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Sunday, May 02, 2010

Fanzine fanfares

Peter Normanton's From the Tomb is back—cue "back from the grave" or "risen from the dead" puns—with issue 28. Unfortunately, the collapse of Borders just before Christmas and the magazine's struggle to find a distributor in the US and Canada means that it is now only available via the From the Tomb website.

The lineup for the 68 pages (36 of them in colour) includes the return of The Gurch with a werewolf cover and a new portfolio; Frank Motler takes a detailed look into the 1950s Senate Investigations and uncovers some unsavory truths; the werewolves of Mike Ploog and John Bolton are unleashed; the Atlas to Marvel Years of Terror are celebrated with a collection of covers spanning sixty years; there's strip work from Tom Sutton; the new Creepy; and small press reviews.

The issue is available for £5.99 in the UK, £8 in Europe and $17 overseas. More information can be found on the magazine's Myspace page.

With a beautiful but nightmarish wraparound cover provided by its increasingly unfathomable founder and this issue’s free gift of a tantalising iron-on T-shirt transfer both delineated and designed by the sublime Melinda Gebbie, Dodgem Logic #3 is our most sumptuous and substantial offering yet. We’ve got more bubblegum-card bios in our series of Historic Hipsters, we’ve got rowdy rationalist Robin Ince exploring the futility of trying to reason with mouthy reactionaries and a genius examination of town planning and its various iniquities by urban spaceman Gary Mills. Britain’s foremost self-defacing comedy darling Josie Long provides some excellent advice, but only if you’re her about ten years ago, while hilltop hierophant Steve Moore serves up a comprehensive absinthe-scented guide to the degenerates, dandies and demi-gods collectively known as the Decadents.

Fulfilling Dodgem Logic’s remit of unhelpful crazy talk, Alan Moore offers a straightforward user’s guide on how to practice hellish sorcery in your own living room, and frowning boy-king Steve Aylett’s sobering Johnny Viable concludes with a display of octopi and flirting Chinese warlords that maybe, just maybe, shows us how to love again. Melinda Gebbie takes us on the first leg of a two-part tour through the delinquent dreamtime of Beat-era San Francisco, the immensely civil but post-civilised Margaret Killjoy walks us through her blueprint for a scavenger economy, and self-sufficient-ish Dave Hamilton sows some genetically modified seeds of discontent. The awestruck reader will discover flavoursome yet frugal recipes, advanced guerrilla gardening gambits and a first-time voter’s unimpressed appraisal of the democratic process. There are trackside chats and snaps from the electrified-rail frontline of graffiti, diatribes from doctors, a cacophony of columnists, the esoteric etchings and embellishments of cryptic Kevin O’Neill or the mighty Savage Pencil, and instructions for the manufacture of those Joy Division oven-gloves you’ve dreamed of.

The new issue increases in size (to 80 full-colour pages) and price (to £3.50). More info at the Dodgem Logic website.

Jeff Hawke's Cosmos seems to keep growing in size every issue. The lastest is 96 pages, including the cover which features a new illustration by Syd Jordan. There are three full-length stories as usual, the opener being the oldest, "Unquiet Island" dating from 1956-57 and written by Willie Patterson. The other two stories, "The Book of the Worlds" and "Time Is Out of Joint" are post-Patterson, dating from 1970-71 and have lost none of their excellence despite Syd having drawn the strip for getting on for 20 years by then. Actually, the first of these two later stories was written by Syd from an idea by Kennedy Aitken and harks back to the earlier days of Hawke.

Each story is accompanied by Duncan Lunan's excellent story notes and the issue is rounded out by an article on Jet Morgan, star of the radio series Journey Into Space, by Andrew Darlington.

Subscriptions cost £20 (or £30 overseas), cheques payable to Jeff Hawke Club, which you should send along with an SAE to The Jeff Hawke CLub, 6 The Close, Alwoodley, Leeds LS17 7RD. Further information can be found at the Jeff Hawke website. Editor Bill Rudling mentions in his editorial that he will soon be publishing Syd's Lance McLane strips in chronological order and has set up a second Jeff Hawke Club Weekend which will take place in September or October.

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