The Resurgence of Print Fanzines

Great news last week – a couple of old favorites are returning to print. The Comics Journal and nemo: the classic comics library are two completely different takes on comics. I would say “bigger and better than ever” but The Comics Journal seems to be downsized a bit, even from its old magazine format. But full color on slick paper for both.

The new Nemo and Journal are well beyond the mimeographed zines of the 1960s. And the 1970s fanzines that were run off the Xerox™ machines, but in my mind they are still fanzines.

The publishing of fanzines seems to have crested in the 1970s and 80s, then started to thin out.

Some did buck that trend and kept the genre alive. Tom Heintjes, Richard Marschall, and David Folkman began Hogan’s Alley, while John and Pam Morrow started a company that has turned into quite an empire. Both Twomorrows and Hogan’s Alley will celebrate their Silver Anniversaries next year.

The last few years have seen more enter (or reenter) the field. Rick Marschall said the new Nemo would be “scholarly but not academic.” Being both scholarly AND academic would be the revived Inks:The Journal of the Comics Studies Society from Ohio State University Press. On the just plain fun side is Comic Strip Cartoonist (“the only magazine dedicated to the comic strip artist”) from Comic Arts Press. This was successful enough that Ski has added Comic Book Cartoonist to their lineup.

So the fanzine scene is starting to look good, I couldn’t be happier. Welllll…I could be happier. I’m greedy. I want some one to step up and put together a fanzine about political cartoonists. Also about gag cartoonists.

Some one needs to revive Jim Ivey‘s Cartoonews as a magazine about new and old editorial cartoons and cartoonists. And then Jud Hurd‘s Cartoonist PROfiles could be brought back as a magazine/gag cartooning effort with a section devoted to opportunities for gag cartoonists (there’s got to be more venues than just The New Yorker).

Finally – here’s a vote for the National Cartoonists Society to bring back their National Cartoon!st as a print magazine, or maybe revive The Cartoonist as an annual post-Reubens “bookazine.”