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Utopia / Valhalla

Utopia/Valhalla #1 Cover

Alan Moore ~ Howard Philip Lovecraft

  • Publisher: ‘Fandom’ (“fandom’s first ever dual-zine”)
  • Date: 1970, February (contains an ‘April’ date on editorial page, which adopted the US comic system of dating months in advance to keep the items on the newsstand longer)
  • Print Run: Confirmed 50, with 30 being mailed directly to subscribers (only 4 known to exist, not including Alan Moore’s copy/s, seen at Arts Lab Northampton meeting 2016)
  • Cover Price: N/A
  • Copy 1 – £3,100 at auction 2014
  • Copy 2 – £2,600 at auction 2016 (from estate of long time fan/press artist)
  • Copy 3 – ? (Current eBay copy listed for £1,500, originally from editor Paul McCartney)
  • Copy 4 – in editor Paul McCartney​’s collection
  • Writer: Alan Moore
  • Artist: Alan Moore
  • Cover: Alan Hunter
  • Pencils: Alan Moore
  • Inks: Alan Moore
  • Color: N/A
  • Editor: Paul Mcartney
  • Co-editor: Dave Womack
Utopia/Valhalla #1 Cover
Utopia/Valhalla #1 – Utopia Cover 1970 photo Ewan Brownlow

This is Alan Moore’s SECOND (‘Shadow’ #9, predating ‘Utopia’ by one month, contains a letter written by Alan) known work, predating Seminar as well as Embryo #5. There are only three known mentions of this zine. One in Oracle #19, another fanzine from that same time. I’m unable to confirm this, however Oracle #21 is listed on the fanzine database with a 1971 date. The other two mentions are the actual eBay listings from the sale of this copy of Utopia/Valhalla in 2o14, and the ‘current’ eBay listing 2017:

 

…knowing print-runs of fanzines of this era were almost always just 100 or less, the chances of finding a copy 44 years later seemed pretty unlikely…features a two page feature written by the teenage Moore entitled “Howard Philip Lovecraft”…ends by stating “© Alan Moore 1969” which means he must have written it when he was 15 or maybe 16 years old. The editor (Paul McCartney) writes that the feature was to be accompanied by three of Moore’s drawings too (which are named) but were going to be held off for issue no.2.  ~ Ewan Brownlow

 

Also within Utopia/Valhalla is listed: Stan Nicholls, Wonder Woman, Western Comics, Steve Moore, Heroes Unlimited & other fanzines, Pre-decimal comic adverts including “This Month’s Special Feature: Blackhawk”, Ron Bennett, etc, with Alan Hunter getting front and rear cover credits.

 

 

Back/Cover of Utopia/Valhalla – photo eBay seller

 

 

There is a quote from the Lovecraft story attributed to Moore:

He was the last of the great horror writers. Some say, the greatest – Alan Moore

 

utopia-valhalla-lovecraft-title-alan-moore-1970
Alan Moore’s ‘Lovecraft’ in Utopia photo Ewan Brownlow

 

*The following is quoted directly from the owner of Copy #3 referenced above, with only a few portions removed in entirety speaking specifically to the auction sale. This is not done to ‘usurp’ this fantastic information in any way. We could not add anything more than what is here, and to rewrite any as if it were Emporium Purgatorio’s research would be completely unfair to this person, as well as to Mr. Brownlow.

“Utopia/Valhalla 1 is acknowledged in the excellent Dales’s Comic Fanzine Price Guide 2015 (page 15) and is the only U.K. fanzine to be recognized in that volume.

 

Utopia/Valhalla Cover – photo eBay seller

 

The concept for Utopia/Valhalla was conceived by the editors, Paul McCartney and Dave Womack. ‘Valhalla’ was an adzine containing copious pages of McCartney’s own comics for sale together with other advertisers. It was similar in style to the acclaimed ‘Fantasy Advertiser’, published up until that time by Frank Dobson. But McCartney had always wanted to combine fanzine-styled pages together with adverts, so the ‘dual-zine’ Utopia/Valhalla evolved from that idea, with Utopia being edited by Dave Womack and stapled together, back to front, with Valhalla. Both covers were drawn by the highly regarded fanzine artist, Alan Hunter and are reproduced here. Sadly, a second issue never reached print, primarily because McCartney took over the editorship of Fantasy Advertiser, together with close friend Dez Skinn, at the invitation of Frank Dobson who had emigrated to Australia. Their first issue was the mammoth-sized No. 32, published in the early summer of 1970 and it maintained and improved upon the concept of the dual-zine launched with Utopia/Valhalla months previously. Whilst Paul found combining university commitments with publishing FA on a regular basis too much to maintain by 1971, Dez steadfastly produced Fantasy Advertiser for years to come.

utopia-valhalla-lovecraft-copywright-alan-moore-1970
Alan Moore’s ‘Lovecraft’ copyright 1969 in Utopia photo Ewan Brownlow

The printing quality was not good, with some pages feint; this was acknowledged with an apology in the editorial at the time. All copies were similar. The scarcity of Utopia/Valhalla 1 is unquestioned. Only 50 copies were printed and less than 30 sold to subscribers, such was the small scale of U.K. comic fandom at the time. The fragmentation of this early fandom was such that many collectors were in total isolation to all others with similar interests.
Research has revealed that there is unlikely to be more than 4 or 5 surviving copies, only 2 or 3 of which have ever been offered for resale in recent times. Utopia/Valhalla’s worth has been known since June 2014 and worldwide searches have not unearthed more copies, though many have tried. This copy has also been the personal property of Paul McCartney for some time before being passed on to me fairly recently but the time has come for me to say a fond farewell to the jewel in my fanzine/adzine collection.”

 

UPDATED: March, 2017

*Ewan Brownlow, the original owner, was once again graciousness enough to share his time to bring this up-to-date. Especially gracious as this, and so much more on the history and beauty of Zines, UK, and Alan Moore, is currently being edited for a future book/work encompassing these topics. When that comes about, Emporium Purgatorio HIGHLY recommends both the content and the author.

*Emporium Purgatorio is also heavily indebted to the owner of the 3rd auctioned copy of Utopia/Valhalla referenced above. He was also kind enough to give us his time and permission to use both photo & text.

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