With the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina looming so large in most people’s worlds right now, it’s nice to have a diversion to a warm, nostalgic world of childhood joys. That’s exactly what the latest issue of Jim Kingman’s terrific fanzine Comic Effect provides. Issue 43, which I received last week, is composed completely of an essay by noted comics commentator Murray Ward discussing his passion for the Hanna-Barbera comics and cartoons of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Mixing fact and personal reminiscence, Ward does a wonderful job of helping readers feel his passion and enthusiasm for beloved characters like Quick Draw McGraw and Huckleberry Hound.
Ward’s essay, 38 printed pages in length, is charming and fun. It doesn’t offer a lot of backstage stories about life at Hanna-Barbera in that era, but he does tell us nice little stories about life in the Ward household. Though I was born about 15 years after him, I felt a lot in common with Ward’s memories, and reading them helped bring back thoughts of my weekly treks to the neighorhood drug store to buy comics, learning the days the books were put on the racks, and the sometimes quixotic reasons I made my buying decisions. Ward writes with passion and humor. Despite its length, the essay never drags.
The subtitle of Comic Effect is “Emphasizing the Fun in Reading Comics.” This issue is a ton of fun.
Full disclosure: I sometimes contribute to Jim’s fanzine and I consider him to be a friend, but I’m not part of this issue at all. And I would recommend it to anyone, no matter my involvement with the zine.