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Return of the Knave
Drink It Black
Monday, 21 May 2007
Cooler

As sometimes happens, I had to mention something that I had no opportunity to canvas ere then; in this case, the fanzine. A magazine for fans, sure enough.

But, as well as fans, readers are satisfied by zines, which answer their need for a knowledgeable publication in their special interest. Comic fans can lose sight of the primacy of the printed page and begin worshipping their Judomaster action figure or shining their Captain Triumph plates but the fanzine reader is there for the text and pics; often as a supplement to their three-dimensional passion.

I don't know that this goes a long way to explaining the fanzine so let's take a left turn and consider brass buttons. A journal for those who make them, a magazine for those who have a wider interest in collecting buttons, a zine for all I know, that devotes a number of features to the subject and has a Brass Knob of the Month. But the fanzine fairly requires a human or anthropomorphic agency as its centrepiece. You can only in the most colloquial manner, be a fan of an inanimate object.

Fanzines can be devoted to authors, to players, to minstrels, and performers of all kinds. Real life characters like Hopalong Cassidy and the Human Fly serve as a bridge to fan clubs for characters who don't exist. So, having buttoned up, what say an Avengers fanzine?

Despite their status as 'Earth's mightiest heroes', the Avengers are going to have a particular following. It will be for the original comic series since mention of "the Avengers" in any other format raises the spectre of the cult television series of the same name. They probably have their own fanzine too  

Their creators are the stuff of fanzine legend but might I suggest you go to the Jack Kirby Collector if you're a fan of the King; it's proof positive that a magazine can cater to the fan and the collector in the same stroke. With decades of work encompassing so many aspects of the comics creation process, it's a mine that won't run dry any time soon.
Stan Lee is likewise prolific and there is enough to sate any fan of the Man with his Just Imagine series, where the conceit is DC characters if they had been created by Stan, and the faintly senile-sounding Striperella. You can even see him doing Hitchcock-like cameos in current Marvel films (and, no, I don't know if he can wiggle his ears like Willie Lumpkin!) or 'meeting' his creations in one-offs.

 

Dick Ayers is a suitable yardstick and let's never forget that it was Roy Thomas who brought us the Kree-Skrull War.

Just as tricky is to imagine a fanzine devoted to the original line-up. It only lasted one issue with the Hulk stomping off in typical fashion in issue two and Captain America barely being given a chance to thaw before joining in issue four. Speaking of Thor, he has his own book and his own fan following as does Tony Stark - who owns Avengers Mansion. Dr Henry Pym is a one-man character cottage industry while Simon Williams spreads his identity across Avengers. And the unflailing heroism wasn't always in evidence as Hawkeye the Marksman and a couple of former Brotherhood of Evil Mutants became Avengers, presaging those other reformed villains, Thunderbolts. 

    Maybe they should have a fanzine for the Wasp. I'd like to see that. This is where a mighty Avengers fanzine could come into its own; highlighting characters like Mantis and Moondragon (never mind D list characters like Dr Druid and D-Man) who are, at best, supporting characters in the pantheon.  

But the Avengers roster has included a large sector of Marvel Universe so that suggests you can have a Marvel fanzine and even a generic comics fanzine. Such is the case so, while no coat button fanzines are planned, it is still possible to have fanzines for "inanimate objects".

Posted by berko_wills at 3:54 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 21 May 2007 4:08 PM NZT
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