Welcome one and all to the thing we oh so imaginatively call Art For Art’s Sake. Truth be told, this was going to be a typical A4AS that was going to end with an extended look at Amazing Heroes covers. And then I started looking for them and found SO much incredible artwork that it’s ended up being the All Amazing Heroes Art For Art’s Sake!
If you aren’t aware, Amazing Heroes was a magazine about comics published by Fantagraphics Books from 1981 to 1992 and running for 204 issues, ending with the double issue #203/204. Published alongside The Comics Journal, this one was sort of the bastard sibling, focusing unashamedly on the more commercial side of comics and allowing the Journal to do its own thing.
John Byrne on the cover of issue #1
And Paul Chadwick bidding farewell on the cover of issue #204
Alongside the regular issues, there were also a couple of regular special issues – the ‘Swimsuit Special’ which was often a lot funnier and cooler than a lot of similar sort of books which ended up being horrible leery things.
Here’s the cover to the first Swimsuit Special by Kevin Nowlan…
And a few of those funnier and cooler swimsuit entries I was talking about, beginning with Bruce Timm…
And then we had the Amazing Heroes Preview Special which ended up appearing twice a year from Summer 1985 and presented previews of comics coming out over the next six months or so. And that was essential reading, often giving us glimpses of what might have been.
The 1985 Preview issue with art from Jaime Hernandez
And then from summer 1985, the very first Preview Special with cover art from Scott McCloud
Right, now for the Amazing Heroes covers…
Ed Hannigan and Klaus Janson
Rich Hedden & Tom McWeeney Roachmill
Steve Rude and Bernie Mierault
Steve Purcell and Art Adams