Saturday, January 16, 2010

Out of the Vault- Zot #10 1/2

So last week, I said Scott McCloud was riding high on the success of Zot. I guess I should have said "critical success," because sales on Zot weren't that great. But Zot had given McCloud a lot of recognition, and in Eclipse Comics, he had found the sorts of publishers who were willing to take chances on weird ideas like the oversized DESTROY!!.

Or like the other book McCloud brought out during the summer of '86, in the lull between color Zot #10 and the introduction of the more mature black-and-white Zot #11. That book was Zot #10 1/2, and it was the opposite of DESTROY!! in many ways. If DESTROY!! was the biggest comic put out by a reasonably large publisher that year, then Zot 10 1/2 was the smallest, a minicomic written by McCloud and drawn by a guy named Matt Feazell.

Feazell was part of a movement (or perhaps you could call it a mini-movement) to make something called minicomics, which were just comics drawn on a normal 8 1/2" X 11" sheet, then photocopied, folded into quarters, stapled and cut to make a little 8-page comic. Obviously, on pages that small, you can't draw in much detail, unless you're really super-obsessive. Feazell's comics featuring a stick-man named Cynicalman had a charming simplicity that melded perfectly with McCloud's own charm.

The story's only 6 pages long, fun and direct, involving hi-jinks between Zot (love the lightning bolt insignia on his stick-chest) and series villains Dekko and Dr. Pweent trying to steal secret growth and reducing formulas. Cynicalman makes a guest appearance to foil the villains. And Godzilla ends up in there, somehow.

The story was simple and fun, and cheap at 25 cents. It's tempting to try to make some grand statement about how there was more entertainment value in those 6 pages than in today's overpriced comics monstrosities, except that, 1) it would make me sound like a bitter fuddy-duddy, and 2) I haven't bought a comic in over a year, and haven't bought them regularly in a few years. I don't know what kind of entertainment value readers are getting today.

But in the summer of '86, we got value.

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