The Digest Enthusiast


Groundhog Files

Groundhog Files

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

In 1991, Joe Wehrle, Jr. produced a mini comic loosely based on the famous Punxsutawney Groundhog, featuring a groundhog detective. “I think it was a bit too far off the beaten path for most of the local populace. Most would rather have had a coloring book,” said Joe. Groundhog Files was a 24-page comic that Joe produced in a limited run. In 2015, Joe reprinted the comic at about one-half of its original digest-size.

Most of Joe’s self-published works were hand-bound. Quantities were low, which makes them rare and highly collectible. If you’re lucky enough to find a copy of one, I advise you to grab it. His publications were always something truly special.

Joe’s bibliography appears on the Larque Press website.

Out of the Gutter No. 2

Out of the Gutter No. 2

The Modern Journal of Pulp Fiction and Degenerate Literature
Title Page
Masthead and Indicia
Matthew Louis: From the Editor
Contents Pages

John McFetridge
Albert Tucher “Tipping is Optional”
Christs Faust “Hit Me”
Stephen Rogers “Drive Thru”
Matt Wallace “Notes”
Keith Gilman “Bunker Hill”
r2 “Yellow Pellets”
Jacob Kohl “The One That Got Away”

Approximately 10 Minute Read Dept.
William Boyle
“Neighborhood Girl”
Michael Bracken “Professionals”
Paul A Toth “For All I Know”
J.D. Smith “The Flower Girl”
Rey A. Gonzales “Bad Luck
Clair Dickson “The Pleasure Business”
Grant McKenzie “White Volcano”
M.C. O’Connor “Tweaker”

John Rickards
“Vengeance is Mine”
Ken Goldman “Fat Larry’s Night With the Alligators”
Mark Marquez “To Get to Uncle Johnny’s”
E.E. Howard “The Thug We Love”
The Classic American Gangster (comic)

15 to 20 Minute Read Dept.
Rick McMahan
“Out On the Razor’s Edge”
Steve Alten “Lost in Time”
William Carl “Rumble”
Julie Wright “Devil, Me and Cherry B”

Edwin Decker: Guzzle and Go, Goddamnit
Seth Ferranti: Adventures of a Meth Monster
Dale Bridges: Hooked

Mind of My Own
Li’l Dahmer
Submission Guidelines
Notes on Contributors

Out of the Gutter No. 2 Summer 2007
Chief Editor: Matthew Louis
Deputy Editors: DZ Allen, Dale Bridges, Hana K. Lee
Finance: Joel Huck
Associate Publisher: Hassan Brubuddy
Publicity: Barney Stims
European Editor: Offenbach Stutz
5.5” x 8.5” 200 pages Originally $13.50
Out of the Gutter Online

An excerpt from Michael Bracken’s interview in The Digest Enthusiast No. 8, June 2018:

The Digest Enthusiast: In “Professionals,” the narrator is a gay prostitute. In “My Sister’s Husband,” Pulp Adventures No. 27 (Fall 2017) the narrator is a middle-aged woman. How do you ensure your characters act and speak authentically, with respect to their gender, sexual orientation, race, etc.?

Michael Bracken: I’m never certain that they do, and can only hope that they come close enough that readers will accept any mistakes I make.

The key, though, is to build characters from the inside out rather than from the outside in. Regardless of our gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious beliefs, and whatever else divides us, we share many commonalities. We want to love and be loved. We want to feel safe and free from fear. We want to be happy and healthy. We want to be appreciated by our families and respected by our peers. The list goes on and on.

If we build characters from the inside out, the characters will “speak” appropriately and more genuinely than if we build characters from the outside in and rely on stereotypes or presume that all women speak one way and all gay men speak another.

Additionally, I try to minimize the use of jargon. A police office will use terminology from her job differently than a doctor, which is different still from a barista. Only a word or two is necessary for the reader to catch those differences.

X Marks the Dot

X Marks the Dot

An excerpt from Steve Carper’s series “One-and-Dones” that appears in The Digest Enthusiast No. 7–9:

Guinn Company
Muriel Stafford
had a syndicated newspaper column that did handwriting analysis of the stars, and not surprisingly X Marks the Dot stars a newspaper columnist solving a murder using handwriting analysis. Not only was Stafford enough of a name for her picture to fill the back cover, but as the ultimate gimmick, each of the suspects’ handwriting was reproduced inside the book so the reader could play along.

Now Available from McFarland: Steve Carper’s Robots in American Popular Culture, a comprehensive reference volume that includes a companion website: robotsinamericanpopularculture.com.

Collage Art Mini

Mulmig 2

Marc Myers, frequent contributor to The Digest Enthusiast, has released Mulmig 2, a 16-page pocket-size collection of unsettling collage images. Its indicia indicates it’s a tribute to Abcess Grenk No. 4, another collage-zine published 36 years ago.

The Cambridge Dictionary translates the German word “mulmig” as “An uneasy feeling about the matter from the start.”

Marc created several pieces to illustrate “The Good Soldier” by Vince Nowell, Sr. for The Digest Enthusiast No. 11 due in January 2020.

Mulmig 2 is available for $2.00 postage-paid. Click on the link: Marc Myers to arrange purchase.

Mulmig 2 back

Squint 7

Squint 7
Squint 7

Tom Brinkmann writes about unusual off-the-beaten-path magazines, digests, and tabloids. A regular contributor to The Digest Enthusiast, his latest article, “The Creature from the Black Lagoon with The Seven Year Itch,” appears in issue ten. Tom is also an illustrator and publisher. His latest artzine, Squint 7, features 16 pages of his amorphic images and portraits presented in classic mini-comics’ format. Send inquiries to Tom at vaioduct at aol dot com.

Two volumes of Tom’s book, Bad Mags, were published in 2008 (Vol. 1) and 2009 (Vol. 2). Now out of print, copies are still available in secondary markets.

Squint 7
Squint 7 back cover

Cartoon Trader

Cartoon Trader

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

“In 1989, my wife Karen and I came up with the idea of producing a monthly Cartoon Trader, which would focus on the buying and selling of newspaper comic strips, the way the Comics Buyer’s Guide mainly concerns itself with comic books. Unfortunately, we were never able to get enough ads to make it a really substantial-looking monthly or to make it the self-supporting venture we’d hoped for, so we had to discontinue it after just a few issues. We did create several continuing features for the magazine, though—classic cartoonist trading cards, retrospectives, paper dolls (Trina Robbins sent us some outfits!) and a monthly page of original comic strips.”

Today, Cartoon Trader’s ads offer only a passing glance at yesterday’s prices, but Joe and Karen loaded each Trader with such charming original content it’s still fun to read today.

Joe’s bibliography appears on the Larque Press website.

Cauliflower Catnip: Pearls of Peril

Cauliflower Catnip: Pearls of Peril

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

I first became aware of Joe’s work in 1981 when he published the Big Little Book, Cauliflower Catnip: Pearls of Peril, advertised in Alan Light’s The Buyer’s Guide. The book remains one of the most impressive self-published productions I’ve ever seen. I asked Joe about the project’s evolution.

“I guess Cauliflower Catnip is kind of an amalgam of many influences.” The anthropomorphic dogs of Thomas Aloysius Dorgan (TAD) comic strips, the hardboiled detective fiction of Nero Wolfe, and the sound of Thomas “Fats” Waller’s voice.

“I began to explore who Cauliflower Catnip was in a series of one-panel cartoons. I’ve long suspected that I’m too slow to do a regular daily strip unless I get an assistant or the concept is extremely simple. I enjoyed turning out the panels, but I could see they’d go nowhere. Besides, I wanted a detective story continuity with Cauliflower. How could I progress the suspense by drawing single panels? Had anyone ever done something like that? Of course they had—and called the results Big Little Books!

“So—how to get other people interested in Cauliflower, too? The character cavorted, full-blown, inside my head, and I felt I could sense the mood of the story and the type of cronies and adversaries he would encounter. But I hadn’t yet written a word of it.

The Buyer’s Guide had fairly inexpensive ad rates at the time, and I had some old comic stuff to sell. So I created a block ad, with my sale items at the bottom, and a single-panel cartoon above, to scale with the old Big Little Book pages, with short text paragraphs to the right. For several weeks, I don’t know how many, a comic panel and corresponding text appeared in every issue of TBG, andI started to get encouraging mail from fans. As we approached the end of the story, I began to solicit advance orders for the actual book.”

Joe’s bibliography appears on the Larque Press website.

25 Short Short Stories from Collier’s

25 Short Short Stories from Collier’s

An excerpt from Steve Carper’s series “One-and-Dones” that appears in The Digest Enthusiast No. 7–9:

Galaxy Novels; The Barmaray Company
25 Short Short Stories from Colliers, Collier’s being a mainstream magazine rival to the Saturday Evening Post, is not a title anyone would normally associate with either Galaxy or novels, but connections do exist. The inside back cover has an ad for Galaxy, and the inside front cover offers a charter subscription for Galaxy’s sister magazine, Beyond Fantasy Fiction. Both magazines had just been purchased by Robert Guinn, a fixture in the New York publishing scene as a printer with access to paper, vital in 1953 when the Korean War dried up paper supplies. Despite the clear Galaxy lineage, Galaxy Novels is simply a misnomer for this title. The true publisher is The Barmaray Company, Inc.

Now Available from McFarland: Steve Carper’s Robots in American Popular Culture, a comprehensive reference volume that includes a companion website: robotsinamericanpopularculture.com.

Ellery Queen Dec. 2007

Ellery Queen Dec. 2007

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Dec. 2007 Vol. 130 No. 6 Whole No. 796
David Handler “The Man Who Couldn’t Miss” art by Laurie Harden
Edward D. Hoch “Gypsy Gold”
Jon L. Breen: The Jury Box
Patricia Smiley “Party’s Over”
Bill Crider: Blog Bytes
Jon L. Breen “A Run Through the Calendar”
Loren D. Estleman “Wild Walls” (Valentino) art by Mark Evan Walker
Caroline Menzies “The Bathtub Oracle” (Dept. of First Stories)
Peter Turnbull “The Mummy” art by Allen Davis
Marilyn Todd “Room for Improvement”
2007 EQMM Readers Award Ballot
Anton Chekhov “A Malefactor” (Passport to Crime) translated from the Russian by Constance Garnett
Martin Edwards “An Index”
Maria Hudgins “Murder on the London Eye”
Michael Bracken & Tom Sweeney “Snowbird” art by Mark Evans
Index: Vol. 129 and Vol. 130
Classified Marketplace
Indicia and Masthead

Publisher: Peter Kanter
Editor: Janet Hutchings
Editorial Assistant: Emily Giglierano
Excutive Director Art & Production: Susan Kendrioski
Senior AD: Victoria Green
Cover: Rafael de Soto

144 pages $3.99
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine website

I asked Michael Bracken about what it was like to write with a partner on “Snowbird.” Below is an excerpt from his interview in The Digest Enthusiast No. 8, June 2018:

In the early-2000s I edited five anthologies, and Tom had a story in each of them. When I pitched an anthology of private eye stories to a regional publisher, the publisher was interested only if all the stories were set in Texas and the contributors were Texans/ Texas residents. The only way Tom, a New Englander, would get a story in the anthology was if he collaborated with someone in Texas. Me.

Tom’s writing style—that is, the way he uses words and structures sentences—is (or was then) similar to mine, but his approach to writing is quite different. Where I throw something on the page to start and then figure out where I’m going, he likes to start with the theme and build backwards from there.

So, we went back and forth, writing and discussing as we went. I would write a bit and turn it over to him. He would edit or revise what I wrote and add more. I would edit/ revise what he wrote and add to it. All the while we held email discus- sions on the side about where the story was going, what we needed to research to move forward, and so on. (We even roped in a third writer—Çarol Kilgore—to aid with some research. Part of the story is set on the Gulf Coast and Carol provided us with details neither of us could get otherwise.)

Writing the way we did, it’s quite difficult to know now who wrote which passages, but after several months we had a complete draft. Unfortunately, the regional publisher was no longer interested in doing the anthology.
It is true that collaborating means twice the work for half the money, but Tom and I created a story neither of us could have written alone, and it was the first sale either of us made to
EQMM. So, it was well worth the effort.

Bud’s Art Books Catalog

The Digest Enthusiast No. 10 in Bud Plant's Incredible Catalog
Bud Plant’s Incredible Catalog

The latest edition of Bud Plant’s Incredible Catalog is now available. The Digest Enthusiast No. 10 is featured on page 14 under the Pulps & Pulp Fiction category, but all ten issues are available from Bud’s Art Books website, along with hundreds of other pulp-related publications like The Pulpster.

Bud Plant’s Incredible Catalog is available in a full color printed copy at various paper and collectible shows across the country and by mail, or you can download a copy of the PDF from the homepage of Bud’s Art Books website.

Bud's Art Books