The Captain's Veranda by Joe Sarno


Before I continue the story of my very fist Chicago Comicon I think I should fill in a little bit of imformation about Science Fiction fandom and the inpact that it had on the early years of the comic fandom. Comic fandom, while surely an entity of its own, owes a lot to Science Fiction fandom and in a way spun out of it. I got involved with S.F. fandom after graduating high school in 1957 and for four years traveled around the Midwest with the University of Chicago S.F. group trying to drum up support for a World Sceince Fiction Convention for Chicago first in 1959 (we lost to Detroit) and then in 1962, which we won. I was surprised at the number of S.F. fans that had libraries that inculded comics along with S.F. books, paperbacks, pulps and magazines. I remember being particurlary impressed at the large number of comics owned by Indiana fans Buck and Juanita Coulson, publishers of Yandro.

I had purchased my last new comic around 1955, and would not purchase another new comic until 1964 (Hawkman #1). But at the Detorit Wold S.F. Convention in 11959 I purchased two old S.F. comics for $1 each, a Plant and a Weird Fantasy. And while organizing George Scithers (chairman of the 21st Science Fiction World Convention) comics in 1963 he had at least 4 duplicates, and talked him into selling them to me for a buck a piece. Little did I know, but my 2nd comic book collection had begun.

It should be noted that Dick and Pat Lupoff begane writing their series of articles " All In Color For A Dime" for their S.F. fanzine Xero in 1960, and showed up at the Pittsburgh Worldcon that year dressed at Captain and Mary Marvel. "Monster" fandom also spun off from S.F. fandom; and at the Chicago con in 1962 two young kids dressed as Franenstein and Wolfman, and a number of photos were taken of them in "mortal combat".

Chicago was a hub of activity in the early 1960's, and a number of comic meets were held there. The first Chicago collectors group had been put together, and disbanded to be followed by Fantasy, Inc., Like pervious meetings, the first FCC meets were held in basements and Park District facilities, but in 1970 my basement was full of books and magazines form the purchase of the William Ostfeld store, so a new facility had to be found. Luckily I had been forunate enough to meet a collector/fan by the name of Dave Denwood, who was a vice president at Nothwest Federal Savings and Loan on West Irving Park Road, and he offered the use of their community room, and we were able to continue our meetings at that facility.

It should be noted that at this time we begun charging 50 cents general admission becuase the only obligation Dave had out on us was that we had to pay someone to clean up the hall after we left. We continued this low charge until our first mimi con was held on July 12, 1970 when we charged $1 for admission, and $1 per table to dealers. However at our April 18th 1971 meetings we begun charging dealers 50 cents and a dollar for small and large tables.

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Originally published in the C.B. WEEKLY (Comic Book Collectors Bulletin) Vol 3 #86 August 29, 2001 copyright Joe Sarno and respective copyright holders 2003.