Posts Tagged ‘Raoul Vezina’

FantaCo_sign
Those of you who lived or worked in Albany from 1978 to 1998 might remember this sign, created by the late Raoul Vezina in the window of FantaCo Enterprises, the comic book store/mail order house/publisher/convention organizer at 21 Central Avenue; the sign has been digitally enhanced from the original by artist Bill Anderson. Raoul drew the logo rat for the store, the character eventually dubbed Smilin’ Ed Smiley.

A couple years later, Smilin’ Ed became the star of some comic books published by FantaCo, as well as in strips in Albany’s Metroland magazine and the Comics Buyers Guide. Read the rest of this entry »

smilined
Those of you who frequented FantaCo in in late 1970s and early 1980s will remember Smilin’ Ed. The rat was initially designed as the logo for the comic book store/convention/mail order house based in Albany, NY. Eventually, there were four comic book issues, plus a story in the X-Men Chronicles. Well, there’s going to be a collection of these, plus items published in the Comics Buyers Guide, the weekly Metroland, and unpublished material.

You can expect narrative pieces, by Raoul’s sister Maria, FantaCo owner/publisher Tom Skulan, and me. Or so goes the plan Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s the weird thing about the death of Raoul Vezina, the comic book artist/musician/front man at the Albany comic book store FantaCo 30 years ago today; I STILL remember the day I found out, which was the day after he died, as well as I remember my daughter’s birth or my father’s death or the day JFK was killed. As it turns out Marc Arsenault has collected what I wrote five years ago. So let me tell you about a more recent event.

At FantaCon 2013, on September 14 and 15, there was a panel to talk about Raoul, held on each day, which I moderated.

One participant was Raoul’s younger sister Maria Vezina, a nurse and professor in New York City, who talked about his natural talent he had as both an artist and a musician. Apparently Freddie Freihoffer’s direction got him drawing right on the TV screen. She doesn’t think she has ever known such a generous spirit.

Don Rittner, historian, environmentalist, Read the rest of this entry »

ER and FDR

For whatever reason, I wasn’t sleeping well a couple weeks ago. When I booked our hotel for our trip to the Mid-Hudson for the first weekend in August, in my fatigued fog, I totally forgot that my wife had told me to secure a place for TWO nights, and that she had even arranged for a cat sitter. I was just so happy that I finally remembered to book it at all. We had made this sojourn a couple hours south a few times, and it had always been one night. This time, though, we had added a couple elements, so the extra time would have been helpful.

Instead, we headed out Saturday and went to Val-Kill, Eleanor Roosevelt’s home. There will be much more on this.

Then to Hyde Park to visit the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. Read the rest of this entry »


FantaCon, once an Albany tradition for fans of comic book, fantasy, and in its latter incarnations, horror films, is returning after a brief, two-decade hiatus. FantaCon 2013, operated by its original creator, Tom Skulan, will be held Saturday September 14 and Sunday September 15 at the Marriott Hotel on Wolf Road in Albany. Ticket for the related Three Nights of Horror at the Palace Theatre on September 11-13 in Albany, will be available from the Palace Theatre box office, starting on February 13.

FantaCo, the store/mail order company Tom started, operated from 1978 through 1998 at 21 Central Avenue, Albany, NY. I worked there from May 1980 to November 1988, worked at the first five FantaCons and attended the sixth.
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Even before I started working at FantaCo, I bought from FantaCo this single by the Spastic Phono Band , a parody of some Beatles and Paul McCartney songs. The store carried some Japanese EPs of the Beatles. How important to you were The Beatles specifically, and music generally?

The Beatles were and are very important to me because they represent a group of individuals who against ALL odds did exactly what they set out to do. That’s a powerful example to learn from.
Musically they are sublime. My Beatles CDs are the CDs I play the least because I just enjoy them so much I never want the magic to wear away. The Beatles (White Album) is my all time favorite. Not only because it has so many songs but because there is a slightly ominous tone to the whole thing. And yes- I love Revolution #9 too. I always look forward to dissecting all the sounds.

Early on, the store also sold some records of some local bands such as Blotto. How much did you follow the local music scene?

When I lived above FantaCo I went to JB Scott’s on a regular basis and saw all the local bands opening for the national acts. It was a fun time “living downtown”. I followed most of them at the time.

The 1980 FantaCon was the one with the Berni Wrightson artwork on the cover. It was labeled FantaCon 2, to avoid the confusion of the previous event. What are your memories of that show?
Read the rest of this entry »

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