U.N.C.L.E. Fan Strips

Some extraordinary talent popped up in the early years of comics fandom, showcased in a wide variety of zines. One of the most unusual, creative and just plain fun was “Odd,” published by Massachusetts fan Dave Herring and his brother Steve. Dave was a huge fan of the original comic-book version of “Mad” and modeled “Odd” after that title.

In early 1965, “Odd” published what was probably the first U.N.C.L.E. spoof to appear anywhere (it certainly came out before “Mad’s” did). The script was by Marv Wolfman, who turned pro a few years later and has written countless titles for both DC and Marvel in the decades since. The art, as was usually the case with “Odd,” was by Dave Herring, who now runs a computer art and design business (for more on that and more “Odd” features, click here). Dave’s talent is clear to see in the splash page below, but the dedication and craftsmanship involved in producing “Odd” is not immediately evident. “Odd,” like most early fanzines, was printed on a ditto machine, so every page had to be drawn and lettered directly on ditto masters, a skill now lost to the ages (and if you don’t remember ditto machines, you probably shouldn’t be reading FYEO).