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solid writing
skilled art
historical bonus 3
total score 7
Graphixus 1 _ not available
Graphixus #1
Graphixus #2
graphixus 3 _ graphixus 4 _ graphixus 5
Graphixus #3
Graphixus #4
Graphixus #5

1978 / Mal Burns and Media & Graphic Eye Enterprises

Graphixus was an alternative-type British magazine launched by Mal Burns in 1978 and ran for five issues. Burns started the mag as his other title, Brainstorm Comix (a Lee Harris publication that Burns edited), was just about done with its run. As Burns explained in his editorial in the first issue, "Even though Brainstorm was most certainly a success story in itself, publication was very irregular and the economics rather fragile.... Thus, although I have asperations [sic] that require an eventual mass-readership for Graphixus, I am launching it on a very small scale."

Burns went on to describe his vision for the magazine, which was to be "a virtual showcase for all kinds of graphic art." However, he admitted the first issue was "slightly less sophisticated than originally envisaged." If you get to know Mal Burns through his editorials and articles in various publications, you will agree that he is nothing if not honest about the quality of the work he presents to the reader.

Indeed, Graphixus #1 gets the anthology off to a pretty rough start, especially in regard to comic stories and artwork, which are mostly pretty mediocre (though it is a pleasure to see any Mike Matthews story). However, the magazine is still an interesting read, as it gives us Clay Geerdes' "Comix World" column
and Burns' own "Graphic Eye '78," which provides information on British comics from the era.

Graphixus gets stronger with each subsequent issue as the artwork and writing improves and the magazine expands in size. The production values also improve, leading up to the final issue, which is 68 pages and printed entirely on coated stock. Despite this continuous improvement, sales in Britain never took off, as Burns laments in his editorial for the fourth issue: "If not for America and Europe we would not be here now. Wake up Britain! Support your home-grown produce!" Alas, they did not.

The magazine folded after five issues, primarily because Burns lost his much-needed American distribution deal and had not received a large sum of money still owed to him. He went on to play a hand in editing Pssst!, a very interesting anthology magazine that lasted twice as long as Graphixus but probably lost twice as much money (thankfully, not his money). Burns got out of the magazine business after that and focused on a career supporting comic artists and producing computer graphics. There is a Mal Burns website that provides links to his many blogs and various ventures, demonstrating that Burns is in tune with the times and active in all manner of social networking.

Graphixus was a one-man publication that showed a lot of promise by the time it kicked the bucket. Like so many enterprises that Burns was (and is) involved in, it gave new creators an opportunity for much greater exposure than they could find through conventional channels. For that reason, and for the valuable historical information contained within its articles and columns, Graphixus is still an entertaining read.