Author: J Ballmann
THE 1964 NEW YORK COMICON: THE TRUE STORY BEHIND THE WORLD'S FIRST COMIC CONVENTION tells the greatest story never told: the story of the first comic book convention ever held. This event was never reported on any radio channel, on any tv station, or in any magazine or newspaper. Bits and pieces of the story can be found in old fanzines, but, until now, the majority of this story has really only existed in the memories of the original 56 attendees of the convention. Now, at last - for the first time - the full fascinating story of the world’s first comic book convention is finally told. The story of the 1964 New York Comicon is the story of Bernie Bubnis, Ron Fradkin, Ethan Roberts, and Art Tripp. Four boys who, like an early 1960s Kirby kid gang of boy commandoes, took Comic Fandom by storm by writing and publishing their own fanzines, pillaging used-book stores and flea markets for back-issue comics, visiting the offices of Marvel, DC, and Gold Key Comics, and meeting with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Stan Lee, Julius Schwartz, Bill Harris, Flo Steinberg, Curt Swan, Mike Sekowsky, Don Heck, Gil Kane, and Joe Giella. Tired of hearing about other fans’ failed attempts to stage a convention for years, these four boys took it upon themselves to make a convention happen. They pooled their resources and used their contacts with the comic professionals they knew to get them to attend and to donate door prizes that included stacks of original art pages from the Silver Age. They even convinced Spider-man artist Steve Ditko to attend the convention - and to this day it is the only comic convention Steve Ditko has ever attended. This book tells the stories of the first comic book collectors ever and how they traveled from all over the country and converged on New York City on that hot summer day in July 1964 to attend the world’s first comic book convention. All the earliest-known comic dealers attended that day, including Howard Rogofsky, Bill Thailing, Claude Held, Phil Seuling, Doug Berman, Don Foote, Marc Nadel, Malcolm Willits, and Tom Wilson. 34 pages of their original price lists from 1964 are reprinted in this book to show what comics were for sale at the show and what they were selling for. This book presents a complete blow-by-blow account of the convention so that those who weren’t there can experience it for themselves. It includes over 300 photographs and 45 pages of known biographical information about this amazing group of 56 original attendees that includes a fifteen-year-old future Game of Thrones writer George R. R. Martin, the world-famous radio broadcaster Paul Gambaccini, and a young Len Wein, co-creator of Wolverine and Swamp Thing -- to name just a few of the comic book fans and collectors who attended the show that day. Research for this book primarily includes dozens of interviews with original attendees and all four organizers as well as information mined from complete runs of old 1960s comic book fanzines, such as The Rocket’s Blast, Alter-Ego, The Comicollector, The Comic Reader, Jeddak, Comic Art, Masquerader, Hero, Yancy Street Journal - and more. Featured in this book are unedited early 1960s interviews with Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Julius Schwartz, Mike Sekowsky, Joe Giella, and Gold Key editor Bill Harris. Also included is long-lost art by Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, and Curt Swan. A digitally-restored copy of the complete 1964 New York Comicon program booklet is reprinted in its entirety for the first time since 1964. Also reprinted in their entirety are Progress Report #1 (8 pages) and Progress Report #2 (2 pages) and all ads for the convention. The story of early comic book fans’ struggle to organize their first comic convention is a tale of epic proportions - one that is long overdue to be told - for it is Comic Fandom’s greatest story. And now, for the first time, comic fans everywhere can read about the convention that started it all: the 1964 New York Comicon.