Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Fanzine flashback #3.5b:
Fantasy Advertiser from 1948

Here's some more about the 70-year-old issue of Fantasy Advertiser that I first wrote about on Sunday. (If you put #3.5 and #3.5b together, you'll essentially have one full post in this series — a post that should have been #4.0 — but now I've gone and zotzed the numbering of this series for good. Oh well. Future archivists will just have to deal with it.)

First up, some information about editor Norman E. "Gus" Willmorth. In the August 1944 issue of Futurian War Digest, which is fully available online, Willmorth provides this autobiographical insight:
"First, due entirely to natural causes I was born. Way out west where men are men and fantasy fans grow. Being a precocious child, I learned to read at an early date and have been at it since. Having cut my eye teeth on fairy tales of the type foisted on to children, I cannot give the exact date at which I began to enjoy the Exalted Literature, but I can remember THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF NILS as well as selected portions of Grimms and Anderson. I would say that it was in the early thirties that I, situated more or less in the backwoods away from the general civilisation of the world, encountered my first science-fiction magazine. Enflamed by this chance reading I more of less forsook the classics in my search for more of this consuming what of Wells, Verne, Poe et al, that I was able to lay a hand to. From about '34 on my reading of S-F mags was more or less steady — the diet consisting of Astoundings because that was the only mag other than Argosy that was sold at my particular newstand (there was only one in the town). About the time Wonder became thrilling we moved to Chelan, Wash., where in the course of time I became familiar with and collected others of the fantasy family. Here I organised a small fan club — The Lake Chelan Fantasy Fictioneers, with myself as nominal head. And my magazine collection spread over the whole of the county. ...

"Then the army intervened and I moved from active fandom into active service. Aside from a short period in which I was stationed in Los Angeles proper, I have been more or less out of touch with fan activity in the United States since that time. However, arriving upon these English shores, I pitched in for some serious fanning, grasping as it were the fleeting hand of opportunity as it was raised to knock. Here I've been several places and did several things. I cannot claim to have been the most active figure in the islands, but I tried to keep up with the hurly burly of the rest of the crowd anyway. And shall some more, Ghu Willing."
Ghu, if you wondering and didn't click on the link, was the first fannish deity (called ghods) and was created by Donald Wollheim and John B. Michel in 1935.

You can read more about Willmorth's time in England during World War II, when he brought UK and U.S. sci-fi fans together, at this link.

* * *

Moving along, this issue of Fantasy Advertiser isn't entirely advertisements. Here's a bit about some of the articles and news items included:

  • In a lengthy editorial that touches on numerous topics, Willmorth implores U.S. readers to send extra copies of fanzines to the United Kingdom, where readers are hungry for them. He also congratulates Gerry de la Ree, co-publisher of Loki, for his recent marriage.
  • A full-page advertisement promotes the July 1948 second issue of The Moon Puddle, produced by Chad Oliver and Garvin Berry out of Galveston, Texas. According to Fancyclopedia 3, only one issue of this zine was published, so it's possible this is an advertisement for an issue that never came to fruition. If it was published, it would have included articles titled "The Vicissitudes of A.E. Van Vogt," "The Shaggy BEM," "Ghastly Patrol," and "Ghosties, Ghouls, and Gravin!" The Letters Editor was listed, tongue in cheek, as Abdul Alhazred.
  • R.A. Elcun has a short column noting other current fanzines, including The Fabulous Faust Fanzine, Fantasy Review, The Fanscient, Sparx, Fan Artisan, Shangri-La, Macabre, The Sydney Futurian, Spearhead, Tympani, and Canadian Fandom.
  • Julian Parr has a two-part article focusing primarily on German-made fantasy films.
  • Earle Cornwall pens an obituary for writer and journalist W. Paul Cook, who had died in January 1948.
  • And John Newman provides a two-page summary of the Whitcon, a UK convention that was held at the White Horse on Fetter Lane in the Holborn district of London and which featured a bookshop tour, rare magazines and illustrations, and A. Bertram Chandler as the guest of honor.
* * *

Finally, here are some advertisements and other images from within this issue of Fantasy Advertiser. The third item is a cartoon by artist Bill Kroll, who is credited just as "Kroll" here.

1 comment: