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A SENSE OF WONDER: A LIFE IN COMIC FANDOM

March 28, 2003

A SENSE OF WONDER: A LIFE IN COMIC FANDOM, by Bill Schelly (TwoMorrows Publishing, 2001). SF fandom goes back to the 1930s, but comics fandom, its bastard stepchild, largely began in the 1960s. JFK was in the White House and I was in high school when my first “Dear Stan and Jack” missive was published in the letter column of THE FANTASTIC FOUR. Soon after, strange little magazines printed in faded purple ink began to show up in my mail box. That was my introduction to the wonderful world of comicdom, then in its infancy. Before long, I was writing for those fanzines myself; turning out prose epics (I couldn’t draw, so I couldn’t do comic strips) about the White Raider, Manta Ray, Dr. Weird, and Garizan, the Mechanical Warrior. I never met Bill Schelly (we were both high school kids, him in Pittsburgh and me in Bayonne, New Jersey), nor even corresponded with him .. but I certainly knew his name, and we had many acquaintances (and fanzines) in common. Comics fandom in the 60s was like a small town, where everyone knew everyone else… and reading Schelly’s fond, funny, and nostalgic memoir about this lost subculture was like going home again. If you ever sent off a sticky quarter or turned your fingers purple cranking a ditto, this is a book for you.

GOLDEN FOOL by Robin Hobb (Bantam Spectra, 2003). I’m a big Robin Hobb fan, as I’ve confessed before. I think she’s doing some of the best stuff in contemporary fantasy… and I’m bloody envious of how fast she writes. GOLDEN FOOL is the second volume in her current “Tawny Man” trilogy. It picks up right where FOOL’S ERRAND left off and never looks back. This one also brings some Bingtown Traders to the Six Duchies, tying Hobb’s two previous trilogies (the “Assassin” and “Liveship” series) together in some interesting ways. As ever, it’s a page turner, well crafted and full of vivid writing and finely-drawn characters. I’m already looking forward to the next one.

Posted in What I'm Reading.
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