Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Etcetera, Etcetera

When Publisher Mark Hanerfeld found work at DC, The Comic Reader vanished for 22 months. Taking up the slack was another fanzine.

Etcetera was published by Paul Levitz and Paul Kupperberg, and later solely by Levitz. Kupperberg would go on to write and edit for DC. You can read some great stories at his blog, including a few about his time working on Etc and meeting Carmine Infantino:

Paul Levitz became a writer, editor and publisher at DC. Etcetera followed TCR by concentrating on news about DC and Marvel, listing coming comics and featuring reviews and columns. Etcetera # 3, May 1971

Along with Marvel and DC news, there was info on Skywald. Sol Brodsky (who left Marvel for a while to attempt this venture) and Israel Waldman teamed to produce horror mags such as Nightmare and Psycho, a few 25 cent color comics and Hell-Rider, which did not turn out to "shake up the industry as we know it" (it lasted two issues). Skywald employed many talented creators, including Gary Friedrich, Ross Andru, Syd Shores, Dick Ayers and superlative work by Bill Everett. The announced Science Fiction Odyssey never appeared. 

The Fan column mentioned that Hanerfeld was planning to put out 2 more issues of The Comic Reader and then turn it over to Dave Kaler, but that was not to be. From Etcetera # 3.

Etcetera # 4, June 1971, announces Marvel's line becoming 48 page-25 cent titles, which only lasted a few months before reverting to standard size (at 20 cents). The Fan column explains Dave Kaler's plans to turn the Comic Reader into an in-depth article zine, with no news. That didn't happen either.

..however, just four issues later, in Etcetera # 8, Oct 1971, there was no further talk of either Hannerfeld or Kaler returning. Instead Levitz announced a merging of Etcetera with the Comic Reader which occured two months later, after one more issue of solo Etcetera. 

December 1971 marked the return of The Comic Reader, as ETC/TCR, with combined numbering - although there was an error - this issue was supposed to be #78, not #77 (the last published Hanerfeld issue), so, the next issue becomes #79 (figured all that out? They'll be a quiz at the end of the blog!)

Like its predecessor, ETC/TCR included plenty of DC related news. Issue 11/79 (Dec 1971) noted the company moving into the Kinney Building at 75 Rockefeller Plaza, which would later become the Warner Communications building. There was also talk of Steve Ditko possibly working on a strip for DC's Adventure Comics. I wonder if the script was published with another artist? Adventure 422 included a Vigilante back-up; 423 a fantasy filler. Later issues featured Captain Fear and Adventurers Club. Could one of those scripts been offered to Ditko?

Along with news, Levitz included convention info, fanzine reviews and columns, including one by Tony Isabella, who, besides having had many letters of comment printed in comics such as Rawhide Kid, wrote a slew of articles for fanzines before he became a professional comic book writer. 

In this column Tony asks "Where Have All The Heroes Gone?" The Wandering Fan was originally published in ETC/TCR 11/79 and is © 2014 Tony Isabella

Tony was kind enough to share some of his thoughts on his fanzine work, and this particular column: 

I never kept records of my fanzine writing, but I sure did a lot of it.  
I remember that I wrote these articles and reviews quickly...and that I 
am sometimes appalled by them when I reread them decades later.  What 
strikes me when I reread this piece is how incensed I got over comics 
that are mild by the standards of today's super-hero comics.  Batman's 
corpse hanging outside his murderer's window is positively benign when 
compared to the torture porn sensibilities of most DC and too many 
Marvel titles.

Thank Godzilla that today's comics readers - count me in that number - 
have so many choices for entertainment.  In any given week, I'm reading 
a handful of new comics of all kinds, collections of classic and 
not-so-classic comics from the 1940s to present, great newspaper strip 
collections, graphic albums/novels from all over the world, a number of 
manga series and books and magazines of comics history.  I keep telling 
people we're living in the true Golden Age of Comics because I've never 
lived in a time when so many great comics are available to me.  Heck, I 
can even borrow many of them through my library system.

 Issue # 80 Dec 1971 (yes, I said 80! The double numbering was eradicated, thank goodness! And don't ask me why #'s 79 & 80 are both dated December!) Covers featuring artwork began to appear on a regular basis. Rich Buckler provides his interpretation of Conan. Buckler was a relative newcomer to professional comics and some of his earliest work for Marvel showed up in this period.

ETC/TCR 80 included news of Green Lantern/Green Arrow's cancellation. The Denny O'Neil/Neal Adams revamp received critical attention but suffered from poor sales. The Green Lantern title would be revived a few years later with more traditional super-heroics. The announcement of Bat Lash's revival was premature, although apparently very much considered, as noted in the following issue. 

The inside back cover of ETC/TCR 80 presented an in house strip from Kinney National, owners of DC, promoting their products and featuring a Superman lookalike, with a final panel guest appearance by Sinatra! Art by Al Plastino. 

ETC/TCR # 81 (Jan 1972) explained that Ditko would NOT be doing any work for DC (it would be three years before Ditko again freelanced for DC, coincidentally around the time that Kirby left). While El Diablo did have the lead spot in a few issues of Weird Western Tales (title changed from All Star Western) Bat Lash never appeared, and Jonah Hex soon became the main feature, taking over the entire book.

Among the Marvel news in ETC/TCR 81 is the announcement of Roy Thomas becoming Editor of the line. Roy and assistant editor Steve Englehart cooperated with Levitz by supplying news items. Marvel's policy in providing info to fanzines was erratic, unlike DC, who always welcomed the fan press.    

ETC/TCR # 82 (Feb 1972) reports the news of DC reverting back to a standard 32 page size at 20 cents from its 25 cents/48 page size.

ETC/TCR 82 featured news on Gold Key. Earlier issues of TCR included greater emphasis on companies such as Charlton and Gold Key, but editorial changes at those companies lessened their input. ET AL was an ongoing column that featured a potpourri of items; comic related appearances on TV and radio; Ross Andru and Mike Esposito's short-lived venture and the Monster Times, a bi-weekly newspaper that featured articles and artwork on comics along with horror and sci-fi fare.


Rich Buckler was a prolific cover artist for ETC/TCR, here is a Thor/Beast illo from # 83, March 1972

There were always interesting items mixed in with the "hard news", such as E. Nelson Bridwell's system of picking letters for DC's columns.

Even the Ads were exciting! The EC Fan-Addict Convention took place over the Memorial day weekend in New York City. You could attend the four day event and pay in advance for $7.50! And $14.00 a day for a hotel room! As Phil Rizzutto used to say: Holy Cow! 


By the time this cover appeared Rich Buckler was drawing the Avengers with writer Roy Thomas. Buckler continued to work for Marvel for many years, drawing strips such as Black Panther, Ka-Zar, Fantastic Four and Deathlok, which he created with Doug Moench. ETC/TCR # 84, April 1972

DC news includes Bill Gaines joining DC as a consultant and Kirby's New Gods and Forever People being cancelled. The explanation that the books were "excellent sellers" and "Kirby's time is to be spent on whatever is the most valuable." makes absolutely no sense. No publisher cancels a book that is making money, certainly not to take a chance on an unknown quantity. My guess is that whoever provided this explanation wanted to underplay the lack of sales and not undermine Kirby. The unnamed science-fiction idea turned out to be Kamandi, which became Kirby's longest running DC series.

The acquisition of the rights to the Shadow by Marvel, as reported in ETC/TCR 84 was actually a mix-up, although Gerry Conway and Mike Ploog were apparently set as the creative team. More on the Shadow coming up. Neither Jekyll and Hyde nor Ringo Kid appeared. The former showed up as a one-shot story in Supernatural Thrillers # 4, June 1973, and the Ringo Kid comics was supposed to go from reprint to new material, scripted by none other than Steve Englehart and drawn by Dick Ayers. Unfortunately the powers that be decided to concentrate on other types of comics, so Ayers penciled an issue based on Englehart's plot, but the story was never completed. You can see the splash on Englehart's website:

  Another double page ad for the 1972 New York Comic Art Convention. Five days for $7.00! Who wouldn't want to go back in time and attend this con!

Fan News appeared in ETC/TCR # 85, May 1972, including items about movies, books and conventions. Some of the movie/TV news didn't occur, such as a Tim Tyler show and a Phantom movie. King Features did produce a cartoon that featured many of their characters. It appeared on the Saturday Superstar Movie, an ABC Saturday morning anthology series following the format of Movie of the Week.

Issue # 85 initiated a column on Underground comics by Bud Plant. 

ETC/TCR # 87, July 1972 had the exciting news of DC publishing Captain Marvel and other Fawcett characters. The new comic was titled Shazam, since Marvel was using the name Captain Marvel. While there was a buzz over the return of the Big Red Cheese, the revival never caught on. C.C. Beck grew frustrated with the scripts he received and sales were not what was expected. Midday was a talk show appearing on WNEW-Channel 5, a local NY station (now Fox-5). The host, if I recall correctly, was Bill Boggs.   

Et Al featured news on paperback books, conventions, Wally Wood's work on Overseas Weekly, Steranko's History of the Comics Volume 2 and Archie's venture in the mystery field.

ETC/TCR # 88, August 1972 showcased a striking Bernie Wrightson image of The Shadow, which was actually a DC house ad, as explained by Levitz in his Etc. editorial. Wrightson was scheduled to draw The Shadow, but realized he couldn't draw both the Shadow and Swamp Thing. When he declined Jim Steranko was the next choice. Steranko was a huge Shadow fan and had painted many exceptional paperback covers featuring the character. His sense of mood and drama was perfect for the Shadow, however he was not enthused with Len Wein's script. Steranko offered to write and drawn the Shadow, but was turned down by Editor Denny O'Neil. The script was then given to Alex Toth; he rewrote the script and O'Neil rejected his changes. O'Neil then decided to write the story himself, with Mike Kaluta drawing. Kaluta did a wonderful job, but I would have loved to see all three interpretations of the Shadow. Imagine what Toth or Steranko would have done with the character. In a recent Alter Ego interview O'Neil said he regretted that he didn't give Steranko a chance to write and draw the Shadow.         

 Marvel news includes the announcement of new staffer Steve Gerber, who would become one of Marvel's quirkier writers of the period on titles such as Man-Thing and Howard the Duck. X-Men returning to new material was premature by a few years, but its an indication on how high fan interest was.

The news item on the cover of ETC/TCR # 89, Sept 1972 concerned the rumors of Jack Kirby returning to Marvel. Kirby was reportedly upset over the cancellation of New Gods and Forever People, but his contract with DC was for five years. AS soon as it ended however, he made a deal with Marvel in 1975. What would Kirby have produced for Marvel in 1972? 

So What Else is News? was another interesting column that focused on various facets of popular culture, including books,sci-fi,radio,movies and TV. 

Along with monthly news on DC and Marvel, Levitz was attempting to resume ties with Gold Key and Charlton. Eventually more news would find its way into The Comic Reader.

Yes, I said The Comic Reader. With the 11th Anniversary issue Levitz dropped the double name. The Comic Reader would remain a steady title, with only one major change in publisher. Next time out I'll recount the first issue (and fanzine) I ever purchased, way back in December of 1972!  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Return of The Comic Reader

After numerous alterations in title, numbering and publishers, On The Drawing Board reverted back to The Comic Reader with issue # 69, July 1968, as publisher Mark Hanerfeld explains:

"There's been some changes made. To begin with, since Bob Schoenfeld is no longer publishing a fanzine using the TCR title, this zine will revert to its old title."

                                    And it will remain least for THIS post!   

The news section of TCR notes that Charlton will publish the titles and material left over from the defunct King Comics, including some Wally Wood drawn Jungle Jim's. DC news included reports on Steve Ditko continuing to have health issues (as noted in the previous issue -and blog post - Ditko had recently been hospitalized, but was expected to recuperate soon). Gil Kane substituted for him on Hawk and Dove and while Ditko was able to pencil the Creeper story in issue 5, an inker might be needed to complete the work. 

Mike Peppe stepped in to ink The Creeper #5 (Feb 1969), although Ditko's sense of design shines through on the above page. Hanerfeld had close ties to DC and much of his news concerning their activities was usually correct. In the letters page of this issue editor Dick Giordano explained: 

"I'm not now and haven't ever thought of replacing Steve on THE CREEPER. However, Steve has been ailing lately and his assignments have had to be handled by others. As far as I'm concerned, the Creeper is Steve's book."  

Neal Adams was apparently slated to sub for Steve, but the title was cancelled with the sixth issue. Ditko drew 11 penciled pages for issue #6, with Jack Sparling completing the rest and Mike Peppe inking. Hawk and the Dove continued with Gil Kane artwork for four issues until that title was cancelled. Ditko soon returned to comics, although working primarily for Charlton, along with his independent characters and stories appearing in fanzines. He would not produce any work for DC again until 1975.     

Another interesting tid-bit was how Iris West was almost killed off in the Flash. In later years wholesale killing of characters became standard operating procedure, but this was not the case at DC in 1968.


The Flash story that wasn't so tragic! Ross Andru/Mike Esposito cover to Flash # 184, December 1968

An attractive sketch of Mary Perkins by Leonard Starr, from the comic strip On Stage. 

A terrific John Romita sketch of Daredevil, one of Romita's favorite characters. Incidentally, Hanerfeld explained that most of the illos were from the collections of Len Wein and Marv Wolfman. 

 The Comic Reader # 70, (Oct 1968) includes an array of goings-on at National, including the departure of Irwin Donenefeld and the return of Alex Toth and John Broome. 

The distinctive art of Kurt Schaffenberger, drawing a character he was long associated with, Lois Lane, from TCR # 70.

Newcomer Herb Trimpe furnishes an excellent drawing of Kid Colt, from The Comic Reader # 71, Dec '68

Along with news of Gold Key management changes, a Pete Costanza drawing of ACG's Magicman enlivens the 71st issue of The Comic Reader (December 1968)  

A traumatic event for many fans was the raise in price from 12 to 15 cents. I was there, kids, and those three extra pennies was a big deal. Little did we know how often prices would rise in the following decades. Hannerfeld's thoughts on the future of comics packaging and pricing was interesting, but the haphazard attempts by publishers leaned less towards experimentation and more with the status quo.

Joe Orlando based the visual design of the character Abel, host of the revived mystery title House of Secrets, on publisher Mark Hanerfeld. From TCR # 73, May 1969. A particularly interesting item is the proposed line of slick 75 cent color magazines that Jerry DeFuccio was attempting to publish. It sounded like it would have been an interesting endeavor, although DC apparently bought some of the stories.  

The winners of the 1968 Alley Awards, from TCR # 74, October 1969. At this point the superhero output of Marvel and DC dominated the awards, although war and westerns still had a decent showing. Less so with romance - Millie the Model received a total of 28 votes. Steranko was a big winner in a number of categories and newspaper strips remained popular among fans. 

After a six month gap, The Comic Reader #'s 74 and 75 came out simultaneously. Issue 74 contained the Alley Awards and an ongoing fanzine index, while # 75 featured all news. TCR didn't just handle news of the comics industry, it also included information on comic related books, novels based on TV shows such as Star Trek and the Prisoner, and science fiction and sword and sorcery paperbacks. Along with news of comic cons, articles on comics appearing in newspapers and magazines and ephemera such as toys and games, TCR had a varied and interesting  approach.  

TCR often carried reproductions of upcoming DC comics since Hanerfeld had access to the editorial staff. Marvel was less accommodating and would not supply any advance art or previews in this period. Aquaman #50 cover art by Nick Cardy; Hot Wheels # 1, art by Alex Toth and Dick Giordano. From The Comic Reader #76, December 1970.

    News of the debut of the Friday Foster comic strip by creator Jim Lawrence and artist Jorge Longaron. This stylish strip featured the first African-American woman in a continuing series. I recall enjoying the strip as a child when it appeared in the New York Daily News. With all the wonderful collections of comic strips appearing, I hope some publisher will collect the series into book form one day soon. From The Comic Reader # 77, January 1970.

Next Up: Another change in title, publisher and format.         

Thursday, February 6, 2014

On The Drawing Board/TCR

                    The Third part of my examination of The Comic Reader continues...

An announcement sure to rock comics fans appears unobtrusively in type on the cover of the Comic Reader # 44, Dec 1965. Art by fan Gary Polin.

Derrill Rothermich continued as publisher/editor of The Comic Reader in late 1965/early 1966, with Dave Kaler listed as associate and news editor.While On The Drawing Board was the primary attraction, TCR also featured fanzine reviews, articles, letters and artwork. Steve Ditko quitting Marvel was a shock to fans, and further information appeared inside:      

According to the article, Ditko turned in his last stories for Marvel in November 1965. There was some trepidation that Ditko might leave the industry, but those fears were unfounded, and Ditko went on to create and drawn countless characters and stories in the 45 years since that ominous headline.

 A nice Paul Reinman drawing of Fly-Man and Fly-Girl, two characters he was currently drawing (along with the rest of the Archie Superhero line), also from TCR # 44. In his editorial Derrill notes:

"My special thanks go to Paul Reinman who took the time to do the Fly-Man and Fly-Girl illo especially for TCR. It really surprised me because I didn't think he would find enough free time to do it."  

Reinman seemed to appreciate the fan attention, and it's unfortunate that no one (as far as I know) interviewed him about his long career. Still, from the letters I've read that appeared in fanzines and his generosity, I suspect Reinman was a nice guy.

So much for anonymity! In TCR # 45, January 1966, Kaler reveals who Adam Austin and Mickey Demeo really are. Frank Giacoia lucked out, since he couldn't spell his last name! The news section also mentions that John Romita will take over Spider-Man and Bill Everett will likely be the new Dr. Strange artist. 

Ditko was still very much on fan's minds, including editor Rothermich:

"I suppose that a large number of you were disappointed to see that the great Steve Ditko would no longer be working for Marvel. This came as a great shock to me and now I am wondering what this turn of events will mean for Spider-Man. In my mind, Spider-Man and Steve Ditko were one and the same word. Ditko made Spider-Man unique, something extra special. I am not saying that John Romita won't do a good job on him but he still won't be the same. The one consolation that we do have is that Steve will still be doing comic work for Charlton and Tower."       

Will Eisner contributed this drawing of his most famous creation in TCR # 45. The Spirit returned for a brief two issue run at Harvey in this period, the first introduction to many fans of the masked crimefighter. 

The Comic Reader # 46, February 1966, sports a cover by Alan Hutchinson, who contributed much artwork to early fanzines. Three of the most important companies to fans were Marvel, DC and Gold Key, and Hawkman was apparently preferred over DC's big three!

On The Drawing Board featured a preview of two new characters from Charlton: Mr. L. Dedd and Dr. Graves, both drawn by the underrated Rocco Mastroserio. Graves originally appeared in short stories written by Dave Kaler in Ghostly Tales and would graduate to his own comic soon after. Other news items included info on Mighty, Dell, King, DC and Marvel, as well as the hit Batman TV show, which would soon have an impact on many publishers who attempted to latch onto the superhero bandwagon, most with less than spectacular results. And one can only wonder how a live action Captain America or Spider-Man TV show would have turned out, even with Stan Lee writing scripts. From TCR # 46.    

TCR # 47 included a ton of Batman related news, as the media saturated hero invaded toys, games, records, gum cards, clothing and anything else you can think of. There was anticipation by fans that other superhero and adventure related characters would make the transition to TV and movies, but, aside from animation and a few TV shows such as the Green Hornet, the Batmania phenomenon would not be duplicated.

Even the super-busy Jack Kirby found time to sketch the Thing for the Comic Reader, appearing in issue # 47, March 1966, but Benjy must have been clobbered if he can't figure how to get to Yancy Street!

And now, fasten your seat belts and prepare to be confused (I know I am!). With the following issue The Comic Reader essentially became a new publication, On The Drawing Board (which was the name of the news section), numbered Volume 2, # 2. Rothermich explained he would continue as Executive Editor, but OTDB would be published by the Gateway Comic Book Fan Club, with Robert Schoenfeld residing as President. The new publication would focus primarily on news and Academy of Comic Book Fans and Collectors info, which was a gathering of organized fans. The Comic Reader would become a separate publication, focusing on articles and non-news items.  OTDB was intended to be a monthly publication, clocking in at six pages.  

If you've digested that, be advised that three issues later the name was changed back to The Comic Reader, as Rothermich attempts to explain....
And BACK to the Drawing Board (or more precisely ON the Drawing Board) with the following issue! Believe me, folks, this was not an easy fanzine to try to collect! Since the print is hard to produce, I'll just note that Schoenfeld explains that he is returning to OTDB and continuing the numbering, with The Comic Reader becoming a bi-monthly publication (which didn't occur). This was also the last issue Rothermirch edited. (As Groucho once said, I'll go out into the lobby until this blows over!)  

(I promise the title won't change least not until part 4!). Alan Hutchinson's cover features the short-lived Harvey heroes, Spyman, Piranha, Jigsaw and Will Eisner's The Spirit. Vol 1, no 6 (whole # 53), October 1966.  

In that same issue Schoenfeld makes an important point about how fans often ignored older creators, letting their history and contributions to comics slip away for all time. Sadly, neglecting those pioneers in lieu of the current favorite happened all too often.    

  A humorous cartoon about Rothermich in the service, drawn by Mike Fleisher, likely the same person who went on to produce the Spectre and Jonah Hex.

The back cover to OTDB # 53 included an ad for Et Cetera # 1 before Wood changed the title to Witzend.

On The Drawing Board Vol 2, # 55 includes info on Frank Giacoia.

Long time DC staffer Mark Hanerfeld writes about the 1966 Academy Con. Who wouldn't want to hear a transcript of this Con, featuring Stan Lee, Bill Everett, John Romita, Roy Thomas, Denny O'Neil, Steranko, Dick Giordano, Bill Finger, Gil Kane, Murphy Anderson and Bill Harris, to name a few. 

On The Drawing Board Vol 2, no 12 (# 59) includes a letter by Bill Harris, editor of King Comics, describing their attempts to find alternative areas of distribution. Sadly, despite utilizing some fine writers and artists, they soon stopped publishing comics.

            Popular fan artist Ron Foss provides the cover to OTDB Vol 2, no 14 (#61), June 1967

Fan artist Rich Buckler shows his Kirby influence early on. Buckler would soon turn pro and work for both Marvel and DC on many of their superhero features. What's News became the new title of the news section., and fans Mike Fredrich and Jeff Jones receive their first professional assignments.

Len Wein went on to write many of the Marvel and DC characters he DREW for this Con ad on the back cover to OTDB 61.

An atmospheric cover by Dick Memorich of Eisner's Spirit, from OTDB vol 2, no 15 (# 62), August 1967.


Dave Kaler's news column in #62 reveals the upheaval that took place in late 1967. Too many companies competed for rack space, with many following (and attempting to copy) the popularity of Batman/Marvel. Sales were apparently down overall, and many companies either folded or stopped publishing superhero material (Archie, Charlton). The Tower line, which held promise, soon met its demise. Perhaps with time they would have found an audience, but their higher 25 cent price apparently hurt sales. Whatever the case, lack of imagination, an overabundance of publishers and changing tastes put an end to the proliferation of superheros. In less than a decade most genres would be gone, and sales continued to plunge. The children's audience was largely abandoned, as mainstream comics catered more and more to older, long time superhero fans. The writing was on the wall over 40 years ago; since then comics have become a marginalized, niche audience, with corresponding sales figures. 

The next issue mentions further industry changes. A popular misconception is how Dick Giordano brought Steve Ditko to DC, but Joe Orlando was talking to Ditko about creating new characters for DC while Giordano was still at Charlton. Shortly, Ditko created the Creeper, although Murray Boltinoff was listed as editor of his premiere in Showcase. Bob Powell's passing is also noted, an extremely talented and versatile artist who produced excellent work throughout his career.

More changes for On The Drawing Board. As of Vol 2, no 17 (#64) January 1968, Mark Hanerfeld takes over the news column from Dave Kaler and the Academy is disbanded, with the possibility of OTDB being cancelled. Fear not, though. We're not done yet! The Creeper and Hawk and Dove are announced as new Ditko titles, and Dick Giordano leaves Charlton to replace outgoing Editor George Kashdan. 

Mark Hanerfeld takes over the editorship and publication of On The Drawing Board with Vol 3, no 2 (# 65)(March 1968). As you might suspect, there were plenty of internal upheavals, and we're not quite finished yet. Included in the news section is a sketch by Bill Ligante of Dr. Doom, a strip he was supposed to draw for Marvel that never materialized.

           Murphy Anderson also contributes a sketch for the same issue.    

Dick Giordano was busy editing a number of books for DC, and while most of the upcoming news came to pass, not everything did. Reed Crandall wound up sending back the Blackhawk script, which was completed by Pat Boyette. Another intriguing news item that never materialized was DC's intention of using the title Adventures into the Unknown from the defunct ACG, which would include a new "Dr.Strange type" character by Steve Ditko. That would have been interesting, although Ditko's plate was pretty full at that point with Creeper and Hawk and Dove. DC instead decided to revamp an ongoing title, House of Mystery, which had been headlining Dial H for Hero, returning it to its anthology roots (#174, June 1968), with no continuing characters besides the host. That series was edited by Joe Orlando. Giordano became the editor of The Witching Hour, which debuted in late 1968 (February 1969 cover-date).   

In case you weren't totally confused, there are TWO On The Drawing Board # 66's! Robert Schoenfeld published The Comic Reader # 66, which is listed on the cover as OTDB! In the editorial he states that he will continue The Comic Reader as a separate publication, with Hanerfeld publishing OTDB, but his Comic Reader didn't continue (as far as I this point I'm getting a headache!).

The REAL On The Drawing Board # 66 (Vol 3, no2), March 1968, did appear, still run by Mark Hanerfeld. Rocke Mastroserio's passing is noted. He was just starting to work for DC, and would have been a fine addition to their mystery line. 

A Milton Caniff sketch of Steve Canyon adorns the aforementioned issue.

A Frank Frazetta sketch accompanies the news of  Martin Goodman's sale of Magazine Management to Perfect Film, from OTDB # 68 (Vol 3, no 4), June 1968. Bill Everett's announced western feature, Black Arrow, was unfortunately never produced.

Other news included Steve Ditko being hospitalized. Gil Kane took over the art, and later the writing as well on Hawk and the Dove, but Neal Adams didn't spell Ditko on the Creeper. Jack Sparling would complete the 6th and final issue, so it's anyone's guess if Ditko would have returned to the strip after he recovered.    

Jack Sparling's drawing of the new character Jonny Double, based on a sketch by Neal Adams, as noted elsewhere in the mag. 

           And speaking of Adams, he produces a Deadman sketch for the very same issue!     

Finally we close out this go 'round with another Spirit sketch by the incomparable Will Esner.   

We're far from done with TCR (or is it OTDB)? Next time out they'll be more changes, along with lot's of interesting news and artwork from one of the most important fanzines of the 1960's (and beyond)