Topic: Comic Cons
I meant to continue my new series on comics and graphic novels that I found out about in the Artists Alley at the 2009 Long Beach Comic Con from this past weekend...
But an email came in yesterday that I didn't want to wait on telling my blog readers about.
That's because the email came in from Mike Towry, who I met at the September 20th event at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego. For full story of that event, (Click Here).
A photo from the Mysterious Galaxy event is shown at the top left of this blog post, and includes both Mike Towry and Richard Alf, plus others named above.
The reason I mention Mike and Richard in particular, is because I asked them both if they were on Facebook (FB) or some other social media platform at the book signing event. Or if they had a web site. Richard said no, that he was basically just on for email, and Mike was not on FB either, which was unfortunate because I wanted to communicate further with them both more easily.
I mentioned to Mike about seeing them at the July 2009 SDCC, when they were on a special panel about the 1970's origins of the San Diego Comic Con International. Matter of fact I had talked with Richard Alf at a later panel, and re-introduced myself to him. That's because many years ago, Richard had bought my duplicate copies of my comics, before I went into selling them myself!
I had asked Mike and Richard follow up questions about the early days of the SDCC, and then followed up by sending both of them emails about the event held at Mysterious Galaxy. (I included a link to my blog post for that event.) So I was very pleased when the below email came in yesterday from Mike with the new Tribute web site news:
I took a look at the web site, realizing it was brand new, and decided to help them kick off their new endeavor. BTW, I did not see Barry Alfonso at the Mysterious Galaxy book signing event. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA, and was not able to come to this event.
Here is just a small portion of what YOU can see at the web site that the above three named persons have created in the 'Shelf Dorf Tribute' web site:
Shel Dorf has lived for comics, for bringing their fans and professional creators together, and for helping many of those fans to become professionals themselves.
In 1969, Shel came to San Diego already possessing years of experience in producing comic conventions and other fan activities along with a host of fan and professional contacts. He was certainly in a position to claim a preeminent place for himself as the chairman, the great leader of the comic convention he proposed for San Diego. It would not have seemed unreasonable had he viewed the inexperienced young fans he gathered as fit only to be his gofers and flunkies. Another man might have done so, but that wasn’t Shel. He always wanted to help his friends and associates to realize their dreams, to discover what they could do, to find their own places in the sun. From the beginning, he always was content to be known simply as Comic-Con’s founder and the advisor to its committee. He was surely those things and more.
At the time we first met Shel in 1969, we ranged in age from 12 to 17. How could we think we could put on our own convention? Shel showed us the way. It was an experience that few kids could have, one that we’ll always remember, one that Shel made possible.
Through Shel, we got to meet the comics pros, something that we had never considered possible – isolated as we were in our sleepy little Navy town in the southwest corner of the United States. And thanks to Shel, we started at the top with our first visit to see Jack “King” Kirby in November of 1969. To us Kirby truly was the King of comics, and because of Shel’s efforts in arranging our visit, we found out first hand that Kirby was a fascinating thinker, full of boundless ideas and creative energies matched only by the kindness and consideration he showed his fans.
Would there have been a Comic-Con in San Diego without Shel? Probably, someday, sure. Would it have been the one we have today? Certainly not. Comic-Con got its spirit, its positive, non-profit, welcoming vision from Shel. The Con committees throughout the years have done a fantastic job in building the Con into what it is today, but, to paraphrase Isaac Newton, “If they have seen further than others, it is because they stood on the shoulders of a giant.”
Shel was always better at doing for others than at doing for himself. How many fans and pros did he bring together, how many fans became pros because of the man and his work: these are questions we hope this site will start to answer for all to see.
Since we three – Richard Alf, Barry Alfonso, and I – were kindly invited to attend Comic-Con this year as 40th-anniversary guests, we’ve come to learn more of the state of knowledge regarding Comic-Con’s founding. That there is a paucity of accurate information available about this matter is perhaps not a surprise as we who were there at the beginning had not before related the facts in public. One purpose of this site is to remedy that situation and thereby assure Shel his just recognition. As the only three of the original founding members of the Comic-Con Committee available, we want to set the story straight and fill in the gaps regarding Comic-Con’s earliest days.
Shel, unfortunately, cannot speak for himself. He has been in the hospital for over a year. He is currently unable to communicate: unable to speak or even to read or hear much of anything. We of course hope that his condition will improve, but we have not been given reason to believe that it will. However, we will be sure to let you know of any change in his condition. If prayer is something that you do, we’re sure you’ll want to pray for Shel.
So now, with respect, gratitude, and affection, we launch this site in tribute to Shel Dorf. Our best wishes go out to Shel and to all his friends and admirers. Please let us hear from you.
—Richard Alf, Barry Alfonso, and Mike Towry
Again, I must mention that this web site is brand new, and will grow in the weeks to come. If you have any early memories of the San Diego Comic Con, and with Shel Dorf in particular, feel free to visit the Tribute web site and submit your memories there!
Here is the url for doing that:
My Thanks to Mike Towry for informing me so quickly of their new endeavor. I look forward to coming back and seeing more stories about Shel and the good ol' days of the Comic Con!Oh, and before you leave this blog post, take a look at the bottom right photo of this blog post. There you will see a photo I took at the July 2009 SDCCI, when those that were first involved with organizing the Con came back for a Special 40th Comic-Con Program!
BTW.... Whereas Tina and I don't publish comics or books (yet?) or set up at comic cons anymore, (except at our own Facebook Virtual Comic Con Dealer Table), we do have thousands of indies and mainstream comics in our own online store. Be sure to check out our new listings of comics, graphic novels, Comic Con exclusives and more pop culture items for sale in our online eBay Featured Store that our blogs are based on! It's due to sales at this online store that keep us going with the ability to post blogs like the one you have read here today!
Thanks again to all of YOU reading our current and archived blog posts! We do blog daily on comic book creators, comic book reviews, and other pop culture news and events including some TV shows and theatrical films!
~ Michael @ ComicBookCollectorsBlog.com