THE AUTHORS WOULD LIKE TO EXTEND THEIR SPECIAL THANX Tor

The - artists Mercy Van Vlack, c o v e r Bob k w n s , page 6 The cast -( i n o r d e r o f appearance) Mike Flynn Brry B r o e r t j e s Jack Harris Rich M o r r i s s e y Mike V a l e r i o S c o t t Sherman Denny Roy Phil Seuling Sol Harrison J e n e t t e Kahn J u l i e Schwartz Len Wein Marty Pasko Duffy Vohland E. Nelson B r i d w e l l Mitch I t k o w i t z Ken Gale Jim S h o o t e r The cast -( h o n o r a b l e mention) Gary Brown L i a m O'Connor M a r t i n Berkenwald Earl Butz Carmine I n f a n t i n o Steve Englehart S t a n Lee S c o t t Fdelman The cast -( t h e y ' r e dead, b u t l e t ' s g i v e them t h e r e c o g n i t i o n t h e y d e s e r v e ) Vaughn Bode And -a Q --e B r o e r t j e s -of t h Beany and I t k o w i t z Icebag to: B i l l Mttntlo Helen K e l l e r Roger S t e r n Roger S l i f e r Don McGregor Steve Gerber Howard Rogofsky Robert B e l l Alan L i g h t Jeff Wasserman Murray B o l t i n o f f Dave Cockrum Mike G r e l l Mercy Van Vlack Dennis C i e r i Jerry S i e g e 1 Joe Shuster J o e Kubert Gerry Conway Denny O ' N e i l Cary B t e s Jack Schiff Mark Gaspar Gwen S e u l i n g Debbie Fix S h e l l y Mayer Charles Spanier The S i n g l e Honest D e a l e r S t e v e Biasi, page 13 Chuck Nanco , bacover

. :2:,

HELEN KELLW I S NOT A ROCK STAR is published once and f o r a l l and a t last by Harry "I Think I t D s Time f o r Running f o r Cover" Broertj e s and Mitch " W i l l You Do t h e Fandango?" Itkowitz f o r i n c l u s i o n

i n t h e f i f t h s p e c t a c u l a r annish of APA-5, 6 0 , t h e t h i r d galaxygalloping mailing of I n t e r l a c - both i n October, 1976 - and t h e 145th mailing of t h e grandpappy of 'em all, M A - a l p h a , November, 1976. L i t t l e Brother s t r i k e s again with h i s 22d virtuoso appearance a t t h e keyboards while t h e p r i n t e r a s d e v i l propagates t h e ine v i t a b l e Scaramouch a l a d e n . S p e c i a l thanks go t o Rich Morriss e y f o r giving u s something t o t a l k about. A s w i l l become c l e a r s h o r t l y , t h i s is a r e p o r t on t h e 1976 Supermanas Birthday Convent i o n , held February 27-29 a t t h e Hotel Americana, l a t e r t o become t h e f o r t r e s s of t h e Powerhouse Peanut, i n New York City. The Big Blue Cheese is now on t h e wrong s i d e of 40,

*

*

*

Few people are aware of it, but February 27 is a day b e s t reserved f o r hiding under t h e covers, pillow clenched over t h e head, never t o buc',ge again u n t i l dawn breaks over t h e 28th. This is especi a l l y t r u e a t 10-year invervals when t h e year ends with a 6. Knowledge of t h i s - on2 of t h e s u r e s t of t r u t h s ever t o be perceived on God's great, green B r t h - e v i d e n t l y is l i m i t e d t o j u s t a few of its wisest denizens. Perhaps t h i s is s o because t h e day brings not B r t h - s h a t t e r ing, headliiie-grabbing emergencies, but only minor d i s a s t e r s which don't seriolisly bother anyone o u t s i d e of a small c i r c l e o f f r i e n d s and manage a.long t h e way t o q u i t e n e a t l y shoot t h e h e l l o u t of t h e day as w e l l . A t - t h e s , t o o , t h e minor e f f e c t s o f t h e unfortunate day ling e r f o r somt; timec To w i t :

T-

he S o p o r i f i c Imperative (1)

-

ON FF33R:lARY 27, 1936:

Tarzan missed t h e vine and f e l l i n t o an elephantOs reminder. And no spare l o i n c l o t h did he have,
sack by h i s parents and tossed i n t o t h e r i v e r . The president of t h e l o c a l SPCA, who happened t o be nearby, misinterpreted t h e event, dove i n t o t h e r i v e r and ret r i e v e d t h e sack and i t s precious contents.

diJ FEBRUARY 27,

1 9 6 : L i t t l e Gary Brown was s t u f f e d i n t o a burlap

ON FEBRUARY 27,

1956: C l a r k Kent engaged i n autoeroticism f o r t h e
f i r s t - and o n l y - time, i n a d v e r t e n t l y causing t h e c e i l i n g above him t o cave in. H was e v i c t e d and a f e w days l e t e r moved e t o 344. Clinton S t .

ON FEBRUARY 27,

1966: Liam O'Connor l o s t t h e 14th Annual New York
City Stomach Rumbling Competition i n a heartbreaker t o eight-year-old Mike Flynn of t h e Bronx, who prepared by drinking a q u a r t and a h a l f of East River water. Neither one has been q u i t e t h e same ever since,

ON FEBRUARY 27,

1976:

Well, i t D s kind o f a long s t o r y , s e e ,

a

.

a31

ate t o bed and e a r l y t o g e t UE Makes a fan bleary-eyed, b r a i n - f r i e d -- 2 (2) and f e d
To hear Harry t e l l it, t h e n i g h t of February 26 was some n i g h t , A t work, t h e computer behaved l i k e a well-trained e r e c t o r s e t , and he even made all of h i s
deadlines (almost). A f t e r work, he and h i s fellow underpaid miserables from t h e c i t y and news desks t r a i p s e d o v e r t o t h e c l o s e s t t h i n g Middletown, N.Y., has t o a disco b a r ( t h e juke box had 101 S t r i n g s doing "Boogie Fever"), where t h e y huddled over a few p i t c h e r s and too-sour Hazvey Wallbangers in t h e corner and p l o t t e d a coup d'Times Herald-Record u n t i l t h e 4 ayem c l o s i n g time. Then mrry d r i v e home t o B u l l v i l l e , managing along t h e way t o avoid t h e potholes and s t r a y cows, and ,. s e t t l e d i n t o a restful s l e e p t h e moment h i s head h i t t h e pillow

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..

U n t i l t h e f r i g g i n g alarm clock woke him a t 9 0 Disorganized synapses i n h i s b r a i n suddenly were sparked t o l i f e , neural impulses f l a s h i n g h i t h e r and yon i n t h e seemingly confused but a c t u a l l y highly organized manner of a beehive - o r Grand Central S t a t i o n during t h e morning rush hour. The f o g l i f t e d and Harry e remembered: Today's t h e day. Friday, t h e f i r s t day o f t h e con, H had t o g e t moving

So he slowly nursed a cup of reheated coffee as he scanned t h e Late F i n a l e d i t i o n , approaching wakefulness, By 10 o*clock, he w a s stepping i n t o t h e shower. (Cue f o r t h e phone t o ring.)
"Who t h e fuck ,, .'I he s n a r l e d , was before he picked up t h e r e c e i v e r . F o r t u n a t e l y f o r h i s easy-going image, t h i s

A t t h e o t h e r end was National f&&$ E d i t o r i a l A s s i s t a n t Jack Harris with word t h e staff of t h e Hotel Commodore had gone on s t r i k e and t h e con had been moved l o c k , s t o c k and birthday cake t o t h e Americana, Wonderful, Jack. "Oh, by t h e way, Harry, we're t r y i n g t o g e t t h e word o u t t o everyone, We're c a l l i n g t h e r a d i o and TV s t a t i o n s and c o n t a c t i n g t h e papers, Do you think you could c a l l your f r i e n d s and l e t them know?'' Uh, s u r e Jack.

Now you m u s t understand that Harry only r e c e n t l y l e a r n e d how t o come i n from t h e rain end is s t i l l debating whether t o brush up-and-down o r back-and-forth. Hence, everything d i d n P t c l i c k a l l a t once, H i s N w York-type fannish f r i e n d s , it e goes without saying, were A ) going t o f i n d o u t about t h e switch before t h e con's 4 pyem s t a r t i n g time, i f , indeed, t h e y hadn't a l r e a d y l e a r n e d of it, o r B) they'd have smarts enough t o f i g u r e o u t t h e scene a f t e r t h e y a r r i v e d a t t h e Commodore, So w h a t d i d Harry do? Why, he stood t h e r e , s t a r k naked and dripping wet i n t h e l i v i n g room and c a l l e d as many people as he could reach, including - department of redundancy department - Mike Flynn, whom he'd be meeting p r i o r t o t h e con. One of t h e people he d i d n ' t reach was Rich Morrissey, whoOd a l r e a d y l e f t t h e Boston a r e a i n a rent-a-car with a few f r i e n d s , Theyod j u s t have t o brave t h e wild byways o f Manhattan by t h e s e a t s of t h e i r pants.
Meantime, Harry shivered, t h e n sneezed; a headache was coming on, H f e l t e t i r e d and miserable, Hung over, i n fact, B u t he threw back h i s shoulders d e f i a n t l y , an expression of grim determination came over his f a c e , and he s t a l k e d meaningf u l l y back t o his shower,
A l l t h e hot water had been used up, i n t o t h e tub!

Boy, d i d that wake him up when he stepped
c _

.:4:
D

1

-i -

eave t h e Drivfn-g t o Us

-- ( 3 )

O t h e road t o Manhattan: Finding n 7Pnt-a-ca-r %Q"s prhaps, easy as had been expected. Rich Momissey went t o Heitz and t h e y said O n t h e o t h e r h a d , Avis welcomed him and his bucks - with open arms.

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There were f o u r in t h e car: Rich; Mike V d e r i o , whc@sbeen on t h e k fandoin f o r m a n y a year; S c o t t Sheman, fsa-t rat and b e e r b t e r (you go f o u t ) , and Denny Roy, then a K-a hopeful cosmic g r e a s e r whose l u s t for a, b e a u t i f u l w o m n 5s s m s s e d o n l y by h i s l u s t f o r a HZirley 'i,2Occ S u p e G l i d e , Vhlch might he why Denny was t h e o n l y one of %heyual-tet who eventually made it t o t h e con with some c o l o r xemaining i n h i s face. You see, r i d i n g with Rich behiEd t h e wheel is n o t somethjng you r e s o r t t o at t h e clrop o f a funnybook. Bas i c a l l y , it's a matter e i t h e r of despcx-atiun o r of i p o r a n c e , Harry's w e l l known for h i s n o d i f i e d dernolktion derby s t y l e o f driving but g e n e r a l l y speaking, he h n knows ~ h t h, e w s d o i n g and ailways k e e ~ i s h e a d , Rich, on t h e o t h e r hand Nel19 woCll give gel) &n exmlile:

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I

H Ttras t o o d l i n g dowrr t h e road somewhere i n Connecticut comfortably seaeed, e his right. a.rm s t r e t c h e d o u t along t h e b c k of t h e f r o n t seat, d r i v i n g with h i s l e f t hand, Y:C!-erioS i n -the Pmnt p s s e n g e r r s seat, asked W"Lh something; and Rich turned kc him and launched i n t o cz comprehensive aiswer, h L s eyes never s%X'aying __ - y u ~ n Vit3 e r i o F s now-te-miified visage. Response completed, Rich then returned h i s 9 a t t e n t i c i l t o thc road whil e Valerio p u l l e d h i s red j a c k e t over h i s head, h u d d ed bml; ant, Ln a treiribling snutter '4-f t h e r e be s u c h 2: tone o f voice s a i d t o no Our Fi" h e r , W o a r t I n h e e C ~ it1 p a r t i c u l a r , "Let m know when w g e t t o t h e h o t e l . E Heaven, hallowed be
I

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- Nanhattan he

T r a n s f- (4) er

A t about t h e s m e time, Harry d r i v e i n t o t h e Bronx - j u s t as M a r t i n B e r kenlwald was leaving, which is just as well because he wasnett going t o s e e Martin an;Yway, In fact, his d e s t i n a t i o n was 1 3 9 Herschell Street, rn 1800s v i n t a g e tenement i n t h e South B x ~ n x ,where Mike Flynn makes h i s home while not o f f i n Washington as Earl Rutz@PR consultant, It wasn't hard t o f i n d , being t h e o n l y b u i l d i n g on t h p block that wasn't Fumed o u t , Harry parked in f:wnt9 c a r e f u l l y l o c k i n g a11 t h e doors of h i s 1974 Squeakmobile 11, confident no one would he a b l e t o break i n , and casually walked t h e 10 feet, t o Mike's f r o n t door, p o l i t e l y declini n g t h e offers of two middle-aged women and f o u r of "Heal dynamJ.te s h i t , man!'' along t h e way

I n s i d e , he f s m d Mike hunched over h i s d a i l y noontime meal of Dannon prune whip a bowl of baked beans, "Br~jj!'~ Mike ejacul-ated, "How ya doin', man?" And with that, t h e p a i r argued f o r t h e next hour over who has t h e b e t t e r superpower, Duo I!a,mseP o r Matter-Ekter Lad, Their e a r n e s t d i s c u s s i o n continued as t h e y bundled up t o leave f o r t h e con and as an a s i d e Mike mentioned he was going t o s t o p o f f along t h e way t o v i s i t h i s grandmother, who w a s h o s p i t a l i z e d a f t e r reading a copy o f Howard t h e Duck #3 a f e w days earlier. No problem, Harry s a i d - you can s t o p off on t h e way i n t o Manhattan. But upon reaching t h e s t r e e t t h e y found t h e Squeakmobile l a c k i n g three t i r e s , i t s hood, b a t t e r y and antenna. They opted t o t a k e t h e subway instead. "Heh, heh," Harry c h o r t l e d as he unlocked t h e car and pulled o u t a shopping bag full of Outposts t o s e l l a t t h e con. "I knew no one would break -t o t h e car!" in
yogurt and

--

Mike got o f f at 8 8 t h Street on t h e Lexington Avenue l i n e , which i s something

I

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hardly anybody does nowadays s i n c e t h e nearest s t a t i o n is a t 86th S t r e e t , Harry continued on t o jlst S t r e e t and hied himself halfway across Manhattan I s l a n d t o Seventh Avenue, huff huff *wheeze*. By t h e time he reached t h e h o t e l he wished t h a t bag f u l l of Outposts was worth its weight i n gold as well as being as heavy. as heavy as its weight i n gold w a s a b s o l u t e l y no consol(And t h e fact that it a t i o n t o him,) N w what?, as Murray Blastoff would say. Well, f o r one thing, H a r r y had o t h e p r a c t i c e of a r r i v never gotten around t o l e a r n i n g t h e a r t of c h i c lateness i n g a t a s o c i a l event a couple of hours a f t e r it's begun, Cons, of course, f a l l under t h e heading o f s o c i a l events, s o t h e a b i l i t y would have come i n p a r t i c u l a r l y handily i n this case. The b e n e f i t s of c h i c lateness are twofold, you see: F i r s t , when you a r r i v e a t a -_ ' p a r t y o r gathering o f some s o r t , you can be r e l a t i v e l y s u r e someone you know w i l l alreacy be t h e r e , which means you won't have t o wander around aimlessl y , searching f o r a familiar face i n a mob o f s t r a n g e r s , And second - and t h i s i s more s u b t l e , with a dash o f snobbishness thrown i n f o r good measure - a l a t e a r r i v a l makes it appear as though you've got more important things cookin' on t h e f r o n t burner than t o worry about reaching your d e s t i n a t i o n on time.

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L

Well, Harry a i n ' t chic and he a i n ' t snobb i s h ; j u s t your a l l around good guy and poor s o u l . The con was t o s t a r t a t 4,and by g o l l y , Harry a r r i v e d a t t h e h o t e l a t 4 sharp. Only he ended up waiting i n l i n e f o r 45 minutes while premier con man P h i l Seuling and all breed and manner o f h i s f r i e n d s and k i n , along with S o l Harrison and h i s young Rockeplaza F e l l e r s , s c u r r i e d h i t h e r and yon, carrying boxes f u l l of something here, bags f u l l of something e l s e t h e r e , f r a n t i c a l l y but with a c e r t a i n tenuous cool. Meantime, t h e d e a l e r s were s t r u g g l i n g with t h e i r precious cargoes, t r y i n g anxiously t o s a f e l y guide t h e i r piled-high d o l l i e s down t h e f l i g h t of s t a i r s from t h e 52d S t r e e t entrance, where t h e crowd of eager National P e r i o d i c a l Pubescents was gathered. Harry s t o i c a l l y waited f o r t h e last-minute preparations t o be taken care o f , making small t a l k with t h e people around him i n t h e l i n e , Toward t h e end of h i s w a i t it was g e t t i n g a b i t d u l l , although t h e r e w a s a momentary stir when one of t h e d e a l e r s , a l i t t l e too ambitious f o r t h e s i z e of h i s cart, l e t a, box of Golden

Agers s l i p f r o m h i s g u i d i n g , grubbing hands and t h e y s p i l l e d a l l o v e r t h e steps. B u t you had t o be quick t o c a t c h t h e s p e c t a c l e because 4 , 3 seconds l a t e r t h e stairs were bare and s e v e r a l dozen f q s were s t a r i n g i n n o c e n t l y a t t h e s l o p e d c e i l i n g , hands c l a s p e d behind t h e i r backs, w h i s t l i n g l i t t l e t u n e s ; s h i r t s , c o a t s , p a n t s and pockets bulging.

Cheering w a s r e s e r v e d f o r S e u l i n g ' s costermongering announcement t o t h e assembled m u l t i t u d e that he w a s s o r r y everyone had t o w a i t s o l o n g , b u t t h e con f i n a l l y was opening and would everyone p l e a s e s t a y p u t i n t h e r e g i s t r a t i o n l i n e , one-day memberships t o t h e r i g h t , advance memberships t o t h e l e f t , and have a marvelous - ha ha - time, everyone! Someone y e l l e d , "When's Carmine showing up, P h i l ? " Sol h k r i s o n , who'd j u s t walked up t o S e u l i n g , s a i d "He won't be h e r e , son 'I "Yeah," S e u l i n g added, "He showed up a t t h e Commodore and t h e y went on strike. W a r e n ' t l e t t i n g him w i t h i n 10 blocks o f h e r e , " e

IL wasn't t o o l o n g before Harry w a s i n t h e dealers mom, He made a quick s o l o f l i g h t around t h e p l a c e , snarfed up some Dennises and a few new t i t l e s , s a i d h i t o a couple of vague acquaintances, and f i n a l l y s e t t l e d himself down on t h e f l o o r n e a r t h e e n t r a n c e , back t o t h e w a l l , began r e a d i n g t h e books and awaited t h e a r r i v a l of t h e Bay S t a t e entourage,

T-n -

& Kingdom

Come,

Thy

___.--

W i l l B e Bone

(5)

D r i v i n g down Second Avenue: "Goddammit, Rich, f o r t h e l a s t time w i l l you look before you change lanes?!
C m e You're Wondering
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e2

(6)

When you g e t down t o it, a COL is a con i s a con, There are g u e s t s and a r t e x h i b i t s , f i l m s and p a n e l s , dealers and snotnosed k i d s w i t h f i s t s f u l o f bucks j u s t d r o o l i n g o v e r t h e d e l i g h t f u l prospect o f b e i n g r i p p e d o f f , A t one p o i n t , Mitch overheard one d e a l e r remarking t o a cohort that he'd decided n o t t o r i p o f f any more l i t t l e k i d s t h a t day, "Theysre g e t t i n g s p o i l e d , " he s a i d , a w i s t f u l t o n e coloring h i s v o i c e , " P r e t t y soon t h e y ' l l s t a r t t a k i n g t h e i r r i p o f f s f o r g r a n t e d and move on t o t h e h a r d e r s t u f f f o r t h e i r t h r i l l s - l i k e *gulp* o r i g i n a l a r t , maybe, They might even st,art d e a l i r L g r i p o f f s on t h e i r own - and more competition w e can use l i k e Steve Ehglehalfc can use a n o t h e r d e a d l i n e . "

A couple o f weeks a f t e r t h e con, n e i t h e r Mitch n o r Harry could t h i n k o f anyt h i n g s i g n i f i c a n t t o s a y about t h e con i t s e l f , A r t e x h i b i t s ? They were l i m i t e d f o r t h e most p a r t t o some of t h e company's more n o t a b l e o r i g i n a l pages and covers - b u t when y o u o r e n o t t h e t y p e o f person who g e t s o f f on examining a page down t o t h e l a s t Dick Giordano penstroke, t h e r e a i n P t much t o be said about something you saw a few y e a r s ago i n f o u r l i v i n g colors. Except t o make a b a l l p a r k guess o f how many thousands of d o l l a r s it a l l was worth,
Films? E x a c t l y w h a t you'd expect: The second Wonder Woman p i l o r , which was funny as h e l l ; a Batman s e r i a l , which was p r e t t y much b o r i n g as h e l l ; a few Superman and Batman TV e p i s o d e s , which were familiar as h e l l ; t h e Superboy p i l o t , which was p a t h e t i c as h e l l , and a bunch o f o t h e r s t u f f that nobody bothered t o catch. Panels? About Wonder Woman, t h e e d u c a t i o n a l value o f comics, Batman, Superman, Tarzan, comic s c r i p t i n g , i f memory s e r v e s , a l o n g w i t h t h e hands-down f a v o r i t e need w s a y which? - t h e Legion p a n e l , e

-

Dealers?

There were l o t s a DCs on d i s p l a y , l o t s a Marvels

- but

n e t t o o many

Howards, thank S e n s e i , some U G s , n o t t o o many f a m i n e s , f a r t o o many g l i t t e r s h e e t s and a s t r o n o m i c a l p r i c e s . E n t i r e l y s t a n d a r d .
Oh yeah.

Everywhere you looked, t h e r e were S i e g e 1 and S h u s t e r .

And if you k e p t your eyes open, t h e r e were o c c a s i o n a l glimpses o f J e n e t t e Kahn t o be had - and s h e a p p e a r s , w i t h o u t a d o u b t , t o be t h e s e x i e s t p u b l i s h e r DC has e v e r had. T a l l , s l e n d e r , r a v e n - t r e s s e d , e v i d e n t l y c o n f i d e n t i n a l l t y p e and manner o f s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n - t h e k i n d of Park Avenue woman who reads Viva and t h e n , t o make s u r e s h e ' s up on e v e r y t h i n g , r e a d s Playboy as well. A s it t u r n e d o u t l a t e r , Rich was t h e o n l y person i n t h e l i t t l e group who had a chance t o speak w i t h h e r d u r i n g t h e con - and t o t h i s day he r e f u s e s t o s a y what it was t h e y d i s c u s s e d , There are rumors he t o l d h e r how g r e a t l y he admired Murray B o l t i n o f f and h i s work, and how Murray s h o u l d be given a dozen more books t o e d i t - and t h a t s h e responded, t e l l i n g him that j u s t t o show how impressed s h e was w i t h h i s f e r v e n t p l e a , s h e ' d do something about Murray's s t a t u s .

-

J u s t rumors, you u n d e r s t a n d , There a l s o were p l e n t y o f p r o s wandering around d u r i n g t h e con's t h r e e days; a t times, t h e Marvel people seemed e a s i l y t o outnumber t h e E people, Word had it that t h e B a t t y Bullpen r e a l l y o n o t r u l ywanted t h e DC con t o go o v e r well, because it would bode w e l l f o r t h e i r own s h i n d i g a couple of months l a t e r , (Bode's dead, s o t h a t ' s kinda , a w , f o r g e t i t , ) But t h e y must've l e f t downhearted, because maybe 1,000 f e n showed up f o r t h e DC con; S e u l i n g and National p a i d through t h e p r o v e r b i a l nose t o g e t t h e Americana a t t h e v e r y l a s t minute, and i f any money was t o be made i n t h e end, i t ' s a s u r e b e t t h e money w a s s a f e l y s t a s h e d i n t h e h o t e l ' s bank a c c o u n t , S t a n and Carmine must have had a good c a c k l e o u t o f it, But n e v e r l e t it be s a i d t h a t ecumenism d o e s n ' t r e i g n supreme a t t h e lower and middle l e v e l s o f prodom, f o r s h o r t l y a f t e r Harry had s e t t l e d himself down w i t h h i s new a c q u i s i t i o n s F r i d a y a f t e r n o o n , he found himself engaged i n a middle-of-the-aisle d i s c u s s i o n w i t h J u l i e Schwartz, Len Wein, Marty Pasko and Duffy Vohland,

..

Leagues, L a n t e r n s , Lapses (7)

It w a s a f a n n i s h d i s c u s s i o n i n t h e h i g h e s t s e n s e of t h e word - c h a t t e r , bas i c a l l y , about t h e 1977 J A summer teamup. J u l i e mentioned he had no i d e a w h a t L it would i n v o l v e , s o Harry and Duffy spoke up i n tandem: The Legion! J u l i e ' s chipmunk smile remained p a s t e d on h i s face, h i s eyes blanked o u t a l i t t l e b i t and he gave a weak nod. "The L e g i o n , " he r e p e a t e d noncommittally. " S u r e , " Harry s a i d . "You've n e v e r done it b e f o r e - i t ' s about t h e o n l y new teamup l e f t anyway - and all s o r t s of people go i n t o orgasms o v e r t h e Legion." "Yeah," Duffy s a i d , j o i n i n g t h e convention f l o o r bandwagon, "And it i s N a t i o n a l ' s b e s t - s e l l i n g booko'' "The L e g i o n , " J u l i e r e p e a t e d , And t h e n , t o i n d i c a t e , p e r h a p s , that t h e r e were more t h a n two words i n h i s vocabulary, J u l i e added: "And you, M. Pasko, what do you t h i n k o f r t h e i d e a ? " "Well s u r e , why n o t ? I d o n ' t see why it c o u l d n ' t be done. If t h e J u s t i c e S o c i e t y can come across t h e dimensions t o meet t h e JLA, I d o n ' t see why t h e Leg i o n c a n ' t come a c r o s s a thousand y e a r s . " Marty paused, t h e n continued: "Let's see, now - w e can make it a f o u r - p a r t e r , 17 times four b u m b l e , mumbld times b n d i s t i n c q a page , " Dollar s i g n s lit up i n his e y e s , "Julie, Igll have t h e p l o t on your desk Monday morning!"

.

Triumph? U l t i m a t e l y , a l t h o u g h a t t h e time it seemed n o t , f o r while J u l i e ' s benevolent nunsmile remained i n p l a c e , a v e r y , v e r y awkward s i l e n c e followed, leadi n g one t o wonder whether J u l i e knew a n y t h i n g a t a l l about t h e Legion and was a t t e m p t i n g merely t o be p o l i t e i n h i s ignorance, or - what? W h a t could be going t h r o u g h

.

:8:.

t h e man's head? Had t h e p r e c e d i n g a c t u a l l y passed t h r o u g h it, i n one ear and oa;: t h e o t h e r , as it were, o r w a s t h e n o t i o n bounding around i n t h e r e , p o n g l i k e , 3 one l o b e t o t h e o t h e r ? Had it s t r u c k a c h o r d , and i f s o w a s it harmonic o r diss o n a n t ? There was a b s o l u t e l y no way o f t e l l i n g , j u s t from l o o k i n g a t t h e man. I ' no wonder h e ' s known and feared as t h e most poker-faced Hearts p l a y e r i n the ts N e w York M e t r o p o l i t a n Area,
I

A t l o n g , m e r c i f u l l a s t , Duffy broke t h e s i l e n c e by b r i n g i n g up h i s own p e t o b s e s s i o n - John (Green L a n t e r n ) S t e w a r t a n d how he ought t o g e t h i s own book EE a non-super-powered b l a c k kung f u super-hero. J u l i e changed h i s e x p r e s s i o n l y w h i l e Duffy waxed , , , e l o q u e n t a b o u t what a g r e a t comic it would b e , J u l i e l i s t e n e d p o l i t e l y , b u t t h i s time you knew - he'd h e a r d it a l l - many times befrm. so

slim-

Meanwhile, Len had a p p r e n t l y wiped o u t on Doctor P e p p e r or something, h a v i n g n o t u t t e r e d a word t h r o u g h t h e e n t i r e exchange, And b e f o r e l o n g , when t h e c o n v e z s t i o n $j?$$dd $$ g$&f$ih$$& $4 s c r a p e d t h e bottom o u t o f t h e b a r y e 1 as it degenerate$, t h e B i g Name Pros d r i f t e d o f f t o do whatever it is t h e y do w i t h o t h e r B i g Name PIS a t a con, l e a v i n g Harry w i t h Duffy - o r a l o n e , whichever you p r e f e r . Or s o he t h o u g h t , f o r j u s t t h e n he n o t i c e d -

- M o r r i s s e y - A r r i v e d (8) ich Has - and w i t h him, h i s e n t i r e e n t o u r a g e , No c a s u a l t i e s , Denny Roy was t h e f i r s t one Harry glimpsed, which w a s n u t t o o d i f f i c u l t c o n s i d e r i n g he was t h e o n l y one t h e r e i n a b l a c k l e a t h e r j a c k e t s o covered w i t h p o l i s h e d z i p p e r s and ch&s t h a t it's hazardous t o l o o k d i r e c t l y a t him even on a p a r t l y cloudy d a y , Enthus%t i c g r e e t i n g s were handed back and f o r t h w h i l e S c o t t Sherman, Mike V a l e r i o and R i c h approached. F u r t h e r g r e e t i n g s , e t c e t e r a , e t c e t e r a , u n t i l f i n a l l y , t h e i n e v i t a b l e b r e a t h l e s s q u e r y from Rich: "Have you s e e n J i m S h o o t e r y e t , Harry?" Well no, no% y e t . "Oh d e a r , H i s coming t o t h e con, i s n ' t he?" I ' m s u r e h e ' l l show up sooner e or l a t e r , Rich. "ErTis t h e new O u t p o s t r e a d y y e t ? " p t o c k answer # 4 No, b u t 1g I'll be s t a r t i n g on it soon, "Oh, t h a t ' s good." And Batmania? "Why, I ' m s t i l l working on i t , " Oh,
R i c h * s a r r i v a l jogged two p r e o c c u p a t i o n c i r c u i t s i n H a r r y ' s mind, The f i r s t had Harry's i m a g i n a t i o n r a c i n g a t 42,000 r p m , t r y i n g t o c o n c o c t a means o f q u i e t l y s t r a n g l i n g Rich for h i s C r e a t i v e a c c o u n t o f convention s l e e p i n g arrangements i n h i s "Pros and Cons" z i n e , which he s e n t t h r o u g h j u s t about e v e r y a p a i n t h e l a n d . And t h e second d e a l t w i t h s l e e p i n g , p e r i o d , a t t h i s p a r t i c u l a r con: Where? For Harry had n e g l e c t e d t o p l a n f o r t h a t c o n t i n g e n c y a n d f a c e d t h e p r o s p e c t o f a n i g h t i n t h e g u t t e r s o f Tenth Avenue u n l e s s he c o u l d sweet t a l k h i s way.,.(Uh oh, Rich has j u s t s p o t t e d Nelson B r i d w e l l . A s h u d d e r o f p u r e j o y o v e r t a k e s him, and o f f he goes t o t r a d e b a s e b a l l cards o f comic e s o t e r i c a . W won't be s e e i n g much more o f Rich t h a t e d a y . ) , . b u t anyway, Harry found h i s way i n t o t h e h e a r t s o f Denny, S c o t t and Mike when he c r a f t i l y i n q u i r e d a b o u t t h e i r own accomodations a n d l e a r n e d t h e y and Rich a l r e a d y had a roomo Oh b l i s s f u l r e l i e f ! Could he perhaps s t a y i n t h e room? O f c o u r s e , t h e t r i o r e p l i e d , Mike added a s i d e d l y , "How much money d i d you b r i n g t o t h e con?" Money?, Harry a s k e d , What's money?

.

But it wasn't l o n g b e f o r e t h e y s e t t l e d on w h a t everyone b u t S c o t t conceded wars a f a i r a n d e q u i t a b l e p r i c e : I n r e t u r n for a p i l l o w , b l a n k e t and s p a c e on t h e f l o o r , H a would k e e p t h e room s u p p l i e d w i t h b e e r d u r i n g t h e e n t i r e weekend. And w i t h w t h a t t a k e n care o f , H a r r y d u t i f u l l y t r o t t e d a c r o s s Seventh Avenue t o a l i q u o r s t o r e , a d i v i s i o n o f Overstreet E n t e r p r i s e s , and p u r c h a s e d t h e down payment, wondering a s he dodged t h e t r a f f i c on t h e way back whether it would have been more i n h i s f i s c a l i n t e r e s t t o have r e n t e d t h e h o t e l O s penthouse f o r t h e weekend. But i t ' s t o o l a t e ,

.: 9 : .

It
baby

.
S i d e o f t h e Mountain (9)

!

E s p e c i a l l y a f t e r , up i n t h e room, he and Denny, w i t h a l i t t l e h e l p from Mike, demolished t h e down payment i n a b o u t an hour. *Burp*

n t h e Oth ------ e r

A t 10 pyem, Mitch was a s l e e p - and t h e whole world knew i t , o r a t l e a s t a l l of F o r t Independence S t r e e t i n t h e Bronx knew it, After t h e cops had come and gone, roommate Ken Gale d e c i d e d enough was enough. Having t o p u t up w i t h t h e subway's c l a n g o r t w i c e a day was bad enough, b u t coming home t o M i t c h ' s p e c u l i a r somnolent thunder3ooming and t h e g l a r e s o f t h e n e i g h b o r s - and now a v i s i t from N e w York's f i n e s t - w e l l , t h a t was more t h a n a t r u e f a n c o u l d r i g h t f u l l y be e x p e c t e d t o t a k e . It w a s t i m e f o r a c t i o n . The f i r s t s t e p w a s t o wake Mitch - no e a s y t a s k i n i t s e l f , S h o u t i n g wouldn't r o u s e him; s h o o t , i t ' d be drowned o u t , Shaking him was no answer, e i t h e r ; Mitch was impervious t o t h e t o u c h o f human hands, And jumping up and down on h i s s l e e p i n g form might be a l i t t l e messy. Ken d e c i d e d t o take a new approach. A t a momentary pause i n M i t c h ' s r o l l i n g t h u n d e r , Ken said: "Hey Mitch! Linda Lovelace i s here!" And N i t c h was up i n a s p l i t second. Hopefully, Ken t h o u g h t , h e w l l waken soon, t o o , Which, as a matter of f a c t , Mitch did, A few minutes l a t e r , v a g u e l y discomf i t e d , he groped h i s way t h r o u g h t h e a p a r t m e n t , o v e r t h e mimeo, around a p i l e o f comics, p a s t t h e n e a t l y s t a c k e d albums and i n t o t h e k i t c h e n , where he s c a t t e r e d t h e r o a c h e s o f f t h e t a b l e w i t h a s h o t of' orange j u i c e , poured h i m s e l f a g l a s s o f Raid and knuckled t h e s a n d o u t of h i s e y e s , When Ken w a s s a t i s f i e d Mitch w a s a b o u t as a l e r t as he'd e v e r b e , he s p r a n g it on him, "Hey Mitch, l e t ' s go man! WeOve g o t a l o t t o do f o r t h e con." Dknvjhieszk. "I know, I know, man, But it's i m p o r t a n t , If w e don't c o l l a t e Green L a n t e r n ' s L i g h t and s e l l a whole buncha c o p i e s a t t h e con, w e won't b e a b l e t o pay t h e r e n t . " T h a t g s a l l r i g h t , Mitch grumbled. I l i k e d y o u r o l d p l a c e above t h e t o p l e s s b a r b e t t e r anyway. But t h e matter was s e t t l e d , And f o r t h e n e x t f o u r h o u r s , Mitch c o l l a t e d a n d Ken s t a p l e d u n t i l t h e v e r y l a s t copy was knocked o u t a n d A Fanzine With A Neal Adams Cover Ws Born, G e s t a t i o n p e r i o d was o n l y two y e a r s , and fandom's l u c k y it d i d n ' t a c a l c i f y i n t h e meantime, Mitch s l u r p e d a c o u p l e o f b e e r s and went back to s l e e p w h i l e Ken, t h e f u l l i m pact o f t h e o c c a s i o n f i n a l l y h i t t i n g him, k e p t s a y i n g , "I c a n ' t b e l i e v e i t ' s o u t ! I c a n ' t b e l i e v e i t ' s out!"
UCK ! I can a l m o s t remember - f u n n y faces his -That t i m e he t o l d u s t h a t he was going -o-be a p a r t y i n g t fan -------And Duck I the was - t h o u g h t - o n l y l o n e l y p l a c e - Framingham (10)

--

By '11 pyem, Harry had made h i s second payment toward h i s s l e e p i n g s p a c e , and w h i l e a b o u t h a l f a dozen people h a p p i l y a t t a c k e d i t , Rich r e t u r n e d , He said he'd had d i n n e r w i t h Nelson, caught a few f i l m s and was...oh, beer! . , . p o p . . . back a g a i n .

.:10:.

H passed a l o n g some of t h e news Nelson had g i v e n him, i n q u i r e d again a b o u t S h o o t e r e - who had i n d e e d shown up e a r l i e r f o r d i n n e r w i t h Harry and Marvel assistants S c o t t Edelman and Rogers S t e r n a n d S l i f e r - a n d upon l e a r n i n g Jim had a l r e a d y gone home f o r t h e n i g h t , j o i n e d t h e g e n e r a l f a n n i s h mumble a b o u t t h e room,
That mumble w a s k i n d a sedate. Harry and Denny were e a s i l y m a i n t a i n i n g t h e i r t i n g l y , b r e e z y haze w h i l e d i s c u s s i n g a t e p i c l e n g t h i s s u e s 58-60 o f All-star Comics. The o t h e r s m i l l e d a b o u t ; someone b i t c h e d a b o u t t h e r a d i o i n t h e room b e i n g on t o o l o u d - he was i g n o r e d . Rich a p p e a r e d t o be h a v i n g a l l sorts o f f u n w i t h h i s b e e r w h i l e he t a l k e d , h o i s t i n g t h e can t o h i s l i p s two or t h r e e t i n e s f o r e a c h swig he'd t a k e , i n t e r r u p t i n g h i s p a l a t a b l e p l e a s u r e t o make t h i s p o i n t o r t h a t . But he s t i l l managed t o d r a i n h i s f i r s t can p r e t t y q u i c k l y , which l e d V a l e r i o h a l f - s e r i o u s l y t o i n q u i r e o f R i c h whether he was drunk y e t . Rich, happy t o o b l i g e , declared: " I ' m drunk!" He t o s s e d t h e empty i n t o t h e w a s t e b a s k e t a n d headed t o t h e bathroom f o r a n o t h e r , Pop, s n a p , t o s s . . . c l i n k e t y . . . two points f o r t h e t a b s w i s h i n g i n t o t h e w a s t e b a s k e t f r o m 10 f e e t . , . g u l p . o . g L i L p o o . g u l p , gulp, chugugugugo

And s i l e n c e nudged t h e mumble from t h e room, a l l e y e s on t h e mild-mannered Bay S t a t e r as he t a r g e t e d t h e second can - s c o r e ! - a n d headed o m e more f o r t h e ref r i g e r a t o r - e q u i p p e d water c l o s e t ,
But t h e mumble resumed when Rich didn't immediately regmerge. Out o f t h e b l u e , Duck; someone mentioned Howard t h e - t h e b o o k u s ample merits and d e m e r i t s flew back a n d f o r t h across t h e room w i t h e v e r - i n c r e a s i n g v i g o r ; and Rich came o u t a g a i n , h i s t h i r d Bud - o r maybe it was a S c h l i t z ; a f t e r a w h i l e , somebody said, a l l t h a t bearwhiz t a s t e s t h e same - anyway, R i c h was back, h i s ears p e r k i n g up when he h e a r d t h e s e c r e t word , , a n d t h e word t o n i g h t i s Howard!
,

' ' I o n drunk,

I'

Rich d e c l a r e d a g a i n ,

"Quack.

'I

T h e r e ' s something abc,ut Rich. When h e ' s h i m s e l f , he draws an academic s o r t o f a t t e n t i o n . But when h e * s n o t h i m s e l f - as, it became i n c r e a s i n g l y c l e a r , he no a longer w s at t h i s point - t h e attention-quality soars i n t o another plane, transf e r s i n t o a n o t h e r c a t e g o r y o f t h e mind's p r o c e s s e s , A c u r i o u s m i x t u r e o f c u r i o s i t y ; a wondrous k i n d o f wonder; a n i n c r e d i b l e form o f c r e d i b l e ; a s e n s e and f e e l i n g that, y e s , gang, t h e t i m e w a s n i g h f o r something c o m p l e t e l y d i f f e r e n . t , "Quack, Duck, W a k *waugh*
It

Everyone's a t t e n t i o n was r i v e t e d on Rich. It he s a i d , "Quack, quack, I t

"That's my i m i t a t i o n o f Howard t h e

Cries o f a p p r o b a t i o n r o s e t h r o u g h o u t t h e mom as Rich c o n t i n u e d : "Quack,., kwihk. wak, quack. I'

..

"C'mon, Rich, l e t ' s h e a r you do Howard some more?" "Yeah, Rich! You've g o t ( "Didja h e a r t h a t ? Dynamite t a l e n t , R i c h has! 'I t h e b e s t Howard I ' v e e v e r heard! "You t h i n k t h a t ' s good, you o u g h t t a h e a r h i s 'Up, up and away'!") "Quack, quack, quack ..,g u l p g u l p g u l p .

.."

A l l of which was a n e m i n e n t l y i n t e r e s t i n g and compelling d e m o n s t r a t i o n o f one f a n ' s unique a n d God-given a b i l i t y t o b r i n g t o l i f e a mere f i g m e n t o f some demented, i n s e c u r e w r i t e r g s t w i s t e d i m a g i n a t i o n . But t r u l y , t h e n o v e l t y wore t h i n q u i c k l y as

.:11:

rn

t h e quacks and waks and *waugh*s c o n t i n u e d t o f i l l t h e room. A t last someone cried, "Enough!" And Rich y i e l d e d . "That was p r e t t y good, Rich," Harry observed. "The a v e r a g e person c o u l d n e v e r g e t i n t o it t h e way you did. You can t e l l t h a t f o r you, Fandom Is A Way O f L i f e . " " T h a t D s r i g h t , " Rich said. somebody. I' Fade o u t .

"No matter Howard it might be!

Toss m a n o t h e r , e

v-

ou o n l y - around --- i f e (11) go once i n l

Morning s p r e a d o v e r t h e c i t y as it seems, u n f o r t u n a t e l y , t o do e v e r y day. Mitch woke t o t h e sound of a l i t t l e t u n e i s s u i n g from Ken & - t h e o t h e r room, It sounded familiar, b u t he c o u l d n g t r e a l l y p l a c e it. Hmmm.

Bingo! It h i t him l i k e a D e r r i n g e r : It was Ken's l i t t l e mantra from t h e n i g h t b e f o r e superimposed on t h e t u n e o f a couple-time a l m o s t - h i t :

I can't believe it's I c a n ' t b e l i e v e it's Every now and t h e n I I c a n ' t believe i t ' s

out out know i t ' s k i n d a hard t o doubt out.

Ken was l o a d i n g h i s Green L a n t e r n ' s L i g h t s i n t o a s u i t c a s e when Mitch e n t e r e d t h e l i v i n g room. "Well, you f i n a l l y g o t it o u t , f o r e s t face, L e t ' s see you s e l l 'em now." "Hey, no sweat, Mitch, T h e y ' l l be gone b e f o r e you can s a y 'Gerry Conway ough t o be s h o t . ' You know, I s t i l l c a n * t b e l i e v e i t D s u t . I r e a l l y c a n ' t . o And as t h e y rumbled down from t h e Bronx on t h e Broadway t r a i n , t h e mantra cont i n u e d , i n t i m e w i t h t h e wheels.,.mesmerizing, sense-suspending sounds, I c a n ' t believe it's o u t , clickety-clack, I can't believe it's o u t , clickety-clack, I can't believe it's o u t , clickety-clack , .

..

"I c a n a t b e l i e v e i t ' s o u t . " King A r t h u r once said it o f E x c a l i b u r . S i e g e 1 and S h u s t e r said it i n 19380 An e x h a u s t e d , f u l f i l l e d Sue Richards said it innumerable times t o h e r husband, And Mitch heard i t , syncopated, r e p e a t e d , c o n t i n u o u s l y . H e t h a n k e d h i s p a r e n t s f o r n o t g i v i n g b i r t h t o an e p i l e p t i c .
After t o o l o n g , t h e y made it t o t h e Americana, They r e g i s t e r e d and b e e - l i n e d it t o t h e d e a l e r s room, t h e hawker and t h e weary dove. And immediately as t h e y e n t e r e d , Ken s p i e d a young f a n , c e r t a i n l y no o l d e r t h a n 12. I n t h e middle o f t h e a i s l e he q u i c k l y s e t down h i s s u i t c a s e , whipped o u t a copy o f GLL, shoved it i n t h e k i d ' s face and s a i d , "Look! Neal Adams!" The k i d d r o o l e d , "How much?" " F i f t y cents "Here 'I
It

Mitch l o o k e d on i n awe.

"See how e a s y it i s ? " Ken a s k e d , smugly. Neal Adams!"

Another y o u n g s t e r wandered by. Another copy whipped o u t . "Look! "How *slobber++ much?" " F i f t y c e n t s . I' "Here ya go, 'I "Wow! Thanks! ' I And a g a i n ,

Ten minutes a n d e i g h t sales l a t e r , Ken s p o t t e d H a r r y on t h e o t h e r s i d e o f t h e
,112:.

room.

' % i t c h , s t a y h e r e and s e l l a f e w . P i e c e o f cake, Mitch thought.

I'll be back i n a l i t t l e b i t . "

S h o r t l y , a young f a n passed by. "Look," Mitch s a i d , "Neal Adams!" "Aw, who " F i f t y ce- Huh? Hey, l o o k , k i d : T h i s f a n z i n e has a c o v e r by Neal gives a shit." Adams. The b e s t . Only 50 c e n t s , You c a n o t p a s s it up, k i d . " "Wanna b e t ? "

Hmmm, Mitch thought.

Goddamn punk must be a mutant o r something.

It was a n o t h e r 15 minutes b e f o r e someone else came w i t h i n a c c o s t i n g d i s t a n c e o f ' M i t c h ; a p p a r e n t l y t h e s u p p l y o f young f a n s seemed t o have been used up f o r t h e time being, But a t last a k i d s a u n t e r e d by - he w a s n i n e y e a r s o l d a t most, h i s eyes f u l l of that wide-eyed s e n s e o f wonder that b l e s s e s t h e countenances o f o n l y t h e youngest and most i n n o c e n t neofans.
"Look! Neal Adams!" "Let m e see that," "Sure." "Lousy cover. A con s k e t c h , "Hey, i t ' s Neal Adams, k i d , Anything he does i s r i g h t ? T h a t ' s r e a l l y low, m a n , " g o l d , Anyway, it's n o t a con s k e t c h . " "Hell," t h e k i d s a i d , "I always l i k e d G i l Ka,neos Green Lantern b e t t e r , Even Mike G r e l l ' s i s b e t t e r t h a n Adams'." ??? "And on t o p of that, Adams has a l o u s y a t t i t u d e . He's a c o c k t e a s e r - a l o t o f f l a s h , a l o t o f e x p e c t a t i o n s , b u t w h a t d o e s he g i v e us? Con s k e t c h e s are t h e b e s t he can do now, huh?" "But it's - a con sketch!" "Forget it. No way would I pay a buck not f o r that z i n e . " "But i t ' s o n l y 50 c e n t s . " "Wouldn't pay that, e i t h e r . " From t h e c o r n e r o f h i s eye, Mitch saw Ken making h i s way back a c r o s s t h e mom, G o t t a make a t l e a s t one sale - and f a s t , " T e l l you what, k i d , I can t e l l you've g o t an app r e c i a t i o n o f t h e f i n e r a s p e c t s o f comic a r t . Letcha have it for a q u a r t e r , how 'bout it?" "No. 1 , j o t t a go ~iow," "Ten c e n t s . F i n a l o f f e r ! " Ken was p l e a s e d as he s a w Mitch t a l k i n g t o t h e youngster, e v i d e n t l y c o n f i d e n t of a n o t h e r e a s y sale, He saw Mitch rea change, I g u e s s a l l t h e k i d had was a d o l l a r b i l l , Ken thought. The k i d t o o k o f f , z i n e in hand, a s a t i s f i e d , happy l o o k on h i s face.
e k

"How many'd you s e l l , Mitch?" Uh, j u s t one, "Well, t h a t ' s OK. Most of t h e f a n s won't show up u n t i l l a t e r . Got t h e money?" Mitch reached i n t o h i s p o c k e t , Empty, E r , I l pay you 'l l a t e r . I had t o make change when I s o l d i t , and I d o n ' t have any l e f t . "Yeah, 1 saw you. T h a t ' s okay, Give m t h e d o l l a r - IOve g o t change," e Mitch p u l l e d out h i s wallet. Two f i v e s and a 10. Uh.,, Ken's e y e s narrowed and ,

..

Wups, here came a n o t h e r f a n , and Ken d i d n ' t m i s s 'L b e a t , Out whipped a copy o f GLL, j r i t o t h e face it was shoved: "Look, Neal Aclams!" The k i d shuddered, orC;a:;m ic. "How much?" " J u s t 50 c e n t s . " "Wow. Here's a doll a r - g i v e me two c o p i e s . "

E t cetera.

Hmmm, Mitch t h o u g h t . I ' m gonna be s i c k . Excusing h i m s e l f , he repaired t o t h e men's room where, though he d i d n ' t know it a t t h e time, he e n c o u n t e r e d Rich, who was in one o f t h e s t a l l s , t y p e w r i t e r propped on h i s k n e e s , f e v e r i s h l y h u n t i n g and pecki n g away. Mitch, c u r i o u s , a s k e d Rich w h a t he w a s d o i n g , "I w a s l o c k e d o u t o f my room, a n d I ' v e g o t t o g e t t h e n e x t i s s u e of Batmania o u t b e f o r e t h e c o n v e n t i o n ' s o v e r . C a n ' t waste a second!" Hrnmm, Mitch t h o u g h t , Great company I l have w h i l e I ' m busy b e i n g s i c k . 'l

o f t h e world, u n i t e ! -- Imra!)(l2) m h and S a t u r d a y a f t e r n o o n t h e y sat t h e r e , h i g h and mighty above everyone e l s e : Murray B o l t i n o f f , J i m S h o o t e r , Dave Cockrum, Mike G r e l l , Nelson B r i d w e l l and J a c k Harris. Cary Bates wasn't t h e r e , b u t nobody n o t i c e d . The e v e n t w a s t h e c o n ' s l o n g - a w a i t e d Legion p a n e l , and j u s t a b o u t everyone who's anyone i n Legion fandom was i n t h e a u d i e n c e , a l o n g w i t h some 300 o t h e r screaming li'l Legion l o v e r s , Harry l o o k e d around, t h e n a t Flynn a n d M o r r i s s e y and Gale, q u i z z i c a l l y ; did w e make a wrong t u r n and end up on Miss Marcia's Romper Room? No, t h e y s a i d , and a l o n g w i t h costumed Mercy Van Vlack t h e y chorused, "It's t h e real t h i n g (Le-gion) i n t h e back o f y o u r mind ( o f Super-He-ee-roes) w h a t you're hoping t o f i n d . . . i t ' s t h e real t h i n g ! " Thanks a l o t . The p a n e l began, Up on t h e s t a g e , which was i l l u m i n a t e d by a weird combination o f red f o o t l i g h t s and orange b a c k l i g h t i n g , Harris i n t r o d u c e d t h e p a n e l members, It w a s r e a l l y t o o bad,someone f a n t a s i z e d , t h a t nobody had brought a n a p p l a u s e meter, because t h e r e l a t i v e r e s p o n s e s o f t h e a u d i e n c e a f t e r each i n t r o would have p r o v i d e d g r a p h i c e v i d e n c e o f who was t r u l y l o v e d by Legion fandom. But it worked o u t t o something l i k e t h i s , f r o m most- t o l e a s t - p o p u l a r : Cockrum, S h o o t e r , B r i d w e l l , G r e l l and B o l t i n o f f . If S o l H a r r i s o n had been t h e r e , he p r o b a b l y would have f o r e v e r banned t h e two M a r v e l i t e s from e v e r a g a i n s e t t i n g f o o t i n a DC con, much as he l u s t s a f t e r Cockrum's s e r v i c e s ,
A l l o f them said a few words, a n d t h e n Harris threw t h e t h i n g open t o q u e s t i o n s from t h e a u d i e n c e a The q u e r i e s which were posed ranged from t h e t y p i c a l l y f a n n i s h (When are t h e F a t a l F i v e coming back?) t o t h e e m o t i o n a l l y f a n n i s h (Why d i d you change ERG-1's name t o W i l d f i r e ? b i g i s s u e i n t h e b o o n i e d ) t o t h e s l y l y f a n n i s h ( A q u e s t i o n f o r Jim S h o o t e r : Now that y o u ' r e working f o r Marvel, w i l l you c o n t i n u e w r i t i n g t h e The q u e s t i o n s Legion? Jim: No comment. Harris: Yes he w i l l ! Audience: Yaaayy!) a l s o ranged t o t h e realm o f f a n n i s h o b s e s s i o n s ; Harris, a f t e r p o i n t e d l y i g n o r i n g Harr y * f~ a n t i c a l l y waving t e a c h e r - t e a c h e r - c a l l - o n - m e hand f o r t h e b e t t e r p a r t o f 45 r m i n u t e s - o r maybe he c o u l d n ' t s e e i t ? . . . w i t h Mercy and Mike Flynn behind him a c t i n g w e l l , uh, j u v e n i l e , g i g g l i n g and l a u g h i n g and punning a n d s h o u t i n g , Harry s l i d f u r t h e r and f u r t h e r down h i s seat - anyway, Harry was f i n a l l y acknowledged a n d an e x p e c t a n t hush f e l l o v e r t h e crowd.

.

" I ' d l i k e t o a d d r e s s t h i s t o Murray," Harry s a i d as S h o o t e r smirked. "Murray, I ' m sure you've g i v e n t h i s matter q u i t e a b i t o f c o n s i d e r a t i o n , b u t I wonder whether you'd care t o e x p l a i n t o u s how you can j u s t i f y cramming 23 L e g i o n n a i r e s i n t o two s t o r i e s p e r i s s u e o f Superboy." A buzz o f a p p r o v a l m s e t h r o u g h t h e ballroom. "There

. 14:.
:

was a time n o t t o o l o n g ago when it t o o k two f u l l issues o f Adventure t o t e l l a story w i t h j u s t f o u r L e g i o n n a i r e s , 'I "Mordru! someone i n back shouted. "Yeah! I' t h e crowd roared. "And I 0 m sure," Harry c o n t i n u e d , "that i f t h e s e n t i m e n t s i n t h i s room are any i n d i c a t i o n , y o u ' l l make a l o t o f readers across t h e c o u n t r y v e r y happy i f you and Jim and Mike would start working on some f u l l - l e n g t h e r s and n o t h i n g b u t full-lengthers. Except," he added as an a s i d e , " f o r e v e r y now and t h e n when t h e r e a l i z a t i o n h i t s you t h a t you've g o t t a have two or t h r e e i s s u e s t o t e l l a r e a l l y dynamite s t o r y w i t h a l l t h o s e h e r o e s running around!" Well, that did it. Murray s t a r t e d t o mumble something a b o u t how i f sales on a couple of- r e c e n t , i n a d v e r t e n t f u l l - l e n g t h e r s were good, he might But o n l y a few words i n t o h i s r e b u t t a l t h e crowd w a s on i t s f e e t , stomping, c h e e r i n g , y e l l i n g , w h i s t l i n g , y e l l i n g "Right On! "Full-lengthers o r F i g h t ! 'I "Amen Brother! "Hip Hip! "Hooray! and "Eleven-and-six Sucks! a l o n g w i t h a few s c a t t e r e d c r i e s o f " G r e l l EEits It Raw!" Murray looked around, confused, while Harris took t h e mike and t r i e d t o calm t h e crowd down. But it w a s an a n g r y , r i g h t e o u s mob which began advancing mena c i n g l y toward t h e s t a g e , E i g h t s e c u r i t y men s p r i n t e d i n , b i l l y c l u b s f l a i l i n g , and s t a r t e d t o b e a t back t h e f a n n i s h f u r o r . Yelps o f o u t r a g e , screams o f p a i n , s h o u t s o f Motherfucker! and wails o f agony r a i n e d a b o u t t h e p l a c e , and i t wasn't l o n g u n t i l b r u i s e d , bloody and broken, t h e s e c u r i t y men f l e d .

...

If

"If I can make j u s t one more p o i n t , , It was Harry a g a i n , h i s v o i c e r i s i n g above t h e miasmic s h o u t s o f t h e a f f r o n t e d f a n s , "If I can be allowed t o make one f u r t h e r p o i n t , I ' d l i k e t o s a y t h a t even if we d i s a g r e e w i t h what Murray's d o i n g now, we s t i l l owe him a c e r t a i n d e b t o f g r a t i t u d e f o r having f a i t h enough i n t h e Legion i n t h e first place t o keep it a l i v e a f t e r Mort Weisinger l e f t - when it v e r y well could have d i e d , So l e t ' s h e a r it f o r Murray!" And p l e a s e , God, he thought - app l a u s e , okay?

There w a s p o l i t e a p p l a u s e for Murray B o l t i n o f f , The a u d i e n c e ' s v i o l e n t e n e r g i e s s p e n t , t h e p a n e l resumed i t s b u s i n e s s , There were more t y p i c a l l y f a n n i s h and e m o t i o n a l l y f a n n i s h q u e s t i o n s f o r t h e honchos on stage, a l o n g w i t h a z i n g e r o r two. A t one p o i n t , Ken asked Murray why, i f t h e Leg i o n w a s N a t i o n a l ' s b e s t - s e l l i n g book, it was o n l y t w i c e - q u a r t e r l y i n s t e a d o f monthl y , Murray responded by s a y i n g Superman Family's f r e q u e n c y was going t o be boosted from bimonthly t o t w i c e - q u a r t e r l y . And a t a n o t h e r p o i n t , Harris asked S h o o t e r and Grell t o s t a n d side-by-side, S h o o t e r happens t o be a b o u t 6-foot-8 and G r e l l a b o u t 5-foot-5, and as Jim r e s t e d h i s elbow on Mike's head Mitch observed t o Ken t h a t t h e s p e c t a c l e was a k i n t o viewing a n e r e c t p e n i s n e x t t o a f l a c c i d dork. When t h e p a n e l concluded, Ken a t t e m p t e d t o i n t r o d u c e Harry t o Mitch and smutzine p u b l i s h e r Dennis C i e r i , who'd been bumming matches from Harry throughout t h e p a n e l . But t h e time wasn't q u i t e r i g h t y e t , The now-tamed audience was r e s p e c t f u l l y scrambl i n g o n t o t h e stage and Harry and Mitch j o i n e d t h e r u s h - knocking o v e r Ken i n t h e p r o c e s s - Harry t o a s k Murray f o r a n o t h e r Outpost p l u g i n t h e Legion's l e t t e r c o l and Mitch t o meet h i s all-time f a v o r i t e a r t i s t , G r e l l . On s t a g e , S h o o t e r and Cocknun were mobbed by t h e Teeming M i l l i o n s w h i l e Bridwell and H a r r i s looked around blankly, a i m l e s s l y , and Harry had Murray all t o himself and Mitch had G r e l l a l l t o h i m s e l f , No a c c o u n t i n g f o r taste. When t h e l i t t l e k i d s s t a r t e d t o c l e a r o u t , Ken a t l a s t managed t o make t h e int r o d u c t i o n s , A bunch o f *yawn* r e a l keen guys, everyone thought o f everyone. And w i t h t h a t o u t of t h e way, t h e f i r s t o f t h e c o n ' s two costume p a r a d e s cam-

.:15:.

menced i n t h e same room, Turnout wasn't e x a c t l y i m p r e s s i v e on e i t h e r s i d e o f t h e stage, b u t Consummate Huckster P h i l S e u l i n g m a i n t a i n e d h i s c o n s t a n t show-must-go-on t o u r n u r e - one which Mitch and Harry would w i t n e s s a g a i n a few weeks l a t e r a t S e u l i n g ' s N a t i o n a l C a r t o o n i s t s S o c i e t y non-con - as he i n t r o d u c e d t h e c o n t e s t a n t s : Mercy as t h e two-in-one g i r l , Duo Ddmsel; a Batman; a S u p e r g i r l ; a Deadman...and a Neal A d a m G i r l a n d a Frank F r a z e t t a G i r l . It wouldn't be c o r r e c t t o s a y t h e c o s tumes o f t h e l a s t two were i n d e c e n t - a f t e r a l l , a t l e a s t one o f them had been Approved By The Comics Code A u t h o r i t y - b u t t h e F r a z e t t a G i r l was f a l l i n g o u t o f h e r u n d i e s , much t o t h e a u d i e n c e ' s d e l i g h t , and t h e Adams G i r l was h o l d i n g h e r own, L i t e rall y

.

The j u d g e s f o r t h e e v e n t i n c l u d e d Dick Giordano, who h a s y e t t o draw a l e e r a s genuine as t h e one he d i s p l a y e d j u s t t h e n ; J e r r y S i e g e l ; J o e S h u s t e r , who from t h a t moment on, m i r a b i l e d i c t u , w a s no l o n g e r l e g a l l y b l i n d ; and J o e K u b e r t , who went gaga i n a r e s t r a i n e d , family-man s o r t o f way.
.

It wasn't e x a c t l y a cast o f t h o u s a n d s , as some costume p a r a d e s are, s o S e u l i n g declared everyone t h e winner, And i n a n o t h e r room, a f t e r t h e p a r a d e , a v i d e o t a p e s e t u p was a c t i v a t e d t o r e c o r d t h e costumes f o r p o s t e r i t y . Mitch w a s on hand a n d t u r n e d i n t o a p i l l a r o f salt when t h e Adams G i r l ' s t o p popped., .and s h e d i d n ' t bothe r t o do a n y t h i n g a b o u t it.
A t a n o t h e r time, t h e writer's p a n e l w a s u n d e r way i n a n a d j a c e n t ballroom. It w a s moderated by G e r r y Conway and manned by Denny O ' N e i l , Marty Pasko, Cary Bates and f o r m e r DC e d i t o r J a c k S c h i f f . It a c t u a l l y was an e x c e l l e n t p a n e l , e a c h w r i t e r d e l i v e r i n g h i s own p h i l o s o p h y o f comic book w r i t i n g i n t h e e n t e r t a i n i n g b u t g e n e r a l manner t h a t makes f o r a n i n t e r e s t i n g time b u t l o u s y copy, The o n l y d i s a p p o i n t m e n t came when S i e g e l e n t e r e d t h e room a n d promptly was i n v i t e d t o j o i n t h e p a n e l , o n l y t o l a u n c h a g a i n , a l b e i t h a l k i n g l y , i n t o h i s o f t - h e a r d monologue a b o u t how he a n d S h u s t e r s t r u g g l e d t o s e l l Superman d u r i n g t h e l a t e 1930s.
him

.But .i t ' s d i f f i c u l t t o be h a r d on t h e p o o r man, .
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After a l l , i f it weren't f o r

T

wenty-four b o t t l e s o f b e e r on t h e w a l l

(13)

, , i f it weren't f o r him, Rich M o r r i s s e y wouldn't have a l m o s t k i l l e d himself t h a t evening.

Around 8 o ' c l o c k , a b o u t 10 p e o p l e had g a t h e r e d i n t h e h o t e l room - enough t o make a convoy f e a s i b l e f o r t r a v e r s i n g a few b l o c k s o f Manhattan's s t r e e t s t o g e t something t o e a t , The o n l y as-yet-unmentioned f a n i n t h e group was Mark Gaspar, about whom a l l sorts o f u n n a t u r a l rumors have f l o a t e d o f l a t e ( c f . t h a t Ken Gale zine i n K-a). Along t h e way, Mark and Harry f e l l i n t o a c o n v e r s a t i o n a b o u t Don McGregor and h i s work, Mark t a k i n g a s u p e r l a t i v e , c h i l i a s m i c view o f t h e man a n d Harry making w h a t he f e l t was a n a i r t i g h t case f o r t h e d e a t h p e n a l t y . The d i s c u s s i o n c o n t i n u e d a t t h e Tad's S t e a k House a few b l o c k s s o u t h o f t h e Americana, wideni n g i n t o a two-sided polemic c o n c e r n i n g t h e f i n e r p o i n t s o f f a n n i s h commentary, o f apas v s . l e t t e r z i n e s and o f why t h e r e a r e s o few good f a n z i n e s on t h e market t o d a y , which l e d t o t h e two commiserating on t h e changes fandom h a s undergone d u r i n g t h e past 15 y e a r s , and on i n t o a n a t t e m p t t o p i n p o i n t t h e t u r n i n g p o i n t s i n t h e evolut i o n of t h e comics i n d u s t r y d u r i n g t h e same p e r i o d , And s o f o r t h , The two c o n t i n u e d , e n g r o s s e d , on t h e way back t o t h e h o t e l , The d i s c u s s i o n h a l t e d j u s t l o n g enough, a c r o s s t h e s t r e e t from t h e h o t e l , for them, a l o n g w i t h Mitch and Denny, t o d e c i d e what t o purchase t o t i d e t h e group t h r o u g h .the n i g h t ,

.:16r

t h e consensus b e i n g a n o t h e r f o u r s i x - p a c k s and a q u a r t o f s o u t h e r n comfort would do it, Good enough.

I n t h e mom, t h e hard s t u f f was p l a c e d in reserve w h i l e t h e D i s c u r s i v e Duo m a i n t a i n e d t h e i r t a l k a t h o n w i t h o u t m i s s i n g a s y l l a b l e , The scope widened s t i l l f u r t h e r : Comics v s , f i l m ; f i l m v s . l i t e r a t u r e ; t h e e s s e n t i a l n a t u r e o f l i t e r a t u r e - highbrow s t u f f , now, t h a t n e i t h e r h a d , . . o r l i k e l y e v e r w i l l have...any b u s i n e s s t a l k i n g a b o u t i n t h e terms t h e y employed, T y p i c a l f e n .

Meanwhile, V a l e r i o and Sherman w e r e n ' t i n a n y mood t o d r i n k b e e r - S c o t t now was p r o t e s t i n g that he d i d n ' t l i k e s t r a i g h t l i q u o r e i t h e r ; mixed drinks o n l y - a n d so t h e y d e c i d e d t h e time was r i p e and t h e stars were r i g h t f o r a t r e k i n s e a r c h o f someone t h e y ' d glimpsed e a r l i e r and immediately f a l l e n i n l u s t w i t h . Ken G a l e , who knows everybody i n t h e world, t o l d them s h e w a s SeulingOs d a u g h t e r , Gwen. And now t h e y wanted t o f i n d h e r a g a i n .
Off

I-

n s e a r c h -o f Gwen S e u l i n g (14)

they toddled,

B-- .

u t t o resume

. . . (15)

, , t h e b e e r w a s fast a - s l u r p i n ' on t h e remaining f r o n t as v a r i o u s f e n dropped by t h e room. Mitch decided-it was t i m e t o b r e a k o u t t h e s o u t h e r n comfort, - and f i r s t up a f t e r t h e announcement w a s Rich, who s c u r r i e d t o t h e bathroom f o r a glass, He d i d t h e h o n o r s , f i l l i n g t h e water g l a s s t o t h e brim.

And t o t h e g a s p s o f fandom assembled, Bets q u i c k l y were t a k e n , p o o l s M e d i a t e l y were formed; would he chug it down l i k e he d i d w i t h t h e b e e r t h e p r e v i o u s n i g h t ? Now, f r i e n d s , as t h e p l o t t h i c k e n s it ought t o be n o t e d that, t h e f o r e g o i n g a s i d e , t h e v e r i s i m i l i t u d e o f w h a t i s t o f o l l o w i s impeccable, 200 p r o o f p u r e t r o o t h . Please p i c t u r e i n y o u r mind's eye Rich s t a n d i n g b e n i g n l y w i t h a water g l a s s f u l l o f s o u t h e r n comfort - e i g h t ounces, p e r h a p s , He now announced: e"Uh, w a i t - I ' v e g o t t o t a k e my t r a n q u i l i z e r s f i r s t . " H s e t s t h e g l a s s on t h e d e s k , a t t e n d s t o h i s med5e c a t i o n i n t h e WC, and r e t u r n s , H p i c k s up t h e g l a s s . H e raises it; "Cheers!" e He takes a healthy gulp, And he s a y s : "*cough* My, t h i s i s *kof* a b i t s t r o n g , i s n ' t it?" A t which p o i n t , Mercy, b e i n g t h e first t o p i c k h e r j a w o f f t h e f l o o r and do something a b o u t t h e s i t u a t i o n , v e r y t a c t f u l l y t o o k t h e glass f r o m him a n d t h e b o t t i e from t h e d e s k , r e t u r n e d t o t h e bathroom, poured most of t h e g l a s s ' c o n t e n t s back i n t o t h e b o t t l e and watered down t h e remainder. The g l a s s t h e n was r e t u r n e d t o Rich, who t o o k a n o t h e r small s i p a n d t h e n p l a c e d it o u t o f r e a c h , i g n o r i n g it t h e r e after. A wise move,

I-

o f Gwen I1 n s e a r c h -- S e u l i n g - (16) But Mitch. t h e empathic s o r t , found himself f o r c e d , t o s t e p o u t o f t h e room t o c o l l e c t h i s wits. Down t h e hall he went, t o t h e e l e v a t o r f o y e r and *
I

t h e r e t o h i s m i l d a s t o n i s h m e n t he bumped i n t o Mike and S c o t t t a l k i n g t o 01' Gwen h e r s e l f ! Later Mitch r e c a l l e d s h e had two f r i e n d s w i t h h e r , w i t h t h e p a r t y accompanied by two mean-looking t h u g s . But f o r t h e moment, w h i l e h i s g l a s s e s unsteamed, he was o b l i v i o u s t o a l l b u t that jewel of jewels, t h a t b e a u t y o f b e a u t i e s ,
D

817s.

that c u n t o f c u n t s

- ungly

P h i l S e u l i n g ' s stunning d a u g h t e r .

She and h e r f r i e n d s o b v i o u s l y were drunk and s t o n e d on t h e i r c u t e l i t t l e asses. S c o t t was all sweaty and h i s hands shook something a w f u l , Mike was numb. The c o n v e r s a t i o n Mitch o v e r h e a r d went something l i k e t h i s : Gwen: W h a t d i d you s a y y o u r names are? Scott: Scott. Mike: GWyzyln. Gwen: What? Mike : GWyzyln Gwen ( t o S c o t t ) : Your f r i e n d d o e s n ' t t a l k v e r y w e l l , d o e s he? S c o t t : Bbsmwre Gwen: Uh huh, Uh, see ya l a t e r .

eanwhile, _ _ . - - _ I _ r a n c h back a t t h e

(17)

Gee, by some - e o-p l e @ ss t a n d a r d s it must have been g e t t i n g l a t e - it was p . past 1 ayem - though t h i s d i d n ' t faze your s e r v a n t s , H a r r y o f p r o f e s s i o n a l nece s s i t y n e v e r n o d d i n g . o u t b e f o r e 4 a n d Mitch r a r e l y h i t t i n g t h e s a c k u n t i l 8 or 9 i n t h e mcming. Rich, however, was r e a d y t o c a l l it a n i g h t , and s o he threaded h i s way t h r o u g h t h e humble g a t h e r i n g , once more t o t h e bathroom. For t h e r e c o r d it ought t o be n o t e d t h e assemblage now c o n s i s t e d of Harry and Gaspar a t t h e f o o t o f one o f t h e beds, w i t h i n r a d i a t i o n d a n g e r d i s t a n c e o f t h e c o l o r TV, s t i l l g o i n g a t i t ; it seemed t h e two were g e t t i n g r e a l l y s e r i o u s , wrapped up as t h e y were i n t h e e n c o u n t e r , plumbing t h e d e p t h s o f a f a n n i s h one-night s t a n d , o b l i v i o u s t o t h e c a c a p h o n i c Soul T r a i n - l i k e show i s s u i n g from t h e TV. They were t o t h e p o i n t o f d i s c u s s i n g t h e p h i l o s o p h i c p o l i t i c s o f l i t e r a t u r e and t h e b r u t i s h , f a s c i s t i c i m p u l s e s t h e r e o f , t h e b o t t l e o f s o u t h e r n comfort h a v i n g now found i t s n i c h e , p r o t e c t e d and guarded, between them. Also m i l l i n g a b o u t were Gale a n d Roy, Van Vlack and Chuck Nanco, Mitch and V a l e r i o and Flynn, a l o n g w i t h s u n d r y o t h e r faces and b q d i e s who e s c a p e r e c o l l e c t i o n .
Rich emerged, r e f r e s h e d and s t u n n i n g i n h i s bunny-print jammies, and once more made h i s way t h r o u g h t o t h e o t h e r s i d e of t h e room t o t h e opened c o t which he e x p e c t e d t o call h i s own t h a t n i g h t . C a r e f u l l y , c o n f i d e n t l y , he t u r n e d down t h e c o v e r s , cleared his t h r o a t , g o t i n a n d c o m f o r t a b l y p o s i t i o n e d h i m s e l f between t h e $#bbb)djd s h e e t s and l o u d l y announced t o a l l : "Well, good n i g h t ! " Everyone t h o u g h t it w a s r a t h e r c u t e , R i c h v s n o t i o n that h e ' d be a b l e t o f a l l a s l e e p anytime soon. However, i n d e f e r e n c e t o t h e f u t u r e (31 o f I n t e r l a c , t h e proc e e d i n g s h e n c e f o r t h were k e p t t o a d u l l r o a r . Denny Roy, b l e s s h i s g r e a s y li'l soul and s h a d e s , g o t up from t h e s p o t h e * d so j e a l o u s l y guarded for t h e p a s t c o u p l e o f hours on one of t h e b e d s - and which was immediately d i b b e d by Ken - and s t r o d e t o t h e window o v e r l o o k i n g 5Zd S t r e e t . A t f i r s t h e , j u s t k i n d o f s t o o d t h e r e , awed by t h e c i t y l i g h t s as o n l y one from t h e s t i c k s o f t h e New Hampshire b o r d e r can c o n c e i v e ; t h e n , r e s t i n g h i s palms on t h e s i l l and l e a n i n g f o r w a r d , he l o o k e d down t o t h e s t r e e t , p e r h a p s hoping t o c a t c h a glimpse of

.:18:.

I

a chopper bludgeoning its way t h r o u g h and past t h e t r a f f i c that seemed t o choke t h e way a t a l l h o u r s ; and f i n a l l y , he s t r e t c h e d , arms r a i s e d , fists c l e n c h e d , bones c m c k i n g , and made it known t h a t y e s , k i d s , N e w York was h i s k i n d o f town and he was going t o g i v e up h i s j o b o f emptying bedpans and c a t h e t e r i z i n g t h e a i l i n g a t a n o r t h e a s t e r n M a s s a c h u s e t t s h e a l t h - r e l a t e d f a c i l i t y and move t o t h e B i g Apple, t h e a p p l e o f h i s e y e , t h e eye o f t h e b e h o l d e r , t h e b e h o l d e r o f wonders experienced and a n t i c i p a t e d i n t h e naked c i t y , t h e burg which a l o n e can b o a s t a c o n g r e s s o f n a t i o n s , two f o o t b a l l teams, t h r e e newspapers, f o u r funnybook companies, f i v e C r o a t i a n skyj a c k e r s , six trains t o Coney I s l a n d , seven m i l l i o n p e o p l e , among whom t h e r e are e i g h t CAPA--dphans.
Denny began p e r u s i n g t h e want ads i n a copy o f t h e Times someone had brought t o t h e room - b u t as w a l l know, n o t h i n g came o f h i s eye-popping j o u r n e y t h r o u g h e column a f t e r column of f i v e - p o i n t type, Poor k i d , Another k i c k i n t h e balls i n t h e game c a l l e d l i f e - as S t e v e G e r b e r might s a y i f t h e Code would l e t him. But l e t u s resume o u r n a r r a t i v e , a f t e r t h i s b r i e f b u t important s i d e b a r :

ary

Magdalen -s a i - - rock s t a r (18)

With Rich s a f e l y and s n u g l y t u c k e d i n t o bed, someone mentioned t h a t it would be a good i d e a t o f i g u r e o u t who would be s l e e p i n g where that n i g h t , t h e i n t e n t o f t h e s t a t e m e n t b e i n g t o a v o i d t h e blackened eyes and b r u i s e d egos o f t h e p r e v i o u s n i g h t when somebody had s u g g e s t e d t o Mercy that he share one o f t h e beds w i t h h e r , The c o n v e r s a t i o n proceeded apace f o r a s h o r t t i m e , b u t t h e n it w a s n o t i c e d t h a t S c o t t Sherman w a s nowhere t o be s e e n , and it c e r t a i n l y wouldn't be s p o r t i n g t o d i v v y up t h e comfy s l e e p i n g s p a c e without l e t t i n g him in on t h e n e g o t i a t i o n s , Mitch and V a l e r i o s a i d S c o t t must have been s i d e t r a c k e d on t h e i r way back from t h e S e u l i n g e n c o u n t e r ; Someona e l s e s a i d f u c k i t , i f S c o t t ' s n o t h e r e i t ' s h i s own problem, S c o t t wasn't t o o f a r away, however, and when he r e t u r n e d he e x p l a i n e d h i s a b sence something l i k e this: Returning t o t h e room w i t h Mitch and Mike, he was l e f t behind when t h e two waved clowns t o r e down a 1 6 t h floor hallway, grabbed an e l e v a t o r and $$?!#$ jl!% &! g l e e f u l goodbyes t o him as t h e d o o r s l i d c l o s e d j u s t as he made h i s b e l a t e d s p r i n t t o t h e e l e v a t o r f o y e r . Undaunted, S c o t t p r e s s e d f o r a n o t h e r e l e v a t o r - and as he w a i t e d , a b e a u t i f u l woman d r e s s e d a l l i n w h i t e approached, If he'd been drunk a t t h e time, he s a i d , he would have thought s h e was h i s f a i r y godmother e x c e p t f o r t h e fact t h a t s h e was b l a c k , They exchanged h e l l o s , and S c o t t i n q u i r e d whether s h e w a s a t t h e h o t e l f o r t h e convention, No, s h e r e p l i e d , a l t h o u g h s h e - been wond'rin had about a l l t h e k i d s running around t h e p l a c e ,

$G

The e l e v a t o r a r r i v e d and once i n s i d e , S c o t t punched t h e a p p r o p r i a t e floor b u t t o n and asked t h e woman which f l o o r s h e wanted. "Whichever one you're g e t t i n ' o f f a t , honey," s h e s a i d , Ulp, S c o t t t h o u g h t , But t h e i r c o n v e r s a t i o n continued amiab l y , which S c o t t o n l y t o o happy t o e x p l a i n what t h e con was a l l a b o u t and why SO many o t h e r w i s e i n t e l l i g e n t people go t o t a l l y bonkers o v e r t h o s e c o l o r f u l throwaways. It wasn't t o o long b e f o r e t h e y a r r i v e d a t t h e d o o r t o t h e mom - and S c o t t , having found a f o x y new f r i e n d he d i d n ' t want t o l o s e by exposing h e r t o t h e r a b b l e i n s i d e , sat down o u t s i d e t h e d o o r , h i s back t o t h e wall. She d i d l i k e w i s e , And a f t e r p o l i t e l y l i s t e n i n g t o him expoand on t h e m y s t e r i e s o f comic fandom, she began t e l l i n g him h e r l i f e s t o r y , She began f r a n k l y enough by e x p l a i n i n g s h e w a s a p r o s t i t u t e . No s h i t , S c o t t s a i d , ' T ' v e n e v e r m e t a hooker before." She was s u r p r i s e d f o r a moment, b u t t h e n

.:19:.

And f o r about h a l f an h o u r , c o r r e c t l y i n f e r r e d t h a t S c o t t was a n out-of-towner. t h e n , s h e t o l d an e n r a p t u r e d S c o t t h e r l i f e s t o r y , which b o i l e d down t o t h i s : She was born i n Bmoklyn i n 1948 and had l e d a c o m p a r a t i v e l y d e c e n t l i f e u n t i l j u s t r e c e n t l y . She'd m a r r i e d when s h e was 1 9 , had two b r a t s , d i v o r c e d t h r e e y e a r s l a t e r and m a r r i e d a g a i n , t h i s t i m e t o a n e n f o r c e r i n one o f Harlem's more p w e e u l mobs - s h e d i d n ' t r e a l l y l o v e him, b u t h e made good bucks, s h e s a i d - and s h e had a n o t h e r k i d . But two y e a r s ago h e r husband was nabbed, t r i e d and c o n v i c t e d on f o u r c o u n t s o f income t a x e v a s i o n - a euphemism f o r all t h e r e a l l y n a s t y s t u f f he w a s d o i n g , a l a A 1 C a p n e . And s i n c e he was packed off t o t h e b i g house, she'd been a l l a l o n e , h e r ex fucked h e r o v e r good and t h e n k i c k e d h e r down t h e stairs when s h e went t o him f o r h e l p , and now s h e was t r y i n g *sob* t o s u p p o r t h e r t h r e e k i d s t h e o n l y way s h e knew how, a t l e a s t s i n c e h e r h i g h s c h o o l d i d n ' t do much t o t e a c h h e r t h e secret a r i a l s k i l l s t h a t a l l good s c h o o l g i r l s a r e supposed t o l e a r n b e f o r e t h e y g r a u d a t e . And w i t h h e r r e l a t i v e l y c l a s s y background, s h e knew s h e c o u l d n ' t s i m p l y hang o u t a t a s t r e e t lamp a t 182d and A m s t e r d a m Avenue. So i n s t e a d , s h e worked t h e h o t e l s , and w i t h l u c k might even have a n i c e , w a r m room i n which t o spend a c o l d w i n t e r ' s n i g h t . S c o t t , n e e d l e s s t o s a y , was touched. No, n o t p h y s i c a l l y , and no, n o t even f o r a "loan." H e was g e n u i n e l y , s i n c e r e l y and h e a r t b r e a k i n g l y t o u c h e d , e s p e c i a l l y because she h a d n ' t found it n e c e s s a r y t o p r o p o s i t i o n him. What he d i d do, though, was g i v e h e r t h e addresses of a few f r i e n d s of h i s i n t h e c i t y and beyond who were fairl y well-to-do and who d i d n ' t have much r e s p e c t f o r t h e f i n e p r i n t o f s t a t e and munic i p a l l e g a l i t i e s - s o s h e c e r t a i n l y wouldn't have a n y t r o u b l e r e l i e v i n g t h e r e p r e s s e d needs which had l e d them down t h e a n t i s o c i a l e x i t from t h e freeway o f l i f e ; t h o s e p e o p l e i n c l u d e d Po S e u l i n g , H. Rogofsky, R, B e l l , C. I n f a n t i n o , and, a l i t t l e f a r t h e r away, A. L i g h t , Perhaps, S c o t t s p e c u l a t e d , one or more o f them might even be w i l l i n g t o e n t e r i n t o a long-term c o n t r a c t f o r h e r s e r v i c e s - a t a handsome f e e , o f c o u r s e , The hooker was so p l e a s e d by t h i s t h a t s h e p l a n t e d a b i g , s l o p p y k i s s on S c o t t ' s cheek, u t t e r e d p r o f u s e t h a n k s , s a i d s h e r e a l l y a p p r e c i a t e d h i s h e l p and t o o k o f f down t h e h a l l t o check o u t t h e p o s s i b i l i t i e s , e s p e c i a l l y w i t h P. S e u l i n g , whose room nunb e r S c o t t had t h o u g h t f u l l y provided. S c o t t f e l t good a b o u t d o i n g t h e hooker a f a v o r , a l t h o u g h he wished s h e would have e x p r e s s e d h e r g r a t i t u d e some o t h e r way,

A f t e r a l l , how would he e x p l a i n t h e b r i g h t orange l i p s t i c k smears on h i s cheek?

0-

n your mark (19)

Everyone i n t h e room l i s t e n e d t o S c o t t ' s t a l e w i t h wide-eyed a s t o n i s h m e n t , a l t h o u g h one w i s e a c r e p i p e d u p o halfway t h r o u g h t h e s t o r y , "I know h e r ! She was g i v i n g away f r e e samples u n d e r Warren's t a b l e a t t h e l a s t Julycon!" The wiseacre h i m s e l f , who s h a l l remain nameless, was t h e o n l y one t o groan and h e n c e f o r t h was silent , ,
a

I n any e v e n t , t h e s l e e p i n g s p a c e was a l r e a d y d i v v i e d up, and by now R i c h , s t i l l t h o r o u g h l y awake, d e c i d e d it would be a n i d e a l time once a g a i n t o t r e k t o t h e b a t h room. AS he clambered o v e r and o f f h i s c o t he p l a n t e d h i s f o o t on Harry's head and t o o k a flying l e a p i n t h e g e n e r a l d i r e c t i o n o f t h e WC. T h i s t e m p o r a r i l y brought Harry back i n t o t h e r e a l world, a l t h o u g h by now he was p r e t t y much a n e s t h e t i z e d and t h e impact of t h e s i t u a t i o n d i d n ' t r e a l l y h i t him. However, b e i n g now as how he was back i n t h e r e a l world, he remembered t h e f u s s Rich had made a b o u t going t o b e d , , . a n d s u g g e s t e d t o Gaspar, i n a t o n e as i n n o c e n t as t h e Warlock Magus, "Hey, why d o n ' t you g e t i n t o R i c h ' s bed?" Mark looked a t H a r r y , w a i t e d u n t i l t h e twin images o f t h e
'

I

:20:

0

Oh, yeah! " Outpost e d i t o r a l i g n e d and merged i n t o o n e , and began t o s a y , "Why woulAnd s o he hopped i n and was t u c k e d away by s i x p a i r s of hands, Everyone r u s h e d t o resume t h e i r f o r m e r p l a c e s b e f o r e Rich r e t u r n e d , and t h e y d i d s o none t o o soon, Rich came o u t and i n q u i r e d something t o t h e e f f e c t o f , "Um, w i l l t h i s be going on much e l o n g e r ? " H was a s s u r e d by a l l that it wouldn't, and t h u s a p p a r e n t l y r e l i e v e d , Rich r e t u r n e d t o t h e c o t , began b l i n d l y t o g e t i n w h i l e Mark c r i n g e d , made a l l k i n d s of faces and more o r l e s s made it a p p e a r he was h o r r i f i e d by t h e e n t i r e sequence o f e v e n t s . And a g a i n , as v e r i s i m i l i t u d e r e i g n s f o r t h e nonce, Rich was back i n t h e c o t , t h e s h e e t and b l a n k e t up t o h i s c h i n , b e f o r e he n o t i c e d t h e b i g lump behind him was Mark. Without a pause o r h e s i t a t i o n , Rich s t e r n l y admonished: "If you w a n t t o s l e e p w i t h m e , y o u ' l l have t o pay f o r it!" And that was more t h a n anyone c o u l d h a n d l e ; t h e l a u g h t e r and a p p l a u s e r o c k e d t h e mom f o r a good two minutes o r s o w h i l e Mark e x t r a c t e d h i m s e l f and Rich commanded, "Now s t r a i g h t e n t h o s e b e d c l o t h e s ! I t The p l a i n t r u t h , f a i t h f u l ones. Nothing c o u l d t o p that, and as it a c t u a l l y was g e t t i n g a b i t l a t e for assembled m u l t i t u d e began b r e a k i n g up, e v e n t u a l l y l e a v i n g i n t h e room j u s t S c o t t , Mike V a l e r i o and Denny Roy i n t h e b e d s , Ken and Mitch s t r e t c h e d o u t f l o o r a n d Harry and Mark c o n t i n u i n g t o h o l d f o r t h i n f r o n t o f t h e TV. The w e r e doused and o n l y t h e f l i c k e r i n g motion of t h e now-soundless t e l e v i s i o n i n a t e d one end o f t h e room, most, t h e Rich, 011 t h e lights illum-

For about t h e n e x t two h o u r s , Harry and Mark q u i e t l y c o n t i n u e d t h e i r d i s c u s s i o n
of t h e m u l t i d i m e n s i o n a l i t y o f a r t , t h e c i n e m a t i c i n f l u e n c e on comics, t h e s e x l i f e o f Mark's s i s t e r a n d as u l t i m a t e l y as it was i n e v i t a b l e , r e l i g i o n and p o l i t i c s , t h e i r views on t h e f o r m e r q u i t e similar. and t h o s e on t h e l a t t e r i r r e c o n c i l a b l e . F o r v a r i e t y ' s s a k e , t h e d e b a t e w a s laced e v e r y 30 m i n u t e s , l i k e clockwork, by R i c h ' s p l a i n t i v e i n q u i r i e s a b o u t when t h e y ' d be s h u t t i n g off t h e TV a n d g o i n g t o s l e e p . The TV, t u n e d t o WCBS-Ch, 2 , which a i r s Z3+ hours a d a y , w a s t u r n e d o f f a t s i g n - o f f time and Mark l e f t t o pursue h i s f a v o r i t e p a s t i m e , r i d i n g t h e subways a t 5 i n t h e morning. Harry l o o k e d o u t t h e window and n o t e d it was s t a r t i n g t o g e t l i g h t o u t s i d e . What's t h e . . u h , word f o r . , . ? Oh yeah, he t h o u g h t : H e c a l l e d ' i t a day,
e l e n K e l l e r i s n o t a rock s t a r (20) Around a b o u t g 0 3 0 agem t h e room was buzzing a g a i n ; Mercy and Nanco had ret u r n e d and everyone s a v e Harry, l i q u o r b o t t l e c l e n c h e d t o h i s b r e a s t , w a s awake, Well, we have t o do something a b o u t t h a t , Rich t h o u g h t , and s o , b e e r i n hand, he t r i e d g e n t l y t o r o u s e him, A t first Harry ,just k i n d o f mumbled o b s c u r e t h i n g s l i k e , "NO, no more, J e n e t t e ! M h e a r t , y'know y , Not w i s h i n g t o d i s t u r b w h a t e v e r dreamy f a n t a s i e s were r o l l i n g t h r o u g h H a r r y ' s s l e e p i n g mind, R i c h d e c i d e d t h e heck w i t h it and t u r n e d on t h e TV. " . . , a n d b r o t h e r s and s i s t e r s , I s a y t o you, t h e rampant s i n , t h e h e e d l e s s p r o m i s c u i t y , t h e u g l y , p e r v a s i v e drunkenness o f t h e a g e was p r o p h e s i e d i n t h e v e r y B i b l e I hold h e r e i n my hand! The a n t i c h r i s t i s come and h e ' s made N e w York what it i s , h a l l e l u i a ( s t u d i o a u d i e n c e : H a l l e l u i a ! ) , p r a i s e t h o . Lord, b r o t h e r s and s i s t e r s , , That d i d it. Harry was up a n d s w i t c h e d o f f t h e s e t i n and i n o u r h e a f i s one swell foop. Oh f o r s u r e , he was up now,

."

A f t e r pulli.ng h i m s e l f t o g e t h e r i n t h e s i d e s t e p p i n g Ken a n d Denny, Mike and t h e e v e r - p r e s e n t Rich i n t h e steamy li'l bathroom, he made h i s d e b u t f o r t h e day. Mitch l e d t h e boos and h i s s e s as Harry regmereed. "And l e t ' s h e a r it for t h e s l e e p y
IL<C!~

e

:21:

0

guy who makes an o b s t a c l e course o u t of a h o t e l room! Hey, Marry w h a t was your mother, a mine f i e l d ? " "Well," Harry modestly r e p l i e d , "she must've been a p r e t t y Hyuk hyuk. Touche. "Yeah," dynamite l a d y t o have had a b r i l l i a n t son l i k e me." Mitch r e j o i n e d , "she must've been r e a l l y blown away when she first saw you, too."

-

H i ho.
For no particular reason a few minutes l a t e r , Mitch, Denny and Mike took a cue f r o m Jeff Wassennan and began throwing o u t Helen K e l l e r jokes l e f t and r i g h t . (None of which t h e r e a d e r s of t h i s family f a n z i n e would care t o read.) A t one j u n c t u r e , Rich caught a r e f e r e n c e t o t h e d e a f , dumb and b l i n d k i d and noted f o r all and sundry, "You know, Helen K e l l e r w a s a Fabian S o c i a l i s t . " Mike, caught up i n t h e g e n e r a l g i d d i n e s s of t h e morning, responded, "Yeah! Fabian! Big rock s t a r of t h e F i f t i e s ,
r i g h t ? " Well, Rich e v i d e n t l y didn't c a t c h Mike's e n t i r e observation, because he came up with t h e woxis t h a t a l r e a d y have been immortalized, but which b e a r r e p e a t i n g j u s t once more because t h e y ' r e t h e punchline of t h i s whole thing. He s a i d :

"HELEN KELLER IS - A ROCK STAR!" NOT

Oh, he was indignant, a l l r i g h t .

Nobody e l s e was, though, and it w a s a t that moment t h a t t h e i d e a of a one-shot on t h e DC con h i t Harry. H e l a t e r e n t i c e d Ken Gale - who e v e n t u a l l y gave up t h e ghost of Helen - and then Mitch i n t o composition of same. If you l i k e what you*ve read s o f a r , as t h e n a r r a t i v e draws t o a c l o s e , please continue and accept t h e i r thanks f o r your gracious approval. And if n o t , blame Rich, T h a t ' s known as t h e Greg Swan syndrome.

I n any event, t h e r e a c t i o n i n t h e room d i e d down and everyone l e f t f o r breakf a s t , c a r e f u l l y avoiding t h e place down Seventh Avenue t h a t ripped s e v e r a l honest f e n o f f f o r almost $5 each on a bacon-and-eggs r e p a s t t h e previous morning, I n s t e a d , t h e y wound up a t a c o f f e e shop i n an Americana-owned building catty-comezed f r o m &if#$ $fl$#d!?! &fi#$&$f%e h o t e l , Except f o r t h e fact that li'l B v e Konig, t h e th one-time K - a w a i t l i s t e r , s p i l l e d h i s orange j u i c e a l l over h i s last-in-the-dealer'sstock Flesh Gordon p o s t e r , nothing much happened t h e r e .
A s a m a t t e r o f f a c t , nothing much happened when t h e y returned and made a n o t h e r swing through t h e d e a l e r s room.

But e v e n t u a l l y came time f o r t h e t r i v i a panel Ken had a hand i n organizing, w i t h Nelson Bridwell as t h e man with t h e questions and J a c k , H a r r i s as A r t Fleming. There were j u s t about a dozen people on t h e panel, which was s e t up i n a p a r t i t i o n e d area o f f t h e d e a l e r s room, and t h e p a n e l i s t s included Mercy, Rich, Ken, Mitch, Chuck Nanco, a couple of guys named Bob and Mario, and a few more people no one knew. I n t h e audience were Dennis C i e r i , Jim Shooter and G i r l f r i e n d Debbie Fix, Harry and maybe f o u r dozen o t h e r t r i v i a l fen. The panel had been preceded by a s m a l l a u c t i o n run by Seuling a t which he dumped as much of h i s slow-moving merchandise as he could. During t h e proceedings, one k i d almost had t h e s h i t pounded o u t o f him, though - and r i g h t l y s o , S h e l l y Mayer happened t o be t h e r e , up f r o n t with Seuling, doing some sketches which were auctioned o f f , When a magic marker drawing o f S c r i b b l y came up, Seuling asked w h a t he w a s bid f o r it; a k i d i n t h e f r o n t r o w , maybe 11 o r 12 y e a r s o l d , shouted: "How much a r e you gonna pay m e t o t a k e it?" The k i d received a s t e r n p u b l i c l e c t u r e from Seuling regarding t h e impropriety o f t h a t remark. Chalk one up f o r Seuling. Two, a c t u a l l y , for he p h y s i c a l l y r e s t r a i n e d Ken from i n f l i c t i n g grievous b o d i l y i n j u r y on t h e l i t t l e f u c k a s s , as well.

.

:22:.

W--

hat is Jimmy Olsen's middle name? (21)

The panel w a s your usual t r i v i a l g e t - t o g e t h e r , DC v a r i a t i o n . Bridwell's q u e s t i o n s - d e a l t e x c l u s i v e l y with Dc heroes and s t o r i e s , n a t u r a l l y , ranging f r o m t h e simple "Name t h e s i x kinds of k r y p t o n i t e and t h e i r p r o p e r t i e s " and "Recite t h e - Green Lanterns' oaths" - one guess who got that one - t o a few of a more esotwo t e r i c order.

The g r e a t e s t fun f o r t h e audience wasn't in t r y i n g t o match w i t s with t h e pane l i s t s as much as it was i n watching them fumble and groan and agonize t h e i r way through some o f t h e puzzlers. The c o n t e s t a n t with h i s hand up f i r s t a f t e r t h e quest i o n had been read got f i r s t crack a t answering it - along t h e l i n e s o f , say, t h e o l d GE College Bowl. Harris must've wearied of giving Rich t h e nod a fte r j u s t about every question. Rich had a g r e a t act going, A t one p o i n t , Nelson a s k e d k h i c h heroes made up t h e Seven S o l d i e r s of Victory. Up, immediately, s h o t Rich's arm. Harris c a l l e d on him; Rich s e t t l e d himself, hands clasped before him, and dove r i g h t in: Green A m w , Speedy, V i g i l a n t e , Shining Knight, uh...his r i g h t hand rose of i t s own accord t o c h e s t l e v e l , as though t r y i n g t o pluck t h e next name f r o m t h e a i r , . , u h , Star-Spangled Kid, S t r i p e s y and, uhm, e r . , . h e almost went i n t o a t r a n c e - every muscle i n h i s body w a s frozen, a b s o l u t e l y motionless, and h i s eyes seemed t o roll back i n t o h i s head as he sweated o v e r t h e f i n a l , seventh hero...uh, e r

..

S o m y , Rich, Harris s a i d , A f o r e s t of hands snapped t o ; Harris c a l l e d on one and t h e unnamed p a n e l i s t b u r s t f o r t h with "The Crimson Avenger!" Yeah, go on, Harris s a i d - name t h e o t h e r six. And t h e hapless hopeful s t r o v e d e s p e r a t e l y t o dredge up t h e names Rich had j u s t r a t t l e d through - and f a i l e d , t o o , missing Vigilante. The t h i r d t r y brought a l l seven,
Panel members were given f i v e p o i n t s f o r each c o r r e c t answer, and a t t h e end of t h e c o n t e s t t h e score stood roughly l i k e t h i s : Rich, 85; Mitch and one of t h e f a c e l e s s people, 35; Ken, 3 0 ; and t h e small change s c a t t e r e d among t h e rest. Rich's p r i z e : A page of DC o r i g i n a l a r t . He s a i d afterward t h a t he hoped it would be t h e Adams "Flying Heroes" wraparound cover f r o m one o f t h e e a r l y Superspecs. H e w a s t o l d t o dream on, k i d - and he's s t i l l dreaming and s t i l l waiting, f o r t o d a t e National has y e t t o come through with h i s first place award. The world b r e a t h l e s s l y awaits Rich's announcement of which l o v e comic page h e ' s t o g e t .

A l l t h e runners-up were promised gen-u-wine Superman belt buckles i n g l y , t h e y a c t u a l l y received them a f t e r about f o u r months.

- and

amaz-

The panel over, Mitch, Harry, Ken, Jim and Debbie bummed around f o r a while, f i n a l l y ending up a t t h e Siegel-Shuster t r i b u t e i n one of t h e m a i n ballrooms, being shushed as t h e y e n t e r e d because t h e t r i b u t e - S&S being interviewed - w a s being videotaped, They soon l e f t ; no one could h e a r what t h e i n t e r v i e w e r o r t h e interviewees were saying, much l e s s s e e them through a l l t h e t e c h n i c a l junk i n f r o n t of t h e s t a g e . They returned an hour o r s o l a t e r , e v i d e n t l y r i g h t a f t e r what w a s supposed t o have been t h e climax o f t h e con, t h e a c t u a l , f o r r e a l , no shit a b s o l u t e l y topping event - t h e b i r t h d a y extravaganza f o r Superman,

Well, gee..,word had it that good 01' S o l Harrison, t h e m a n who j u s t t h r e e days e a r l i e r had gone out and bought h i s new calendar f o r 1951, emceed t h e p a r t y , opening with something a l o n g t h e l i n e s o f , "Okay, boys and g i r l s ! L e t ' s s i n g happy b i r t h d a y
t o Superman!" as he stood i n f r o n t o f a cake which w a s surrounded by m i l l i o n s of

.

:23:.

H o s t e s s Twinkies. The b i g s h o t s g o t t h e c a k e , t h e f a n s t h e Twinkies. F i g g e r s . You can bet J e n e t t e Kahn w i l l n e v e r have a let-them-eat-cake a t t i t u d e w h i l e s h e ' s publisher, Though perhaps t h a t ' s b e i n g t o o sarcastic, Kahn was a t t h e t r i b u t e and p a r t y , a n d having been on t h e j o b j u s t 27 d a y s , was k e e p i n g a p r e t t y low p r o f i l e , t a l k i n g t o B o l t i n o f f and t h e l i k e , It was a t t h i s p o i n t t h a t Rich once a g a i n had a chance t o gab w i t h h e r - a t l e a s t w h i l e he and Nelson weren't bending each o t h e r ' s ears,

Evening was a p p r o a c h i n g and it w a s a b o u t time f o r Rich and t h e Bay S t a t e Bombers t o t a k e o f f f o r home, The $24-a-day r e n t - a - c a r , which had sat i d l e i n t h e h o t e l g a r a g e f o r a f u l l d a y S a t u r d a y , had been packed e a r l i e r and now was b e i n g r e w e d up f o r t h e t r i p back home, E a r n e s t farewells were exchanged amongst one and all, Rich b a l a n c i n g a b a g f u l o f funnybooks u n d e r h i s l e f t arm - that hand was busy w i t h t h e l a s t , memorial can o f b e e r - and s h a k i n g hands w i t h h i s r i g h t . A t e a r g l i s t e n e d i n M i t c h ' s e y e ; Ken t u r n e d t o blow h i s nose; Harry b i t h i s l i p - h i s d a r k red f l a n n e l s h i r t anonymously s o p p i n g up t h e b l o o d ; V a l e r i o p r e - e m p t i v e l y p u l l e d h i s j a c k e t o v e r h i s head; S c o t t had a d r e a m y l o o k i n h i s e y e s as h i s mind d r i f t e d back t o t h e p r e v i o u s n i g h t ; Denny p u l l e d down h i s shades and p o l i s h e d a c h a i n h e r e , a buckle t h e r e w i t h a s p i t - w e t k l e e n e x ; and t h e garage a t t e n d a n t i r r i t a b l y s h o u t e d , C'mon, c'mon, t h e r e ' s o t h e r people w a i t i n ' t o g e t o u t o f h e r e , And s o , t h e i r c o n v e n t i o n a l i z i n g ended, Rich and company p u l l e d o u t i n t o t h e sunset-shadowed s t r e e t s o f Manhattan, t a k i n g a l o n g w i t h them t h e g a r a g e ' s sandwichboard h o u r l y r a t e s i g n on t h e i r r i g h t f r o n t f e n d e r and t h e t o p o f a f i r e h y d r a n t which t h e c i t y had c a r e l e s s l y p l a c e d n e a r t h e s t r e e t on t h e sidewalk - lodged i n t h e i r g r i l l e , The r e s t o f t h e group, s t a n d i n g a t t h e g a r a g e e x i t , w a i t e d f o r a couple of m i n u t e s , n e r v o u s , t e n s e , But when no s i r e n s were h e a r d , t h e y b r e a t h e d a b i t e a s i e r and went back i n s i d e t h e h o t e l . Down i n t h e dealers room, t h e v a r i o u s shady o p e r a t o r s , ripff a r t i s t s , crooked vendors a n d e v i l moneychangers had begun t o c l e a r o u t , t o o , Mitch a n d Harry dropped o f f t h e i r funnybook p u r c h a s e s and p a r a p h e r n a l i a a t t h e t a b l e o f one o f t h e few h o n e s t dealers i n t h e p l a c e - a t l e a s t , that's t h e way t h e f a n n i s h l y o m n i s c i e n t Ken Gale d e s c r i b e d t h e guy t o them; recommendation enough. Harry wandered o f f t o t h e DC a l cove and e s p i e d , f o r t h e f i r s t time a t t h e con, C h a r l e s S p a n i e r i n t h e sideroom's entranceway. They n a t t e r e d a l o n g a b o u t n o t h i n g i n p a r t i c u l a r f o r a few minutes w h i l e H a r r i s o n and t h e Woodchucks pardon me'd and excuse me'd t h e i r way p a s t as t h e y removed t h e p r o p s and d i s p l a y s , J a c k Harris walked up a t one p o i n t and a s k e d Harry f o r h i s c a n d i d a p p r a i s a l o f t h e con ("Why S e u l i n g ? ? " ) . They t a l k e d a b o u t t h e p r o s p e c t s f o r a '77 DC con and what was i n s t o r e f o r da Legion now t h a t S h o o t e r was p r e t t y much o u t o f t h e p i c t u r e ; and a f t e r w a r d , Harris gave Harry a f u l l , uncut 32-page s i g n a t u r e o f t h e i n n a r d s o f Superman #3OO, which Harry a p p r e c i a t e d as a n i n t e r e s t i n g , b u t b a s i c a l l y w o r t h l e s s , n o v e l t y , Like o r i g i n a l comic book a r t .
Jeff Wasserman was n o t a t t h e con,

I- -

n t o t h e s u n s e t (22)

A s t h e p l a c e c l o s e d down, Ken took o f f , as had Jim and Debbie e a r l i e r , Harry and Mitch picked up t h e i r s t u f f , s t a g g e r e d u n d e r it a few b l o c k s t o t h e S i n g l e Honest Dealer's c a r ; t h e y g o t a l i f t t o t h e Bronx from him, a l o n g w i t h a f r i e n d o f t h e SHD and h i s *drool* k i d sister.

When t h e y a r r i v e d a t t h e Flynn Estate, n i g h t was upon t h e c i t y 124:

-

a sparkling,

u n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y c l e a r N e w York C i t y n i g h t , w i t h j u s t a h i n t o f c h i l l i n t h e a i r , Mike was home, and a f t e r o f f e r i n g t h e p a i r a P e p s i and some k i n d words, excused hims e l f ; he had t o p u t o u t t h e c a t , p u t on t h e dog and get r e a d y f o r a n i g h t o u t w i t h ( A c t u a l l y , Mitch t h o u g h t , emft h e boys, d o i n g whatever it i s boys do i n t h e Bronx, f i t i k i n d a a d d s class t o t h e subway cars, ) O u t s i d e , Mitch and Harry pondered t h e Squeakmobile 11; i n a d d i t i o n t o t h e previ o u s l o s s e s , now t h e l i c e n s e p l a t e s , two o f t h e wheels and a d o o r handle were gone - and Harry p r e f e r r e d n o t t o l o o k under t h e hood. Oh w e l l , he s a i d , See ya l a t e r , Mitch, "Whaddya mean 'See ya l a t e r ' ? g i v e you a hand h e r e . " "Nah, d o n ' t b o t h e r .

You c a n ' t g e t back t o B u l l v i l l e i n t h a t !

Lemme

I can manage."

"NO,

I insist.

They d o n ' t c a l l me M i t c h y z p t l k f o r n o t h i n g . "

"Yeah, I know you, You c o l l e c t y o u r t h r e e c e n t s r o y a l t y e v e r y time," Harry said as he unlocked t h e car d o o r , g o t behind t h e wheel and s p a r k e d t h e i g n i t i o n . "The e n g i n e ' s knocking, C a n ' t you do a n y t h i n g r i g h t , you fool?" "Sorry. "Yup. "Yeah. That b e t t e r ? " Mitch, t h a n x , p a l .

I l be s e e i n g you i n a couple o f weeks, r i g h t ? " 'l

I'll g i v e you a c a l l o r something."

Harry r o l l e d up t h e window and t u n e d on t h e h e a t , l e t t i n g t h e e n g i n e warm up. Mitch had v a n i s h e d , Oh w e l l , he t h o u g h t - s u s p e n s i o n o f d i s b e l i e f ' s been a p a r t of (He s h i v e r e d ; damn car's t a k i n g a l o n g t i m e t o g e t w a r m . ) m l i f e f o r a l o n g time. y e A f t e r a minute o r s o he w a s r e a d y t o r o l l . H s e t t l e d back, made a q u i c k c o n s c i o u s e f f o r t t o f u r t h e r suspend h i s d i s b e l i e f , c l o s e d h i s e y e s and t h o u g h t t o a s t y t h o u g h t s o f F l o r i d a as t h e car drove him home,

lq !!

:25:

J