Seven comic book covers I’m supposed to tout

The commercial and artistic success of the X-Men, specifically the issues done by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin, sucked me further into the Marvel Universe

fantasy_quarterlyI’ve been nominated by Eddie Mitchell, the Renaissance Geek, to post seven individual comic book covers that are significant to me to promote reading.

The rules say, “They are offered without comment in no particular order,” but I’m not particularly compliant. I’m also supposed to nominate someone else to take up the challenge if they’re a-mind to. So I nominate YOU because you KNOW you want to.

Fantasy Quarterly #1 – this is the first appearance of Elfquest. It was on crappy newsprint. Wendy and Richard Pini were VERY disappointed in it and decided they could do better themselves. They started WaRP Graphics which began a successful run of DIY.

The Pinis came up from the Mid-Hudson to FantaCo, the comic book store where I worked in Albany, and did regular store signings, quite possibly every one of the original 20 issues. I have to think that the Pinis’ success in part motivated Tom Skulan in FantaCo’s publishing adventures.

x-men137-phoenix-colossus

X-Men 137 – the commercial and artistic success of the X-Men, specifically the issues done by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin, sucked me further into the Marvel Universe. So much so that when FantaCo decided to publish a magazine about comic books, the X-Men were the obvious premiere topic.

Moreover, I was the editor of the X-Men Chronicles, soliciting the articles and the artwork. That included carrying a still wet cover by the late Dave Cockrum home on a train.

I compiled an index of X-Men appearances under the pseudonym Arro Verti, difficult in 1981 and it’d be overwhelming now. And I had to get the late Raoul Vezina to help create a Smilin’ Ed story related to the X-Men at the 11rh hour.

Amazing Spider-Man 121

Amazing Spider-Man #121 – my first Spider-Man comic book. I didn’t know that civilians died in these things. Reading back issues in Marvel Tales, plus the then-current issues. Spidey became my favorite Marvel character.

I bought every appearance he was in until in early 1990s, when Todd McFarlane was writing the title; mon Dieu, I HATED those stories and gave up after three or four issues.

Moreover, I edited the FantaCo Chronicles highlighting the webslinger, and I still believe it was the best issue I ever put together.

Hero_for_Hire_Vol_1_1

Luke Cage, Hero for Fire #1 – it was the first comic book I ever bought since I was a kid. Dragged to the local convenience store by some Piscean I still know, I was surprised to discover a black superhero. And since it was a #1, I didn’t need to learn the backstory.

Oh, I’m supposed to do seven of these? Maybe some other time. (I told you I wasn’t very good at following rules.)

N is for Nudiustertian

I always seem to remember where I learn words as an adult I hadn’t known before.

apollo11-yesterday-03Nudiustertian pertaining to the day before yesterday; it has nothing to do with strippers and nakedness. I’ve also discovered that, in the same linguistic family, hesternal relates to yesterday, and hodiernal pertains to to today.

“The OED goes on to gives its only example of the use of the word in a sentence from 1647, taken from the ever-popular The simple cobler of Aggawam in America, written by Nathaniel Ward. Continue reading “N is for Nudiustertian”

The Tom Skulan FantaCon interview, part 2

Raoul’s death devastated me. I felt as if the guts had been torn out of FantaCo and I wanted to go away


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?
Continue reading “The Tom Skulan FantaCon interview, part 2”