Thursday, February 9, 2012

OWARI #5 (July 1999)


One of the advantages of the long gap between issues #3 and #4 was that I had a surplus of things I wanted to write about. That was the chief reason why OWARI #5 followed in relatively rapid succession compared to my previous schedule. I was just bursting at the seams to publish another issue of my fanzine!

This is why I find the actual OWARI #5 to be so maddening. Oh, the content is perfectly fine, and we'll get to that in short order. No, my problem is with the fact that I spend so much time in it talking about what I'm going to do and future plans instead of concentrating on the issue itself. This was exacerbated by the fact that I was literally changing my mind every single day about what form those plans might take. It would have been better to keep those thoughts in the background and focus in the 'zine on what was tangible. But I let my enthusiasm get the better of me for neither the first nor the last time.

The issue opened (as you may have gleaned from the scan) with the article on GODZILLA'S REVENGE originally submitted by David McRobie for #4. This was one instance where the delay in printing a piece proved beneficial. My original plan had been just to print David's work as it arrived, with no editing whatsoever. Well, I still didn't do a lot of editing to his work, but I did painstakingly retype it so I could format it to include pictures. Did I mention my earlier intention to just forgo them entirely? I tend to think David's appreciation of one of the more unloved chapters in Godzilla's career came out well in its final version, so it's a pity more people didn't get to read it. He has threatened to resurrect it someday, and I for one hope he does.

Considering how pleased I was with David's article, I was that aggravated at how I botched something I had promised him. David specifically mentioned in it that I would be adding a detailed list of credits, because I had told him I would. And I did have just such a list - imperfect, but more extensive than any available in English up to that point. Maybe a little too extensive, as I couldn't fit it into the space allotted without rendering it unreadable. I was already using a pretty small font, and after the misadventure with #3, I had no desire to push my luck even further.

If I had not spent so much time blathering about future projects of mine, I might have been able to slot the credits into the issue somewhere. Instead, I just dropped them and included in their place an attempt at self-effacing humor regarding the whole fiasco. I did promise to find a spot for them in a later issue, and that was one I did follow up on.

The fourth page of the issue leads off with the introductory editorial, rechristened "The Middle of 'The End'" for one issue only. I only review one thing myself in the issue, and that is the DC Comics story "The Justice Society Returns". This was a much bigger deal to me then, considering how abused those characters had been during the preceding 15 years. At the time, I was super-enthused about this first signal of a newfound respect for them, but I suspect all that has happened since then might affect my reading of those books.

Alright, so my "humorous" little apology, my introduction, and the next segment largely sum up both the historical context of the issue and my subsequent frustration with myself over it. It all blurs together in my recollection, so I'll just summarize it here. I announce my intent to publish The Kaiju Detective as a separate publication and then backtrack and pull the plug on it a few paragraphs later. I give a name to the "Big Bang manuscript" alluded to in #4 - The Big Bang Explosion - and also mention my intent to publish it as a standalone fanzine. This may have been one of the sparks in reviving OWARI in the first place, but I hadn't made significant progress on it. And then there was Return of Jetman, which I ALSO wanted as a separate series. Whew!

It got so bad, the final block of text on page 4 has been replaced with a paste-up. No, I don't remember the specific reason anymore, and I'm not keen on peeling it off to investigate. Suffice to say, I understated matters big time in the replacement when I wrote of "the volatile nature of my publishing plans." No, you think?

I ended the issue with another "Tilting At Windmills With A Toothpick" editorial opinion column. In my notes, I refer to this as "editorial typos and anger!", which is a good Reader's Digest version. This was my soapbox about typographical errors, but more importantly, fact checking. It includes the following:

WIZARD has really legitimized idiocy in comic book coverage, and they've given it a glossy finish to boot. They are emotionally stunted perpetual adolescents that have inflicted upon us perhaps the single most vile publication devoted to comic books in history.

Gosh, tell us how you really feel, Chris!

OWARI #5 was a worthy follow-up to the landmark (for me) prior issue. However, cracks in my approach were already starting to show through, and it didn't quite make me as happy as it should have. Still, I resolved to solider ahead and keep flying the OWARI banner.

If only I had just shut up about what I was thinking about doing...

1 comment:

David McRobie said...

you were right about Wizard, though. still are!

I should re-write that article, or update it, at least. who knew we'd have such a nice copy to watch?