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Saturday, October 05, 2019

FanScene #4 (September 2019)

The fourth issue of FanScene , the free-to-download British comics' fanzine, is for the most part a tribute issue following the deaths of Stan Lee and Mike Noble in late 2018. Various articles on these famous creators fill the first 40% of the new issue in a variety of ways, ranging from an interview with graffiti artist Ejek (Danny McDermott), who painted (sprayed?) a mural in tribute to Lee on a wall in the Gorbals area of Glasgow to celebrity reaction to his death.

Of the tributes paid to Mike Noble, my favourite** is Norman Boyd's 'Mike Noble in Focus: "Wide World" (1962)', which features Mike's contributions to the long-running adventure pulp Wide World. I doubt if even the most ardent Mike Noble fan—bar one, of course—has seen this artwork, which appeared 57 years ago. As someone who has been knocking about for the same number of years, it's nice to see something new (to me) from one of my favourite artists.

Perhaps the best piece in the whole 88-page magazine is Robert Menzies' interview with Alan Murray, who worked for Marvel UK in its early days. After a period working in advertising agencies, a fellow commuter told him of a possible job on magazines that were being published out of an office in High Holborn. Thus Murray came to work for Marvel, then just starting to make inroads into the UK market with titles like Spider-Man Comics Weekly.

At that time I was still a Fleetway fanatic, so Murray's revelations about his time at Marvel are new and fascinating and this is the kind of article that we need to see more of in British fanzines.

The issue concludes with a grab-bag of articles and art. Richard Sheaf takes a look at Spaceship Away as it reaches 50 issues and Peter Duncan dips into the Power Comics merger into Eagle, and there are articles about an Anime convention, collecting old comics, and a lengthy biographical comic strip from Neal Burton & Mark Wayne Barrett.

This isn't really a review—I'm only here to pique your interest. Fanscene costs nothing to pick up, so everyone can afford to try it for yourself. For copies, visit David Hathaway-Price's website, where you can also download earlier issues.

(** well... second favourite, as one of the features is an article I co-wrote with Bill Storie back in 1993 which I'm still proud of.)

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