Super Types

August 1, 2017

Ink Stains 97: CPL 8

Neal Adams, John Byrne, Craig Russell, Howard Chaykin, Don Maitz…all this and more in CPL 8!

CPL 8: 1974
Editor/publisher: Bob Layton

Anyone who follows this column knows what high regards I have for the fanzine, Contemporary Pictorial Literature, or CPL. Every issue I have seen (I believe the earliest I have seen is 5, which you can see here, along with issue 6) features some of the best artists and writers fandom had to offer at that time, almost all having gone on to long careers in the comics field. The stand out, of course, is John Byrne. His smooth, stylistic, and sinuous work looked good even way back in 1974, when this issue was published. It was around this time that Byrne got his first professional work, for Charlton Comics (after getting some fan art published in Marvel’s “fanzine,” FOOM. He continued to contribute to CPL after that, being one of the “CPL Gang,” which included Roger Stern, Roger Slifer, Bob Layton, and Duffy Vohland. You can see Byrne’s official website here. Byrne contributes a lot of work this issue, including the cover (and technically, the back cover as well), 5 full page pin ups, 11 spot illustrations, 4 column heads, and even a job inking Neal Adams! The volume here is another reason all could tell Byrne was going places. He was consistently good, and maintained a pretty full and steady pace, both here in CPL and other zines, such as The Collector.  Below you can see another piece by Byrne, a double spread of the Punisher.

Byrne inked the Punisher spread himself, as he did with most of the other art, but Duffy Vohland (another very busy Gang member, writing and inking) inked the cover, as well as several other Byrne pieces this issue. Vohland also inked Don Maitz, Joe Staton, and Howard Chaykin (although Scott Edelman sat in for Duffy in his “Duffy’s Tavern” column). Don Maitz went on to a stellar career as a painter and book cover artist. You can see Don’s website here. It is also noteworthy that Daniel Zimmer’s incredibly well produced magazine, Illustration, featured Maitz in the most recent issue (55). Check out the magazine website here, it is an essential if you love the world if illustration. Below are two Maitz pieces, one inked by Don himself.

Before going too far, I should run through the text features of this issue, all of which you will see in the pdf download (along with all the other art, of course). After an editorial by Layton and Stern, Michael Uslan worries about “…the reader shortage” in comics at that time. Uslan was teaching at the time (taking over Stern’s college course on comics, for which he received a lot coverage for at the time), and went on to write for comics, books and become a producer in Hollywood. His credits are wide and varied, check out his wiki page here to see more. “Doc” Larry Brnicky’s “One Last Desperate Chance,” a regular column, goes behind the scenes of comic distribution, while Edelman’s version of “Duffy’s Tavern” takes issue with comics being actual “art.” Tony Isabella follows with some norse (that is, Thor, Loki, etc) fan fiction, “Hour of Thunder.” Illustrating the story you see some typically dramatic work from the late Gene Day above left, illustrating the previous article, along with the sublime pointillistic work of Stephen Fabian above right.

Preceding the letter column (in which a very much younger version of myself appears) is a short humorous bit about the Fantastic Four’s Thing. Following that is a Joe Sinnott “centerfold” of Mr. Clobberin’ Time himself. Captain Marvel artist, C. C. Beck (a fairly consistent contributor to fanzines back in those days, actually), delves into the public’s perception of the seeming reality of comics (and most escapist media), and what goes into making those products entertaining or worthwhile…or very seldom, both, in his column, “Who Needs Reality.” Beck also contributes a full page piece to accompany the article.

Paty (Greer, later Paty Cockrum) talks about “Women in Comics” next (illustrated by a beautiful Black Orchid pin up by Byrne, below). By “Women in Comics,” she doesn’t mean only the characters in the comics, but the women behind the scenes making the comics. She makes several good points about why she thinks women were just barely in the field (back then)…keep in mind she was trying to make it in the business as an artist herself.

Next, Roger Stern, in his “Sterno’s Hot Ones,” elaborates on the college course I mentioned earlier, and the hullabaloo that gathered around it when Uslan took over the course (being covered by NBC news, for example). Ron Fortier follows with “Fortier’s Fandom,” extolling the virtues of Charlton Comics, particularly a generous package (through the mail..remember, it was the 70s) of materials following one empty envelope. Ron was very active in the fanzine scene in days gone by, and has gone on to many things literal, including comics, books, pulps, and more. Check out his website here.

After Fortier comes a house mag review column, followed by Frank Maynerd positing that a Jewish Peter Parker could make for some interesting storylines in “The Kosher Arachnid.”

That ends this installment covering one of the best zines to come out of the 70s. The pdf is essential, as it contains work not seen here by Adkins, Byrne, Staton, Chaykin, Beck, Sinnott, Adkins, and Adams. You can get the pdf, as well as access all my other columns from my website here. Below is an interesting pairing I wanted to show, being a Fujitake piece inked by P. Craig Russell.

Thanks very much to the generous Herb Warren for loaning me this fanzine, as well as many others I will be covering later, including several issues of Infinity, Comic Crusader, Chronicle, and…Spa Fon! Herb, take a bow, buddy!

Please feel free to leave comments, it lets me know people are actually reading! And of course, sharing is always appreciated!

Ken Meyer Jr.



  1. I loved the fanzines from this time period and even contributed to a few myself. This particular issue of CPL is one I don’t have and it is loaded with great stuff of the day!

    • ken meyer jr

      Glad you like it!

  2. Iron_Matt

    Ever since finding your column I’m checking out artists I’ve never heard of and it’s great! Even the ones I do know through their work from the big 2 still seem new since I’m seeing their work that preceded what made me a fan!

    • ken meyer jr

      Awesome! Glad I can point you to some new stuff!

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