Last month I posted a fantastic fanzine called Phase (click here for review) made in part due to the efforts of Sal Quartuccio's ability to recruit the best artists in the business at the time. Well, Quartuccio struck again in 1974 when he released a new fanzine titled Hot Stuf'. While the new zine didn't compare to the amount of sheer talent that preceded it, there is still some surprising finds to be had here.
The first item to note is yet another gorgeous cover painted by Ken Barr. What looks like an homage to the Warlord of Mars is a sight to behold, and the colors really stand out. He also did a devilish job on the title image as well. Wait...is that an older version of Hot Stuff, the little devil?
The first issue features two 5-page stories by the one and only Richard Corben. Corben must have been feeling buggy during the summer of '74, as both stories have insect themes. The first one is "Bug". A female astronaut crash lands on a world of roaches, where she is enslaved. A roach rescues her and she falls in love, only to die by the shower of a giant can of...Roach Spray?
Excerpt of Bug:
The next Corben offering is called "Flys", where two workers in charge of surveying an area of an unknown planet find an interesting plant, which morphs into a naked lady. Upon further inspection of the plant (among other things), the duo realize (too late) that the plant/lady/thing is actually a venus fly trap...and they are the flies.
The best feature in the first issue of Hot Stuf' however goes to Rich Buckler with a story called "Shadow of the Sword!". Buckler sets up a lush fantasy world based on an unfinished poem by Samuel Coleridge. This is supposed to be the prelude, but it appears Buckler got too caught up in working for Marvel at the time as the rest of the story never appeared. Here is the full prelude story:
The biggest 'big name' surprise goes to George Perez as he suddenly appears in "Uncle Sal and Cousin John go Planet-Tripping". There is some pretty off-kilter content for what Perez was used to doing at the time. The story reminds me of a Harold and Kumar movie. Here's a few pages:
Hot Stuf' was successful enough to warrant eight issues from '74 thru '78. Each issue features a handful of new and recurring artists and would be worth seeking out. Some true gems lie await inside by a plethora of bronze-age talent!