Posted by Bob Greenberger on January 9, 2013
In the early days of comic book fandom, it took its cues from science fiction fandom since there was quite a bit of overlap. The early SF zines included names and addresses so as others began publishing, they knew where to find eager subscribers. The first pure comics zine, Richard Lupoff’s Xero, didn’t arrive until 1960 but it merely ignited a new wave of comics-only zines. By the time I discovered fanzines or 1960 or 1970, you sent some money and/or some stamps and they sent you a zine.
My best friend Jeff and I wisely took our meager allowances and one of us subscribed to Don & Maggie Thompson’s Newfangles and the other ordered Paul Levitz’s The Comics Reader. This way, we could share the only two authoritative sources of comics news. By then, we were aware that a growing back issue market was fueled by RBCC, formerly known as the Rocket’s Blast Comics Collector, but as its editor, GB Love’s health meant that venerable title had to end, the market for a publication for buyers and sellers remained strong.
Enter Alan Light, now a respected music writer. Back in 1971, he gave us The Buyer’s Guide for Comic Fandom , a weekly tabloid that was chock full of ads. Over time, though, Light added columnists, giving us something read between ads. Columnists begat news and news begat reviews and suddenly, The Buyer’s Guide became the source for information about comics post and present along with a handy way to order things of interest. Within a year it went from monthly to biweekly and the Thompsons brought Newfangles back, renamed Beautiful Balloons making the free paper a must read. Of course, with success came a demand for more content and in 1972 the paper went to a subscription model but no one complained. It had become too vital a source for information and collectors. As a result, it went weekly in 1975. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »