Super Types

January 1, 2018

Ink Stains 102: Chronicle 3

Chronicle 3: March, 1973
Publisher and editor: George Breo

Welcome to the 102nd installment of Ink Stains! Man, it does not seem like I have done over a hundred of these suckers, but I guess print (or the internet?) don’t lie! Above you see John Byrne’s cover to the subject of this installment, Chronicle 3, from George Breo. I have covered three issues of this wonderful zine already, so check out the Ink Stains section on my website for more. George must have had a magnetic personality, because he attracted some pretty darn good people to regularly contribute to his zine. Obviously, Byrne went on to be a huge factor in the comics industry eventually, in fact turning pro just a few short years after this fanzine came out.

Chronicle had it’s share of columns, spot illos and pin ups, but what made it stand out were the quality of the continuing stories. In fact, four of the five stories in this issue were done by writers and artists who went on to become established and respected professionals in comics. Those artists/writers are, in order, Stan Sakai, Chuck Dixon, Sandy Plunkett, and John Byrne. Let’s dive in!

After the contents page, an editorial, some illos and a Bill Black pinup, the first strip begins. Stan Sakai’s (and editor Breo’s) continuing Dante character clocks in with his second chapter. Obviously, this is very, very early in Sakai’s storied career in comics. He was still searching for a style, still interested in fantasy and heroes presented in a basically conventional way (though, even this early, he has some appealing stylistic quirks and body acting). See page from the 14 page story below.

Next up is Roger Slifer’s column, Revival Survival, focusing on the character Ant-Man. There is a nice behind the scenes snapshot in the “person” of a Gil Kane sketch. Below is the sketch and the finished cover.


After a general news sort of page, Chuck Dixon logs in with his hard boiled cartoony but very stylistic work on Prison Planet. I remember thinking this stuff looked really cool way back then, and I have even more respect for it now, considering Chuck went on to become such a respected and heavily used writer (not artist!) in the comic world. Though he did not pursue the visual vocation, back then, he had a fairly good command of pacing, panel variety and size juxtapositions. Look at a few selected pages from the 7 page strip below and see what you think.

Duffy Vohland’s column, Duffy’s Tavern, follows next, after that we see a John Byrne/Vohland Demon pin up. Also seen is a page of spot illos (Clyde Caldwell, John Cornell, James Faulkenberg, Steve Ditko and two others I cannot identify), and a strip by Faulkenberg called Daughter of Ska. The next strip is by what must have been a very young Sandy Plunkett, probably around age 17. Sandy went on to do some of the most beautifully rendered work in 70’s comics, but he was just not cut out for the constant tight deadlines that permeated the industry. You must check out the beauty of his rendering on his site here and his book, The World of a Wayward Comic Book Artist is worth getting as well. Below you can see how far he has come.

A short Bob Camp strip follows, then more spot illos including, Caldwell again, Plunkett, Camp, and the economical Gary Kato, seen at left. The letters page follows next before the slam bang final strip by Byrne. First, though, a bit more about Gary Kato, part of the loose “Hawaiian connection” of 70s fanzines. Other “members” included Sakai and the stylish Dennis Fujitake (who has an ad for original art commission in this issue). Kato also provides the smartly designed Black Widow back cover seen near the end of this column. Kato went on to work for a plethora of the companies in the expanded comic field of the 80s, including Eclipse, Eternity, Dark Horse, and Warp, as well as DC and Charlton. He also has his own character, Mr Jigsaw for Redbud Studio, started in 2009. Gary has filled almost all of the positions available in the comic industry, working on titles as either penciller, inker, letterer, colorist, editor, and writer.

So, the next (and last) entry in the strip arena is Breo’s and Byrne’s Gideon installment, entitled Gideon’s Revenge. This must have been done very close to Byrne’s first real professional work for Charlton. Though he of course got better, you can see most of the stylistic elements of what became such a popular style done by one of the most popular artists in comic history. Of note is the in joke of an appearance by both Breo and Byrne in the first few pages of this story. Below you can see a sample of the 14 page story.

Such gorgeous stuff! Lastly, as I said, here is the beauteous Black Widow by Gary Kato.

This is a zine you really need to see in its entirety! Go to my site to get the pdf, to see the complete stories, as well as art not shown here by Byrne and several others mentioned earlier. Thanks to Herb Warren for loaning me this zine as well. Please leave comments so I get some much needed positive reinforcement!

Ken Meyer Jr.


One Comment

  1. Cyrille

    Super ! Thanks a lot !

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