Here at Stately Beat Manor we’re involved in an ongoing process of transferring some of our valuable collection of memorabilia and artifacts, painstakingly gathered on our world travels, into our secure, temperature-controlled archives, otherwise known as Manhattan MIni Storage. By pure chance, while rummaging through our archived files, we found a manilla folder containing all sorts of little pieces of paper from conventions in the period 1988-1990. There’s a lot that either brought back memories or would be, perhaps, surprising to today’s crowd. For those of you who only know the frantic Media Con, it was a different, pre-internet world. For one thing, it was held at the old venue, The Convention and Performing Arts Center, which held maybe 5-10,000 people. Let’s a take a look at a few items, shall we? (Click on all for larger views.)
First off, here’s the cover of the first SDCC “Progress Report” for the 20th Anniversary show in 1989, sent out in February with dates, hotel info, and so on. It was a simple 16 page newsprint pamphlet, a bit different from the glossy full-color magazines that now go out; great Rick Geary cover though!
Here’s how you got a hotel room in 1989, 20 years ago; you filled out this form, faxed it in, and eventually you got a little card in the mail telling you if you got your hotel. (I always got my first choice; don’t know if it was that hard.) The Omni I preferred is not the present-day Omni, but what is now known as the Westin in the Horton Plaza. It was right across the street from Golden Hall where the con was then held so it was very convenient. Though the hotel prices are ultra economical, I think I only made $8 an hour in 1989, so it was still an investment!
Here’s the 1989 Con newsletter for Saturday, reporting on Friday’s activities and previewing Saturday’s. It’s a little different than today’s show, you may note, although it’s very interesting that just about everything included in this report is still included in the con, from the Friday night awards (this was pre-Eisners) to the masquerade, to the “Con Suite” which actually still exists.
I also found a couple of papers from other years that are of some interest:
This is from 1988 — Dori Seda was a well-liked–and very talented–underground cartoonist who had died earlier in the year from ill-health and the kind of tragic self neglect which comes from being a poor underground cartoonist. I’m pretty sure this is the only year the award was given…the only Googleable result I found for this award was at the really great Hahn LIbrary awards site which, sadly hasn’t been updated since 2006. According to the site, Carol Tyler was the winner, which is how I dimly recall it as well. I find this matter interesting because while the Internet is believed to be the repository of all knowledge, sometimes it takes finding a little piece of paper that’s been in storage for years to remind you of something, which may have seemed very important at the time, and that’s what prevents me from throwing out all those little pieces of paper in storage.
Speaking of little pieces of paper, this is also from 1988, I believe, based on the date
I’m not sure, right off the bat, exactly what “New Creators Ownership Policy” Levitz and Giordano were talking about at this point…it’s right around the time Piranha Press was launched, which did include creator ownership, so that might have been something to do with it. Unfortunately, it would take a little more research than I can devote to the matter to find out right now. Hopefully someone reading this has a better grasp of the chronology than I do and can enlighten us.
CAPS is still around and going, BTW.
Also, as a reminder, the San Diego con has published a book chock-a-block full of far more visually arresting memories of 40 years worth of cons! The book will be on sale at the show.
I found lots and lots of other amazing things from the early 90s in storage. I hear 90s nostalgia is in, so maybe I can donate all my old Raygun magazines to some 90’s club night?