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Joe Wehrle Jr

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Wehrle and Warren

"Monster Bait" splashpage

Excerpt from “The Creative Works of Joe Wehrle, Jr.” from The Digest Enthusiast No. 8, June 2018.

“Around that time [early 1970s] I also illustrated one script for Warren Publications’ Vampirella, and wrote one for them which was beautifully delineated by Esteban Maroto. I found Warren Pubs hard to deal with, though, slow with the money and critical of the work, although I thought I did a fairly good job for my first pro comics work. They ran the Wehrle/Maroto story over and over, but I never saw a nickel after the $12.00 or so they originally paid for the script.”

Joe’s first story, “Monster Bait,” written by Don Glut, appeared in Vampirella No. 9 (Jan. 1971). “Wolf Hunt” written by Joe and illustrated by Esteban Maroto first appeared in Vampirella No. 14 (Nov. 1971).

Joe’s bibliography appears on the Larque Press website.

Fawn the Dark Eyed comic strip

Joe Wehrle Jr, The Digest Enthusiast, Clarion, Sense of Wonder, Fawn the Dark Eyed, The Menomonee Falls Gazette No. 42

Joe Wehrle, Jr.’s story “The Bandemar” appeared in the first Clarion anthology and the comic version in Bill Schelly’s Sense of Wonder No. 12.

“Several years later,” Joe explained, “I resurrected the idea, and Fawn, with a slightly different storyline, was published for 36 weeks in The Menomonee Falls Gazette from Wisconsin, an all-comic newspaper.

“Toward the end [of Fawn’s run], I got those commissions from Lava Mt. Records to do H. P. Lovecraft portraits for their record jackets, and those took a lot of time, so the Gazette guys were alternating Fawn with something else on a bi-weekly basis. Then their paper just sort of fizzled out. They continued to run a handful of strips that they had al- ready paid for in their Comic Reader, but they were completely broke as far as the Gazette was concerned. It’s probably a wonder they were able to publish as many issues as they did.”

The cover of The Menomonee Falls Gazette No. 142, September 1974, featured the debut of the Fawn the Dark Eyed comic strip. The strip appeared in issues 142–161, 163–171, 173–176, 178, 179, 181, 183, and 188.

Joe’s bibliography appears on the Larque Press website.

Clarion: One

Sense of Wonder No. 12
Sense of Wonder No. 12

Excerpt from “The Creative Works of Joe Wehrle, Jr.” from The Digest Enthusiast No. 8, June 2018.

“The Bandemar” was part of the first Clarion anthology, written by the workshop’s lecturers and alumni, published by Signet in 1971. Joe also drew a four-page wordless comic version that appeared in Sense of Wonder No. 12. By this time, Fawn, who encounters the bandemar, was modeled after Karen Wehrle and appears with lighter hair.

In 1981, the story was translated into German (“Der Bandemar”) for Germany’s Science-Fiction Story Reader.

Sense of Wonder No. 12 back
Sense of Wonder No. 12 back cover

The story and the comic version appear together in The Digest Enthusiast No. 9, Jan. 2019.

Joe’s bibliography appears on the Larque Press website.

Joe Wehrle, Jr. at Clarion

Where is Janice Gantry?

Excerpt from “The Creative Works of Joe Wehrle, Jr.” from The Digest Enthusiast No. 8, June 2018. His story, “Kromaflies,” appears in The Digest Enthusiast No. 10, June 2019. (Quotes gleaned from Joe’s interviews or correspondence.)

In 1968, Robin Scott Wilson organized the first Clarion Writers’ Workshop for fantasy and science fiction at the Clarion State College in Pennsylvania. The staff of visiting lecturers during its first year included Judith Merril, Fritz Leiber, Harlan Ellison, Kate Wilhelm, and Damon Knight. Joe Wehrle, Jr. was one of several students lucky enough to attend.

“When I attended the workshop in 1968 (with Karen and five-month-old Jill outside on a blanket among the trees),” Joe said, “Harlan Ellison told us, ‘I know we’re talking science fiction writing here, but if you want to study a really good modern writing style, you guys should be reading John D. MacDonald.’ Two I particularly remember enjoying are Dead Low Tide and Where is Janice Gantry, and his dozen or so Travis McGee stories are all very good too. The last one, The Lonely Silver Rain, is compelling, because, along with the mystery, Travis discovers and gets to know a daughter he had no idea existed.”

While at the workshop, Joe told me in 2010: “I wrote a story called ‘Kromaflies,’ which Robin Scott Wilson liked, Fritz Leiber felt showed that I had put a lot of thought into the development of the society I wrote about, and Harlan Ellison pretty much hated, although he did agree I was a ‘plotter,’ which was high praise from Harlan, who had no patience with anyone who wrote off the top of their head with no object in mind.”

Joe’s bibliography appears on the Larque Press website.

Kromaflies

Galaxy and If

Galaxy Oct. 1968
Galaxy Oct. 1968

Excerpt from “The Creative Works of Joe Wehrle, Jr.” from The Digest Enthusiast No. 8, June 2018. (Quotes gleened from Joe’s interviews or correspondence.)

“My first professional work involved doing spot illustrations for Galaxy and If digest science fiction magazines,” Joe said in 2010. “I had done comics and other stuff for fanzines, and I sent some clips to Frederik Pohl around 1967, asking if I could get some work from his magazines. He replied that he liked what I had sent, but could I show him something a little more subdued? So I worked up a small folio of illustrations that I felt were more in keeping with the style of those two magazines. Fred said ‘OK!’ and directed his staff to begin sending me galley proofs of stories slated for upcoming issues.

“The galleys were arriving regularly in the mail. I was really on my way! Then Galaxy Publications was sold, and the new editors sent me nothing more.”

Joe’s artwork appears in:
Galaxy Jun–Aug, & Oct. 1968
If May–Aug. 1968
Joe’s bibliography appears on the Larque Press website.

Fawn in 1964

A flyer for Fawn Press, c. early 1960s.
A flyer for Fawn Press, c. early 1960s.

Excerpt from “The Creative Works of Joe Wehrle, Jr.” from The Digest Enthusiast No. 8, June 2018. (Quotes are from Joe’s correspondence.)

By 1964, already an accomplished illustrator, Joe began work on a comic strip, Fawn the Dark Eyed. In the series’ earliest incantation, Fawn was also dark haired. “Fawn started as a self-published fanzine in ’64. We had a number of pages in color, which was unusual at that time—only one or two other people experimented with color in their fanzines.”

I know of only two issues, but as the ’70s dawned, Ed Aprill, Jr., who published a series of comic strip reprint books of Buck Rogers and The Spirit, showed interest. “At one point Ed was talking about doing a high-quality 9” x 12” book with a new Fawn story, and I had actually started work on it when he was killed in a car crash.” A tragic set-back, but Joe continued drawing and writing, with Fawn always in mind.

Joe’s bibliography appears on the Larque Press website.

Featured image: Fawn The Dark-Eyed No. 1 1964

Analog Sept. 1972

Analog Sept. 1972

Excerpt from Joe Wehrle, Jr.’s article on “The Telzey Amberdon Stories of James H. Schmitz” in The Digest Enthusiast No. 7:

The Symbiotes (Analog September 1972). Trigger Argee discovers an eight-inch tall man hiding among utensils on her restaurant lunch table. She helps him escape his pursuer and teams up with Telzey, but is captured when Telzey leaves to contact the Psychology Service for help, and wakes up later in a distant star system. Then begins an odyssey to escape and free the little people, during which she discovers she has latent, if limited, psionic abilities that she needs to cultivate for her own protection. After her adventure, Telzey assures her that being a functioning psi is not such a disadvantage. Reprinted in T’nT: Telzey and Trigger.

Baen Books Telzey Reprints

Psience Fiction

Analog March 1972

Excerpt from Joe Wehrle, Jr.’s article on “The Telzey Amberdon Stories of James H. Schmitz” in The Digest Enthusiast No. 7:

Child of the Gods (Analog March 1972). A dangerously accomplished psi takes control of Telzey’s mind when her guard is down, forcing her to deal with an alien creature that is causing disasters at his crystal mine on Maunafra. He is also illegally mining djeel, the oil which the alien needs to escape the planet on which it has been stranded—which is the root cause of the problem. Reprinted in T’nT: Telzey and Trigger.

News, Fiction, and More

The Digest Enthusiast No. 10 pgs 66 & 67

Rounding out the content of the tenth issue of The Digest Enthusiast:

Fantasy fiction from Robert Snashall and Joe Wehrle, Jr., with art by Carolyn Cosgriff.

News updates from the newsstand giants and the digital darlings of today’s genre fiction digests, straight from their editors and publishers.

In-depth reviews of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine May/June 2019 and Broadswords & Blasters No. 9.

Plus over 100 digest magazine cover images, cartoons by Bob Vojtko, art by Brian Buniak, a poem by Clark Dissmeyer, first issue factoids, and more.

The Digest Enthusiast No. 10

The Digest Enthusiast No. 10 June 2019
5.5” x 8.5”
160 pages
$8.99 Print
$2.99 Kindle

Lion Game

Analog August 1971

Excerpt from Joe Wehrle, Jr.’s article on “The Telzey Amberdon Stories of James H. Schmitz” in The Digest Enthusiast No. 7:

The Lion Game (Analog August and September 1971). Telzey doesn’t entirely trust the Psychological Service, but occasionally teams up with them for mutual benefit. The Service has detected that there’s a new psi awareness of Telzey’s abilities at her college, and makes arrangements for her to Tinokti as an agent—and as bait! That sets her up for a nerve-wracking chase between connecting portals on the planet, where everyone can be an enemy. Reprinted in The Lion Game.