The Zine Artists Online Museum

saarahonourrole36Many notable fanzine artists have banded together to present exhibits of their finest work at The Zine Artists, where they hope others soon will join them.

Here are high-resolution scans of great cover art unimpaired by cheap paper repro, faneds’ peculiar choices of colored paper, or massive blots of zine title typography. Pristine! At last, no barriers between the artist and the audience.

Already available are dozens and dozens of examples of the funny and beautiful work by —

Taral Wayne forestalls the obvious question —

The first thing you will notice is how terribly incomplete the list of artists is. “Where are Jeanne Gomoll,” you may ask, or “Jack Wiedenbeck, Randy Bathurst, or David Vereschagin?” The answer is that it will take time to track these artists down and contact them.

Taral has also penned a detailed history of the evolution of fanzine art – including his lament about the current state of affairs:

Then, of course, came the digital age, which changed everything.  No longer was it necessary to print anything at all to publish a fanzine.  Fan editors could  manipulate words and images directly on the screen, and distribute them in whatever file format was convenient.  It was no longer necessary to limit illustrations in any way.  Colour became almost mandatory.   Photographs were a breeze.  Any image that was already digitized was fair game to import into your document.  You could search the entire globe, through the Internet, for the exact image you wanted.  In effect, fanartists became redundant.

The golden age of fanzine art represented here never really seems to have been accompanied by a golden age of appreciation for the artists. In every era there have been justifiable complaints that the artists did not receive enough egoboo to “sustain life as we know it.” So take advantage of this chance to leave an appreciative comment in The Zine Artists chat section!

Dan Adkins (1937-2013)

Comic book penciler and inker Dan Adkins, perhaps best known for his work on Doctor Strange died at the beginning of May. He was 76.

“Perhaps best known for…” makes it sound as if I actually know something about his pro career, however, I must confess I was completely unaware of it before today. Instead, the reason I immediately recognized his name was that I was familiar with his fan art from decades ago. Adkins had lots of illos in certain old fanzines I read in Bruce Pelz’ garage.

Adkins drew for Xero, and was art director for Amra. Before that he published a fanzine of his own, as he explained in an interview by Roy Thomas on TwoMorrows

RT: In this same issue of A/E, Bill Pearson talks about your joint fanzine Sata…

ADKINS: That was just a made-up word. I was a draftsman in the Air Force at the time I met Bill. If a change was made to a building on the base, we’d have to update the blueprints. I also drew a lot of electronics stuff, engine corrections, etc. After I got a second stripe as Airman Second Class, I became an illustrator-from about eight months after basic training, for the remaining three years I was in the service. When I got out I was the equivalent of a staff sergeant.

As an illustrator, I had a whole room to myself with equipment to turn out posters to put in front of the base library or movie theatre. We also did a magazine where we’d list all the happenings. We had to spend a certain amount of money per month in order to get the same amount the next month. And I couldn’t come up with enough things to spend the money on, so I started a fanzine! [laughs] The Air Force paid for Sata.

RT: Did they know they paid for it?

ADKINS: I had a civilian boss, and he knew it, yeah. It didn’t cost a heck of a lot to put out a little dittoed fanzine.

RT: When were you art director of the Robert E. Howard fanzine Amra?

ADKINS: That was very early. We got drawings from Frazetta and Krenkel because I knew Roy Krenkel. That’s one reason they made me art editor! It wasn’t for my abilities; it was for who I knew!

Adkins’ art was reprinted in The Best of Xero (a volume mentioned here just a month ago because its introduction was written by the late Roger Ebert.)

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]