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Spooky Year Book 2010

A comic review article by: Jason Sacks
If you are a fan of the old Warren Magazines, this is a must have.

For those who don't know the magazines, James Warren released a line of comic and monster magazines from about 1962 to 1980. He was a legendary and wacky figure, the kind of person about whom many legends are told and who lives large in peoples' memories.

Throughout all those years of magazine production, Warren Magazines produced a very wide range of content, from some of the most brilliant content in comics history to some of the most disposable trash that has ever wasted trees.

Spooky has celebrated the Warren magazines since it first appeared several years ago. Now editor Casimir has collected some of his most notable interviews in this 120-page, sumptuously-produced large-format fanzine.

Under a gorgeous panted cover (why is the artist not credited?), Casimir presents interviews with literally dozens of people who worked for Warren. Some are well-known, such as Mike Zeck, while others are much more obscure, such as Jeff Easley, who drew a grand total of two covers for Warren. This wide range of creators gives this zine its most charming and exasperating quality: on one hand, it's wonderful to learn about how these people ended up doing just a few things for the Warren line; on the other, it's hard to muster much curiosity about some of the more obscure creators.

Though it must be said that this zine does give a good sense for what life was like as a freelancer during the '60s and '70s, those dark ages before the Internet existed and work could be solicited or delivered via email. It's interesting to read a cross-section of reactions to the rigors of the freelance life, and how those rigors affected each person differently.

Many of the interviews are done as canned email interviews, with the same questions asked over and over. That often gives the interviews the feeling of staleness when read all together, though there is obviously less of that feeling when reading each interview individually.

One interview really stands out in this zine: Richard Arndt's career-spanning discussion with maverick writer Don McGregor. The interview displays all of McGregor's typical intensity and passion, showing him as a real storyteller even when just describing his own career. It's a vital and energetic career, touching on many of the high and low points of McGregor's career. It's the one interview in this zine that does what interviews really should do, namely give readers deep insights into the motivations and deeper reasons why McGregor made the writing choices that he made. Frankly, it makes the rest of the interviews in this zine seem a bit amateurish. The McGregor interview illuminates, while the other interviews merely explain.

But this is a wonderful zine for any Warren fan, and a treat for anyone looking for an informal and entertaining look at a company that filled a unique niche in comics history.

Ordering information for this zine is available at spookyfanzine.com.

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