scottedelman (scottedelman) wrote,

Phil Seuling's First Second Sunday

Last month, I shared a few covers from my 1971 fanzine Call It ... Fate—but what's inside turns out to be a little more important. Flipping through one issue, I found my convention report for the first of Phil Seuling's Second Sundays, a monthly convention designed to part fans from their money during the gap between Phil's famed July 4th cons.

Since I haven't been able to find a write-up of that first Second Sunday anywhere else online, I thought I'd share it here. Though I don't give the exact date of the event in the text, according to a calendar, it would have taken place November 14.

Here are the best scans I could get off the ancient hectographed pages. (Did I get my terminology right this time, Patrick?)

But since, even after you've clicked them several times to view full size, you probably won't be able to read them easily, I've transcribed my 16-year-old self's fanboy squealing. (Though were we even called fanboys yet back then?)

Ever since Phil Seuling announced last July that he was no longer going to handle the New York Con, rumors have been spreading that he was planning something big. There was talk of everything from a convention opposite Adam Malin's Creation in order to mess it up to weekly conventions to turning pro and working exclusively for Skywald. One thing's for sure, though—Phil Seuling would never, could never turn his back on fandom. Just like printer's ink, comic fandom gets in your blood.

The last thing one would expect was for Phil to take on handling a monthly convention by himself, but then Phil is always one to do the unexpected.

Unexpected things aren't always planned. Like walking into the lobby of the Statler Hilton Hotel and seeing seven or eight hundred men walking around in business suits. It turns out there's a meeting of the National Barber Association in another part of the hotel. (With Jeff Greenbaum [2009 note: A well-known extremely shaggy dealer] attending the con, one would expect there to be a confrontation but ... )

In the same room as the one we were to use was a B'nai Brith meeting (convention?) and it seems as if they were expecting some unusual guest speakers. After all, how would you feel if a strange man walked up to you in a crowd and asked if you were sent down to talk by Phoenix House? [2009 note: Phoenix House is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation organization.]

It was five to twelve when I noticed there were only four dealers and ten fans waiting for Second Sunday to officially begin. A rumor began to spread that there were only six dealers attending, but once more fans began to file in, no one really cared.

After the B'nai Brith cleared out of the room we were going to use, the fans were in before the dealers were completely set up. I am bad at crowd judging, but I'd have to say there were at least three hundred fans attending, and I counted thirteen dealers (an omen?) with a few dealers having more than one table.

I had not counted on there being so much to buy so I was left standing around with no money after two hours, but I borrowed from a friend who had the foresight to bring sixty dollars.

Besides the dealers, there were many fans who came to trade and make a few choice deals of their own. One person (who shall remain nameless only because I do not know his name) who was appointed by Alan Light, decided to go into business for himself. He went around to individuals selling lifetime subscriptions to The Buyer's Guide for 25¢. From what I hear he only sold five of them but it's still dishonesty. Better watch out Alan! [2009 note: The reason this was dishonest is because subscriptions to that publication were free.]

There were five or six full penciled unpublished Conan pages by Barry Smith for sale, which I could not afford. (For the moment at least.) One individual bought a penciled and inked full page which had to be better than the Smith that gets into the comics.

As I see I forgot to say it yet, I'll bring up the fact that the admission charge was forgone this first meeting. I do not think it could have been collected because it was not till everyone was in and an hour had passed that Phil Seuling raised his voice to say, "If any of you are worrying about paying the admission price, never mind." I do not think there was one among us who was worrying about paying on the way out. (An old Woody Allen trick.)

After another hour or so, a friend of mine and I got locked out on the terrace on the eighteenth floor in an experience I would rather not relate here. [2009 note: Oh, how I wish that I had!]

As I said before, I ran out out money at two thirty, but I hung around until four thirty, just for the fun of talking to fellow fans.

I left with the knowledge that I could look forward to this experience once a month to brighten up my dreary life I don't know where you are going to be, but I'm going to be at the Statler Hilton the Second Sunday of every month.

The next Second Sunday will be on December 12, from ten to five, at the Statler Hilton. Dealer's tables will be only five dollars apiece this time around. See you there!
Tags: call it fate, comics

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