What was the comic book news in 1961?

Many, many (many!) years ago, when Paul Levitz and I were first starting to make our mark, Jerry Bails, comics historian, indexer, one of the fathers of comic book fandom, was kind enough to lend his personal collection of the early print fanzines he had produced that had helped kickstart our hobby to a couple of fans halfway across the country. By himself, and later in collaboration with another fan, Roy Thomas, Dr. Bails was a pioneer of the fan press, helping spread news of early 1960s (mostly) DC Comics and connecting fans across the country via his mimeographed publications, starting with On the Drawing Board in 1961.

Bail sent those early fanzines to Paul and I, teen publishers in 1971 of a zine called Etcetera, that would eventually inherit (five publishers after) the title of another Jerry Bails creation, The Comic Reader. He popped them into the U.S. Mail, which delivered them to us in Brooklyn from his home in Michigan, where we each made photocopies (some of my copies of the earlier issues, presented here, were made on some early thermal copying process that have tanned with time but were kept out of the light and remain thankfully readable), before shipping them back to Bails.

Presented here, OTDB #4 – 8. The title changed to The Comics Reader with #8, and the stash of copies I came across begins with OTDB #4 (October 7, 1961), and runs through #13 (November 6, 1962), by which time the title had changed to The Comic Reader, and was running a dozen pages.

More to come!

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1 Comment on And They Called It Fandom

  1. Nick Caputo says:


    I very much appreciate seeing these early issues. I have a nice collection of TCR but they don’t go back this early. You never know what you’ll find in these fanzines. Al Jaffee doing breakdowns for Brain Boy! I also enjoy the “unfortunate” news of the Hulk debuting.

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