Forty-nine years in the waiting and the making, Journey Planet recently published Heroes Unlimited #8, an incredible zine of fantastic proportions and wonderful content that bookends the publication that helped kickstart British comics fandom in the 1960s.
In December 1966, a 15-year-old Irish teenager called Tony Roche did a remarkable thing. He published the first issue of a comics fanzine called The Merry Marvel Fanzine, the first comics ‘zine on this side of the Atlantic. Fanzines already existed in the US, but it would be over six months before the first British comics fanzine, Ka-Pow, produced by Phil Clarke and the late Steve Moore, would appear, in July 1967.
In producing The Merry Marvel Fanzine, and, subsequently, seven issues of Heroes Unlimited, Tony, all unbeknownst to himself, helped set in motion a tradition of ‘zines and communication between comics fans that continues, unbroken, to this day.
Tony went AWOL in the summer of 1969 – like many another – leaving the fan community to pursue an international academic career, culminating in a Professorship in Irish Literature in UCD. But he stepped back into the community in 2017, sharing his memories of those early dats of fandom with the general zine Journey Planet edited by James Bacon and Chris Garcia in Issue 31.
Now, Journey Planet has released a digital edition of Heroes Unlimited #8, the final edition of the ground-breaking fanzine, featuring contributions from its original editor Tony Roche, James Bacon, Kate Charlesworth, Chris Garcia, Dr. Melanie Gibson, Nora Goldberg, Maggie Gray, Karen Green, Sarah McIntyre, Maura McHugh, Pádraig Ó Méalóid, Annie Parkhouse, Merlin Roche, Hannah Means-Shannon, Mary Talbot, Suzy Varty and more.
The print edition was released in September, but Journey Planet is the home of the PDF edition, which includes a massive interview with Alan Moore conducted by Tony Roche, and the e-edition includes bonus material such as letters of comment, and thoughts on the passing of Stan Lee by Michael Carroll and Anthony Roche.
Features include “Women in Comics” articles by by Sharae Deckard and Pádraig Ó Méalóid, “Bob Shaw’s Science Fiction” by Eamonn Hughes, “Watchmen: A Tattered Love Letter” by Pádraig Ó Méalóid, “Something in the Post” by David Hine, “A Master of Irish Fantasy: Lord Dunsany” by Patrick O’Donnell, a long-awaited review of the SCARP Comic Convention 1968, a strip by David Hine and illustrations by Neal Adams, Dick Giordano, Gene Colan, Larry Ivie, Paul Neary, Henry Scarpelli and Al Williamson.
Journey Planet is a terrific zine that has covered all manner of subjects over 43 issues, including Dan Dare, Judge Dredd, Star Trek, Star Wars and, most recently, an Issue delving into the workings of Silicon Valley. Well worth checking out.