This new feature was written by who I believe is a legend in the Chicagoland area. I just want to thank Joe Sarno for letting me put his memoirs on The Inter-fan Site as a new feature from called "The Captain's Veranda". This is a history of what it was like "back in the day" so to speak before specialty shops and mega conventions. Here you will find how Joe got started and what he went thru to do it and also the origin of Chicago Comic Con better known today as WizardWorld.

There are some gaps as these are from the newsletters that Joe published back in the late ninties and I hope to fill those gaps as time goes. I would like to thank my daughter Nicole Terese for her tremendous efforts to transcribe these onto notepad so I could upload them to the site....and she is not even a fan!!!! Thanks hon. I also hope to have pictures from those times. Eventually I hope to have Joe do some new articles about what it is like now and hopefully some more memories. So sit back and enjoy the ride! Note* To go to next article either hit back arrow key or click the link on the left to go back to the first page.

Here is a link to Joe's COMIC KINGDOM site that will give some other interesting articles and you can also buy back issues from him also!!

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Hi folks, Joe here. I'll be sending you some photo's from my REAL early S.F. fanac days. I just got these from Earl Kemp, and I thought I'd forward them onto you. I know that they're not comic fans, but this was certainly a prequel to the comic days. But here's whose in them.

1. Bob Tucker (Wilson Tucker) and Robert Bloch (making a reacquaintance with their friends Jim Beam, and others.

2. Harlan Ellison and Bob Tucker.

3. Bob Bloch and Fran Light.

4. Fern Tucker (Mrs. Bob) and old time S.F. fan Elsie Janda.

5. Bob Bloch and fan ...

6. Nancy Kemp and Charlotte Ellison (his first wife, I believe ... a pretty little thing)

7. Nancy and Earl Kemp..

8. Harlan..

9. Harlan & Tucker.

10. Harlan & his wife..

11. Bob Tucker and me (hey I have hair -- and I'm thinner, too).

At this time the only other photo's I know I have are of the store. And I might have some reprinted photo's from George Breo's fanzine that Jim Hanley took at a YMCA meeting..

Hello again, The first set of photos below from left to right are. 1) Me and Rick Yager and a piece of original art I had just bought from him. 2) Me and Rick again, 3) Rick, myself his son and my wife and (then) two kids. Row 2: Rick and I, and that's Milwaukee fan George Schwartz (spel) in the foreground, looking at the art and fixing his glasses. The next two photo's are both of Rick and I again. Row 3: Rick signing autographs in the first picture. Behind him (over his head) is the legendary Uncle Gene Kousek, and just in front of him is Frank Eisgruber. I don't know who the fan is in the yellow shirt -- thought I do recognize him. These are followed by two photo's of Rick and I again, but in the third photo his son is in the background, behind the original art (my wife was taking these pictures -- so that's why they're mostly of me). Row 4: These first two photo's were taken at the first Nostalgia Fest (Nancy Warner's show) at the Pick Congress hotel. The first is of Walter Koenig and myself just after consumating a trade for buttons (he got two comic togs, and I got some Fawcett buttons). This was taken in front of my table which was in the far North East corner of the main room. The 2nd photo is of my wife and Walter. The third photo was taken at an early YMCA meeting, and I believe it was taken by Jim Hanley. It shows me with a gun to the head of Kurt Gore (who still shows up at the major shows -- he's now a comic strip collector). Kurt use to trade me (and Larry Charet) Golden Age comics he had bought at a garage sale in his neighborhood). He would trade them for early Marvel Silver Age comics. That's it for now. Let me know if you want any individual shots of the above. I'll continue going through my files, to see if there are any other "treasures". I'll be sending a couple of more black and white photo's that were taken by my brother-in-law at one of the first Chicago Comicon's at the Pick Congress next.

As promised here are some more photos. The top two were taken at one of the first Chicago Comicon's. The 2nd row are two color photos of my kids in my attic with a part of my expanding (back then) collection. OK, here we go. The top two pics are from an early Chicago Comicon. That's Jenette Kahn on the far left, Russ Cockran (I'm going quick, so I may not have the names spelled quite right). And Mike gold with his back to us. I'm on the far right, and that's young fan Mark Patinkin just to my right. His cousin is the famous actor. That's me and Russ talking in the right picture. The second row are a couple of shots that may not be of interest, but I thought I'd send them anyway. That's my daughter Laura behind the chair with an original Charlie McCarthy dummy and a Plastic head Mortimer Snerd. And the next picture has my son Jamie playing with my train set. These were taken in the attic of my house at 4717 N. Harding Avenue in Chicago, which was also the sight of some of the early Fantasy Collectors of Chicago meetings (though those were held down in the basement -- it was a French Basement -- so people had take one step up in order to get into it)

Here's the breakdown on the photo's: 1) The brain-trust: Bob Weinberg, Joe Sarno, Larry Charet. 2) George Breo (soon to open The New Fantasy Shop) has his light saber on yours truly. 3) Paul Kupperberg, Joe Sarno, Paul Levitz watch as Joe Orlando talks with ... a nose (and I know that nose, but can't seem to place it).

In this next set of phots I wish I still have the originals of these. These were taken (probably by my wife) at one of the swap meets at NorthWest Federal Savings & Loan. Probably in the late 1960's. I'll identify the photos one by one on the next email. I sure wish I had the originals on these (though it is possible I still have the negatives -- but I have to search and search). Ron Massengil (who'll be sharing a table with Larry Charet -- right behind us) has some photos from the pre-Sarno days (I was in the military). I'll ask him about bringing some. Row one is a photo of Ross Kight (on the left) and me in front of a very nice Body Snatcher photo. Pic 2) Is a bunch of us watching a serial (or some such thing) Pic 3) I don't know -- too fuzzy for me. Row 2) I think the first pic has a bunch of us sitting at a table talking about something with Alex Eisenstein on the far left (standing). 2nd photo has Ross Kight on the left Alan Wong on the far right and I think Gene Kousek, Bernie McCarthy and Dave Denwood behind them. pic 3) watching a serial (or some such thing). Row 3) 1st pic is too fuzzy. Pic 2) has (I think) a kid by the name of Haris, Alan Wong and Dave Denwood. Dave is in an area where coffee is served. Pic 3) I'm not sure, but I think that's Kent Tesar in the foreground. Row 4) Bernie McCarthy heads away from the screen on which I think a serial is being shown (or some such thing). Pic 2, 3 and 4 are just too fuzzy. I'm wondering if Alan Wong has any photo's too -- he keeps "everything" I think.

Here are a couple of Fanzines Joe and Larry did plus some flyers about Joe's shop.

Here are covers from the first two issues of JOE-JIM done by Joe Sarno amd Jim O'Meara. These were collections of poems, stories and articles.

Here are some pamplets for the Fanatasy Collectors of Chicago , which eventually evolved into The Chicago Comic Con. The back cover of the fourth pamphlet (Image #5 list the names of the attendees of the previous meeting, notice lot of familiar names of Fandom were in attendance. Some of the photos above relate to these meetings.

Here is a new addition from Joe's own site, which tells the origin of Chicago Comic Con and other neat historical facts that shows the Midwest was the place for Comic Fandom .