WizardWorld this year I met Doug Rice of "Dynamo Joe" and asked him if he
could write some recollections of His part in Fandom in Chicago ,back in
the day. Well he came thru with what is a really great tale of his
involvement and I came to realize we had a lot in common
I just thought I would mention that Denny Meisinger that Doug mentions was the publisher of Just Imagine comics back in the 80's and who I worked with at Capital City. But without further ado here is Doug!
Just got off taking a looksee at the Inter-fan web-site. There's a lot to see and from the sound of it, you folks are just getting started.
My time goes back to the mid-Seventies, when I was in college. I drifted into SF fandom thru my collegiate literary club, the Science Fiction Society at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle Campus. Our group there met every Friday afternoon after classes for talk about books, movies, get pizza, see shows and publish the university's only literary zine, TESSERACT. I was one of the two principle artists on the mag, and served as it's second co-editor. Our group soon got linked with the Armchair Speculators of DePaul University where I met Phil Foglio.
Our two groups then combined forces to help out at the area's first SF convention in decades, WINDYCON 1 and many Windycons thereafter. Right after college, Phil and I becames roomates and hosted many SF fan gatherings and helped with the founding of the SF theatre troupe, Moebious Theatre, that still performs skits at regional SF conventions (without me these days, to be sure).
We also put together two issues of EFFEN ESSEF, which featured the first published art of a very young and pudgy Geof Darrow, a great guy who was off to study/work in France before the 2nd issue was out. Somehow, comics came into this muddle as well during this time.
Phil Foglio and I lived about a mile North of Larry's Comic Book Shop (on Devon back then, of course) and we heard about the little monthly comic books shows at the YMCA just south of the Loop that Larry helped put together. It was simply a huskster room filled with people selling comics, but also served as a meeting place where I first met figures like Joe Sarno, George Breo, Tom Artis, Chuck Fiala, Jim Engel and many others. Remember DICK DUCK: DUCK DICK and FANDOM CONFIDENTIAL? Ah, now THOSE were the days.
My first efforts in comics fandom go back to Gary Groth's FANTASTIC FANZINE (1969-70), but my next published fan art (apart from TESSERACT) appeared in a fanzine done by George Breo (along with John Byrne's last fan artwork, before being hired by Charleton Comics...JB lived in Evanston at the time). Another mutual friend of Phil and Geof's was Michael Stein (now publisher of FILMFAX and OUTRE film/pop culture magazines for decades), an artist in his own right, but a great magazine publisher in the vein of Forry Ackerman. Mike is a font of local color knowledge vastly superior to mine. He's based in Evanston, as always.
By the end of the Seventies, I was broke and moved out of the city to the northern suburb of Zion where a fan lady friend took me in for a four year period. During this time I learned how to draw and paint on my own and, during this period, I met Dennis Meisinger and introduced him to my landlady, Ginni Clancy....two weeks later, they were engaged to be married.
Well, that's the back-story in a nut-shell. JUST IMAGINE and First Comics followed on the heels of meeting Denny, but I'll save that for next time.
Here are some various Comic Convention poster/flyers from the 70's. Note the San Diego is a two sided one which I believe was from '71, notice the name Golden State which I believed they dropped the next year, the second SDCC is a two part flyer. I also included a Houston one from the mid 80's.****Update*** I have added some program books from NY, Chicago and Houston!