Monday, 8 November 2010

BOOKMARK THIS, COMIC FANS! THE RETURN OF SWEET 'FA'!


Middle-aged comic fans –rejoice! Youngsters – catch up on what you’ve been missing! For the late, lamented ’FA’ comics zine has now undergone an online rebirth! (Check out http://comiczine-fa.com.)

Though the zine pre-existed the editorship of Martin Skidmore (then labouring under the lame appendage ‘Fantasy Advertiser’), it was during his ’84-’89 tenure that things took off! Martin extended the zine’s range from superhero and fantasy comics to as many forms as the pagecount could carry, upped the quality of writing and increased the circulation in one fell swoop. (His only significant error was to publish my youthful rantings. Fortunately, these were written under a long-dropped pseudonym so I can now deny all knowledge!) Back then, ’FA ‘ truly was my guidebook! I literally couldn’t list all the creators I discovered purely because ’FA ‘ told me that I needed to...

My only counter to this cheering would be to note that these are different times. Believe it or not, but back then debate raged over whether comics were an artform at all! (Which, as we always argued, was like asking whether apples were fruits or not.) Meanwhile, though associatedly, critical writing over comics (instead of mere fannish exultations) was rare.

Yet contributor Peter Campbell opens his first piece to remark on “the journey over the last twenty years where the perception of comics has changed from the point where they were routinely made the objects of denigration ... to their current status where they have infiltrated the mainstream, are regularly reviewed in the broadsheets, and no book shop can be without its graphic novel section.”

But victory can bring yet more battles. It was so much easier to shine in those duller days. Whether FA can still set the bar remains to be seen, but I for one will be keen to find out! Favourites of mine already up include Andrew Littlefield on a recent Schultz biography and the aforementioned Peter Campbell piece on ’Raw’.

Disclaimer! I may, if time allows and Martin’s standards are slack enough, write again myself for ’FA’ at some point or other. (So you can call this whole screed advertorial if you choose...)

More reminiscences by me on the FA days of yore here...

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