Avon Calling

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Zine
Title: Avon Calling
Publisher: Up the Rebels Press
Editor(s): Denetia Arellanes
Date(s): 1990-1994
Series?: yes
Medium: print fanzine
Size:
Genre: slash and het
Fandom: Blake's 7
Language: English
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Avon Calling is a slash and adult het Blake's 7 anthology.

From a flyer for the first issue: "A Blake's 7 fanzine truly dedicated to the concept of infinite diversity in infinite combinations."

General Reactions and Reviews

Pretty, pretty zines, and sadly only three of them. I found the third issue to be the strongest, but then my tastes in fiction might be considered strange.[1]

Issue 1

front cover of issue #1, Phoenix
back cover of issue #1, Phoenix

Avon Calling 1 has cover art by Phoenix. Other art is by Leah Rosenthal and Phoenix. It was published in 1990 and is slash and het and contains 148 pages.

Artwork:

  • Phoenix (front and back covers)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

[zine]: This zine is full of quite nice woodcutty type Romantic images (twining plants, cupids, winged maidens etc) - which don't fit with the Avon Calling theme - it also generally has frontipieces for most of the stories, like F&I 1. Tea and cynicism, alas, seems not to be a frontipiece, merely an image, though I like the idea of an A/B+tea fic (I've read a Julia Stamford/Predatrix one, but that's not here). [2]
See reactions and reviews for Triumvirate.
See reactions and reviews for Nightwatch.
See reactions and reviews for An Anodyne to Dreams.
See reactions and reviews for Bound by Trust.
See reactions and reviews for Sand in the Sheets.
See reactions and reviews for None So Blind.
See reactions and reviews for A Fool and His Money.
See reactions and reviews for Primal Male.
See reactions and reviews for The Nature of the Beast.
See reactions and reviews for Speak No Evil.
See reactions and reviews for Discoveries.
[zine]: An Avon-centred zine, containing eleven stories and assorted poems and illustrations, including work by Leah Rosenthal and Phoenix. [See this fan's review of the individual stories at their separate pages on Fanlore] [3]

Issue 2

front cover of issue #2, Phoenix
back cover of issue #2, Phoenix

Avon Calling 2 is subtitled, "Avon Calling Again." It was published in 1991, has 154 pages and cover art by Phoenix. It is het and slash.

Poetry

  • Mystery by Gene S. Delapenia 19
  • Stolen Moments by Khylara 39
  • For What It's Worth by Judith Ellison 50
  • Only Mistaken by Jane Mailander 64
  • Acceptance by Gene S. Delapenia 66
  • Hermit Crab by Jane Mailander 98
  • Here in This Room by Khylara 128
  • Fire with Fire by Khylara 142

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

See reactions and reviews for The Hand of Friendship.
See reactions and reviews for Weight Watchers.
See reactions and reviews for Deliverance.
See reactions and reviews for Hitting Bottom.
See reactions and reviews for Liars.
See reactions and reviews for It's a Small Ship, After All.
See reactions and reviews for Orac's Research.
[zine]:

Artwork Cover by Phoenix. Nude. Doesn't really look like Avon as far as I can see (too soppy expression & too over-muscled). There are some more Phoenix's in this 'zine which I don't like, I think she can do him as too Soppy & Quivery.

A nice A/T by Randym. I'm always amazed by her pictures because the characters are more recognisable than some in more naturalistic artwork despite being incredibly stylised.

A rather good soft-pencil thing of Blake's face by Laura Virgil. Nicely sensual. Slightly wary or pensive expression - I think he's looking at Avon & thinking What's He Up To Now...

A couple of fun cartoons by Leah Rosenthal.

Some line drawings by Jessikah Rian which I really don't like at all.

My absolute favourite in this 'zine is the full-colour Lovett illustrating "Weight Watchers": lovely sensual golden picture of Avon & Blake cuddling up in the afterglow.

Poetry: Well, you know what I'm likely to think of fan poetry by now...

Stories: For Play (A/V) by E. Lapidae

No overt sex scene - although the ending is obviously leading up to sex. 2 illos by Phoenix of Avon with a kitten. Avon finds a stray kitten - showing Vila the softer side well hidden under his forbidding exterior.

Fortune's Soldiers (T/Grant) by Cami

Tarrant has a fling with Grant in the adrenalin high after a battle. Nice considerate sex scenes.

Change of Pace (A/T) by Paula

PWP. Avon decides to go to the public baths one shore leave - and meets somebody unexpectedly familiar.

Scattered Petals (V/Soolin) by Anon

Only het story in this 'zine. Nice gentle bittersweet story - Soolin dares Vila to be romantic instead of clodhopping & Vila determines to really surprise her.

For Play (A/V) by E. Lapidae

No overt sex scene - although the ending is obviously leading up to sex. 2 illos by Phoenix of Avon with a kitten. Avon finds a stray kitten - showing Vila the softer side well hidden under his forbidding exterior.

[See this fan's review of the other individual stories at their separate pages on Fanlore] [5]
Some nice art, some disturbing art (the backcover is actually shielded by a separate piece of red card, so that [one assumes] other passengers on the morning commute don't see Avon's butt), including a rather wonderfully bizarre A3 fold out that I couldn't not photograph for you: [see original post of this review]

Other art includes some more odd-looking Avons, some nice looking Avons, a nice Blake, and that really creepy but effective Blake clutching Avon's head Suzan Lovett image ... which completely doesn't go with the fic it's supposedly illustrating. It would be better with either of the other B/As in this zine, so I wonder if someone just made a mistake.

The Hand of Friendship by N.T. Casillas (A/V): Don't remember this one.

Weight Watchers by Matilda Willard 20 (B/A): Pleasant fluff that is fair yet kind about Blake's appearance. They share some hilariously awful banter before the sex begins ("Are you sure there are no calories in your kisses? ... Something that tastes as sweet as your mouth must be on Cally's forbidden list"), but it's cute and fun.

Change of Pace by Paula 31 (A/T): Avon and Tarrant have sex in a public bath (in a private room) and argue. Pretty good.

Scattered Petals by Lorna Breshears 41 (V/S): Really nice fic for an unusual pairing. Vila is both romantic and in character (I like that he had to be dared to do it, basically).

Festival by Matilda Willard 51 (B/A): I really like this mardi gras fic where Blake and Avon end up at the same gay club after Vila gave them both the same hint. It has some weird stuff with Avon telling a black teenager to find someone else rather than kiss him (completely unrelated to the rest of the fic) and Avon saying he wants to be forced but then forgetting about it, but otherwise - Blake is powerful and sexy throughout, there's a mirror which I like, Blake doing dirty talk, the two of them being cute about Avon's nipple piercings, and generally it's just hot. And fun.

For Play by E. Lapidae 67 (A/V): The picture of the cat accompanies this fic, which seems to be about Avon feeling embarrassed about rescuing a cat, going to sleep naked and getting mauled in the penis. The A/V is very background to the stuff about the cat continuing to maul him while he sleeps. It has a cute ending - in fact, I think Avon+cat is quite a nice idea, but the way it manifests (naked+cat) is just weird.

Deliverance by Pat Ellen 79 (B/A): Blake (who has been brainwashed to be an 'alpha leader') tries to un-brainwash Avon (an 'alpha plus' - brainwashed to be awesome, but to obey the alpha leaders) so that Avon can lead. He does this through BDSM-ing Avon, which he knows Avon will hate. It goes on for far too long. And is also a cracky idea of crack.

Fortune's Soldiers by Cami 99 (T/Del Grant): Del Grant isn't Welsh, and so shouldn't say 'boyo' over and over again. I couldn't read this fic.

Hitting Bottom by Catocala 107 (A/V): Avon is desperate for Vila, who keeps sleeping with everyone else (which is a nice reversal, obviously). It's short and quite fun.

Liars by R. Olivia Brown 113 (A/V): Weird fic about Avon's brother being a nazi scientist.

It's a Small Ship, After All by Natasha Barry 129 (u/c A/B): I don't like this fic in which Blake tells everyone that he and Avon are a couple, when they aren't - and Avon is like WTF? and Blake is confused about why Avon is upset. Without the last clause, this wouldn't be a bad premise, I guess, but it's really anti-Blake in this version. And non-senseical.

Orac's Research by Ty Downs 143 (A/V): Pretty fun mirror universe fic where Captain Vila (who is married to a demur and servile Avon) is swapped with our Vila and the two AU versions basically convince our A and V that they should be together. It's anti-Blake (he had to be chased away from Avon by AU!Vila), but ultimately the fic is larky enough (rather than serious) that I don't mind too much.

Ultimately there's enough interesting, hot and amusing enough in this zine for me to keep it! [6]

Issue 3

" I like how ridic the cover is, as well, although again I almost can't look at it for long. It's a nice idea. Also Vila looks shocked and alarmed to discover himself there... which amuses me." [7]
back cover of issue #3, Suzan Lovett. Title: Sleeping Beauty. [8] -- This cover won a 1994 Stiffie Award for best Blake's 7 art. One fan commented this is a perfect example of "...how nudity can be sensual without being sexual....Avon & Blake wrapped around each other, emotional stuff everywhere, complete and total nudity with no penises displayed."[9] Another fan said: "..."Sleeping Beauty", an absolutely gorgeous, nude study of Blake and Avon, with Blake sleeping with his head in Avon's lap, and Avon bending down to kiss him. It's not really erotic, but unbelievably sweet (I don't usually like sweet, but I'll make an exception here). It's more than that though. This drawing is more than what you'll usually find in zines, which is normerly portrait art. This drawing manages to convey real emotion." -- from the review below

Avon Calling 3 is all slash. Is is subtitled, "Avon Calls Once More." It was published in January 1994, contains 140 pages and has a front cover by Phoenix and a back cover by Suzan Lovett.

The last part of the zine is a mini-zine which contains four short stories and a poem, all based on the art ("Perchance to Dream") by Suzan Lovett. This part of the zine is bound upside-down.

This issue was the winner of a 1995 STIFfie Award.

Artwork:

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

See reactions and reviews for Welcome to My Dungeon.
See reactions and reviews for Call of the Wild.
See reactions and reviews for Retention of Title.
See reactions and reviews for LD50.
See reactions and reviews for The Romance of the Written Word.
See reactions and reviews for Companions.
See reactions and reviews for Sweet Revenge.
See reactions and reviews for Just One Year of Love.
See reactions and reviews for Cytherea.
See reactions and reviews for A Thief's Punishment.
See reactions and reviews for Brilliance.
See reactions and reviews for Afterplay.
See reactions and reviews for Stranded.
See reactions and reviews for Entropy.
See reactions and reviews for It's the Thought That Counts.
See reactions and reviews for The Quality of Mercy.
[zine]: Good cover art. The front cover (Phoenix) has the three chaps naked (Tarrant? Who's he?) and holding the title on a banner strategically covering their naughty bits. This is all great fun, but I think it'll be the back cover which people buy the 'zine for, or even buy as a print. A superb silver-grey Lovett called "Perchance to Dream" (Judith: the picture is actually called 'Sleeping Beauty' it's the back half of the zine that is called 'Perchance to Dream'), it has naked Avon bent over naked Blake to kiss him, but it isn't erotica, just very "sweet" love. Could either fit tragedy or sweet romance, and I suppose that's why part of the 'zine is on upside down and themed to fit the Lovett as the cover. [See this fan's comments about the individual stories at their pages on Fanlore] [14]
[zine]: Short Description: This particular issue is all-slash. Avon Calling (#1) was a mix of het and slash (although more slash than het). All stories with one exception have Avon as one of the slashees (er, that's not really a word, but then the dictionary doesn't have a definition for our sort of slash, so I'm free to make up words). The zine is around 140 pages.

The Art: If nice art is important to you, then you'll really like this zine. Yes, there's lots of stuff by Lovett and Phoenix, plus an odd picture here and there, that isn't mentioned in the credits (there's an A/T by Randym, I think).

And I finally got to see the much mentioned "Sleeping Beauty", an absolutely gorgeous, nude study of Blake and Avon, with Blake sleeping with his head in Avon's lap, and Avon bending down to kiss him. It's not really erotic, but unbelievably sweet (I don't usually like sweet, but I'll make an exception here). It's more than that though. This drawing is more than what you'll usually find in zines, which is normerly portrait art. This drawing manages to convey real emotion. Also notable, there's a Blake-as-satyr drawing by Lovett, that's way cool and a must see for Blake fans. I like the cover by Phoenix quite a bit, esp. Vila.

The Poetry: Well, I don't really care for poetry, because half the time I don't understand it. Some people are tone-deaf, I think I'm poetry-challenged. But I think I did grasp "Felis avonis" by Jane Mailander, which does a nice comparison between Avon and felines. And there's a neat full color Lovett to go with it, esp. loved the Avon-transforming-into-panther in the upperleft, which is very sensual.

The Stories:

[See this fan's comments about the individual stories at their pages on Fanlore] [15]
[zine]: avon calling 3 is mostly blake/avon, which is good because i've settled into zine fandom enough... that i don't read much of the pairings i'm not interested in unless the fics are very highly thought of and/or it's femslash or somehow interesting. anyway, that said i did read a good A/V in this one, and my dear friends and housemates have some thoughts on the A/T and the V/T so together it's like we practically read the whole zine and can offer you real opinions on it.

Avon Calling 3. Conclusion - nice art, generally well edited and the quality of the prose etc is generally pretty high, but on the whole... it's competent, but doesn't make me feel very much. So, with that ringing endorsement, let's go on, shall we?

all the art is dodgy, btw. there's a quick warning to look away now if this is not what you want in your life.

I actually resent how silly and technically incredible this artwork is, because it means I am almost certainly going to keep the zine, even though I feel nothing for the fics.

... it's worth mentioning that the turning into a jaguar one looks AMAZING in real life. God, it's so awful. And amazing. So 3D and beautifully coloured. I just - can't respond to it in a sensible way. Anyway, so there's that.

I like how ridic the cover is, as well, although again I almost can't look at it for long. It's a nice idea. Also Vila looks shocked and alarmed to discover himself there... which amuses me. And although I stick to my guns and say 'there's no way Roj Blake sleeps so peacefully' (we saw it. It looks like this), I like the Avon of the back cover a lot, enough to make me say I like that picture a lot. I also really really like the Lovett picture of Blake watching Avon from the mirror. It really doesn't fit with the story, though, as to me it seems obvious that Blake is powerful in the picture. Avon not un-powered, but Blake is clothed vs naked, and watching him and smiling (I like a powerful Blake), whereas in the fic it's sort of supposed to be an odd sort of hurried and awkward glance. Basically, what I'm saying is - I like this picture because it fits in with my characterisation in a way that Sleeping Beauty, though attractive, does not, and a way in which the parent fic does not.

But that's interesting, as Lovett often goes for beauty and epicocity of composition, rather than characterisation in her artwork, whereas her fics are all about characterisation, and characterisation that I agree with.

Anyway -

[comments about specific art snipped, see gallery]

Art aside, this is a nicely presented zine in general. I like the two halves business they've got going on. The typeface is nice and a good size. In short - it looks professional and very worth the money. But what of the stories? The main event, as it were.

Let's talk about those.

First, I've already intimated that I think the standard of writing is generally very high, and the standard of emotional involvement is generally low. But it's worth repeating that, I think.

[See this fan's comments about the individual stories at their pages on Fanlore] [16]

References

  1. comment by Lynn W.
  2. comments by Aralias, see full post at Lots of not very good zines, November 13, 2015
  3. from a review by Nova in 2000 at Judith Proctor's BLake's 7 site, Archived version.
  4. Lysator, Beth F, dated October 1, 1994.
  5. a review by Predatrix at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site, Archived version.
  6. review by aralias at zines: the other side 8 and 9, avon calling 2; archive link, , January 27, 2016
  7. Aralias reviewed this zine in November 2013 on Dreamwidth, Archived version
  8. original art was for sale here
  9. Charlotte Hill's discussion of Explicit Slash Art on the Virgule-L mailing list in May 1994, quoted with permission.
  10. Aralias reviewed this zine in November 2013 on Dreamwidth, Archived version
  11. Partnersrmore, Archived version
  12. Sandy Herrold posting about Escapade 1993 to the Virgule-L mailing list: "I also bought my *first fannish art* at the con. (12+ years a fan, and never bought art.)"
  13. Aralias reviewed this zine in November 2013 on Dreamwidth, Archived version
  14. review by Predatrix at Judith Proctor's Blake' s7 site, Archived version.
  15. from a review by Sonja at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site, Archived version.
  16. Aralias reviewed this zine in November 2013 on Dreamwidth, Archived version