comic book fandom days (began for me 40 years ago..)
The images speak for themselves. Mostly. Some, anyway. Or maybe I just
wish they did... To begin properly then, I speak of G. B. Love, who
published the Rocket's Blast ComiCollector, a hybrid of two older fan
publications from before my day. It eventually became known simply as
the RBCC. G. B. published several other related things like the Fandom
Annual, but the RBCC was the mainstay. I call the RBCC an adzine but I
believe G. B. disdained that label... There were many fanzines those
days, all amateur publications that only those in fandom knew about.
To know of them at all, one almost had to be an RBCC subscriber, and
there were only about 2,000 of those... To have any hope of reaching
fandom at large with your fanzine, advertising in the RBCC was a must.
Andy Warner, who inked most of what G. B. published of my stuff, was
the one who introduced me to all this. Indeed, what fan art I did was
done for G. B. exclusively. I went on to work for G. B., at no pay,
and was well compensated by simply being so included and involved. I'd
open the mail for him among things and so was the first to see much
of the first art by such as Rich Corben. I appreciate Andy's bringing
me into all this.
At a very young age, around 1966, I'd already begun boldly picking
the brains (by long distance phone) of such generous spirits as Frank
Frazetta, and by 1969, Jim Steranko. I'm talking many many hours, very
very much of their valuable time. In those 'later' years, my relation
with the RBCC may have helped, if it was realized at all.
G. B. Love was first and foremost a man of great class, and very great
character. He was a cornerstone. He was and is greatly underknown, and
greatly underappreciated for what he did for the industry. His work
barely subsidized itself and as such was simply labors of love.
He was a child of the 1940's and '50s. He was a huge huge fan of
C. C. Beck's Captain Marvel. (Mr. Beck, as it was, was also a south
All this nolstalgia was stirred a couple of days ago when I sought
out Don Newton on Google. Don was another Captain Marvel fan. Don was
a good artist and contributed majorly to G. B.'s publications. Don's
biography is somewhat of a sad one. His later relations with Mr. Beck
I am very very far from telling the full tale here...
There are names that should be mentioned, artists, other publishers of
fanzines, writers, convention organizers, friends, etc... Tangental
people in the industry of the time. Among those who contributed to
what G. B. did, I should name James Van Hise as a major collaborator
of his. Artists include John Adkins Richardson, John G. Fantucchio,
Robert Kline, and of course, Don Newton. Other related names would be
Mark Burbey, Howard P. Siegel, Biljo White, and John Ellis.
I must mention E. C. comic fans. Mad Magazine began as an E. C. comic.
E. C. fandom was some of the richest part of late '60s fandom despite
it having been gone for years. Squa Tront and Spa Fon were E. C.
fanzines (titled after some of E. C.'s alien words). These were great
publications, worth quite a bit now.
In closing, I'd like to mention names like Jan Strnad, Rich Hauser,
Gary Groth, and Bill Pearson, writers and publishers who made a
difference in a world that for me once encompassed all possible worlds
and is now all but forgotten. The list is way too short at that, for I
sadly admit that there are many names that I have indeed forgotten...
...Like the crewcutted dude who published E. C. in the first place!
It is such a different world now. It was even then. The distance now
is just that much greater. I tell you; there was once so much now so
lost to undeserved obscurity.