.
Also included in this issue are a few cover roughs by fantasy master Virgil Finlay, one of which you see below. You can see much more work by Finlay and read about him here, the same great place that has the Krenkel info.
Lastly is the aforementioned Jeff Jones back cover (originally intended to be the front cover…which makes sense, since it also has the title and issue number with it), seen below.
Now, there are many other wonderful pieces of art featured in this second issue of Infinity, but you will have to download the pdf to see them! And please do! Also, if you read the column, it means a lot to me to actually see comments, so don’t be lazy!
See you next time when it could be several issues of FOOM, Gene Day’s Black Zeppelin, Richard Corben’s Fantagor, Ralph Reese’s Reese’s Pieces, or some other collection of great fanzine material from the past!
Ken Meyer Jr.