As some of you know, I worked at FantaCo, the comic book and film book store/publisher, et al in Albany, NY from May 1980 to November 1988, the second-longest job I ever had. (The current one is #1.)
There will be a FantaCon in September 2013, the first one since 1990. I’ll be there, Allah/Yahweh willing.
You’ll note that Tom Skulan, the creator of FantaCo and FantaCon, has dedicated the show to the memory of three individuals. I KNEW THEM ALL.
Phil Seuling was one of those people that the term “bigger than life” was designed for. He essentially invented the direct sales market for comic books, and his Seagate Distributors was not only FantaCo’s primary supplier in the early years, but the fact that he took a chance on FantaCo’s largely untested product line helped permit FantaCo to become a successful publisher. He threw some of the most lavish parties I’ve ever been to, in Brooklyn, NY.
Not only did Raoul Vezina work the front counter at FantaCo, he also designed the FantaCo logo, Smilin’ Ed. He drew the duck character that graces this blog. One of my favorite memories ever was co-plotting a Smilin’ Ed story with him for the X-Men Chronicles. He also was friends with more folk than anyone I knew, and would often get us into the J.B. Scott’s nightclub for free when some band he knew was playing.
Chas Balun was this gentle giant of a man. Had a great sense of humor, which showed up in his horror film writings. He lived on the West Coast of the US, so I didn’t meet him that often. Since I shipped most of the FantaCo publications, I got to speak with him on the phone regularly. My buddy Stephen R. Bissette was speaking fondly of him on his Facebook page earlier this month.
Speaking of Steve, I’m looking forward to seeing him in person, at the only show he’s doing outside his native Vermont in 2013. He’s the artist probably best known for his collaboration on Swamp Thing, though he’s done a lot of other great stuff. Haven’t seen him in person since 1988.
Also haven’t seen Michael T. Gilbert in a very long time, probably since before Raoul died, in 1983. On the other hand, Fred Hembeck, who Tom and Fred have confirmed is coming, though he’s not noted on the site yet, I got to see on November 11 of this year.
I have two tasks in re: this, and some of you may be able to help me. I’m interviewing Tom Skulan, sending him a bunch of questions by the end of the year, which he has agreed to answer. If YOU have questions you want me to ask, please let me know. I’m also working on a FantaCo bibliography for 1978-1988; if you happen to have any of those items that I could borrow – and that would include FantaCon programs, FantaCo catalogs, and Splatter Movies T-shirts, I would appreciate that. Contact me at the e-mail on this blog.