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.

Old Weird Herald’s

Old Weird Herald's business cardWay back in the 1970s there was a comic shop in Portland called Old Weird Herald’s run by three women named Hazel, Luana, and Rosie. I visited the shop on NE Broadway only twice, but I’ll never forget two of the treasures discovered there.

First, Basil Wolverton originals. Among his many works was a comic strip called Woozie Woofer signed as Bay Wolverton. OWH’s had a handful of these old strips. There’s one available to view at Comic Art Fans.

Second, self-published comics by Kerry Lochner. OWH’s carried what seemed to be every Wallplug Publication available: Sundae Funnies, Super Baloney, and Picturead. Wonderful indie comics from the early 1970s.

Pass to Comic ConApparently, the Heralds also put on the All American Comic Con on May 5, 1979, which was likely held at the Masonic Temple on SW Park Avenue.


Pageant Nov. 1969Excerpt from Tom Brinkmann’s article, “Sharon Tate’s Fate,” from The Digest Enthusiast book six:

“Pageant premiered with its November 1944 issue and was originally published by Hillman Periodicals. Macfadden bought it in 1961 and continued publishing it until its final February 1977 issue.

“The misleading cover blurb on this November 1969 Pageant read, ‘Eyewitness Report: Sex • Sadism • Celebrities! The Sharon Tate Orgies.'”

Tom Brinkmann writes about unusual, off-the-beaten-path magazines, digests, and tabloids. His Bad Mags website was active from June 2004–July 2017. His books, Bad Mags Volume 1 (2008) and Volume 2 (2009) are available from secondary outlets, including

Michael Shayne Mystery Magazine No. 1

Michael Shayne Mystery Magazine No. 1 Sep 1956In September 1956, Brett Halliday teamed with publisher Leo Margulies to launch MSMM. “It is a project both Leo and I have held in our minds and hearts for many years,” writes Halliday in his introduction. “But we have waited patiently for the exact moment when the signs were right, when the many and varied elements essential to the production and distribution of a truly fine mystery magazine coincided to make the project feasible.”

“Michael” was changed to “Mike” with the seventh issue in April 1957. MSMM began as a monthly, but slipped to bi-monthly during its second year, and returned to monthly during 1958 for the balance of its impressive run. With 337 regular issues and three annuals (1971–1973), MSMM was by far one of the most successful digest magazines ever published. The final issue appeared in August 1985.

Its first editor was Sam Merwin, and he launched the title with a terrific first issue:

Michael Shayne Mystery Magazine Vol. 1 No. 1 September 1956

Brett Halliday: Full Cycle—New Birth (introduction)
Brett Halliday “Bring Back a Corpse!” (Mike Shayne)
Craig Rice “The Quiet Life” (John J. Malone)
Robert Bloch “Water’s Edge”
Charles Irving “You Wash, and I’ll Dry”
Hal Ellson “Walk Away Fast”
Kenneth Fearing “Three Wives Too Many”
John E. Hasty “Unfinished Business”
Louis Trimble “A Pitch for Murder”
Carter Sprague “A Present for Peter”
Matthew Lee “Home Ground”
Norman Daniels “Rooftop”

MSMM Checklist from Galatic Central.

Manhunt Detective Story Monthly Jan. 1953

Manhunt No. 1 coverContents
“Everybody’s Watching Me” by Mickey Spillane (Part 1 of 4) art by Joe Kubert
“Die Hard” by Evan Hunter
“I’ll Make the Arrest” by Charles Beckman, Jr.
“The Hunted” by William Irish
“The Best Motive” by Richard S. Prather (Shell Scott)
“Shock Treatment” by Kenneth Millar
“The Frozen Grin” by Frank Kane (Johnny Liddell)
Backfire by Floyd Mahannah
“The Set-Up” by Sam Cobb
“Who is Vetter?” (coming next issue)

Manhunt No. 1 back cover

Real digest

Real August 1969Excerpt from Tom Brinkmann’s article, “Sharon Tate’s Fate,” from The Digest Enthusiast book six:

Real, the digest, was published bi-monthly and edited by David Zentner (1917–2002) with Peter Wolff as associate editor and was a sold-at-the-checkout-counter type magazine aimed at a mainly female readership. Zentner was born in Shanghai and went to school in the UK; he was the publisher of fifties girlie magazines such as Bare, Keyhole, Topper, and Escapade; he was also the head of Bee-Line Books, an adult paperback imprint that published Real as well. In the seventies, Zentner published Velvet and its sister magazine Velvet Talks, as well as the adult digests Velvet Touch, Velvet’s Vibrations, and Velvet’s Sensuous Letters.

Tom Brinkmann writes about unusual, off-the-beaten-path magazines, digests, and tabloids. His Bad Mags website was active from June 2004–July 2017. His books, Bad Mags Volume 1 (2008) and Volume 2 (2009) are available from secondary outlets, including amazon.

Manhunt Detective Story Monthly

Manhunt No. 1 coverPeter Enfantino’s multipart review/synopses of Manhunt, kicking off with the Jan–Apr 1953 issues, begins in The Digest Enthusiast book six. Here’s an excerpt of his series:

Manhunt By the Numbers
14 years (1953–1967)
114 issues
500+ authors
1100+ stories
13,000+ pages
6,000,000+ words
countless writers influence

Some of the guilty parties: Robert Bloch, Gil Brewer, Leslie Charteris, Jonathan Craig, Harlan Ellison, David Goodis, Ed McBain (and all his aliases), John D. MacDonald, Richard Prather, Craig Rice, Mickey Spillane, Donald E. Westlake (and Richard Stark), Harry Whittington, and Charles Williams.

A collection in paperback, The Best from Manhunt, was published in 1958 by Perma Books.

There were thirteen editions of Giant Manhunt, four-issue collections of regular issues, rebound with the covers removed into Giants. Which four issues varies, the point was for the publisher to recycle returns and make some additional sales. AHMM also used this approach from 1957–1968, titled Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Sampler.

In the UK, stories from Manhunt were published by Tom Boardman as Bloodhound Detective Story Magazine for 14 issues from 1961–1962. In Australia, 13 editions of Manhunt Detective Story Magazine were published by New Century Press in a size larger than the US editions. The Australian run went from 1953–1954.