Friday, January 30, 2015

Groove's Faves: Titanic 2000th Post! Starfawn by Preiss and Fabian

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! Man, can ya believe it? Our 2000th post! Ol' Groove can assure ya, baby, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think DotGK would have lasted this long! Never thought I'd meet so many of my favorite Groovy Age (and other age) creators via this site! Never thought I'd see Groove City swell to the thousands of followers, likers, visitors, and stop-by-every-once-in-a-whilers! Never dreamed I'd get e-mails from dads who are thrilled to share their childhood heroes with their equally thrilled children, or from fans who've tragically lost their collections only to have their favorites show up here to rekindle the flame of fandom within them! It makes me so happy and glad to hear from y'all about how your daily dose of doodled doozies sometimes gets you through a tough patch. When I get down and feel like chuckin' the whole thing, you guys and gals pump me up and get me back to truckin' on!

To be honest, I'd truly thought about retiring after this 2000th post. So much Groovy Age material is in print or coming our way (even Skull the Slayer is getting a tpb, baby!), I figured my job was done. But we've had a surge of new readers and FaceBook members--plus I've hit a mini-goldmine lately of Groovy Age stuff that's not yet in print (and may not be for a while--I hope for my own selfish sake), that I feel kind of revived! So onward and upward, Groove-ophiles!

Whew--I know, "Enough already, Groove! On with the comics!" Okay, baby, how 'but this little gem? From Byron Preiss  Visual Publications and Pyramid Books, it's the second issue of Fiction Illustrated! Second ish? What about the first? Well, that's what Teen Groove thought, too, that early 1977 winter's day 'pon which I spied an extremely cool and unique little digest comic sitting on the magazine rack at Bookland. I'd never seen the first issue of Fiction Illustrated, though I'd seen ads for it in the ultimate Preiss/Pyramid publication Weird Heroes (which I promise you I'll get to rapping about--if I can ever find groovy scans of the logos and interior art--or bring myself to bend up mine own yellowing, first print copies--ouch!). The first ish of FI featured Schlomo Raven, a Sherlock Holmes send-up in the early MAD comicbook manner by Priess and Tom Sutton. Yeah, Ol' Groove'll get to that one'a these days, too. Let's get on to Starfawn, huh?

Byron Preiss was writer, publisher, innovator, and a lover of all things cool, it seems. He loved sci-fi and comics and pulps and other pop culture goodies. His dream (like the dream of many fans) was to pull them all together and get those ghetto-ized art forms the positive recognition he felt they were due. Weird Heroes was a shot for the pulps, Fiction Illustrated was his try at creating graphic novels to help lift up the name of the unappreciated comicbook. Starfawn was an incredibly good (if verbose) try, Ol' Groove might add!

Stephen Fabian is a sci-fi/fantasy illustrator of some popularity. His gorgeous, lush illustrations appeared in most sci-fi and fantasy mags of the day, and of course he was a prolific paperback cover illustrator. Wish he'd done more comics besides this and a few illos for Savage Sword of Conan! What a great style he had. Such a unique way of inking...

Preiss was smart enough to hire two of the best in the industry as letterer and colorist for Starfawn. annette Kawecki was an innovator who lettered many an amazing Marvel mag, and of course Marie Severin was (and still is) renowned not only for her art, but for her coloring skills for EC and Marvel.

A lotta build-up, huh, Groove-ophiles! Well, ya know how we want these anniversary posts to be special! One more thing before Ol' Groove turns ya loose: kudos to jodyanimator for these exceptional scans! Notice the pages (except the covers) were scanned side-by-side. Ol' Groove thought of splitting them up, but I really dig the way the side-by-side pages look--it looks, to moi, anyway, like you're actually reading a squarebound, card-stock covered digest mag--so I left 'em that way. Hope you dig it!


  1. Congrats Groove!

    Love Starfawn! Love the Weird Heroes books and the Fiction Illustrated books. This one by Stephen Fabian is a true forgotten gem of the Bronze Age. Glad to see it get some love.

    Rip Off

  2. Been thinking about posting this 'un myself, Groovester, but didn't want to ruin my copy, so thanks for saving me the effort!
    The other reason is, although the artwork's lovely, the story isn't that great. Preiss was a great publisher and editor, but he wasn't that hot as a writer, sadly.
    Still, how much more '70's could Starfawn be? And the answer is none. None more '70's.

  3. Excellent, Groove! Congratulations on the 2000th post!
    As for the news about a Skull the Slayer reprint (and I just checked at Amazon: sure enough, it's available for preorder, out in April), I have mixed feelings. While I love the fact that such obscure Groovy age material is getting some love, it always makes me wonder why some other stuff still hasn't been done. Like, you know, all the Man Wolf stories from Creatures on the Loose, Marvel Premiere, etc. And, especially, a color reprint of Killraven.

    But enough with the negativity. Love the Star Fawn post (those are indeed nice scans). I have this and Steranko's Chandler - found both of them about five years ago, pretty cheaply, on eBay I think. These Fiction Illustrated books are really quite interesting, and quite lovely to look at, obviously. As with so many of the projects Preiss initiated back in the '70s, it's too bad this didn't take off.

    Anyway, congratulations again, and - dare I say it? - here's to 2000 more.

  4. What a milestone! Congratulations! I certainly am glad you're continuing since you have the best blog out there.

  5. Byron Preiss' stuff was really exciting when it came out; there was a real spirit in the air that comics were on the verge of breaking out in different formats. Some of the text/picture experiments were pretty clumsy, but you had to appreciate the experimentation. (One early misfire was getting Ken Smith to apply calligraphic lettering to Tom Sutton's Elderesque art on Shlomo Raven.) I loved Steranko's design work on the early Weird Heroes books, and of course fans are still arguing about his work on Fiction Illustrated Volume 3, which replaced the Son of Sherlock Holmes on the schedule.

    I believe Fabian's stipple effect was created by working on a special board with a raised texture on it we used to call Coquille Board.

  6. Congratulations, Groove, for all you do for us middle-agers. You occupy a space of deep appreciation in your little corner of the Web.

    To many more posts!


  7. WOW,Mr Groove,thank you for sharing!
    Thanks for EVERYTHING!
    /Mr Anonymous
    p.s.Keep on truckin!

  8. Fantastic. I love it when Marvel and DC always promote themselves as the creators of the Graphic Novel. These men and women were bringing comics out of their four color beginnings into something better. It's because of these innovative people that book stores recognize and sell graphic novels. I wish I had bought this in 1976 when it was released.

  9. I love (okay, I mean hate) that in the international cast, everyone has a country of origin except the "African" and "Asian."

  10. Congrats! 2000 is a big number. Thank you for doing this. Helps me through the day!

  11. Congrats on the milestone. I check your blog every day!

    There are few things I love more than 70s science fiction. Yes, for all of its ... groovy clunkiness, I love it.

  12. Congratulations, Groove. 2000 posts is an awesome achievement.

  13. Congrats and best wishes for continued blogging. I joined you around post #35 and it's been a great ride.

  14. Now I know where the formatting and style for Marvel Saga came from.

    2000 posts and getting better than ever, congrats!

  15. Congratulations, Groove! I can't tell you how many times you've brought great memories back to me(as with today's post--I'd completely forgotten this book--and that I'd bought it back in the day!) or sent me searching through my collection for a great read. Thanks so much for all you've done and Best wishes for 2000 more!

  16. Congrats on your 2000th post Groove! You are THE man! Hope to see you reach 4000!

    - Mike 'worships at the temple of Groove' from Trinidad & Tobago.

  17. Congratulations on your 2000th post. Myself I´m only measly 1481 post away from that benchmark so look out.

    All joking aside keep on with those great posts. And I have to add a sad comment but am I the only one who thinks comics took a bad turn somewhere whenever I see such innovative work from the 70s.

  18. Always a pleasant part of my day.
    Thanks for posting.

  19. Congratulations on the landmark post, O Groovy One! That's a fantastic achievement! I'm glad you've decided not to "retire" and have found renewed energy. The internet still needs you!
    And thanks for posting those scans of Starfawn - a cool attempt at elevating the comics medium of the '70s, not entirely successful, but fun none the less. As you say, it's a pity Fabian didn't do more comics work: can you imagine him illustrating Warlock or Doctor Strange? Groovy indeed!

  20. A question of copyright: if something like this was published in 1977 and after 28 years it was never renewed, that puts it in public domain, yes? I have no intention of reprinting it, but wanted clarity on what is in public domain and what isn't. In those days a book had 28 years of being in copyright, and one renewal period of an additional 28 years (if it were renewed by the copyright holders), then it went into public domain. For instance, Lovecraft's last 1930s horror stories were copyrighted by Arkham House Publishers, but went into public domain in 1993. Nowadays, of course, there are new laws in place: the work remains in copyright until 70 years after the author's death, then it is in public domain. What is a stickier issue is the matter of trademark and licensing. Burroughs' Tarzan novels are all in public domain, but just try to use the Tarzan character in a comic---you'll have the Burroughs estate attorneys coming after you, as the trademark on Tarzan is still firmly in place.


    Chris A.

    1. I named my granddaughter after this book. I have my copy from the 70's, and got a copy for her to have. It may not have been a great story to some, but star fawn was a neat being. I have list a lot of things through my journey on earth, but somehow...I never lost or misplaced this book. Must be a reason for it.



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

All other commentary and insanity copyright GroovyAge, Ltd.

As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!