It was 1980 and my first 'big' comic convention was in my back yard.

What a day. I'm sure I don't have to go into detail, it was probably exactly like everyone's first convention.

But what memories this brings back of those days. I can almost smell the fall Albany air.

Albany was my stomping ground and FantaCo was my LCS as John S Iavarone was incredibly rude to anyone under 21 that dared enter his place I never went there much.

FantaCo was different. People there were always welcoming. I love that place and went any time I could. Even with empty pockets knowing I couldn't buy something that trip I'd go and just hang out, look at books and things and drift around listening. They were a staple in Albany for almost two decades.

Tom Skulan and Raoul Vezina (of "Smilin' Ed Smiley" infamy) were the owners. Raoul was there a lot and I got to meet him dozens times. He was great to listen to and was always good for a kid to just watch and listen and always kind. His sketches and window/wall art was all over the place. Heck, they were all over the Albany area! Local businesses would have him do ads for them in Metroland or flyers for the phone poles.

One time the guys from Blotto (anyone remember "I wanna be a Lifeguard"? No? ) were there and a-capella'd a few stanzas of "MetalHead" while us slack-jawed patrons stared. They were up at QE2 that night I think.

I met Hembeck there a couple times but I was pretty shy and didn't do much more than awkward stammering. He was a level above to me compared to and I bought all his comix. His was the first 'cartoon' style artist I saw drawing superheroes and I loved it, especially his X-Men. That ad he does here for the 'Once-a-Month' comic show is cool, and one of the ones I actually got to once a month while they were doing them. Which wasn't too long. But check out that Moon Knight inset LOL. It's where I got mine!

And John Caldwell, what a guy he was. I got 'Running a Muck' from my Dad and got a signed "Mug Shots." Dad used to make my Mom mad leaving his "National Lampoons" around and Caldwell's stuff was infamous in there. Clown flashers, anyone? LOL

Anyway, I managed to get some signatures while there.
Dave Simons the incredible inker from Ghost Rider's first run was there and he was a seriously cool guy.
I wish I'd had the money on me to buy more of his original sketches and things he had there, but I did not. He was so easy to talk to. He was the most 'mainstream comic' famous person I met there that day and I wish I'd known he was going to be there I'd have brought the Ghost Riders from home with me to have him sign.

I didn't get the Pini's signatures, who were charging money and had a huge line and I'd already spent every dime on comics. I managed to get some free ones, though.

Sadly Dave Simons and Raoul and John are no longer with us. But I found Hembeck on Facebook! I'm going to send him this sig page there, too. FantaCo made it until the world of comics collectively turned against it. But what a run. And some really great publications in their repertoire. Check 'em out.

Well if anyone wants I can scan some other pages. The article on Wrightson is short but good. And the Vezina "Smilin' Ed' comic story about the lust for "X-Men 94" is excellent! I just didn't want to bend the covers too much. It's been bagged and boarded in a box I just opened since I put it in there in 1983. Kind of a bittersweet box opening. I found more boxes from my Mom's attic that had been there since I left for college, some from after college ... Lots of other stuff in there, too along with the memories.
I miss being young and stuff.

Anyone else have any old 70's or 80's Con programs to share?