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Squa Tront #11
posted March 22, 2005
John Benson, Roger Hill, John Garcia, Mike Britt, Jacques Dutrey, Hames Ware, Jim Vadeboncouer Jr., Mitchell Lee
Fantagraphics, 64 pages, $10.95
The explosion of blog culture puts older fanzines in a new light. Once viewed as slightly over the top if not outright obsessive pursuits of arcane knowledge, the strong focus of the early fanzines now looks like smart narrowcasting. You want your publication to embrace the whole world, but you only want to do so through as much of it as you can gather in your hands at any one time. The EC fanzines are important predecessors to magazine like the Comics Journal
and even sites like this one because they created a critical dialogue out of focusing on one part of comics and working their way outwards.
The 11th issue of the revived Squa Tront
has as its main focus John Severin. Editor John Benson offers up the completely believable variation of a theory popular among old-time fans that unlike many of his peers for whom work at William Gaines' publishing house was a single career highlight, Severin's artistic journey has been one of constant improvement and consistent achievement. The issue explores Severin's work on the EC war books for which he may be most rightly well known, but has a lot to say about projects as varied as the fantasy books he did for Marvel, the 1980s adventure stories he drew, and some beautiful westerns he completed long ago for Prize and Atlas. As if not to lose itself completely to Mr. Severin, there's an article on the development of one person's fandom leanings and a piece on the French comics connection to EC. These are definitely the result of examination further into a specific area than any of us might care to read when thinking about comics in its entirety, but seem wholly appropriate presented in this context. I'm a sucker for this kind of writing, and even if you aren't, I hope everyone's glad that this kind of dusting in the corners is still being done, these romantic searches through old boxes and older memories where no stone is left unturned or deemed not worth the effort of flipping it over.