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Full Force Frank was one angry psychopath..

The Brooklyn man sent a three-page letter complaining about my Obscure Publications #6 (June, 1990) review of his “Singin’ Dose Anti-Psychotic Blues,” a murder-zine that — in Frank’s words — “salutes and pays homage to violence of all sorts …[and] attempts to acknowledge and glorify the courage of those rare people that turn their thoughts and dreams and fantasies into reality, mass and serial killers.” (The Xeroxed publication was also about Frank’s obsession with women’s feet; you could get his zine for free if you sent him a pair of heels.)

Frank wrote to me, using red ink:

I’m sitting here reading over issue #6 of Obscure for about the tenth time, and lemme tell you, I am one pissed-off psychopath!!! …

Basically, I have no problem with your entire review except for the one sentence of “Frank’s essay is chilling and legitimate cause for an investigation into his background.”

Where do you get off suggesting that my background should be investigated?? Fuck you, Jim! …Where the hell do you get off prompting the pigs to look into my personal, private life??? Effective immediately, you are being dropped from my mailing list and will never receive any future zines from me. And please do not send me any future issues of Obscure either.”

Where do I get off? Well, consider this excerpt from one of Frank’s lengthy screeds:

I do in fact live, breath, dream violent thoughts and fantasies. The only reason I don’t carry them out is that I make a conscious choice that I wish to keep my freedom, not to be jailed and abused by the criminal justice system. That is the only thing holding me back. If this barrier was removed, my Browning Hi-Power, sitting on my desk as I type this, would get a real workout. How many people would I kill? I can easily name fifty right off the top of my head.

Frank told me that “I have no intention of threatening you in writing,” but added: “Believe me Jim, I am a real psychopath. I do not act. If people screw me over and think they can get away with it, they are wrong. I never forget and I never forgive. …Rest assured, making enemies is one thing, but making an enemy of a person who is a genuine psychopath is a house of another color and is a GRAVE mistake.”

He signed off — as he always did — “SINcerely and PSYCHOpathically yours, FRANK.”

Frank was just one of the many unusual characters I’d dealt with during my years as publisher of Obscure Publications and Video, an eight-page fanzine I launched in 1989. It was produced on a Macintosh SE, using Quark XPress, printed at Kinko’s, and published a few times a year. (At the time, I was also a city magazine senior editor and an adjunct University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee journalism instructor.) I was introduced to the fanzine world by former Milwaukee Magazine colleague Simon Dumenco, now Ad Age’s “The Media Guy” columnist. He sent me a copy a Factsheet Five, an all-text catalog of fanzines with thousands of titles and ordering information. What I didn’t see in this directory was a fanzine that profiled zines and their publishers; I got to work and started Obscure. The first issue was just a single sheet that I traded for other zines. Obscure got bigger over time — well, 8 pages — and became known in this publishing subculture as the place (other than Factsheet Five) to get reviewed and profiled. Read More