Jay Kennedy's questions regarding Kevin Collier's publications sent me into my old comix trunk and correspondence files. I came up with this incomplete picture but also a new appreciation for Kevin's efforts.

With the notable exception of Clay Geerdes, the world of fanzine, reviewzine, newsletter rags consists of short choppy series that rise and fall like Latin American dictators. Sometimes that is an appropriate simile. This type of comic oriented literature has been around for decades, but Collier's publications stand out for his high production quality (unlike this grubby newsletter) and more importantly, for his merging the fanboys with the old Newave. His influence continues to this day.

Collier met Jeff Cooke at Muskegon Community College (Mich.) where they formed the Full Circle Comix label and produced about 60 comix from 1976 to 1981. They had titles like AMAZING STORIES (1977) and BEYOND (1980). The WSU comix collection has a few of these.

Now pay attention, you serials catalogers, here's a doozy: Kevin resurfaced in 1984 with FANDOM-TIMES 1 (Jan. 1984) and it ran seven issues. In July/Aug. 1984 he replaced FT with a new title, FAN SCENE 1. It ran for two issues, then he revived FANDOM-TIMES with issue 8. FT folded at issue 10, only to be replaced a second time by FAN SCENE 3. I believe it ran to issue 5.

Kevin's 1984-1985 fan publishing spree was remarkable for the speed of rising circulation and number of publications. During this period he also published other fanzines including ZINE COLLECTOR and FANDOM JOURNAL as well as some comics by other artists like HAUNTING (1984). In an effort to bridge the fanboys and the old Newavers, Kevin did not limit his coverage to commercial clone comix.

At the time, I appreciated his publications, since he afforded some of us weirdos a chance to gain a new audience. The fanboys, many of whom were too young to have experienced the mind blowing joy of buying underground comix in a local head shop (I STILL associate the smell of incense with ZAP COMIX et al.) were exposed for the first time to a new type of comic. Comic art didn't have to emulate the big boys, it could be used for *gasp!* personal expression.

Still, it was a worlds in collision situation. In 1985 Collier and SMALL PRESS COMICS FANOLA publisher John Eades got into a high profile disagreement. Eades had set himself up as the anti-fanboy reviewer. I can't recall the exact nature of the war, except that it was bad for the morale of small press comix.

Citing burnout (small wonder) Collier briefly dropped out of the big picture in late 1985. In 1987 he came back with two new titles that were more Newave oriented: SMALL PRESS OBSERVER and COMIXTALK (originally planned to be entitled NEWAVE PLAINTALK). But by early 1988 he bowed out again.

Collier's open-minded view of comix encouraged the merging of two networks, although it always seemed the fanboys outnumbered the Newavers. As new artists came aboard, the distinction between the two camps grew fuzzy. No wonder Jay Kennedy is having a nightmare classifying post-1985 small press comix! Tim Corrigan's SMALL PRESS COMICS EXPLOSION and the Seattle based COMICS F/X continued to tap into the loose confederation brought together by Collier's publications. With F/X in apparent limbo (they announced they were cutting back on alternative comic coverage in their last issue, Mar. 1991) this Collier inspired era seems to have come to an end.

[© Steve Willis. Originally published in City Limits Gazette #Terra Waldo, September 1991. Republished with permission.]


A couple readers out there have raked me over the coals for my convenient amnesia concerning the Collier-Eades dispute in my bibliographic profile of Kevin's work. Okay, I confess, I recall more than I let on. I didn't see any constructive purpose in dredging up that old crap. Both Eades and Collier would write or call me during that time, trying to get me to act as judge, a position I did not relish or want. I didn't want to reopen my old wounds. I truly despise the politics of comix, which is why I personally write no reviews or give awards. It's also why I didn't bother to research any of the details of that old spat when I dug into my old records for the bibliographic piece. Maybe Clay is right, maybe I AM too nice of a guy.

[© Steve Willis. Originally published in City Limits Gazette #Lump o' pain, October 1991. Republished with permission.]

COMMENTS FROM KEVIN COLLIER (received December 26, 2007)

LOL... man, talk about going back in the time tunnel! I wish John Eades well, wherever he is... but I can recall the dispute, and it wasn't about rivalry. Eades had approached me on the success of Fandom Times, Fan Scene and Fandom Journal and wanted to start something up that was similar. He had literally appeared out of nowhere with no comix resume, unlike Tim Corrigan that launched a similar venture SPCE who is a comix icon. Anyway, I jumped in and unselfishly helped Eades giving him basically all of my contacts, addresses, and he gleaned the rest out of my zines. When his first issue came out, he dealt a discouraging blow to small press comix ventures by slamming folks I had encouraged. Eades sucked up to some of the bigger names in small press, but made fun or or dismissed others harshly. It did, in fact, piss me off, as he had no history in small press comics. And I was mad at myself, as I had handed over a huge body of contacts (unknowingly) to the "the wolves" so to speak... artists, writers and self-publishers that I had encouraged and was very fond of for their talents. Some of the folks Eades trashed back in 1986-87 are still going today, and doing very well.

So, "the feud" wasn't about competition as much as it was about confidence and trust. I mean, here I was, becoming a centerpoint where small pressers were gathering, learning about each other, encouraging each other, gaining friends and contacts, and then BOOM.

I too, don't see any purpose to digging up this "old crap" lol... it is just that. But, I just thought you'd like to hear not just a viewpoint, but at least one side of the story from one of the two people who became that "feud" story.

- Kevin Collier

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