Saturday, March 27, 2010


Not a humor magazine but I thought I'd at least mention it.

I'd been wanting to see an issue for a long time after hearing about its sleazy reputation. I never saw an issue except for the covers and didn't notice it when it came out. Once I got one, it lived up to the hype.

1994(originally titled 1984, but changed because that year was coming up and to not be confused with Orwell's novel) was created to compete with HEAVY METAL, and made it look classy by comparison. It came from Warren Publications, publishers of CREEPY and VAMPIRELLA. Those magazines were pretty lurid, but 1984/94 takes that and multiplies it. Richard Corben was actually one of their more innocuous contributors. It seems to make all kinds of things look respectable by comparison. It was kind of a combination of CREEPY and HUSTLER.

HUSTLER can at least be jerked off to. I don't know if this was meant to titillate or the authors thought this was the pinnacle of “adult illustrated fantasy”. Everybody has some story about telling a relative you read adult comics, and they automatically think you mean porn despite your defense to the contrary. This is what they think you read.

There was apparently just as much sleaze in the making of the comic. Some writers claimed their scripts were dirtied up so they resorted to using pseudonyms. Wally Wood had some strips rejected by the publisher a few years earlier that were rewritten by the editors to be more misogynous and used here but gave him full credit. Harlan Ellison sued the company for plagiarism, bankrupting Warren Publications.

Most of the science fiction was of the “Give me another space beer, Gleep Glop” kind with aliens that looked pretty much like humans and spoke English. There were a lot of stories about getting laid in space. This is typical of one of their stories.

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