( M ) — CONTENTS
MAD COMICS / “THE MAD DOGS HAVE KNEED US IN THE GROIN” / MARTIAN MESSAGE / MEAD BUNNY / MELVINISM / MERCER’S DAY / MIMEOGRAPHER’S HANDS / MIMEOGRAPHY / MIMEOZINE / MISS SCIENCE FICTION / MONSFFA / THE MONTREAL SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY ASSOCIATION / THE MONTREAL SF SOCIETY / THE MONTREAL STAR TREK ASSOCIATION / MOTA /
— Where the POGO comic strip was the ‘literary’ symbol of 6th fandom, MAD comics (the precursor to Mad Magazine) was adopted by 7th Fandom, though not without opposition, as witness this material in A BAS #0 (Jan 1954):
“While Pogo has little to do with SF, so many SF fans seem to be Pogo fans we feel we should pass on to you the pronouncement of Norman G. Browne that Pogo is passé, Mad Comics are the thing. Perhaps Mad Comics have replaced Pogo amongst the bird-baths” (another symbol of 7th Fandom ) “because they are pretty obvious even to the meagre minds, whereas Pogo requires a modicum of intelligence and perspicacity.”
In the same issue it was reported that: “..there is no joy in 7th Fandom tonight, mighty Mad Comics has struck out. Yes, youngsters, Mad Comics has folded with its 6th issue…We are glad to report that none of the Toronto Fen are shedding any tears over the timely demise of Mad Comics…” (A false statement, Mad carried on, even unto this very day.)
This is hardly fair. While Mad Magazine did slip into a rut for many decades, the early comics contained much joyous, sharp-witted satire. The 6 issues in question included the SF parodies ‘BLOBS!’, ‘GOOKUM!’ and the immortal ‘SUPERDUPERMAN!’, plus other goodies like ‘BLACK AND BLUE HAWKS’ and ‘MELVIN OF THE APES’. All this eventually culminating (in my mind at least) with the appearance in issue #11 of Wally Wood’s wonderful ‘FLESH GARDEN’ spoof of Flash Gordon. So what’s not to like?
[ See BROWNE, NORMAN G., 6TH FANDOM, 7TH FANDOM, BIRDBATH ]
“THE MAD DOGS HAVE KNEED US IN THE GROIN”
— Famous pronouncement by Harlan Ellison detailing how fannish opposition put an end to 7th fandom which he had helped create at a May 1953 meeting – known to fannish history as HEcon – held in his home in Cleveland. Canada’s Norman G. Browne also attended, soon becoming the most strident 7th Fandomite, even outdoing Harlan as an irritant, and thrusting the movement head first into controversy and conflict. Browne’s plan to take over FAPA particularly aroused the ire of many oldtime fans, including veterans of First Fandom.
I believe Harlan’s quote covers both specific acts of condemnation such as declarations of subsequent fandoms in order to smother the 7th, and also numerous scathing editorials and articles in fanzines which heaped odium on the 7th Fandomites. At any rate Harlan seems to have been pretty bitter about the tidal wave of condemnation, even though he himself had quickly rejected Browne’s actions as juvenile and needlessly provoking. I believe Harlan’s original intention had simply been to rejuvenate fandom by moving it forward into fresh and imaginative venues, and things simply got out of hand, in part due to Browne’s overly fanatical proselytizing.
I can’t resist quoting Dick Eney from FANCY II: “Some speculation followed on such questions as how high a dog would have to be to knee Ellison in the groin, and whether the dogs were mad before coming into contact with the 7th Fandomites.”
— Late in the 1941 Denver World Convention Western union delivered a telegram sent by Martians. Considering it a lame hoax the concom put it aside, but the infamous Claude Degler got a hold of it and insisted on reading it aloud to the congoers, arguing that it was most likely not a hoax since its “unknown author had put an enormous amount of work into it”. This marks the first time Degler came to the attention of mainstream fandom.
The telegram claimed to be from Martians dwelling secretly among us Earthlings, the vanguard of a vast migration to take place when next the two planets were close in their orbits. It seemed the Martians were fond of Science Fiction fans because “fans are evolved centuries beyond their times, at least in Neuron connections and areas of association mentality“, and as a result the Martians felt “most at home among these cosmic-minded creatures like yourselves”. Shades of Degler’s Cosmic Concept! Except fans at the time put the blame on a fan by name of Dave Elder whom it was believed intended to spoof Heinlein’s earlier speech on Timebinding. But the ‘Cosmic-minded’ aspect is pure Degler, so I retain my suspicions.
At any rate, the Martians promised to show up in time to participate in the next World Convention, and also casually mentioned they planned to destroy Berlin, Rome, Madrid, and Tokyo. This would appear to indicate that the Martians were anti-imperialist, and hypocrites to boot, since they were bent on taking over the Earth. In that latter respect their ambitions were rather less than Degler’s. (HWJ)
[ See CIRCLE AMATEUR PUBLISHER’S ALLIANCE, COLUMBIA SCIENCE FANTASY SOCIETY, COSMEN, COSMIC CAMP, COSMIC CLOD, COSMIC CIRCLE, COSMIC CONCEPT, COSWORMS, DEGLER (CLAUDE), FUTURE FANTASY FRENCH, PLANET FANTASY FEDERATION ]
— One of those fannish drinks. Invented by Alexandra J. Shaw (at VCON 28, Oct 2003) to help cope with a cold.
Take one small glass / fill with tequila / add one large spoon of Buckley’s Cough Mixture / stir vigorously / inhale deeply (as often as you dare) / drink / under NO circumstances repeat for at least two hours.
Nothing to do with mead, oddly enough.
[ See Blog, The Bullfrog, The H.B. Piper Cocktail, Spayed Gerbil, Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster & Fannish Drinksh Book ]
— Melvinism is the cult of worshipping Melvin, the BEM of BEMs, and possibly behaving like him, following his example, ktp.
The concept of BEM, or ‘Bug-eyed Monster’, was coined by US fan Martin Alger in 1939. At some point later in time the minor deity Melvin was revealed and declared the ‘BEM of BEM’s’, which I suppose means he is the personification of uttermost alien behaviour and being, the ultimate outsider. I speculate that Melvin symbolizes fandom’s alienation from the mundane world and serves as a sort of guardian to lonely fans bereft of mundane approval and support.
The question is, when did Melvin first appear? I don’t actually know. I strongly suspect with the advent of MAD comic, since the writers and artists of MAD were obsessed with the very name ‘Melvin.’ Quoting Maria Reidelbach, author of ‘COMPLETELY MAD, A HISTORY OF THE COMIC BOOK AND MAGAZINE’:
“Parodying names was another venue for MAD wordplay. Melvin was the favored name for a while, featured on the cover of the first MAD comic: a mom and a dad are in a creepy mansion menaced by something we see only as a shadow. Dad screams, “That thing! That slithering blob coming toward us!” Mom shrieks, “What is it?” Junior, finger up his nose, deadpans, “It’s Melvin!” Melvinmania had struck Lafayette Street” (where the MAD Comic New York office was located) “for the name subsequently is featured in the parodies “Melvin of the Apes”, “Smilin’ Melvin,” and “Little Orphan Melvin,” as well as in the names of the artists, all of whom began calling themselves Melvin, too, as in Melvin Davis, Melvin Elder, Melvin Severin, and Melvin Wood.”
This would place the coming of Melvin firmly in the short-lived era of the 7th Fandomites, circa 1953/1954, for MAD was their comics icon, meant to replace 6th Fandom’s obsession with the POGO comic strip. ‘MELVIN OF THE APES,’ for instance, appearing in the summer of 1953. My theory which is mine. I’ll be happy to find out the true facts of the matter, however.
[ See BEM ]
— Was invented in 1957. A British fan by name of Archie Mercer informed OMPA APA members that the deadline for a constitution amendment vote would be April 31st (no such date exists, of course, April being only 30 days long). BNF Walt Willis, then President of OMPA, delightedly declared with his trademark wry sense of humour:
“I have noticed that in past years there has been a lot of trouble in various parts of the world on the first of May, on account of labour parades and Communist demonstrations. So this year I rule there shall be no first of May. Instead the day following the 30th April shall be known as the 31st April and shall be succeeded without interruption by the 2nd May. Instead of May Day, the new Date shall be known as Mercer’s Day, in honour of our infallible association editor who has so intelligently anticipated my wishes.”
Thus, ever since then, fans have called May Day MERCER’S DAY. (HWJ)
— This was very like HEKTOGRAPHER’S HANDS, a fannish disease in which unsightly ink botches appeared on one’s hands and other portion’s of one’s anatomy, but less dreadful in that the blotches wore off much more quickly, in mere months according to Speer. (JS) (DE)
— A mimeo machine reproduces by forcing ink through a wax stencil. The gaps in the stencil are originally cut, in the case of text, directly by typewriter keys (the type ribbon having been removed ), and in the case of art, by a metal stylus ( with a rough celluloid sheet under the stencil to protect desktop ). The stencil is then placed on the drum of a mimeo machine, and as the drum revolves, with paper sheets passing underneath, ink is forced by centrifugal force from the drum, through the gaps in the stencil, on to the paper. The ink is originally soaked on to a cotton pad. Too much ink, and the printed pages are smeared.
Wax stencils are surprisingly sturdy, capable of printing thousands of copies, and can be stored in case further printing is required. Speer recommends blotting the stencils on newsprint and storing the stencils between sheets of newsprint. In event of a typo, the ‘miracle’ of obliterine is required.
It is possible to produce multi-coloured images, but with every change of colour a new cotton pad, new ink, and new stencil is required, each stencil cut only with the particular part of the artwork desired in the colour chosen. For example, if you want a spaceman hovering above an asteroid with the sun in the background, your first stencil would be cut with the spaceman alone, and run off with blue ink, your second stencil would be cut with the asteroid alone, the paper being run through again with say, brown ink, and the third stencil would be cut with just the sun, the paper being run through a third time using yellow ink. If you were really ambitious, the various coloured images might overlap or intermingle, in which case registration of the pages becomes supremely important and supremely difficult. Though the faneds of the U.S. zine PLUTO did it surpassingly well. Still, a lot of trouble to produce colour images, and most faneds using mimeo machines did not bother to try.
It should be noted that the average mimeo machine fans could afford was hand-cranked. The most expensive types were electric. But the hand’s on visceral operation of a hand-cranked version was much more satisfying.
Wax stencils were not restricted to rotary mimeo machines ( the type the A.B. Dick company manufactured ), there were other types of mimeo machines using flat beds. I believe one type was called a Planograph.
( Ah, the A.B. Dick rotary…. Southam Business News employed one in the early 1980s, and when the operator went off on holidays, I, the lowly mail clerk, was given a day’s training and then unleashed to operate the man-high machine by myself for two weeks. Within seconds of my turning it on that fateful first day the malignant machine flung itself to pieces. It took me an hour to work up the courage tell the boss the machine had self-destructed. His reply: “Oh, we were expecting that to happen. Don’t worry about it. We’ll get a new one.” Evidently he didn’t believe in preventive maintenance. )
The ultimate mimeo machine, the answer to a faned’s prayers, was the legendary Gestetner ( legendary because for the longest time this European product was not available in the United States. Rumour was that it was the ultimate dream machine with which nothing ever went wrong. Hah! It is to laugh. (JS) (DE) (RB)
[ See CARBONZINE, DITTOGRAPHY ( DITTOING ), GESTETNER, HEKTOGRAPHY, LITHOGRAPHY, OBLITERINE, PLUTO, REPRODUCTION ]
— Any zine printed using the mimeography process.
[ See MIMEOGRAPHY, REPRODUCTION ]
MISS SCIENCE FICTION
— This was Lois Jean Miles, a young, professional New York model hired by Dave Kyle on behalf of the Hydra Club ( a loose association of New York fans who had turned into professional authors, editors, etc. ) to attend the 1949 CinVention Worldcon held in Cincinnati and parade in front of news photographers as MISS SCIENCE FICTION “wearing a walkie-talkie on her head and little else”.
Lois proved very popular with the press. Contemporary accounts refer to her as a “cheesecake” model, so one can assume from the beauty standards of the time she was probably hourglass shaped and well-stacked ( to use 1940s terminology ), unlike the thin prison-camp-victim models of today.
The idea was not only to attract publicity for CinVention, but to promote the Hydra club and it’s bid to hold the next Worldcon in New York. Well, the stunt backfired. Outraged fans, led by Milt Rothman, voted Portland for the next Worldcon. New York didn’t get another Worldcon till NYCon II in 1956.
What offended the fans was not so much the Hydra club had brought in the model without telling anyone in advance, and not so much the ‘cheesecake’ aspect, but the fact professionals were using a fannish venue to promote themselves, as they quite clearly intended to do again if they won the bid to put on the upcoming Worldcon in New York. Fans felt the pros were actively attempting to betray and subvert the fannish nature of fandom’s biggest event. So MISS SCIENCE FICTION, and the Hydra club’s lobbying at the previous Worldcon, Torcon in Toronto, eventually led to the concept DIRTY OLD PRO entering the fannish lexicon. (DE) (RB) (HWJ)
[ See DIRTY OLD PRO ]
— Stands for the Montreal Science Fiction & Fantasy Association, founded in 1987 by Luke A. Fallon & ? Publishes a bi-monthly newsletter titled WARP.
[ See MONTREAL SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY ASSOCIATION, WARP & IMPULSE ]
MONTREAL SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY ASSOCIATION (MonSFFA)
— After the collapse of the Montreal SF Society, organized fandom in Montreal remained dormant till the creation of the Montreal Star Trek Association in 1987. By Oct 1988 the club evolved into a general interest club with a clubzine now called WARP. (LP) (Much more detail to follow)
[ See MONTREAL SF SOCIETY, MONTREAL STAR TREK ASSOCIATION, FINAL FRONTIER, WARP, IMPULSE ]
THE MONTREAL SF SOCIETY
— Founded November 15th, 1946 at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. It may be the second SF club to be created in Canada (only the Ontario Science Fictioneers predates it, as far as I am aware).
Originally called the ‘McGill (University) Science Fiction Society’, it was intended as a campus SF club “able to use the facilities of the university as regards clubroom and notices in the students daily newspaper.” For the purpose of attracting “the numerous fans presumably residing in the Montreal area… it adopted the name of ‘Montreal Science Fiction Society’. The two names were reconciled with great originality by means of the initials MSFS.” (Moe Diner)
“Jack Bowie-Reed, Basil Rattray, & Moe Diner, the organizers, found two dozen members in little more than a year, thanks to publicity in Montreal newspapers & school publications.” – (HWJ)
Wrote Jack Bowie-Reed, the Montreal SFS “adopted CENSORED (in 1948) as its club organ, Fred Hurter Jr. (faned of CENSORED) having happily moved to the ‘City of Sin’, ‘Le petit Paris’.” Just prior to this however, the club published its first issue of MOHDZEE, a small 8-page digest-sized zine, in which plans for the upcoming CENSORED were announced. Readers were invited to subscribe to CENSORED at 15¢ per issue or 3 for 40¢.
As of February 1948, the staff of the MSFS executive consisted of: Honary President – Fred Hurter, President – Moe Diner, 1st Vice President – Cecil de Bretigny, 2nd Vice-President – Bert Joss, 3rd Vice President – Thomas Buck, Treasurer – Basil Rattray, Secretary – Jack Bowie-Reed, Recording Secretary – George Ljelios, & Fanzine Editor – Fred Hurter.
A letter by club treasurer Allan Bernfeld published in CANADIAN FANDOM #21 (Jun 1954) states: “Just a short note to acknowledge receipt of the recent issues of CANFAN. I’ve passed them around at the meetings of the Montreal SF Society and they have been received with interest. CANFAN may have the good effect of sparking Fred Hurter into limbering the old multilith so we can whack out another CENSORED. Our normal two year publishing hiatus is now stretching itself out into darn near four years. However, don’t hold your breath until you see the issue.”
There were only two issues of CENSORED published under the auspices of the Montreal SF Society: #5 in Sep 1948, & #6 some time in 1951. So the above threat to publish never panned out.
MSFS members Basil Rattray, Moe Diner, Cecil DeBretigny, Fred Hurter Jr. & Allan Bernfeld are Montreal fans listed in the CANADIAN FAN DIRECTORY published by the Canadian SF Association in 1952. Most of the other Montreal fans listed were probably members of the Montreal SF Society as well. They are:
Ivan M. Aron, E.E. Bennett, M.R. Bercovitch, Bill Black, Peggy Brighton, M.J. Bubbis, Fred Carrow, Eugene Cartwright, Alex Church, Edward David, Robert Edgar, John Elder, Leo Ethier, Charlie Falconer, Dennis Gaherty, Jack Goldwater, Paul Gorschkoff, Lucien Guimond, Jane A. Halden, Gerri Hale, A. Held, Vladimir Hospadaruk, A.M. Hunter, Robert A. Joss, Steve Kennedy, Michael Kensman, Gordon Keys, Norm Kipnis, Nixon Knowlton, J.L. Lackman, Jaime E. Lanz, Jean Le Bel, Eric B. Le Clair, Linel Loshak, Douglas B. Lyons, J.E. McAsey, Charles McHale, Gordon S. McKerrow, Alex Mierzwrinski, John Mileus, Calvin A. Paterson, Hugh Peak, Anne Perley, Sylvia C. Pett, Mike R. Quastel, Vera Rawcliffe, C.L. Roach, L.E. Robertson, Al Rosen, Dave Rosenberg, A. Roston, Sidney Schoner, John E.J. Sears, David D. Smith, M.E. Stalker, Peter Tamutes, N.J. Thompson, J. Arthur Thompson, Samuel Trenchard, James Welsh & George F. White.
The Montreal SF Society was a founding member of the Canadian Science Fiction Association (of SF Clubs) in 1948. The CSFA assigned various projects to its member clubs, and for its contribution the Montreal SF Society undertook “the author pseudonym project”, which I assume was intended to be a comprehensive listing of SF authors & all of their pseudonyms. Don’t know if the project was ever completed.
At some point, probably in the late 1950s, the Montreal SF Society ceased to exist. (Info requested!) (JBR)
[ See CANADIAN SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION, MONTREAL SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY ASSOCIATION, MONTREAL STAR TREK ASSOCIATION, WARP, IMPULSE, MOHDZEE ]
MONTREAL STAR TREK ASSOCIATION
— Existed 1987/1988 as a revival of organized Montreal fandom which had been dormant since the demise of the Montreal SF Society. FINAL FRONTIER was the MSTA clubzine until the club evolved into the Montreal SF&F Association (MonSFFA) in Oct 1988 when the name of the zine changed to WARP. (LP)
[ See MONTREAL SF SOCIETY, MONTREAL SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY ASSOCIATION, WARP, IMPULSE, FINAL FRONTIER]
— This is the name of the fictional God adopted by the underground priesthood in Heinlein’s novel ‘Sixth Column’. It is also Mexican slang for pot, and the word ‘Atom’ spelled backwards, hence the British zine MOTA by Terry Hughes. And it was the name of the Martian in ‘The Flying Discman From Mars’ film. But in the fannish lexicon it is the name of a minor fannish deity, a green cat who lives on Mars. If you are a follower of Mota, but lapse into heresy, you are condemned to drink yourself to death. Mota believers are noted for their wildly heretical tendencies.