Thursday, August 16, 2012

OWARI #6 (October 1999)

Magically, these overviews of issues of my old fanzine take longer to produce than the issues themselves. I don't know why, but it seems appropriate. Just like the old days, I have to go back to make sure I don't contradict myself TOO much in the narrative I've established.

OWARI #6 was my effort to broaden my horizons a little. I expanded from 5 pages to 8. I didn't do it alone, though; this was the issue where I began soliciting new contributions from some of my pals. That meant the return of some old friends as well as the debut of something new.

I led off the issue with coverage of the revival of famed comics fanzine ALTER EGO. It was still early in A/E Vol. 3's life, which is why I illustrated my review with the cover image for the second issue. Amazingly, ALTER EGO is still going strong to this day! I just purchased #111 a couple of weeks ago.

Next we have a feature on Power Pro Wrestling. No, not my beloved Mid-South Wrestling/UWF "B" show, but rather the Memphis-based wrestling promotion that had the same name. My friend Ronnie Burton generously taped a few episodes for me, so I gave it the once over. The thing that stands out to me in this piece is an omission. One wrestler I didn't mention made his PPW debut toward the end of that tape. I guess I didn't anticipate Kurt Angle being that important in 1999.

Hey, look at that, I really did call AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME better than its predecessor. I'd like to amend that opinion officially and on the record. I still like it, but it doesn't ring as true to me as the first movie. This segment also reminds me that I went to see MYSTERY MEN and TWIN DRAGONS in the theater. I barely remember either one of them.

"After King Kong Fell" is a Philip Jose Farmer story that I own in a paperback anthology named Omega. I was interested in it since I'd recently purchased his books TARZAN ALIVE and DOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE. The Kong story spins out of the premise that a giant ape really did run amok in NYC.

Ah, here's a review of THAT 70s SHOW. Gosh, I really loved that show at the time. Unfortunately, like all TV series (or so it seems), the quality dropped too much for me to continue. But hey, we'll always have 1999, right?

Page 4 is labeled "Features" as opposed to "Reviews." This was, I believe, an attempt to give a name to the random observations and bits of whimsy that I like to include in my work. I talked about an old comic book character (complete with story sample!) named Madam Fatal, who has the distinction of being a cross-dressing hero. There's also a thing called "My Car Trinkets," which I seem to recall was considered a waste of space in some quarters. I can't exactly argue with this assessment, but it's the ancestor to far funnier stories I've related on the Internet in the intervening years.

"The Hall of Ranting" was a column set up entirely for Lewis Smith. More properly, it was adapted from his website at that time. This would all be changed by its next appearance, but this at least got the guy back into the pages of the revived OWARI.

My layout for Lewis' column came up a bit short. That must have been the reason I created this little filler:

As you can see, Return of Jetman had hardly been forgotten.

"The Kaiju Detective" and Ronnie Burton also returned. Rather than go with his KING KONG ESCAPES write-up/cast list originally prepared for #4, I chose instead to use this as an excuse to include the credits for GODZILLA'S REVENGE that had been crowded out of the previous issue. Ronnie was disinclined to write a column on the movie, so I just went with the data and added a couple of notes.

"Dark Designs and Fearful Fantasies" was a page for my friend Tara DeVeau, and I have to tell you she is blameless as far as the name goes. That was all me. This was a chance to get some of her poetry into print, and I'd like to think that was a worthy goal in itself.

I rounded out the issue with an op-ed piece meditating on the nature of fanzines. There's something cruelly ironic about this, now that I think about it, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Among the shout outs to the usual suspects at the time was a thanks to the very first person who ever sent an SASE for an issue. That was Jillian, and I just recently reconnected with her after much too long.

I ended the issue with a Y2K joke. How very topical of me.

Looking over this issue is interesting. I can see myself already feeling confined by the format I'd set for myself and struggling to do different things with it. Of course, I had other projects in mind besides OWARI. That was about to become abundantly clear.

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