Marvel Fanfare #59

marvel_fanfare_vol_1_59This is my last issue of Marvel Fanfare and the second to last of the series.  It’s also the last of a Shanna four-parter that was written by Steve Gerber.  Chapters 1-3 had been written back in the late 1970s and featured art by Bret Blevins and this part was drawn by Tony DeZuniga.  The cover, by the way, is by Joe Chiodo and is the last of four sexy Shanna covers that he drew for this series.

The story starts in the middle of what I guess were the events of the end of the previous issue with Shanna breaking up an attempted murder at a debate between two pundits.  The enemy here is this supernatural group called The Pride and they are sending beasts and psychological zombies after Shanna in some sort of dream-like state outside of reality, one that gets her admitted to the hospital.  Shanna talks to a woman whom I guess is her psychologist and then winds up facing off against The Pride as they try to perform some weird ritual.

Because it was the last part of the story, I was a bit confused but didn’t find it too hard to follow–Tony DeZuniga draws a sexy Shanna and that certainly made it worth lingering over the pages.  Which, I realize, makes me sound like a total pig, but I can’t deny that a scantily clad jungle woman is appealing.

The other story is a romance story done in tribute to the classic Joe Simon-Jack Kirby romance comics and stars classic romance comics character Patsy Walker, aka Hellcat and combines the superheroine with the romance in a story by Richard Howell.  I’m not familiar with Howell’s work and this was cheeky, I guess, but it didn’t totally work for me.

Overall, as a pile of comics, these Marvel Fanfare issues have been fun and if I come across a few in back issue bins, I may pick them up if the story looks interesting (i.e., that Perez-drawn Black Widow storyline or the first few issues, which are a Chris Claremont/Michael Golden Spider-Man/Angel team-up).  Having done a little research on the title, I learned that it was a title where Al Milgrom tried to curate stories from top talent as a way to reward fans who really wanted higher-quality stuff.  Yes, there were a few inventory pieces, but from what I’ve read he felt that it was a labor of love.  It was cancelled at the height of the comics boom, which probably didn’t have room for lower-selling books like it (plus Milgrom has said that he was experiencing a lot of stress outside of work and that curtailed his commitment to the project).  If it were relaunched today, I wonder if it would do well.

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