There’s no way I can be objective about this zine. Not only is it published by my fellow SBC writer Jim Kingman, not only have I been a fan of Comic Effect for several years, but this issue also features maybe my favorite article I’ve written about comics. And, damn it, I don’t think my article is the best in the issue.
So my article is about the comic Brother Power the Geek. Brother Power is generally considered one of the worst comics of the 1960s, and among the worst comics that DC Comics ever published. It’s a bizarre stream-of-consciousness mess about a tailor’s dummy that comes to life in the midst of hippie San Francisco. The comic is a mess – the pacing is awful, there are some cryptic and strange moments, and the characters are idiotic. And for all those reasons and more, I think it’s a work of genius. It represents artist/writer Joe Simon’s most inner thoughts expressed on paper. His world comes filtered out on every comics page, without editing, and it’s an amazingly bizarre world. I just loved writing this article, and would love for other people to read it too.
But without a doubt, the best articles in the issue, the reason it’s worth your $3.50, is the two articles by Gene Phillips about the first two issues of Fantastic Four. FF #1 might be one of the most-discussed comics of the Marvel era. I know I’ve read a number of articles on the book and didn’t expect more from Phillips than the standard obvious notes. But Phillips does just the opposite. He writes with great passion and insight, finding threads with other pop culture influences and reading subtexts that I’ve never thought of before. His article about FF #2 is even better, doing a great job of bringing out the feeling of improvisation and desperation that Stan and Jack invested in the series, showing quick and arbitrary changes in an attempt to kick start their moribund comics line. Phillips never disappoints in his articles, and he is at the top of his game here.
So if you love old comics, good and bad, and love to read about them, my pal Jim’s fanzine is a must-have.