Friday, June 13, 2014

FFM: Will Eisner, Charles Burns, Steve Niles, Peter Kuper, Mary Fleener, Art Spiegelman et al.: DEATH RATTLE among the 1980s horror comics (and such fellow-travelers as RAW and WORLD WAR 3 ILLUSTRATED)

The 1980s were an Interesting time for comics magazines, as both the standard newsstand comics industry and the "underground" alternative comics fields were definitely feeling their own very pronounced recessions (and the advent of the dedicated direct-sales comics store was just beginning and hadn't yet helped revolutionize publishing in this field, encouraging a bit of a renaissance in adventurous comics publishing over the course of the decade but more profoundly in the 1990s)...and those magazines which tended to bridge the gap, such as the decreasingly successful (as the decade progressed) Heavy Metal magazine (and a few imitators, such as Marvel's Epic Illustrated and Warren's shortlived 1984/1994), were often falling between stools...a fair amount of handsome art, not a whole lot of good storytelling, a fair amount of sophomoric rather than truly adult themes.

So, the more "arty" or genuinely innovative magazines that were launched or relaunched at the end of the '70s and over the next decade, or (like Wimmen's Comix here, paid some particular attention to the macabre) were more than welcome, to the comics community as a whole and to those occasional readers like myself who were being drawn back to comics by some of the more interesting work these magazines and others were seeking to publish...

Death Rattle had briefly been a notable 1970s underground title, if not as famous or influential as the likes of Weirdo or Slow Death,  but the new series was perhaps the most focused and the most durable of the 1980s anthology titles to fostering new and better adult work in the fantastic...even given it lasted little more than three years in its second run (1985-1988). Steve Niles began to produce Fly in My Eye sporadically by the end of the 1980s...and there was certainly no lack of relevant work in the more eclectic anthology magazines Raw and World War 3 Illustrated...and in the various other anthology comics coming at the time from such publishers as Fantagraphics and Rip Off Press.

Rather light on facts and specific citations, this week, but perhaps I'll the moment, just a scrap of relatively clear-eyed nostalgia.

For more actual books for this week, please see Evan Lewis's blog.

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