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Monday, August 28, 2006

The Fantasy Company

I recently spent $12.95 for Comics Journal #277, the 30th anniversary issue, initially because an old FantaCo bud, Tom the Mayor (not to be confused with Tom, the owner) sent me this e-mail:
I do not know if you keep in touch with the comic biz, but in the latest issue of "The Comics Journal", they have an article on the black and white comics boom of the 1980's, and they show the cover to "Sold Out" #1, where a character named Roger Green is hunted down by the color police. Poor fellow is probably still in the color concentration camp. Wasn't Steve McQueen in the "Great Escape", based on that Green Fellow?

Gee, I co-wrote that story, yet I don't remember THAT aspect of the plot, but it HAS been 20 years. The artist, BTW, was John Hebert, not John Herbert, as indicated in TCJ.

As it turns out, there are other very interesting things in the magazine, including a piece on the late direct comics distribution guru Phil Seuling that will be VERY useful in the future.

Then, last week, I had breakfast one morning with Mitch Cohn. I worked with Mitch at FantaCo from 1980 until 1983 - he started there a year earlier - and later worked for him at his Midnight Comics store in Albany in the early 1990s. For FantaCo, Mitch edited the excellent Deja Vu and Gates of Eden as well as the Chronicles magazines dealing with Daredevil and the Avengers. (I did the ones for X-Men, the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man.)

Mitch is a middle school English teacher in New York City, and he looks remarkable similar to the guy I last saw about a decade ago. He was in town visiting folks, including our old FantaCo colleague Rocco. Right after I saw Mitch, I happened to walk past 21 Central Avenue, which had been a music store, a couple other things, then some sort of religious center after FantaCo, but had been most recently boarded up. The boards were down, the door was open, and it appears that some new retailer was cleaning up the place in anticipation of yet another venture.

So, it's been a FantaCo kind of week. FantaCo was started on August 28, 1978, and closed 20 years later, but given the fact that I worked there for 8.5 years, it remains in the DNA.


Anonymous said...

My girlfriend read it first
and that went into a talk about Fantaco with her which was fun. I saw Mitch as well 2 times and it was fun to see him - he seems more relaxed. Heard about your trip to Fred's place. Hope all is well. Take care, Rocco

Anonymous said...

Ah, Fantaco! Their "Chronicles" series helped really turn me into a fanboy for the first time. Picked up the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man volumes and that was it, hooked for life.