Many an apazine is made up largely or completely of MCs – which is to say, the editor’s “comments” in response to zines distributed through the previous mailing, addressed either to the editors or to the titles of the fanzines. The writing is almost always in informal mode, but mailing comments can range from well-written mini-essays to virtually incomprehensible snippets without the context of the earlier mailing to provide a clue to what they mean. By way of example: “The Drudge (Jim): I like what you did on the cover. That will show them! Agree with you on Cowper’s encouragement but what does he mean by ‘marble stock’?” Contrary to popular opinion, mailing comments are not an invention of fandom's – they were introduced to FAPA by Dan McPhail, who picked up the practice from his participation in mundane amateur press associations.
Contributions: Dr. Gafia
|from Fancyclopedia 2 ca. 1959|
|are comments — i.e. short notes as distinguished from formal review or criticism — on the contents of a previous mailing of an APA and published in a later mailing (rather than, say, mailed direct to the members concerned). Reviewing a mailing in a magazine postmailed to the same mailing is frowned upon.
Jack Speer began this custom in the Third FAPA Mailing and mighty was the success thereof. A few of the unenlightened who maintain that comments on comments are too much like diminishing spirals for their taste have been adequately dealt with by Vernon McCain, who remarked that if they never commented on comments it must be pretty difficult to carry on a conversation with them.
Since, from their nature, all the intended audience may be assumed to know what they're about, MCs can easily become a very inner-circle feature of an APA, and commentzines or -sections may often make the short descent to mere collections of notes. Mailing comments were the feature that led Sam Merwin to describe SAPS as a system of interlocking mailboxes.
from Fancyclopedia 2 Supplement ca. 1960:
The attribution of this idea to Speer is wrong; Dan McPhail got the idea from mundane aj groups and suggested to Speer its introduction to FAPA. "I went home and did likewise, so that both of us had them in whatever mailing it was", says Speer. Bur McPhail's "Looking 'Em Over" appeared in the First Section of the Third Mailing, and Speer's in the Second Section.