TITLE: Hero Illustrated vol. 1, issue #21
YEAR: March 1995
COMPANY: Warrior Publications Periodical
Editor: Frank Kurtz
Senior Editor: Steve Darnall
Publisher: Steve Harris
If you saw my first post about the first issue of “Hero Illustrated”, I was quite positive.
They were the magazine not like Wizard. Distinguished themselves as a magazine that covers all publishers, not playing favorites and giving a quality magazine for comic book fans without the angst, without the anger, without the belligerence and more.
Somehow things changed and I can’t say its for positive.
The first major drastic change was by eliminating the price guide. I supported the decision for the fact that there were way too many price guides back then and “Hero Illustrated” didn’t really need it. So, you remove all those pages and replace them with columns or you sell the magazine cheaper because production-wise, it should be cheaper.
But somehow, the magazine went up in price, even with the reduction of pages and sure enough, supporters of the magazine were livid.
I gave the magazine credit for publishing both positive and negative letters but when the letters were starting to become negative, it started to make me wonder…was there a change of tide? Why so many negative letters?
Reading “Hero Illustrated” during a time when the industry was starting to tank, I can sense frustration and they have every right to be frustrated. The comic book industry was going through tough times and Hero Illustrated, even in the final issue #26, there was no mention it was ending. It just did.
But I will say that I did like how “Hero Illustrated” evolve through the years to include anime, action figures and remained consistent with their reviews and interviews.
Issue #21 had an Q&A with Jerry Ordway but the interview by Greg Hyland with Todd McFarlane was awesome. This is a man who was unafraid to speak his mind and while not necessary, it was good to see at that time, a response by Peter David and giving people insight (before the Internet became popular) about what transpired between Todd McFarlane, George Perez and Peter David.
Also, an interview with Harlan Ellison, which was another interview that I enjoyed reading for his straightforward answers. And an interview with John Ostrander of First Comics and more.
But really, the last months of “Hero Illustrated”, I would love to know how things went on behind-the-scenes of the making of this publication, especially during the troubled times of the comic book industry.
Sure, the letters and even the editor’s response could be seen as tough but the reason why this magazine separated itself was its dedication to covering comic books in general and the writer/artists behind them. No sugarcoating things, they let these writers/artists in the industry tell it like it is without holding back.
But there was no doubt that something felt amiss with issue #21. You had a sense that perhaps, things are not looking too good for the magazine’s future and sure enough, only five issues would remain to be published before the magazine ended.