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Number 78 (Vol 2, No. 38).  This edition is for the week of September 17--23, 2001.
Heroes and villains emerge in the investigation of a national crisis
The media heavyweights battle for attention:
Falwell and Robertson first casualties.
Will Captain America throw his mighty shield?

Well, it's been a week since foreign terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center and a part of the Pentagon; and as much as much as I've tried to move on, I'm just as embroiled in this crisis now as I was last week. I think everybody is.

Last week's issue of PCR was among the most difficult I've ever had to put together. Will and I were jonesing over the next chapter in our fanzine series, and I was particularly excited to introduce new columnist Drew Reiber. I was formatting issue 77 when all hell broke loose. I decided to go with a 50-50 split between special commentary on the crisis and regular entertainment news. Looking back, I have no regrets. I believe--I hope--we brought some smiles back in a time of national grief. But, enough about me...

As much as the nation of Islam is defending Osama bin Laden, all avenues of investigation invariably lead right back to him. There are very few religious or political leaders in the world who can inspire (command?) people into volunteering for suicide missions. Bin Laden is one. But, there are others. If something happens to Bin Laden, someone else will take over.

President Bush has his work cut out for him, but he's got lots of help. If he plays his cards right in the next few weeks, he could emerge a national/global hero. Of course, he could also inadvertantly start World War III. Heh-heh, yeeeah, glad it's not my call.

The Captain America's shield graphic at the top of this column I did myself, shortly before "press time". Please forgive this bit of childhood regression---being overwhelmed by the current state of affairs, I more-or-less involuntarily started calling for Captain America to save the day, like most red-blooded Baby Boomers. (I usually cry out for Superman, but he's not a native and Captain America's a more obvious patriotic symbol.) Funny what you think of during a crisis...
    In any event, some information has surfaced that some real heroes were aboard the plane headed for Camp David/Washington (we'll never know which). Some of the passengers, via cellphone, had already been apprised of the situation happening back in New York. Then terrorists took over their plane. The passengers, knowing now what they faced, took the plane back, which resulted in their deaths when the plane crashed outside of Pittsburgh, but spared further destruction of more government buildings. I hope there will eventually be some official recognition of their sacrifice.
   Note: this in no way is meant to reflect on the passengers of the earlier flights that went down in New York--they had no way of knowing they were on a suicide mission until it was too late.
("Captain America"™ and the distinctive likeness of Captain America's shield are both trademarks and copyrighted by Marvel Comics Group, used here as a symbol for patriotism; no infringement was intended.)

THE JERRY FALWELL AND PAT ROBERTSON THING. If I had been Falwell, I would've just called it a monstrous faux pa and moved on. But Jerry and Pat say they mean it. Can't let it slide.
    I'm sure most of my readers are up on this, but just to be all editorial-ly and everything, here's the recap: on an episode of Pat Robertson's "700 Club" last week, talk turned to the current crisis, in particularly last Tuesday's WTC attacks. Out of the blue, Falwell laid the blame for the terrorists' attacks on--among other things--pro-choicers, feminists, homosexuals, pagans, and The American Civil Liberties Union. "[By allowing this kind of immorality to run free] God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve" (italics mine). Robertson agreed that he felt the same way. To read a more thorough transcription, I recommend the original Washington Post article.
   In all fairness, the next day, Falwell posted something on his site to the effect that his words were taken out of context of a longer theological discussion. Not exactly an apology, more like a qualification.
   I am not a fan of the Moral Majority or its tactics. I have to let my guard down a little bit here and say I have never liked these two pompous idiot windbags and feel that they are as sorry-assed a representation of Christianity as Osama bin Laden must appear to a lot of Muslim/Islam/Hindu people. There are nut-bag, religious zealots in foreign lands and there are nut-bag, jerk-off, religious zealot idiots right here.
THE NOSTRADAMUS PREDICTIONS. I haven't spoken to Terence about this yet, but if his experience is similar to mine, we've both taken our lumps about publishing what turned out to be an internet hoax in last week's issue.
   The upshot of the hoax is that Nostradamus predicted the WTC incident, like, 500 years ago. The quatrain verses cited were mangled to say the least, when they weren't made up altogether. I thought it was entertaining, anyway. The thing is, I don't want that to spoil what was otherwise a very thoughtful and sensitive piece by Mr. Nuzum on last Tuesday's events.
Now that that's all behind us, on with the show...

Wake Up and Smell the Comics

#2: "I heard the Bat got 'em."

That's the answer I'd like to use if someone asked me, "Where are the best comic creators these days?"

It's true, though. Some of the very best stories the comic industry has to offer today are inside the pages of Batman, Detective Comics, Legends of the Dark Knight and Gotham Knights. If that's not enough to wet your appetite, an entire slew of original graphic novels and mini-series are also being published with fan-favorite creative teams. Chances are, if you've ever loved Batman in your life DC Comics has something for you. If you've never read a Batman comic or it's been years or decades since your last issue, there's no reason to fear picking one up now. Not only are the books accessible, but I'll even provide you with a guide to help get your interests piqued. If you don't feel the need for a history lesson, please skip down about 4 paragraphs. Enjoy.

Over the last several years, there has been some major creative upheavals with the Batman and related comic books. During the year of 1997, Batman senior editor Dennis O'Neil had decided it was time to shake up the entire franchise quite literally. Beginning with "Cataclysm" in the spring of 1998, Gotham City and all its inhabitants became victims to one of the most devastating earthquakes in the history of the United States. A villain calling himself the Quakemaster claimed responsibility for the devastation, but to the dismay of Batman and the shock of the readers, it was a farce. Not only was this villain actually the psycho gangster Scarface trying to bluff the city into blackmail, but he had nothing to do with the quake, which was in reality, an act of nature. With the destruction caused by the tremors, the Batman books and their related spin-offs continued their storylines though the summer under this new setting and status quo, a theme titled "Aftershock!" Most of the city buildings had become rubble and its citizens left homeless, injured, or buried alive. Batman and his partners -- Nightwing (the original Robin), Robin, and Azrael (who replaced Batman for a time) -- did all they could to help those in need, but it was a largely futile goal. The concept proved a success and DC Comics editorial had decided to take a risk and push the franchise farther than it had ever been before.

In the fall of 1998, the DC universe's U.S. government had decided it would prove too costly to rebuild the once great Gotham and decided to instead annex it from the country. You heard me correctly. After decades of horrible crime, terrible tragedy and even plague (long story, don't ask) the government decided the rest of the world be better off if the city was shut down and fenced off in a storyline known as "The Road to No Man's Land." Despite Bruce Wayne's (a.k.a. Batman) attempts to garner support against this decision through vocal efforts, all of Gotham's citizens were given the instructions to take what they could carry and leave the city in a short, designated amount of time. All criminals were freed from prison, as well as the criminally insane from Arkham Asylum. The city police and other government departments were disbanded and instructed to move out. Gotham City, as we all knew it, was dead. It had become a wasteland overrun by it's most evil denizens, who would naturally kill each other for land, food, supplies anything that could give them power. Many innocent civilians had either neglected to leave in the city while they still had a chance or found themselves unable to get out in time. Even some of the police, like Commissioner Gordon, Lieutenant Harvey Bullock and Officer Renee Montoya elected to stay and help fight for the helpless... to keep their home from the hands of evil. And of course, so did Batman. In the spring of 1999, a yearlong crisis of unbelievable proportion had begun the saga of "No Man's Land."

During this event, DC editorial decided that it was now the best time to begin changing the current creative teams on the Batman titles. Giving many comic creators an opportunity to strut their stuff, a torrential hurricane of story arcs soon emerged (even work from Bob Gale, writer of Back to the Future). By the winter of 1999, a great many revelations and life-changing events brought the end of the storyline to the winded readers. Among revealing Lex Luthor (yes, that Luthor) as involved in the creation of "No Man's Land," Jim Gordon's wife was killed by the Joker while trying to rescue babies he had kidnapped. Luckily, Gordon was able to rise above murdering Joker in revenge and Batman blackmailed Luthor into getting Gotham reinstated and rebuilt (from his own pocket, no less). Believe it or not, this helped Luthor gain the presidency, but that's a story for another day. Oh yeah, and shortly after, Commissioner Gordon retired. Shocked yet?

With a beautiful new city and the prime antagonists jailed or deterred, DC launched the Batman off with its new direction, regular writers and artists. There were a few bumps in the road at first, namely Larry Hama's embarrassing and ridiculous take on Batman (the title book), but he along with senior editor Dennis O'Neil moved on. Ex-Oni Press editor Bob Shreck took charge and immediately placed the most highly anticipated comic event in history on track. If you haven't guessed yet, I'm talking about "The Dark Knight Returns" sequel by writer/artist Frank Miller. More on that later.

*Whew* I hope you guys are still with me. I want to take this chance to familiarize you with the current Batman titles and upcoming projects. As everyone has different tastes and interests in the Batman mythology, don't be surprised if you find yourself gravitating towards some books more than others. Let's begin.

Batman, ©2001 DC ComicsBatman - Written by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Scott McDaniel, this title yields everything you would expect from the typical Batman comic but better. You have the superhero side of the character played out in every issue, dealing with crime, other super villains and his own alter ego as Bruce Wayne. Regular villains include The Penguin, Deadshot and the new character Zeiss (who can view things in slow motion). There is always plenty of action, but the most intriguing aspect of the book right now is the fact that a childhood sweetheart Bruce had before the murder of his parents has come back into his life. If it wasn't odd enough that he had blocked most of those memories due to the pain, her father is a local mob boss and she isn't exactly na´ve to what's going on. In fact, she may very well be the latest thorn in Batman's side. If you're looking for that month to month superhero title with short story arcs, heavy action, and plenty of characterization Batman is for you.

Detective Comics, ©2001 DC ComicsDetective Comics - Written by Greg Rucka (accomplished crime novelist) and artist Shawn Martinbrough (soon to be replaced by award winning artist Steve Lieber), this title is engineered for those wanting to see serious mystery, suspense and crime/cop drama. Imagine the TV series "Homicide: Life on the Streets", toss "The Bodyguard" and "Batman" into the mix and you've hit the nail on its head. Between his night to night battles with criminals and interaction with the local law enforcement, Batman has finally managed to endanger his alter-ego Bruce Wayne just enough to scare his company and associates into forcing him to live with a bodyguard. That's right, if he thought maintaining his secret identity was hard before well now it's safe to say the best response would be "Oops!" Added to that his bodyguard is a woman who will take no shit, it's never clear who's actually guarding whom. To add to his headaches, Commissioner Gordon has finally retired and a bond with the new boss will have to be formed if Batman will be able to continue his efforts without trouble. The book is constantly full of status quo-altering surprises, witty dialogue and gritty detective stories. Some of the quasi-frequent villains in this book include Ra's Al Ghul, Mad Hatter, and Two-Face. Also of worthy of note is that each issue of Detective Comics features a backup story, which could be anything for a single story to a several issue story arc. The qualities of these backups tend to vary, though.

Superman, Batman, and Gotham Knights ©2001 DC ComicsGotham Knights - Written by Devin Grayson (one of the most popular female comic creators) and artist Roger Robinson, this title is essentially the Batman family portrait. Over the years, Batman has procured several sidekicks, assistants and partners in crime fighting, from Dick Grayson/Nightwing (the first Robin) to Barbara Gordon (the original Batgirl). Each story arc of this book focuses on the relationships between two or more of these costumed heroes. One month it may be the father-son bond between Batman and Nightwing, another possibly the sibling rivalry type of attitude Batman's agents have going with each other. Though the stories may focus on these friendships, the plots themselves are still entrenched in the Batman criminal mythos and the atmosphere over all is very dark (it is Batman, after all). The series has featured Doctor Hugo Strange, but uses more original creations than established villains. Anyone looking for more introspection, characterization and fresh storytelling regarding the Batman and his extended "family" should seek this book out. Adding even more incentive to the idea of buying this series, every month the last 8 pages of the book feature a "Batman: Black & White" tale by industry veterans told through, of course, black and white comic pages. DC creative legend Julius Schwartz, artist Jim Lee, writer/artist John Byrne, sci-fi scribe Harlan Ellison, and "Tomb of Dracula" artist Gene Colan are just a few of the people who have contributed to this back-up anthology over the last year. Some of the most amazing and intriguing Batman stories ever have actually come from these 8 pages.

Legends of the Dark Knight ©2001 DC ComicsLegends of the Dark Knight - Written and drawn by various creators with each new story arc, "Legends" is an anthology series that takes place during the early period of Batman's career. Gordon is not yet Commissioner, but rather a Captain who is still trying to define and justify his use of the Batman. Just about any kind of story you can imagine might pop up here, from a nightmare tale about Doctor Hugo Strange and the Scarecrow by Doug Moench (Shang Chi, Moon Knight, Batman) to a recently completed storyline by deceased comic legend Archie Goodwin. If you're a fan of anthology books or seeing different takes on DC's greatest vigilante, "Legends" is a good bet. If you're looking for certain creative teams who might occasionally work on the book, your best bet is to check the Diamond Comic Previews every month to see what's due over the course of the series.

The Dark Knight Strikes Again ©2001 DC ComicsOf course, as I mentioned before, there are several mini-series and original graphic novels that are produced featuring Batman. Needless to say, there are many upcoming projects along these lines that will amaze both new and longtime fans alike but the one that's on everyone's mind is surely Frank Miller's sequel to "The Dark Knight Returns". Over 15 years ago, Miller shook the industry with his chilling take on the aging vigilante in a future engulfed by the Cold War and teetering on the edge of destruction. Well, for those out of the loop, I'm happy to tell you that the follow-up, "The Dark Knight Strikes Again", is on track for a December release. There will be three issues, released once a month, for $7.95 at 80 pages an issue (not bad!). As Miller's art has only improved over the years, he no longer retains an inker and completes all the work (script and pencils) himself. This is no gimmick or trick, Miller said he would do a sequel if and when he felt he had an idea for one. Well, 15 years is better than never, if you ask me. I already know much about the series, but I'm sure I would be drawn and quartered if I ruined even one concept for anyone of you. If you're excited about this series, there is no reason for you not to check out your local comic shop and find out how you can order a copy in the next solicitation due out at the end of this month.

Well, I've just emptied out God knows how much knowledge and opinion into this edition of the column. If I've managed to convince even one of you into buying a Batman book in the near future, then I've accomplished my mission. Otherwise, I bid you adieu and hope to see you around next week.

"Darknight", "Batman", "Nightwing" and all the others mentioned in the above article, plus all the graphics, are trademarks and copyrighted by DC Comics. We are but simple commentators and reviewers here. ---Nolan

La Floridiana by William Moriaty
LOCALLY-PRODUCED FANZINES OF THE '70s AND '80s,  PART 3.  by William Moriaty
Published by:
Will Moor. Artists: Nolan Canova, Scott Gilbert, Denis Lebrun, and Wil Mor. Photographers: Merry Moor Winnett and Greg Van Stavern. Writers: Denis Lebrun, Wil Mor, and Alan Rodgers.
Feature Stories: "Not Too Long Before The Fall", script by Alan Rodgers, art by Wil Mor and Nolan Canova. "How This Issue Came About", script by Wil Mor: "To Heck and Back!" art and script by Denis Lebrun and Wil Mor:

Summer 1978 would set the stage for the genesis of "Zeta 1 Reticuli" number 1 three years later. While only four pages into "To Heck and Back!", Denis had to quit the story as he was under a one-year retainer contract with the (Rupert) Murdoch News Syndicate. As a result, all of Denis' "Aw Heck!" characters were copyrighted and the "property" of Mr. Murdoch and his syndicate---so much for wrapping up the Heck/Kanlon collaboration in a timely manner that was started in "Advent" number 2.
Not Too Long Before The Fall
Inside cover from "Zeta 1 Reticuli" issue #1, Fall 1981.
The majority of characters from "Not Too Long Before The Fall" were friends of author Alan Rodgers, as well as alumnus from "period"  (see last issue). "Harry" was Alan himself, "Jim" was Jim Sams, "Carl" was Carl Swann, and one of the girls was Alan's sister. (Click image to see full-size.)
   The "elusive" Alan Rodgers reappeared in the Bay area by August of 1978 and left with the script for his first novelette entitled "Not Too Long Before The Fall". Chapter One of this novelette saw shared art duties between myself and Nolan Canova appearing in "Zeta 1 Reticuli", while Chapters Two through Four appeared in "Not Too Long Before the Fall" number 1 in Summer 1982 (this will be covered in next week's NCPCR). A historical bio entitled "How This Issue Came About" gave an in-depth written and illustrated accounting of how "Zeta 1 Reticuli" came to be, and why it was three years in the making. It was pointed out in that article that when Denis and I resumed "To Heck and Back!" in 1981, it took an almost superhuman effort on my part to encourage Denis to complete it-he was left bitter by the 1979 contractual jilting of the Murdoch Syndicate, and he became burned out on the daily demands that "Aw Heck!" placed on him. Not long after completing "To Heck and Back!", and after five years of nurturing and slaving over this wonderful strip, Denis abandoned it, and soon afterward, moved to Burlington, Vermont to become an art editor for that city's Free Press daily newspaper.
   Ironically, sensing that all of us involved in the local fanzine realm had grown beyond our teens and into our mid-twenties by then, I ended the bio with the following:
   "This publication signals an end and a new beginning. It signals an end to a beautiful era of sharing artistic goals and aspirations. An era symbolic of the newness of the workaday world and the different approaches on finding one's place in it. There is no turning back--There's no more time or money for creating fanzines on a whim--and Bubb (an "Aw Heck!" character) and crew have been replaced by condominium brochures and Buccaneer bumper stickers (a reference about Denis leaving "Aw Heck!"to produce advertising art for One Laurel Place in Tampa, and the Buccaneer Report, an official Tampa Bay Buccaneer newsletterof that era, before moving to Vermont).
   But there is still the hope: And there is still the dream."
   That was in the Fall of 1981--not long afterwards, by the winter of 1982, I received a long-distant call from Denis asking me to meet him and "Blondie" comic strip owner Dean Young at Tampa International Airport the next day.
   "Jim Raymond (former "Blondie" artist) died and Dean wants me join the strip and learn to letter and ink it from Mike Gersher (Raymond's understudy) down in West Palm Beach!" he exclaimed. I was elated to have my best friend back in Florida, and more importantly, to see him start on the road to a lifelong, well-earned, success that he had worked so hard on, so young in life.

For Denis Lebrun, the dream never did die--19 years later he is the primary artist for the historic and world distributed King Features Syndicate comic strip "Blondie". While so many of us in the local fanzine world lost ground, or interest, or both in fandom or our art over the years, Denis weathered it all to become one of the most notable artists in the history of the comic strips field.

What Are They Up To Now? Web sites of some of the artist and writers in this edition:
DENIS LEBRUN-- Artist "Blondie": www.blondie.com and www.kingfeatures.com/features/comics/blondie/about.htm
SCOTT GILBERT-- Artist and writer with Apeshot Studios: www.apeshot.com
ALAN RODGERS-- Writer: www.sff.net/people/alanr/index.htp#bio

Next Week: La Floridiana will conclude it series on locally-produced fanzines of the 70's and 80's with a look at "Not Too Long Before The Fall" number 1 of Summer 1982. After that, I will start a four-part series on the paranormal in Florida (the first two dedicated to UFO's, the second two dedicated to ghosts and hauntings) to butter y'all up for that most wonderful of times of year--Halloween!

Nolan here. Last week, I provided some cover pics and backgrounds to some important fanzines of the '70s that Will was not aware of at the time (or associated with for whatever reason), but I was, and they deserve mention for historical accuracy. In this issue, I continue with a few more 'zines I knew and/or was associated with. And, like last week, it bears repeating that these are just sketches. There isn't time or webspace in the world to do these justice, altho I will try someday.
Vortex #1Vortex #1, back cover
Front (left) and back covers of Vortex #1, published around summer, 1979, by Corey Castellano and Scott van Sickle. (Click on images to see enlargements.)
VORTEX # 1 SUMMER(?) 1979.
Edited and published by: Leo C. Castellano (aka Corey Castellano) and Scott van Sickle.
CONTENTS: COVER ART: Scott A. Gilbert. INSIDE FRONT COVER ART: Jeanne MacGraw. CONTENTS PAGE ART: Corey Castellano. THE KNIGHTS OF DYSON (comics-style story) by Scott A. Gilbert. MUTANT 2050 (fiction) by Corey Castellano w/illustration by same. THE MOVIES IN REVIEW by Nolan Canova and Scott van Sickle. DEMONS OF MITH (comics-style story) by Scott van Sickle. Add'l Sword-and-Sorcery style ARTPIECE by Scott van Sickle. ROCKY HORROR: MIDNIGHT MADNESS (movie review and RHPS primer guide) by Corey Castellano. INSIDE BACK COVER ART (Rocky Horror) by Scott Gilbert. BACK COVER ART ("Dragon Slayer") by Nolan Canova and Scott Gilbert.
COMMENTARY. I chuckle as I see these now--Scott A. Gilbert and I were in the midst of crosshatch fever as far as our art went! At the time, Scott was enamored of technical pens and I was content with Hunt crow-quills. The fine detail work on the Vortex covers makes me dizzy today. But we were nutty guys.
   Corey Castellano and Scott van Sickle were high-school friends of like-minded interests and big ambitions as so often happens in fandom. Their youthful enthusiasm is evident on every page and their nascent talents developed into professional pursuits as has been documented in these pages time and again. They remain to this day among the best friends I ever had.

Alphan Moonscapes #1
A.M. # 1 featuring stars from "Space: 1999" second season. (Click to enlarge)
Editor and publisher: Alpha 99 and Adriana Gomez.
Art Direction and Assistance: Art Brown.
CONTENTS. INSIDE FRONT COVER ART by Bill Black. MOONBASE STATUS REPORT by Adriana Gomez. TO MOURN (short story) by Chuck Raue. WHY YEAR 2 FLOPPED (TV series' review) by Adriana Gomez. MOONBASE ALPHA STATUS REPORTS (humor) by Helena Russell & Ed Salmon. MAYA, SCHELL OF BEAUTY by Larry D. Nuzum. ALPHA 1999 ARTPIECE by Scott Gilbert. A MATTER OF CONSCIENCE (fan fiction) by Adriana Gomez. TARN (artpiece) by Adriana Gomez. PATHS (poem) by Adriana Gomez. HAD I NOT BEEN OF EARTH (poem) by Lillie Deans. ALPHA 99 CLUB LIST by Adriana Gomez. INSIDE BACK COVER ART by Curt Bergens.
COMMENTARY. I keep thinking the Alpha 99 club held their meetings in Pinellas County for some reason. That may just be my memory failing, too. I was not that big a fan of "SPACE: 1999", so I did not attend all that many meetings, but they did discuss other things and it is where I got to know Art Brown and Adriana Gomez. (Adriana currently writes as Patricia Gomez or Patty G. Henderson and has a couple novels out now. For more info,please visit her website, The Henderson Files.) Younger fans--and even some long-time fans--may be surprised to see the name Larry D. Nuzum among the writers in 'Moonscapes. This is our own Terence Nuzum's father! (Are we getting old yet?) Believe it or not, until I was writing this column, I had no memory of him writing anything. The things I learn in my own rag. (It also bears repeating that Adriana is Terence's aunt.)

Alphan Moonscapes #2
"Space: 1999" stars Barbara Bain and Martin Landau grace the cover of A.M. # 2. (Click to enlarge)
Editor and publisher: Alpha 99 and Adriana Gomez.
Art Direction and Assistance: Art Brown.
INSIDE FRONT COVER ART by John Deans. MOONBASE STATUS REPORT by Lillie Deans (guest editor). LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (presumably edited by Adriana Gomez). THE MAN FROM ATLANTIS (TV show review). THE MAN FROM ATLANTIS (artpiece) uncredited, but I think it's by Adriana Gomez. AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER...MARTIN AND BARBARA. a short bio and filmography of "Space:1999" stars Martin Landau and Barbara Bain. Article uncredited, presumably Adriana's. ALPHA CONFIDENTIAL: PAUL MORROW (about "Space:1999" actor Prentis Hancock) uncredited, presumably Adriana's. THE DAY "SPACE" BIT THE DUST (humor) by John Deans. HAN SOLO (artpiece) by Adriana Gomez. PHOENIX (poem) by Lillie Deans. INSIDE BACK COVER (Catherine Schell as Maya---artpiece) by Scott A. Gilbert.
COMMENTARY. In case you are wondering why there are no front or back cover art credits for any of these 'zines it's because of the Alpha 99'ers editorial decision to run photographs from the series' reviewed. Nothing wrong with that, it can give a more professional look. Rest assured that all the back covers are photos as well. Starting with issue #2, Alphan Moonscapes was published with a heavier-stock glossy card cover. Makes the photos jump out a little more and contributed to the professional look.

Video Beams #3
"Quark" star Richard Benjamin flanked by two comely co-stars is featured on the cover of Video Beams # 3. (Click to enlarge)
VIDEO BEAMS #3 (the re-titled Alphan Moonscapes). SUMMER 1978.
Publisher: Dolphin Press. Editor: Adriana Gomez.
Art Direction: Art Brown.
CONTENTS: INSIDE FRONT COVER (Man from Atlantis artpiece) by Scott A. Gilbert. AIRWAVES (editorial) by Adriana Gomez. A TALK WITH ADAM QUARK (intro piece) by Woodward S. Bernstein XXVIII. QUARK EPISODE GUIDE compiled by Adriana Gomez. CARTOON ILLUSTRATION (uncredited). PATRICK DUFFY ("The Man From Atlantis" star) INTERVIEW exclusive by Adriana Gomez. TV'S AMAZON SEX SYMBOL (on Wonder Woman) by John Deans. FEELINGS (poem) by Lillie Deans. MIDNIGHT SNACKS (media news, gossip and comment) by Larry Nuzum. INSIDE BACK COVER ART by Adriana Gomez.
COMMENTARY. There's Larry Nuzum's name again. You know, it's quite possible I met Terence's father in the distant past and never knew it.
By issue #3, "Quark" and "The Man from Atlantis" were slowly supplanting "Space:1999" as the focus of the 99'ers' club. "Space" had long-since been cancelled and was not coming back. I admire the people involved in this publication for branching out a little in coverage with a really nifty 'zine that still makes me smile. Video Beams also had a shiny cardboard cover that enhanced the look. I remember when Adriana scored the exclusive Patrick Duffy interview; that was quite a coup and enhanced the "worldliness" of the 'zine even more.

   Whew! This pretty much completes my contributions to the history of Tampa fanzines of the '70s and '80s. I hope you all have enjoyed this excursion as much as I have enjoyed writing it. (And re-living it!) If I've left anybody out, I apologize, there are just so many hours in a day to look for stuff in the dungeon. This has been by no means an exhaustive look at Tampa fandon--only the parts I personally knew. Next week, I may take a look at the "last days of Vincent Blesi", with some fanzines of his that took a more political slant.
   Altho, as I said last week, I'm grateful to the computer revolution putting publishing power in everybody's hands (like mine), I can't help feeling these low-budget paper 'zines will outlast us all.---Nolan.

Letters to the Editor

Will Moriaty
First I would like to thank you for dedicating additional web space and work time on having a much-needed dialog on this subject in PCR. You have done an absolutely commendable job of balancing PCR's mission with this most significant and tragic episode in world history. (Most kind, thank you. It was definitely challenging. I appreciate the support.---N)
   Tragic life-altering events, such as those witnessed September 11, 2001 bring out the best and worst in people---they often define the real person when "put to the test". First I want to start with those who have so far have "failed the test".

On Thursday September 13, 2001 the Reverend Jerry Falwell alluded to 700 Club host Pat Robertson that basically America may have deserved the attack it received at the hands of terrorists last week as God's judgement against "abortionists, pagans, gays, lesbians, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the People for the American Way" that comprise a portion of our nation's population. Falwell was so moved to his anger and wrath that he was reportedly poised to "point his finger in their faces" to let them know.

As a fundamental evangelical Christian, I am ashamed of such an inappropriate, thoughtless, and malevolent outburst. Although the Bible has taught us that God allowed other nations to defeat and chasten His chosen people when they broke their covenants with God, such knowledge is limited to God alone unless He chooses to share it with man, as was done in the Bible. In the Reverend Falwell's case I highly doubt that any "Roadway to Damascus" revelation was forthcoming prior to this misguided case of Spiritual flim-flammery.
    Although I do not equate either Falwell or Robertson as being the threat to civilization or peace that Osaman bin Laden is, this hate-filled (and I ain't defending the people they've targeted outside of those people's Constitutional rights to live their life as they choose) rhetoric can inspire those with the same spiritually sick mentality to use a most Holy, healing, and beneficial way of life (religion) to maim, murder, and destroy many innocent lives (as history has proven again and again). Those who would pervert the Bible, the Koran, or the Torah for their own earthly agendas are false teachers who need to be identified and chastened for such actions.
    Although outrage at those terrorists truly guilty in September 11th's attack is warranted now and in the future, the outbursts that would further divide our Nation by Falwell and Robertson (followed by empty denials) can not be tolerated. I highly recommend that Misters Falwell and Robertson personally pay a visit to the Big Apple, see, touch, and smell first hand the death and devastation at the WTC, witness the grieving of those praying to find the missing, then think very hard about what potential consequences both on earth and in Heaven such actions may have. If you the reader are praying right now-- please send some prayers in their direction too.

Now, on to those who "passed the test". In addition to the majority of the millions of Americans of all faiths (or no faiths at all) that so far have, listen to a little bit of what Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts had to say in his editorial of September 12, 2001:

   "Let me tell you about my people. we are a vast and quarrelsome family, a family rent by racial, social, political and class division, but a family nonetheless. We're frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous emotional energy on pop culture minutiae...We are fundamentally decent though-- peace-loving and compassionate. We struggle to know the right thing and do it. And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just and loving God."
   "You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent. That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don't know us well. On this day, the family's bickering is put on hold...As Americans we will weep, as American's we will mourn, and as Americans we will rise in defense of all that we cherish."
   "So I ask again: What was it you (the terrorists) hoped to teach us? It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If that's the case, consider the message received. And take this message in exchange: You don't know my people. You don't know what we're capable of. You don't know what you just started.
   But you're about to learn."

In closing I was intrigued and impressed by Terence's comparison of this atrocity to that of a madman from a pulp fiction magazine. (See "Special Commentary", last issue.---N) In a case of life imitating art, that's exactly what has happened and will probably continue to for some time to come. It was my parent's turn in the 1940's to stand up and be counted--it's my turn now. I will do whatever it takes to ensure that this great nation and its heritage and even its "pop culture minutiae" will be here for future generations. God Bless you all, and God Bless America!

Matt's Rail    by Matt Drinnenberg
Greetings everyone.
I am still in shock over what transpired last week, as all of you are, I'm sure. This horrific deed, for certain, has plunged our nation into a cataclysmic scenario. I was sent a most sobering email that I would like to share with you.It was written by a UC Berkley professor and forwarded on. (The following has been edited for length.---N)
Dear Gary and whoever else is on this email thread:
   I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."
   And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.
    There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters.
   But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan.  The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rat's nest of international thugs holed up in their country.
   Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.
   Bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age has been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that.
   So what else is there? The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.
   That's exactly what Bin Laden wants. Read his speeches and statements. He really believes Islam would beat the west. He figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose, that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. In the end the west would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs, but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?

Tamim Ansary

Take care everyone and God bless you,

Thanks, Matt. I'm always glad to include your voice along with ours in times like these; please next time include more Matt, tho. ---N

Note to readers: I usually discourage extensive quoting of other sources for any reason. But, as I said last week, these are unique times and call for special considerations. I have accomodated everyone up to now due to the sensitive nature of the current crisis and the fact that the extra input was occasionally insightful. However, the point is this: I want to know what YOU think. If you run across a compelling article or forwarded email, just summarize the gist and comment, please. Extraneous attachments will be heavily edited or ignored.---Nolan

Mike's Rant!

Hello gang! Well, it's been a week and we're still here! Shall we begin?

In accordance with Nolan's wishes, I did my best not to make last weeks' issue a total serious piece. But now a week has passed and I must share the following thoughts, which is what you pay me for, boss.
   I spent last Tuesday glued to the television, as did most of us. I watched in horror as a city I had loved to spend time in crumbled before my eyes. Later on in the afternoon, I watched Peter Jennings interview a "freelance" photographer while they showed his video footage from "Ground Zero." What struck me the most was the man telling Jennings that he had to ride his motorcycle past 4 different security check points to get the footage. He then sounded off on how the terrorists probably had a problem with our "capitalist" society. And I thought to myself, "how much did ABC pay you for your video, pal." I mean, this guy felt it necessary to run past four different security posts just so he could make some money off of this tragedy.
   Then this past Saturday, Jennings hosted a special in which he spoke to young adults and children. I was floored as a teenage named Nora took up the microphone and asked if maybe we "deserved" what happened. Thankfully, she was quickly shouted down by some of the other kids. Needless to say, I was cursing up a storm at the set.
   And then there's Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. I've pretty much expected stupid things to come out of these guys' mouths. Let me say here that they have exceeded my expectations. Cuba has offered assistance. Russians are placing flowers at the American Embassy; our national anthem is being played in England. Hell, 60,000 plus people observed a moment of silence in IRAN in honor of our tragedy. The way I see it, the only people who have blamed Americans for the attack are Falwell and Osama bin Laden. Can anyone say treason charges? (Can anyone say we have our own dangerous, right-wing religious idiots just like everybody else? All Falwell did was demonstrate his own brand of religious hatred. In some ways---SOME ways---he and Robertson are no better than Bin Laden.---N)
   Not sure if this took place anywhere else in the country, but several gas stations here in Kansas City used this tragedy to raise their prices to as much as $5.69 a gallon! Not only did they gouge their customers, but they refused to accept credit cards or give receipts. One woman paid $172.00 to fill up two cars. Thankfully, enough people complained to the city attorney's that charges have been filed against 10 of the stations. They face substantial penalties, including a $10,000 fine for each occurrence of price gouging. One station is facing 238 separate charges. Hope it was worth it. (I heard about this. No problems in Tampa with that, at least around me.---N)
   "I know we're all going to die - there's three of us who are going to do something about it...I love you, honey." These are the final words Thomas Burnett spoke to his wife on September 11th. Burnett was a passenger on United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed outside Pittsburgh. It is now apparent that Burnett, Jeremy Glick and Todd Beamer were the leaders of a group that wrestled control of the plane away from the hijackers, thereby saving countless lives. All three men were able to make phone calls from the plane. Glick, a former judo champion, told his wife that they were going to "jump on" the hijacker who was guarding them. His wife, Lyz, told him "Honey, you need to go for it." Beamer had managed to contact a GTE phone supervisor, who told him of the planes crashing into the WTC. The last words the supervisor heard was Beamer saying, "Let's roll." These men are true heroes whose actions should forever be remembered. (I wrote in my headline, above, the same wishes for recognition for these men. Well, as I write these words, the President has just given his Address to the Nation...and one of those brave men's wives was singled out of the audience for applause. I'm sorry I didn't catch the name, it could have been Beamer, but I can't swear to it.---N)
   Finally, in the aftermath of these events, we must try to return to some kind of normalcy, whatever that is. We must allow ourselves to grieve. Dan Rather finally broke down on David Letterman's show. Rather expressed anger at his emotions, claiming he was a professional. Letterman's reply, "Sure you're a professional, but good Christ, you're a human being" said it all.
   This Sunday, my son, Phillip, and I will be attending the Kansas City Chief/New York Giants football game. This will be the first game for the Giants since the tragedy. I plan on giving this team a standing ovation, and hope my fellow fans will do the same. Not for the team, exactly, but for the city of New York. How will I react when I sing the National Anthem with 80,000 other people? I'll let you know next week.

Loving the piece on fanzines that Will and Nolan are doing. There was one that I haven't seen mentioned, however I'm not sure if it was local or not. It certainly was the strangest thing I ever saw. There used to be a publication called RBCC that was published by James Van Hise. If memory serves me correctly, his wife put together a 'zine, the title of which escapes me, that centered itself on the idea that Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock were "more then friends," if you catch my drift. The stories and artwork were pretty graphic. I know it made for some pretty funny reading. (The RBCC, or The Rocket's Blast Comic Collector, edited and published by James Van Hise, was indeed one of the most influential fanzines of all time, BUT it came out of Miami, I believe. Will's and my columns have been focusing on Tampa fanzines only, for now. However, you have me stumped on Mrs. Van Hise's Kirk-and-Spock 'zine. Anybody else remember this?---N)
   Since Batman seems to be a big part of this week's issue, I would be remiss if I didn't wish a Happy Birthday to Adam West, who turned 71 Wednesday. (God bless 'im. "Quickly, old chum---to the Bat-Party!" ---N)

After 20 years, Antonio Vargas says he's optimistic that the San Bernadino County District Attorney's office has finally gotten straight that he is not one of the eight Antonio Vargases they want for such things as missing child support payments. Vargas said he has received various summonses and orders over the years aimed at the other Antonio Vargases. Consider yourself lucky, Antonio. How would you like to have the most common first and last names in the English language?
   When I was in 6th grade, we had to fill out a seating chart in school. A lot of kids put down phony names, or the names of celebrities. When she received the chart, the first thing the teacher asked was, "OK, who put down Michael Smith?" When I graduated from the Army school I attended, I had to complete a final test. When I was done, I sat at my desk waiting to be excused. When the instructor called out, "Smith, you can go," four of us stood up. "Michael Smith" he clarified. Now there were three of us standing. "Michael A. Smith" Still three of us. "7052," he yelled, which are the last four numbers of my social security number. The other two sat down. I have even been called on the phone and threatened because of my name. I'll save that story for next week. (LOL! Funny story. I'm sure it wasn't at the time, tho. As an adult, I'm grateful for the unusual and unique name I have, but as a kid it was rough. Unusual names are much easier to mangle, and classmates never passed up an opportunity to do so, trust me.---N)

In the midst of the past week's excitement, I'm pleased to announce that I opened in the play, "Glenngarry Glen Ross," here in Kansas City. I'll be sure to post any reviews. Well, any good ones anyway! (I'm glad it went well! ---N)

Well, that's it for now. Have a great week.

"Mike's Rant" is ©2001 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2001 by Matt Drinnenberg    "Wake Up and Smell the Comics" is ©2001 by Drew Reiber    "La Floridiana" is ©2001 by William Moriaty    Add'l thanks to Will for his extra input in "Letters"    "Vortex" is ©1979 by Corey Castellano and Scott van Sickle    "Alphan Moonscapes" and "Video Beams" are ©1977 and 1978 by Adriana Gomez and the Alpha 99 Club, I presume.    All contents this page are ©2001 by Nolan B. Canova.

Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of  Nolan B. Canova, ©2001