Stuff by me:

My TAFF Report
An account of my first visit to the USA and of my experiences at the 1984 Worldcon

A history of SF fandom in the UK, 1930-1980

British Fanzine Bibliography
A bibliography of British SF fanzines, as researched and compiled by Peter Roberts, Vince Clarke, and me.


16 March 2015

Occasionally, I'll read something that makes me do a double take. As a long time SF fanzine fan, these comic panels did that for me:

ATOM #1 (Dec'97): Superhero or fanartist?

Then there's this one:

FLASH #218 (Oct/Nov'72): Hal Jordan is a fanzine fan?

And this one:

ARCHER & ARMSTRONG #11 (Jun'93): 80.000+ streets in London, and he chooses that one?

16 March 2014

While THEN: THE ARCHIVE has had new material added on a fairly regular basis, it's been a while since I last updated this part of my site. Four years, in fact. This blog is where I post the occasional comics-related post. Like this one.

In the mighty effort he has put in to securing the photo collections of old SF fans before they get lost, as all too many have, my buddy Peter Weston has also hoovered up quite a few pictures from the early days of US fandom. Since our interests lie mainly with the history of UK fandom we haven't really made much use of these as yet. I was looking through them again earlier and thought comics fans might get a kick out of the two below, which come from the collection of the late E.J. 'Ted' Carnell. First there's this one, presumably taken in New York:

L-to-R: Jack Darrow, Julius Schwartz, unknown, Don Wollheim, Conrad Ruppert

And then there's this one:

Superman's Julius Schwartz, Edmond Hamilton, & Mort Weisinger

close-up of newspaper

Both are undated, and not being a fashion expert I don't know if they date from the 1930s or the 1940s, though I'd guess the latter. Can anyone confirm this? Do Weisinger's white-topped shoes tell us anything? It might be possible to date the second one very accurately if the edition of the newspaper Weisinger is holding could be identified. A long shot, but stranger things have happened.

UPDATE: The guy on the far left of the first photo has been identified to me as Jack Darrow, and on going through Ted's photos again I found one of Ruppert and so can positively ID him as the guy on the far right. I also found another photo with Julie Schwartz in it I'd somehow missed. Since he has more hair in this one, I'm guessing this is the earliest of the three. According to the caption, the photo was taken outside the offices of THRILLING WONDER in July 1937:

L-to-R rear: Jack Williamson, L. Sprague de Camp, Dr. John Clark, Frank Belknap Long, Mort Weisinger,
Edmond Hamilton, Otis Adelbert Kline... L-to-R front: Otto Binder, Manly Wade Wellman, Julius Schwartz

UPDATE 2: Going through J Michael Rosenblum's photos - as supplied by his son Howard - while looking for something else entirely I came across yet another photo of Schwartz from, I'm guessing, the early 1940s.

L-to-R: Oswald Train, Lloyd Eshbach, Julius Schwartz

Other early photos of American SF pros and fans can be found elsewhere on this site:

16 January 2010

At some point, someone will tell the story of the final days of the Third Reich in the Marvel Universe. Whether they will take the time and trouble to research what has already been established over the years for that period is another matter. Here, in 13 pages taken from a bunch of different comics is what we know to date. If you know of something significant I've missed please let me know.

16 January 2010

With the move to a new website I figured it was time to move my very occasional blog here, too. Previously called FRIDGE MAGNET - a name made up on the spur of the moment when I first had something I wanted to post - I'm taking this opportunity to retitle it. I found the new name in one of my old apazines along with an explanation of why it would be a good one for me to use. I agreed with my earlier self, so here it is. Why BRASH NEON should be appropriate is left as an exercise for the reader.


8 March 2009 * link

I've been a Londoner more than half my life now and in that time I've gotten to know the city pretty well, but there are still....


1) When flying in from the US, airliners routinely land on the River Thames:

2) Charing Cross has cobbled streets, medieval houses, and is surrounded by woods:

3) Despite Ireland, the Irish Sea, Wales, and a fair chunk of England lying between them, you can smell the Atlantic from the docks:

Incidentally, if you're wondering how the character shown covered ten miles in three minutes, well being a vampire he did it by turning into a bat and flying there.

Images copyright DC Comics and Marvel Comics. More geographical insights as I uncover them.

6 April 2007 * link

This is, I suppose, a blog. I had no intention of ever starting one, honest. It all began when someone asked see this illo by Neil (see item below), who gave permission to post it saying he'd quite like to see it again himself. I've had a website for years, though I rarely update it, so I had somewhere to post it. Only it didn't seem right to just post it bare without at least a little bit of explanatory text to provide context. Then, of course, it struck me that the combined illo'n'text really needed to be embedded in some sort of larger format rather than just standing alone. Fire up a text editor, type out some vanilla HTML, and in not much time at all there was the skeleton of this page. Having created it it seemed a shame not to add in a sidebar with a few links and, well, here we are.

This is somewhere to post the occasional thing I want to point others to. I don't see it as something I'll be adding posts to very often, but if I do I'll probably spruce up the design a bit.


A few days ago, in a comment thread on the Nielsen Hayden's MAKING LIGHT, Neil Gaiman wrote that:

I'm pretty sure my first published illustration was a Watchmen gag in an Avedon Carol fanzine, unless my memory has gone...
This caught my attention because:
Neil -- That very illo has been pinned to my office notice board - about a foot from where I'm sitting - for years. You dated it, too - 29/9/86. I used to keep a diary back then, but a quick look at the appropriate page has no mention of you at all. Seems I spent the day visiting various museums with Stu Shiffman, over from the US. We used to see you pretty often back then so I suppose we could've all met up at a pub afterwards. Strange that my diary doesn't mention it if we did, though. The thing is, I was there when you drew that picture, and it was either in a pub or at a con. The nearest entry I can find that mentions you is a week earlier at UKCAC '86, the only comics con Avedon and I ever attended. Perhaps you drew it there and misdated it? Curious.
Rereading my diary from that period for the first time since I wrote the entries, that was quite a socially busy and interesting few weeks. Much more hectic than the more sedate social life I enjoy these days. Neil replied to my comment thus:
Rob -- I remember meeting Stu with you, so my guess is that it was done in the pub that evening. I'm pretty sure I didn't do it at UKCAC. I interviewed Alan and Dave about Watchmen there, though. In a suit, as befitting the occasion.
This is probably what happened, and when the drawing was done. Anyway, one of those reading the thread asked to see the cartoon, Neil was happy for it to be posted, so here it is, two decades after it was drawn. And it occurs to me that if it gets linked to it will be seen by many more people than the maybe couple of hundred who saw it in its original fanzine appearance.


Avedon Carol * Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden * Roz Kaveney * Neil Gaiman *