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Monday, June 20, 2005

My Collection - AMAZING HEROES [1981 Series]

Amazing Heroes [1981 series]
103 issues [1982 - 1992]
10 - 11, 17 - 18, 24, 39, 47, 61 - 63, 65 - 66, 68 - 74, 77 - 78, 82 - 83, 89, 92 - 93, 95 - 101, 104 - 110, 112, 115, 119, 125, 128 - 131, 133 - 135, 138 - 139, 141 - 142, 144 - 145, 147 - 148, 150, 153 - 154, 156 - 158, 162 - 164, 167, 170 - 203

Another fanzine up next, Fantagraphics' AMAZING HEROES. I had a few of these from the early run, but lost them at some point. I began reading it again when I got back into comics in the late 1980s, at first just picking it up every few months when the cover feature interested me, then picking it up for its own sake, continuing until it was cancelled in 1992 (note that the final issue listed above, #203, was actually a double issue with a flip cover for #204). Along the way and subsequently I also picked up a lot of back-issues, which stores would often sell cheap (and a few of which have pages removed, usually the upcoming releases list pages). Mostly those with interesting cover features at first, of course, but as I generally enjoyed the other features in the magazine as well I'd be happy to buy any issue if it was cheap enough (I also have a number of the spin-off publications, the PREVIEW SPECIALS and SWIMSUIT SPECIALS, but those are a ways off on this list).

AH started off in 8x10 size, not sure when exactly they changed except that it was after #11 and before #17, but they went down to standard American comic size for the rest of the run. It also went from monthly to bi-weekly at some point, where it stayed for most of the run until around the time I started buying it, when it went back to monthly until the end. As I recall it was cancelled shortly after the speculator boom began and WIZARD launched, when the main focus of the market turned to price guides, print runs and variant covers, leaving little room for a magazine about actual comics and creators. Fortunately the market for quality mainstream fanzines intelligently covering older comics did pick up later in the 1990s when TwoMorrows launched their various mags, and on-line resources do a good job of covering modern comics now.

Just flipping through there are a lot of great covers on the book. There's obviously a bit of a mainstream focus, which for the 1980s means they covered a lot of mediocre comics, but they did also manage to shine the spotlight on most of the high points of their era, even covered the mediocre stuff in an interesting way sometimes, and frequently had articles looking at the best of past comics as well. A lot of good regular contributors, including Don Rosa (bringing his Info Center from TCR and later some themed cover galleries, including lots of gorillas. He was blogging before there was a word for blogs!), Dwight Decker, Adam-Troy Castro, Teri Wood and others.

A few issues I just pulled out as especially noteworthy:

#100 - Jack Kirby special
#47 - Kirby's return to the New Gods
#71 - Long Alan Moore interview and checklist with a great Bissette cover of Moore.
#77 - A Mr. Monster / Swamp Thing cover for the never-realized crossover
#158 - A special on 3-D comics, with a Kubert pseudo-3-D cover and a few Kirby pieces among the 3-D pages inside
#61 - Groo issue with a great Aragon├ęs cover
#177 - Spectacular Gil Kane cover spotlighting a fascinating interview
#187 - Great Stan Sakai interview, plus an 8-page comic about how he draws USAGI YOJIMBO
#109 - Scott McCloud interview, with a ZOT!/DESTROY!!! cover
#200 - Comics about comics, with a preview of UNDERSTANDING COMICS, an illustrated interview with Larry Marder and comics by Fred Hembeck, Ty Templeton, Matt Feazell and others.

Another one where I'm pretty much keeping what I have. Might still pick up some more back-issues at some point, although I have most that are of major interest.

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