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I have a handful of magazine-sized (8.5 x 11) anthologies to report on. Some saddle stitched, some side-stapled, some black and white, some riso-colored, and some laser printer colored. Are you ready for this? Here we go:

Beacon #3 | Steve Keeter and company

20 pages, side stapled, black and white interior with color front and back covers.

Steve has a real love for holding on to his creations from his younger days. The Beacon is a super hero that has been around for almost 50 years and appeared in his 2’nd issue of OM in 1973. BTW, “OM” has to be just about the best title of any zine I’ve seen. OM! Timeless. I can’t wait to see what Keeter does with it next. But I digress! Beacon #1-2 were published by Jim Main in 1989. But what’s truly amazing is that this comic of the Beacon was started in 1975 written by Kurt Erichsen and illustrated by Steve Keeter. It’s been resurrected by Erichsen and Keeter with a 3 page intro by Dan Burke. Erichson also did the color front and back covers for it.

The story is wacky, and reminds me of my own writing style for Ninja Guy. You meet a washed up degenerate couch potato dude that turns into the Beacon when he drinks a certain brand of diet root beer. The Beacon is supposed to be a superhero, but his motivations are completely controlled at a subconscious level by a mind control villain named Doctor Lobster. The Doc motivates Beacon to start an all-out fanzine war with another robber baron fanzine editor, Albigenses Feather. Huh?!? Getting rich off of fanzines? It made me think of the DC/Marvel rivalry of decades past, and maybe that’s what it’s satirizing. Really great art and story. In fact, the best thing I’ve received from Steve Keeter thus far. Check it out.

$4.75 paypal to stevekeeter at gmail dot com.

Flowered Anthology / Operation Wisteria | Various

Lots of colleges are offering comics classes nowadays, and often that means an anthology gets produced at the end of the semester from the student work. I love this concept, and it seems to be helping to spur on the spirit of self publishing comics.

I received Flowered Anthology from Rebekah Dass, a student of one of these classes (who was also a contributor to my anthology, After That!). Dass has a piece in here called “Operation Wisteria,” a 4-page comic about fairies doing what fairies do (making a potion!). Dass wasn’t happy with the risograph version in the anthology, so I also received a stand-alone version of Operation Wisteria laser printed! It features a great purple-hued cover with floral drawings. It’s side-stapled, and the interior pages are black and white with touches of purple ink throughout. A nice touch.

The anthology is 38 pages (not counting the cover). In addition to Dass, it features works by Lecsi Pillar, Jordan Mayo, Reina Leigh Hudspeth, Bijan Keshmiri, and Hale Peterke. Peterke’s piece, “Oleander” is an outstanding wordless comic about a woman who becomes one with the garden she’s caring for … or at least that’s my interpretation of it. The rendering of it appears cut and paste and really makes great use of the riso-printing process.

This particular one is probably out of print, but I’m assuming the best way to inquire about others from this school would be to inquire with Christopher Kardambikis of George Mason University.

Cartoon Loonacy #149 – 151

149: The APA Cartoon Loonacy 149 hit my mailbox awhile ago, but I neglected to report on it until now. It’s got a lot of great work by various artists such as Michael Kraiger, Hilary Barta, Tom Cherry, Yul Tolbert, Michael Pecorella, Gary Fields, Geo. Erling, Adam Yeater, Charles Brubaker and Brian Buniak. Many members offer encouragement in the form of written text within the publication, but to save space (and money on copies that I would otherwise have to print myself), I’ll use this more open channel to give my feedback (although, I’m betting not everyone in the APA reads this). Tom Cherry gave a funny short one page gag called Oh! Those Savages. Ew. Then a potential glimpse at Tom’s experience in the hospital (COVID? Unknown). Michael Pecorella debuts in the pages with some anime-influenced cute animal cartoons. Then we get some classic Geo Erling NitWitz comics – 4 pages! Darren Auck’s editorial is nicely broken up with some great cartoons, and then a big scary splash page concludes it. Gary Fields gives a fun one page Comeex Comix comic called “Didja Ever?” The next page has 2 drawings that absolutely explode. Then a jam page featuring Gary Fields and … Adam Yeater? That was unexpected yet really cool. Charles Brubaker takes us further into that classy 60’s Hannah Barbera vibe with several Fuzzy Princess comics. These are mostly “Ask a Cat” comics. Then an Adam Yeater page (mine was printed on green paper!) featuring his organic parasite collage work and a one page Blood Desert strip. Then there’s Brian Buniak’s continuing saga which promises to have an epic episode in issue 150. Michael Kraiger wraps the book up with a self-portrait comic and the back side of death … on the back.

150: A packed slab of side-stapled Cartoon Loonacy to treasure! It includes a history of Cartoon Loonacy, which has been going strong now for 38 years. The look-back by George Erling is full of illustrations from the past, including the first flyer that was sent out to get it all started. There’s tons to look at from some of the original members such as Steve Willis, Mark Campos, Bob Vojtko, Gary Wray, and Greg Bear just to name a few. The issue itself features a cover by Bruce Chrislip and work by Russ Maheras, Yul Tolbert, Tom Cherry, Brian Buniak (with that epic finish titled “Spinning Gold into Straw”), Mike Kraiger, myself, Charles, Brubaker, Gary Fields, and Tom Desieno. There are lots of nuggets from archives that contributors have held on to over the years and a great back cover of some of those original members that kept it going for so long.

151: This one shrank in size, but it still has a ton of great comics.The lineup this time is Gary Fields, Brian Buniak, Tom Desieno, Tom Cherry, Charles Brubaker, Darren Auck, Geo. Erlin, and Mike Kraiger. You know … the great 8. Each issue of Loonacy also comes with mini comics that various contributors have decided to mass produce and send in to all of the members. This issue came with “Royal Merkats” and “Never Enough Toons” by Charles Brubaker, Harold th’ Armadillo 4 and 5 by Buzz Buzzizyk, and “Fowl Scribblin’s” by Gary Fields. It also came with a perfect bound fanzine called “Maelstrom” by Russ Maheras. Russ writes a lot of fanzine articles in Loonacy, and this 64 page book compiles a lot of them. Back to the issue at hand: Buniak offers several “jam” drawings he did as faculty at the Joe Kubert school on attendance folders. They are a sight to behold. Brubaker carries this issue. In addition to the front and back cover he did for it, he’s got 18 pages of comics for us inside. Cherry provides a one-pager on a cardstock titled “Sign – I Need a Hug – Close Enough.” It’s about how much of us have probably felt these days. Tom Desieno contributed a 2 pager. A very heartfelt prayer illustrated and a self portrait. Gary Fields’ “Comeex Comix” has a real energy to it, and this one is no exception. It’s a play off chocolate and peanut themed cartoon references and more. A great one page variation on a theme. That’s one angsty Charlie Brown, Gary. Darren Auck, like Brian, contributed a jam cartoon full page. Some fun super hero poses. Geo. Erling in “Spiritualized” produces a comic using lyrics from various song writers who wrote a “prayer” somehow into their lyrics. He gives the credits to all of the songs he references, which is pretty cool. Thre’s a Nitwitz comic, and another that was also part of the recent White Buffalo Gazette. Kraiger finishes it out with a bang … or, a bug fight. I loved this one. It appears membership went down a bit though, which is sad to see. Hope others get on this and help keep the magic going. It’s a really great ride, and always feels like Christmas when it shows up in my mailbox.

To learn how to join the club, contact Geo. Erling at straykatstuff at hotmail dot com or Gary Fields at garyfields at optonline dot net. There is also a facebook group that you can find and inquire about the club. Just search for “Cartoon Loonacy.”

Freaky #7

One of the most ambitious obscuro comix publications right now, Freaky, has hit it’s “Seventh Heavin’” issue. Featuring comics by Jaime Crespo, Cam Hayden, Kyle C. Bridgett, Marc Jackson, and many others. These listed above did some of my favorites from this issue. Crespo’s “Sombreros from Outer Space” is one I’ve seen in his Tortilla Comix one-man anthology. It’s reproduced very nicely in this magazine. Hayden’s “Snakebit” follows nicely as two gross and dumb cowboys discuss a poisonous snake bite that afflicts one of them. The other has a problem with being helpful about it. Bridgett has a couple of one page silent comics that tell the unfortunate end to a mob hit that just keeps getting worse (Sleeps with the Fishes) and a Prince’s failed attempt to rescue a long-haired maiden from a tower (Tower Troubles). These are pieces under the comic strip title “Silent But Deadly”, and are my standout favorites for this issue. Jackson’s “Butz & Fanny” comic is my favorite one to look at for the artwork. It’s got a classic cartoon look to it.

Andrew Goldfarb has a lot of material in here of own comics and cartoon spreads. The issue launches with a photo-comic (photography by Rani Goel) called “Budd Underwood in Visitor from Space.” It reminds me of music videos I’ve seen of Goldfarb’s. It’s a story about how Budd Underwood keeps being visited by an alien who relentlessly delivers a very unwanted package. The comic spread by Goldfarb this issue is another feast for the eyes as you peer down on a Traffic Jam checking out every zany car, driver, and passenger on the interbelt.

There’s plenty more to view and read in this issue, including a hand-woven rug of Freddie Freaknik by Shane Buckley. Somebody had time to do that. Whoa.

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