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cover
 
spotty writing
skilled art
historical bonus 2
total score 6
Realm #6
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AVERAGE SCORE 8
1st Printing / February 1976 / 52 pages / Everyman Studios
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The first comic-book issue of Realm was actually the sixth issue of the title and was published three years after the previous issue came out as a fanzine. The first two stories are by Kirk Kennedy, a Studio cofounder and coeditor of this issue. Neither story is very good, as they meander along without much purpose and conclude either weakly or illogically without any sense of surprise or enlightenment. The three-page jam by five artists that follows isn't much better, but at least it ends with some degree of amusement.

After those stories, the sampling of illustrations that follow come as a welcome respite from the mediocre writing, and Kirk Kennedy partially redeems himself with an interesting if ultimately decorative drawing. But then he provides another clinker a bit later, made worse by the fact that it was supposed to "be continued" and never was, either in this issue or in the final issue of the series that followed a year later. So don't bother with "Johnny Whammo"!

Romero provides an eight-page sci-fi adventure about a robot abducted from his planet by an alien machine and taken to another planet far away, which turns out to be Earth. The robot meets a woman who apparently is having a psychedelic dream, but within what seems to be only minutes he is whisked away by the alien machine back to his planet. Romero does some very nice illustration and layout for this story, but the story is rather dull and unfulfilling.

Al Greenier contributes a nine-page strip he adapted from a short story by Tom Nicotera called "Concerto for Gin." It's about a young woman alone on a New York subway train until an older woman drunk on gin barges into her rail car and won't stop talking. The story is the best written piece in the book and Greenier's loose inkwork fits the mood rather well. Darrel Anderson follows with a quick three-pager featuring the Platinum Toad that features some witty word play. The book closes with Richard Berry's "Nancy's Pa," which is decently illustrated but provides a ambiguous conclusion to a story that was already enigmatic.

Realm #6 is an average comic book, and it barely made it to average because the second half of the book somewhat redeems the first half. But I give it an extra review point for the cool variations of the original cover art. It doesn't take much to make me happy.
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keyline
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HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES:
There are three printings of this comic book, all by Everyman Studios (but credited to Cubist Da Da Cartoon Movement on the first page), and all with 75-cent cover prices. The 1st printing (300 copies) features gold metallic ink on the front cover. The 2nd printing (600 copies) was produced just two months later and features individually multicolored silkscreened cover art, which means no two covers of the 2nd printing are exactly alike. Everyman Studios changed the cover artwork for the 3rd printing (850 copies), which came out just a few months after the 2nd printing.
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Under typical comic-book publishing practices, having three small print quantities of the same comic book in such a short span of time (9 months) would have been costly and ineffecient, but Everyman had their own little offset machine for printing comics, so for them it was purely a matter of time and labor. The business partners probably didn't want to risk being left with unsold copies of the book, so they printed only as many as they reasonably believed would be sold.
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Everyman Studios did not identify any reprinting of Realm #6 until the 3rd printing, which they stated was the "Second Printing" on the inside back cover. Perhaps they felt the first two printings were so close together they should both be considered the 1st printing, but because the different printings took place months apart, there's little doubt that they should have been identified as separate printings.
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The 3rd printing featured all-new cover art by Darrel Anderson (who also did the previous cover art). It's amusing that he showed the previous cover art lying in the gutter, torn and tattered, in the new artwork for the 3rd printing.
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COMIC CREATORS:
Artie Romero - coeditor, 3, 14-16 (collaboration), 19, 25-33, 50 (shared), 52
Darrel Anderson - coeditor, 1, 14-16 (collaboration), 18, 43-45
Kirk Kennedy - coeditor, 4-13, 14-16 (collaboration), 17, 22-24
Dave Taylor - 14-16 (collaboration), 21
Richard Berry - 14-16 (collaboration), 46-49, 50 (shared)
Neil Dutcher - 20
Al Greenier - 34-42 (art, adaptation)
Tom Nicotera - 34-42 (story)
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Realm 6 2nd   Realm 6 3rd
2nd Printing
75-cent cover,
multi-color cover art.
  3rd Printing
75-cent cover, new
cover art, "2nd Printing" on IBC.