“The Friendly Magazine”

The fanzine Sweetness and Light was launched in Spring 1939 by the “Moonrakers,” a clique within the Los Angeles Science Fiction League. The Editorial Board consisted of Russ Hodgkins, Fred Shroyer, Henry Kuttner, Jim Mooney and Art Barnes. The subtitle proclaimed the publication to be “The Friendly Magazine.” Like all of its contents over its five-issue run, the masthead was ironic.

Sweetness and Light, v1n1, Spring 1939

Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language notes: Moon′-rak′er, a silly person
Moon′-rak′ing, the following of crazy fancies

And so they were, and so they did.

Each issue prominently featured outlandish cartoons by Jim Mooney, the cutting wit of Henry Kuttner and morose and / or sarcastic offerings from Fred Shroyer.

The editors collaborated on a series of caricatures that today’s fans deserve to see. Shroyer provided most of the prose, with Kuttner taking at least one turn. Some appear to target specific prominent fans of the day, while others seem more archetypal.

Our question: Are things really that different these days?

Some fans of the 1930s developed a fascination with Communism, some active in the Communist Party until Stalin made it less fashionable.
Sweetness and Light, v1n1, Spring 1939
Sweetness and Light, v1n1, Spring 1939
Sweetness and Light, v1n2, Summer 1939
Russ Hodgkins or T. Bruce Yerke, perhaps.
Sweetness and Light, v1n2, Summer 1939
A reference to Forrest J Ackerman, no doubt — and the others who emulated his abuse of language.
Sweetness and Light, v1n2, Summer 1939
Oklahoma fan Jack Speer was suspected of harboring Fascist sympathies, which he outgrew.
Sweetness and Light, v1n3, Fall 1939
Hannes Bok, perhaps — or the artist Mooney himself?
Sweetness and Light, v1n3, Fall 1939
West Coast fans generally had equal disdain for the various warring fan factions of New York.
Sweetness and Light, v1n3, Fall 1939
Sweetness and Light, v1n3, Fall 1939
Seems to be a mashup of Donald A. Wollheim and John B. Michel.
Sweetness and Light, v1n4, Winter 1940
Sweetness and Light, v1n4, Winter 1940
Most likely alludes to Harry Warner, Jr., editor of Horizons.
Sweetness and Light, v1n4, Winter 1940

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