Joe Wehrle Jr


Fawn the Dark-Eyed

Fawn the Dark-Eyed posterIn 1965, Joe Wehrle, Jr. launched Fawn the Dark-Eyed. Inspired by the heyday of newspaper comic strips like Flash Gordon and Modesty Blaise, the publication presented Fawn’s adventures in Sunday-sized comic strip pages. Unfortunately, this early version of Fawn only lasted two issues, with the second edition published in February 1966.

A third issue was planned, and Joe published a poster of Fawn in 1967 to bridge the gap between issues. All three items are relatively hard to find, but the poster is likely the most uncommon. Fortunately, a small stock of the original print run has been uncovered and is now available via eBay.

The second iteration of Fawn appeared in 1972, as a blonde, in the four-page comic adaptation of Joe’s short story “The Bandemar” in Sense of Wonder No. 12. The story and comic are slated to appear in The Digest Enthusiast book nine in Jan. 2019.

Fawn’s longest run appeared in 1974, in a second series of Sunday-sized comic strips in the Menomonee Falls Gazette No. 142–161, 163–171, 173–176, 178, 179, 181, 183 and 188.

Brian Aldiss’ Hothouse No. 3

F&SF July 1961The second part of Brian Aldiss’ Hothouse saga appeared in Fantasy and Science Fiction (July 1961).

Kingsley Amis “Something Strange”
Will Worthington “Package Deal”
Nicholas Breckenridge “The Cat Lover”
Grendel Briarton “Through Time and Space with Ferdinand Feghoot: XLI”
Otis Kidwell Burger “The Zookeeper”
Kris Neville “Closing Time”
Poul Anderson “Night Piece”
Isaac Asimov: Science: Recipe for a Planet
Brian W. Aldiss “Undergrowth” (Hothouse No. 3)

Cover by Ed Emshwiller

Contents from Galactic Central

An excerpt from Joe Wehrle, Jr.’s review of the Hothouse series, from The Digest Enthusiast book six:

“In “Undergrowth” (July 1961), we find that the morel has bisected itself to access the minds of both Poyly and Gren. Under its direction, they capture a girl named Yattmur in order to learn the whereabouts of her tribe. If mankind, like H.G. Wells’ Eloi, has lost its initiative through the passage of time, the morel acts as a prod, driving his hosts to achieve its own ambitious aims.”

Brian Aldiss’ Hothouse No. 2

F&SF April 1961The second part of Brian Aldiss’ Hothouse saga appeared in Fantasy and Science Fiction (April 1961).

Evelyn E. Smith “Softly While You’re Sleeping”
Harold Calin “The Hills of Lodan”
Anne McCaffrey “The Ship Who Sang” (Brainship)
Robert Graves “Dead Man’s Bottles”
Kit Reed “Judas Bomb”
Grendel Briarton “Through Time and Space with Ferdinand Feghoot: XXXVIII”
Isaac Asimov: Science: My Built-In Doubter
Nils Peterson “Cosmic Sex and You”
Richard Banks “Daddy’s People”
Doris Pitkin Buck “On Hearing Another Report of Little Green Men from . . .” (verse)
Brian W. Aldiss “Nomansland” (Hothouse No. 2)

Cover by Ed Emshwiller

Contents from Galactic Central

An excerpt from Joe Wehrle, Jr.’s review of the Hothouse series, from The Digest Enthusiast book six:

“In ‘Nomansland’ (April 1961), the second part of the saga, we’re shown even more richness and multiplicity of the plant world. Toy is now nominal leader of the group since Lily-yo and the other elders have “Gone Up” but Gren is beginning to assert himself as a rebel, unwilling to submit to a leader. Oldest of the males, it is tabu for any of the females to touch him except during the courtship season.”


BK Stevens interview

B.K. Stevens published over 50 short stories, primarily in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Eleven are included in her collection, Her Infinite Variety: Tales of Women and Crime. She’s the author of Interpretation of Murder, a traditional mystery offering insights into Deaf culture and sign language interpreting, and of Fighting Chance, a martial arts mystery for young adults. Nominated for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards, and a Derringer award-winner, Stevens taught English for over 30 years and wrote full time until her death in 2017.

At the time of her interview for The Digest Enthusiast book six, she sent a copy of her bibliography which is now available on this website. I’ll continue to update Bonnie and Joe’s biblios in the days ahead.

Brian Aldiss’ Hothouse

F&SF Feb. 1961 coverExcerpt from Joe Wehrle, Jr.’s review of the Hothouse series by Brian Aldiss, from The Digest Enthusiast book six:

“I have a most vivid recollection of receiving my February subscription copy of Fantasy and Science Fiction with Brian Aldiss’ Hothouse novelette. The Ed Emshwiller cover grabbed me at once with its near-abstract depiction of figures caught in a mad tangle of vegetative color. The story lived up to the illustration’s promise. And then some. And the series won a Hugo Award.”

“Hothouse begins by directly immersing us in a steaming forest habitat where humans of a greatly diminished size (one-fifth our height) struggle endlessly against semi-sentient vegetable life, and one side of Earth forever faces an aging Sun.”

The Creative Worlds of Joe Wehrle, Jr.

Work on The Digest Enthusiast book eight is about 90% complete. Content gathering for the “News Digest” section is underway and layout will begin next month. The zine is in great shape for a late May/early June release.

Spread on Joe Wehrle, Jr.

POD/Digital digests are on the rise and looking better than ever. The writers have always pushed themselves to improve, the editors always on the lookout for the best writing they can find. But recent issues have also begun to the push to improve their design. It’s inspiring and gave me pause to consider how to improve the look-and-feel of TDE. Last time, the contents page got a major upgrade. In book eight, I’ve made design improvements throughout the issue. I think it’s the best looking issue yet. Here’s a sample spread from our tribute to the great Joe Wehrle, Jr. who left us on December 10, 2017. The piece is a “…visual time capsule of his legacy…an amazing, unsung hero of the creative arts.”

Escape by Joseph Wehrle, Jr.

Escape splashpanelHere’s the splashpanel of a 4-page comic story about a robot from 1962 by the late Joe Wehrle, Jr. This is one of his earliest works that I’ve seen, created when he was 21 years old. If it looks familiar please let me know. I wonder if it was ever printed in a fanzine, most likely a science fiction fanzine.

The Digest Enthusiast book eight will feature a pictorial tribute to Joe and his work, with lots of samples and quotes from correspondence and interviews. It’s due in June 2018. I also intend to add his bibliography to the website as soon as I carve out some time. In the meantime, isfbd has one focused on his science fiction work.

Copy This! #47

Copy This! #47 back cover

The new issue of Copy This! is an all art edition, dedicated to the memory of Joe Wehrle, Jr. who is featured in a back cover self-portrait. Two pages reprinting Joe’s Night Radio comic strip are included inside.

The 48-page issue is loaded with great work by many of my favorite indie cartoonists including several whose work is featured in The Digest Enthusiast:

Tom Brinkmann: two portraits
Brian Buniak*: Apricot O’Toon
Brad W. Foster: comic and gag cartoon
Marc Myers: two collages
Bob Vojtko*: two gag cartoons

Copy This! #47 cover

Here’s the balance of the contributors:
Carl Alessi
Verl Holt Bond
Charels Brubaker
Buzz Buzzizyk
Bruce Chrislip*
Kel Crum
Gary Fields* (cover)
R.C. Harvey
R. Hendricks
Doug Holverson
Mike Kraiger*
Brian Leonard
Dale Martin
Nate McDonough
Bill McKay
David Miller
Tom Motley
Andy Nukes
Aaron Poliwoda
David Robertson
Artie Romero
Jim Siergey*
Larry Tisch
Adam Yeater

*Cartoon Loonacy club members

For your copy of Copy This! #47 send $3 to the editor:
D. Blake Werts
12339 Chesley Drive
Charlotte, NC 28277

Joe Wehrle, Jr.’s Fawn the Dark-Eyed

In Joe’s own words:

“For thirty-six weeks I drew a Sunday page for the all-comic paper, The Menomonee Falls Gazette, based on my earlier fanzine character, Fawn the Dark-Eyed. This character also appears in a short story published in the first anthology from the famous Clarion Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop. I think there was some good art in those pages, and the story was coming along, but I’m sure the strip suffered to some extent from my difficulty in doing finely-detailed work in any quantity to tight deadlines. It’s also true that most strips need time to become what they might, and the Gazette went out of business too soon for that.”