Tuesday, September 18, 2012

OWARI #7 (March 2000)


I have to confess that, of all the issues I did of OWARI, #7 is the one that stands out the least in my memory. Until I look at it, I can't remember what it contains off the top of my head. This is not really an indictment of the quality of it compared to other issues. No, I think it indicates...well, I'll tell you when we get to the end.

One thing I would like to point out up top is a little achievement I quietly managed during 1999-2000. I had long resisted the temptation to put OWARI on a set schedule of any kind. I knew I could never adhere to such a thing, and omitting it gave me the flexibility to prepare issues at my own pace. However, from OWARI #4 (April 1999) through OWARI #7, I maintained a more or less quarterly schedule. THE KAIJU DETECTIVE BOOK ONE filled one of those slots, but it was still amazing to me then (and still is today) that I managed to publish five separate fanzines in the span of one year. I would never again achieve such a prolific output.

I led off with yet another Y2K reference, but in fairness, it was part of the zeitgeist in 2000. I compared it to the Jupiter Effect, which should tell you what I thought of that silliness. Sober-minded about predicted disasters, I have never been.

Our first order of business was a review of Golden Throats 3, one of those compilations of celebrity singing that Rhino used to issue. And say, remember the days when Rhino used to be about fun stuff? I purchased this album on cassette at Big Lots, which seemed quite appropriate. I am pretty fond of this collection, particularly the surreal awesomeness that is the French version of Lorne Greene's "Ringo".

I covered the Alan Moore comics label America's Best Comics, which was still pretty new at the time. The years have diminished my enthusiasm for these books. Alas, a lot of that is due to my antipathy toward Alan Moore these days, but that's a whole other story.

In a semi-charming return to roots, I talked about MONSTER ZERO and related how it was my first Godzilla movie. This was followed by plugs for both Scott Saavedra's COMIC BOOK HEAVEN fanzine and John Marshall's Toyzilla website. There is a CBH blog, but it appears to be inactive now. Scott can be found at his website. As for John, his current home seems to be John Marshall Universe, but it doesn't look like it has been updated in awhile. I kinda remember him having a blog, but I can find no sign of it.

The first feature of the issue is "The Kaiju Detective" by Ronnie Burton. Except it's not - rather, it's a sell for THE KAIJU DETECTIVE BOOK ONE. I don't think my inability to reach people with this 'zine had quite sunk in at this point, but I acknowledge that $5 is too much. A portent of things to come?

I ran an update feature following up on some of the topics from previous issues. Most notable from my perspective today is this:
There are plans afoot to revive at long last THE RETURN OF JETMAN, Lewis Smith's M.I.A. fan story. But saying it is "Coming Soon!" might be a trifle optimistic. Let's just say we are working on it.
As has been discussed elsewhere, this particular revival was not to be. This was really the first public sign of that.

I adapted an installment of my column "The Ranger Report" from Xenorama #13 into "A Supergiant Among Men." Both were concerned with the Japanese Starman films. Why didn't I reuse more material I'd written for Xenorama in the pages of OWARI? Beats me. I guess I was more averse to recycling material in those days than I am now.

"Your Tax Dollars At Work" is mostly my amazement over HUD documents that are written in Creole. It's the sort of thing that might merit a few lines, but I think I gave it too much space here. In fact, I'm sure of it.

Lewis Smith's column returns and it's both all-new and has a new name. "More Truth Than Reality" was a typo that cropped up somewhere in our correspondence, and I was so taken by the phrase that I knew immediately it had to be the name of Lewis' column. He wrote a wonderful piece on Dr. Madblood that I'd like to see him revisit someday. Here's hoping!

I concluded the issue with my "Tilting At Windmills With A Toothpick" column, in which I discussed pro wrestling, wondered how people could say METAL GEAR SOLID without laughing, and did a little review of 1999 both in personal and fanzine terms. I also hinted that I might be ending the column in future issues.

And that, friends and neighbors, was that. OWARI #7 was a decent enough issue, certainly no worse than the prior one. However, I was increasingly dissatisfied with the fanzine. What had felt like a breath of fresh air a year earlier now felt like I was repeating myself. Part of that was due, I suspect, to the very productivity that had driven me.

As I mentioned, OWARI #7 was the fifth fanzine I had produced in the span of a year. I think the goal of producing on a semi-regular basis led me to do things I probably wouldn't have done if I'd been taking my time. Certainly, that HUD thing didn't merit an entire page. It might not have deserved inclusion at all, but I had pages to fill and it was there. The big reason why I have trouble remembering what I wrote about in later issues of OWARI is because I didn't really have as much of a connection to the topics or the issues themselves as I did with earlier issues.

Between the difficult task of putting together THE KAIJU DETECTIVE and my need to put together the next issue of OWARI out almost as soon as I had finished the current one, I was in danger of burning out. At best, I was pretty disenchanted with much of the work I was producing. A brief hiatus to recharge and reconsider seemed to be the order of the day after OWARI #7

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