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”

The Tom Skulan FantaCon interview

The very first FantaCo t-shirt also featured this rat in a spacesuit on a light blue shirt. Raoul was the one who named the character Ed after we both got tired of constantly calling him “the rat in the spacesuit”. From Ed, Raoul then blended him with a 1950’s children’s show personality and began calling him Smilin’ Ed. He then lost the spacesuit and started his own adventures.

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.

Incidentally, Skulan is pronounced like the third word in Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love.
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Tom, when you owned FantaCo, you ran seven FantaCons, in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1988, 1989, and 1990. But you had a store, and often, publications to use in cross promotions. You have a FantaCon planned for September of 2013, after a twenty-year hiatus. Why FantaCon, why now?

There are three reasons that come to mind. First, I have always wanted to do another FantaCon when I wasn’t preoccupied with the store, the publishing and the mail order. I have always wanted to see what that would be like!
Second, time is creeping up on me and these old bones have only so much time left where I can handle the demands of the show. And finally I like the numbers of doing the show the weekend of Friday the 13th in 2013.

What is the theme of the upcoming convention? What guests have you lined up so far?

The theme for this show is to try and recreate all the FantaCons all at once. Some shows were strongly comic-oriented and some shows were strongly horror-oriented. This show will be both at once. I want to create a party atmosphere for all the original attendees AND the new attendees too.

The guest line up confirmed at this time is Continue reading “The Tom Skulan FantaCon interview”

FantaCon 2013 update

Haven’t seen Steve Bissette in person since 1988.

Michae

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/Yawweh 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. Continue reading “FantaCon 2013 update”

FantaCo birthday musing

FantaCo was a part of my personal history that required a greater deal of accuracy, lest the faux facts proliferate.


There was a time when I used to buy into the notion that the past is past, and you move on to the next thing, as though life were some connect-the-dots puzzle, where you go from point A to point B to point C without ever doubling back. It’s not that I ever really thought that on my own, but that others suggested it, and I, for some reason, bought into it for a while.

I suppose it can be a useful tool, letting go of the past, when the past was awful. But when it was good, why forget it? (And I could make the case for remembering the less good as well.)

And some people don’t forget. Not that often, given the fact that I worked there 8.5 years, I’ve mentioned FantaCo, the comic/film book retailer/publisher/convention operator in Albany, NY. Even less frequently, I have mentioned Raoul Vezina, the house artist who also worked on publications for FantaCo Continue reading “FantaCo birthday musing”