David Hathaway-Price continues his brilliant UK Classic Comic Zines project to digitise British comic fanzines across several decades, from their early beginnings in the 1960s and 70s as hand printed low print run titles to more sophisticated, slick looking publications in the 1980s and beyond – adding what was then a ground-breaking issue of Fantasy Advertiser to his invaluable web site.
When original Fantasy Advertiser publisher Frank Dobson moved to Australia to work, he passed on the ‘FA’ baton to his two main advertisers; Paul McCartney (no, not the musician) and Dez Skinn (yes, the well-known future editor of Warrior and much more).
After a gap of nine months, the pair published the first of six huge issues with a cover by Alan Hunter, in July 1970, with thousands of comics for sale, but the also packed with editorial content, due to the integration of Dez’s Oracle.
Fantastic Advertiser #32 (incorporating Oracle #18) features writer Steve Moore (much missed) holding back no punches whilst writing about several conventions held in ‘69, 70, and 71 in the “Battlefield” section. (In short, he hated those he’d attended, noting their obsession with American comics and arguing British comics publishers were, unlike book publishers with SF Cons, there fore unlikely to support them… “British fandom contributes nothing to professional publishers,” he noted, regarding them as, ultimately, “boring”).
Dez Skinn reviews the latest fanzines, while comics writer and another future editor Chris Lowder praised L. Ron Hubbard‘s novel Fear as his “masterpiece”, but has little regard for the author and his treatment of journalists, or Scientologists. There are articles too by Stan Nicholls, reviewing fanzines, and Steve Parkhouse, too, again on conventions but this time offering a wonder appraisal of SF cons that is crammed with the kind of observation and humour rather lacking from Steve Moore’s commentary!
On his return to the UK from Australia, Frank would once again go on to publish his own adzine (Fant EC Advertiser, also at the archive) in 1972.
David has put this together this digital edition of Fantasy Advertiser #32 from two copies that he had access to, but suspects from reading the last page, that he’s still a couple of pages away from a definitive version.
The format may be rather arcane to modern fans used to slick design and more varied content, but it’s well worth a look, if only to enjoy the breaks in the listings for other comic zines such as Aspect – what a line up of talent that has! – and a plug for the earliest London SF and comic shop, Dark They Were and Golden Eyed.
It’s revealing just how active British comics fandom was, even in 1970, from this one issue of Fantasy Advertiser and I, for one, and very grateful to David for making it available, and to Dez Skinn for granting permission for its modern day re-perusal.
• Dez Skinn’s official site offers his history of his involvement with Fantasy Advertiser, and much more besides: http://dezskinn.com/fanzines/#fa