Riff Raff Riff Raff

The Way We Were

Here's some stuff that I found while rooting around in my boxes

Indy and Feature. They were magazines from the mid-1990s that covered "alternative" comics.






Indy is from 1995, I think. It's hard to find the indicia. There's no date on the title page. Wait, I found it (below). The indicia was on the next page, buried in some questionable graphic design. It was edited and published by Jeff Mason.



"Coming off a very successful first try in 1994, this year's expo drew over 40 creators and around 300 fans. Considering that the event ran seven hours long, I was amazed at the staying power of the attendees. " (Jon Cohen)



(Maybe someday I'll do a big post about Stray Bullets' eight-panel grid sequencing.)







Feature (below) was from 1997. It was edited and published by Charles Brownstein.





Here's the editorial's opening paragraph (see below):

"There is a rift occurring in the comic book medium. It is nothing so pronounced or obvious as 'us and them,' instead it is more subtle, and by the same token, infinitely more radical. This rift is not between the collector and the reader, nor is it between the fan and the creator, it is far more important than that. It is a rift taking place mostly in the medium, not the business. This rift is affecting the way comics are made and the way we look at them." (Charles Brownstein)

(Remember this is 1997, precisely when everything fell apart for almost everyone in the industry.)
















I found this issue of Destroy All Comics at Jim Rugg's house. It's from 1996.


Destroy All Comics



Destroy All Comics was edited by Jeff LeVine and published by Slave Labor Graphics. That's a Dylan Williams comic on the right hand page (below). It was a west coast publication. The other two mags above strike me as more "east coast" in temperament. Maybe I'm biased but I appreciated Jeff LeVine's taste. He didn't cover David Lapham or Paul Pope. Instead he and Dylan Williams focused more on mini-comics artists like John Porcellino and Tom Hart. I remember Jeff disliking the more "mainstreamy" small press guys.

Destroy All Comics


Destroy All Comics


When I hear people complaining about the lack of critics or critical outlets or the type of critics or the type of reviews or whatever, I think, "Stop complaining and make your own magazine."

What really sucks is that in the three different magazines there are only two women profiled - Sarah Dyer and Joyce Brabner. Jennifer Daydreamer contributed a comic to Destroy All Comics #5. Just sayin'. The more things change, the more they stay the same!


Thanks. Over and out. 

15 Responses to The Way We Were

  1. Craig Fischer says:

    Frank, you drew the cover for DESTROY ALL COMICS #5 as one-half of “Sirk Productions,” right? Don’t be shy–it’s a lovely cover.

  2. Jeet Heer says:

    Destroy All Comics was great. I wish there was a digital archive of it somewhere. Wonderful to see you doing these archival resurrections Frank.

  3. It should be noted that Brownstein was something like 14 or 15 when he put out that magazine. A prodigy indeed.

    Great post. Those were the days!

  4. Jeff Mason says:

    Believe it or not, we weren’t all graphic designers in 1995. ;)

  5. Joe McCulloch says:

    Hilly Rose, MAN…

  6. Wow, those Emigre fonts really bring me back. We all worshipped so blindly at their feet. Thanks for this Frank, I’ve been digging through these old zines too lately. Interesting stuff.

  7. BVS says:

    I’d like to hear about Stray Bullets‘ eight-panel grid sequencing.
    it’s a bummer to think that here I am in my 30s, fully living in the age of comics as art ,comics as lit, and SPX attendance in the thousands. yet both Stray Bullets and THB wound up as a pair of unfinished, left behind comic series.

  8. TDavis says:

    I couldn’t help but notice a heading for a review of B.C. Boyer’s “Hilly Rose”. Somewhere (God knows where) I’ve got the run of all 8 issues and should dig ’em out for a reread. I recall them as being quite whimsical and well done and ending abruptly just when the wheels really seemed to be getting some traction. Anybody know whatever happened to Boyer and/or Hilly?

  9. mateor says:

    I thought that was a joke until I looked again.

  10. Chance says:

    These really take me back. Somewhere, I have a long box full of 90’s mini comics, and I’m pretty sure Levine put out 4 or 5 issues of DESTROY ALL COMICS as a mini ‘zine before Slave Labor picked it up and published it as a magazine. I need to find that box and re-live the 90’s, mini comics style.

  11. R. Maheras says:

    In my opinion, the problem with the whole “small press” or “minicomics” or “independent” or “alternative” monikers today is they are undefined and thrown around with no real consistency.

    In the 1980s, I think the lines were clearer. “Small press” incorporated pretty much all self-published material that was printed and distributed outside normal comics distribution channels, and print runs were generally 200 copies or less. “Independent comics” had professional printing with print runs in the thousands and were distributed through one of the various comics direct market distributors of that era.

    Yes, there were arguments that this or that self-published publication was “newave,” a fanzine, etc., but almost all really fell under the umbrella of “small press.”

    In addition, terms have changed over the years. In 1985, the term “minicomic” was a specific publishing format size, i.e., the size of a sheet of typing paper folded into quarters and trimmed. A micro-minicomic was the size of a sheet of typing paper folded into eighths and trimmed, a digest-sized comic was the size of a sheet of typing paper folded in half, etc.

    Today, of course, the term “minicomic” is most often an all-inclusive term for self-published comics of any type, akin to the term “small press” during the 1980s. Yet “small press” is also used today as an all-inclusive term, as is “independent,” and even “alternative.”

  12. Erik Missio says:

    I’ve twice had dreams where Dave Lapham launches a Kickstarter to fund the finale of Stray Bullets (I pledge for a grey t-shirt and digital copies of everything!), so clearly it’s scientifically just a matter of time.

    As for THB, I saw this today on Bleeding Cool:

    “THB will be published as Total THB in five re-drawn, re-colored smaller format books before being reprinted in five deluxe, oversized, artist-edition black and white “Absolute Edition” style hardcovers. Most of the work has already been completed, but First Second is waiting until all Battling Boy books are published before publishing THB.”

    There’s far more detail in the article, “Two Books For Battling Boy Prequel And Being Dropped By Legendary – Paul Pope Talks The Future And The Past,” but I’m never sure on the protocol of cutting and pasting, so check it out there. Or don’t.

  13. Frank Santoro says:

    “In my opinion, the problem with the whole “small press” or “minicomics” or “independent” or “alternative” monikers today is they are undefined and thrown around with no real consistency.”
    True. Mostly, I think this comes from a desire to be not lumped in with “mainstream” comics.

  14. BVS says:

    thanks for the link! I would love for Lapham to do a kickstarter. I haven’t enjoyed any of his issues of Crossed, young liars, or any other of his for hire work. as for THB coming back as re-drawn, colored smaller
    format books that P.Pope will get to after he finishes a few more other books…I guess I’m not holding my breath. I’m picturing the usual First Second sized colored book on slick paper. First Second makes good books, but that doesn’t sound quite like THB. the format of both these series was no small part of their appeal. I loved Stray Bullet’s slightly out of chronological order single issue stories. I loved THB’s ever changing various black and white formats, sometime square bound occasionally jumbo sized. they were both bizarre creatures of the comic book shops of that era, can you ever go back? I really wish Pope and Lapham had stuck to it and finished their stories back when the environment that could support that kind of comic book was a little less critically endangered.

  15. Jeff Mason says:

    Here’s a transcript of the interview I did with Paul Pope for indy #11 back in 1995:

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