The Zine Artists Online Museum

saarahonourrole36Many notable fanzine artists have banded together to present exhibits of their finest work at The Zine Artists, where they hope others soon will join them.

Here are high-resolution scans of great cover art unimpaired by cheap paper repro, faneds’ peculiar choices of colored paper, or massive blots of zine title typography. Pristine! At last, no barriers between the artist and the audience.

Already available are dozens and dozens of examples of the funny and beautiful work by —

Taral Wayne forestalls the obvious question —

The first thing you will notice is how terribly incomplete the list of artists is. “Where are Jeanne Gomoll,” you may ask, or “Jack Wiedenbeck, Randy Bathurst, or David Vereschagin?” The answer is that it will take time to track these artists down and contact them.

Taral has also penned a detailed history of the evolution of fanzine art – including his lament about the current state of affairs:

Then, of course, came the digital age, which changed everything.  No longer was it necessary to print anything at all to publish a fanzine.  Fan editors could  manipulate words and images directly on the screen, and distribute them in whatever file format was convenient.  It was no longer necessary to limit illustrations in any way.  Colour became almost mandatory.   Photographs were a breeze.  Any image that was already digitized was fair game to import into your document.  You could search the entire globe, through the Internet, for the exact image you wanted.  In effect, fanartists became redundant.

The golden age of fanzine art represented here never really seems to have been accompanied by a golden age of appreciation for the artists. In every era there have been justifiable complaints that the artists did not receive enough egoboo to “sustain life as we know it.” So take advantage of this chance to leave an appreciative comment in The Zine Artists chat section!

That Ship Has Sailed

Shiffman art displayed at the memorial on February 15. Photo by Randy Byers.

Shiffman art displayed at the memorial on February 15. Photo by Randy Byers.

By John Hertz: Another thing last weekend was a memorial for Stu Shiffman.

Shiffman was one of the best fanartists we’ve had. That’s saying a lot. He won the Rotsler Award in 2010 and a Hugo in 1990. He drew for Chunga, Izzard, Janus, Littlebrook, Mimosa, Rune, Science Fiction Five-Yearly.

In 1981 he was the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegate, attending the British national convention; his nominators were Harry Bell, Mike Glicksohn, Mike Glyer, Jerry Kaufman, Peter Roberts, all names to conjure with.

He was a guest of honor at Corflu, Lunacon, Minicon, Wiscon.

He was a judge of the Sidewise Award.

He married Andi Shechter. They having been among those who made the Great Pilgrimage to Seattle, she conducted a memorial there. By virtue of Shechter & Shiffman’s bicoastality, Laurie Mann conducted a memorial at the same time during Boskone. That’s why I used the singular. Shiffman was singular.

His deft portrayals of our adventures, in which his historical interests and sometimes talking animals took part, placed us in hieroglyphic Egypt, Victorian England, the future imagined by E.R. Burroughs.

He died in 2014. I knew him, Horatio. May his memory be for a blessing.

Stu Shiffman (1954-2014)

Stu Shiffman (middle) in 1981.

Stu Shiffman (middle) in 1981.

Stu Shiffman died November 26, almost two-and-a-half years after suffering a stroke; he was 60. The renowned fan artist, who generously shared his talents in fanzines, apas and convention publications, received the Best Fan Artist Hugo Award in 1990 and the Rotsler Award in 2010.

Stu was a native New Yorker but moved to Seattle about 20 years ago with his partner Andi Shechter.

Stu always was fascinated by the traditions and in-references of science fiction fandom and loved to incorporate them in unexpected settings that might involve anything from cartoons of talking animals to intricately rendered Egyptian tomb art and hieroglyphs.

When he got into fandom in the 1970s mimeographed fanzines were still quite common. Taral Wayne admired that Stu “was as much a master of pen and ink as he was of stylus and stencil.”

Stu also had a special interest in drawing literary characters like Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Burrough’s John Carter (interests which sometimes merged, as in his ERBzine contribution Adventure of the Martian Hegira: fragments from the Barsoomian Reminiscences of Sherlock Holmes.)

In fact, one of his earliest contributions to a fanzine appeared in the sword-and-sorcery oriented Amra (October 1975) — “Goric & Other Limericks” co-authored with NY fan John Boardman.

Stu’s own publications, such as Raffles, co-edited with Larry Carmody, began appearing around 1977.

He became a leader in New York’s faannish fandom when he hosted Fanoclasts. He also chaired the Flushing in ’80 hoax Worldcon bid committee composed of Moshe Feder, Joe Siclari, Gary Farber, Hank Davis, Elliot Shorter, and Jon Singer.

Stu’s soaring popularity led to him being voted the 1981 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund delegate. The following year he began his TAFF report, A Raffles Lad Abroad or The Road to Yorcon. (See Chapters 1 and 2 here.)

Stu ordinarily enjoyed his fannish accolades as much as anyone, but he did become frustrated that during the 1980s he established a record for the most fan Hugo nominations without winning. Everyone was gratified when he broke through at last in 1990.

All this productivity happened despite a medical condition Stu was coping with at the time. The symptoms became apparent when he was invited by fellow artists Schirmeister and Taral to join them hiking on Mt. Wilson in 1984 and he had difficulty keeping up. Taral explained in The Slan of Baker Street, “Stu will have to forgive me if I relate this imperfectly, but he had an abnormal connection between the blood vessels of his brain that allowed venous blood to mingle with arterial blood. The intermixing robbed his bloodstream of oxygen, and he tired easily.” Doctors corrected this by performing brain surgery in 1985 – an operation lasting 12 hours according to Ansible.

Stu’s interest in mysteries was strong enough to fuel three fandoms with art and articles. He was a Sherlockian (Sound of the Baskervilles, Hounds of the Internet) who contributed to publications like Baker Street Journal, and a Wodehouse enthusiast who sent material to such journals as Plum Lines and Wooster Sauce. And Stu was just as likely to write something about them for an sf fanzine. For example, a 1999 issue of Mainstream featured his “Adventures of the Danzig Mien,” the script of a Sherlockian parody: Stu had a great time festoon­ing a Conan Doyle-esque plot with ridiculous references and in-jokes.

He also produced some similarly-inspired short stories for an anthology series. In “The Milkman Cometh” (Tales of the Shadowmen 5: Vampires of Paris) Tevye meets Sherlock Holmes and confronts Boris Badenov. In “Grim Days” (Tales of the Shadowmen 7) Lord Peter Wimsey and Colonel Haki meet in Istanbul.

He drew a backup feature for Captain Confederacy, the black-and-white comic produced by Will Shetterly and Vince Stone (published by Steeldragon Press), involving two steampunkish characters named Saks & Violet.

So it is not surprising that Stu was attracted to alternate history and for many years was a member of the judging panel for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History.

His convention guest of honor stints included Hexacon (1980), Minicon XX, Wiscon XII, Corflu 6 (1989) and Lunacon 2000.

At Corflu 5 (1988) he was named a Past President of Fan Writers of America (fwa).

He had a recipe in the Tiptree fundraiser The Bakery Men Don’t See (1991) – “Grandma Ethel Katz’s Noodle Kugel.” Stu co-edited the 1986 issue of Science-Fiction Five-Yearly with the Nielsen Haydens and Lee Hoffman. He illustrated the 1991 edition of Beyond the Enchanted Duplicator…To the Enchanted Convention by Walt Willis and James White.

On June 14, 2012 Stu suffered a stroke. Two brain surgeries followed. For several months he went back and forth between ICU and acute care, depending on his breathing and heartbeat. Eventually he was reported to be on a gradual upswing and thereafter, though he periodically had serious setbacks, Stu enjoyed sustained improvement.

Andi Shecter visited constantly. Tom Whitmore maintained a CaringBridge online journal that let Stu’s friends keep abreast of important changes in his status.

Andi Shechter and Stu Shiffman on their wedding day, June 18, 2014,

Andi Shechter and Stu Shiffman on their wedding day, June 18, 2014,

In 2013 Andi and Stu, who had been together for 25 years, announced their engagement. On June 18, 2014 they married in a ceremony at University of Washington’s Burke Museum with nearly 100 in attendance.

By October, Stu had recovered to the point that he’d been able to use a powered wheelchair for the first time since his stroke. However, only a week later, he had a fall and required surgery from which he did not regain consciousness.

Then, this afternoon, he died after his heart stopped. Tom Whitmore explained: “Aides found him when they went to prepare him for a shower. He was given CPR and 911 was called. The EMTs were able to get a heartbeat and pulse back and he was being readied to go to Harborview Emergency Department when he heart stopped again. They were unable to get him back. They tried for about 40 minutes.”

I am so sad that Stu wasn’t able to make the recovery we all hoped he would have, and am very sorry for Andi’s loss.

Stu Shiffman and Mike Glyer in 2004. Photo by Rich Coad.

Stu Shiffman and Mike Glyer in 2004. Photo by Rich Coad.

Stu Shiffman Update 11/21

Stu Shiffman has been unresponsive since a fall suffered in October caused a recurrence of swelling in his brain. Tom Whitmore told followers of Stu’s Caringbridge page on November 19: “Unfortunately, this kind of swelling is hard to control. So Stu has an open place in his skull, which means he’s wearing a protective helmet. And it means that he’s likely to be unresponsive for a while. The standard estimate, to be safe, is 90 days.”

The fanartist suffered a stroke in 2012 and had made gradual but good progress til his recent setback.

Doctors plan to close his skull again in February. “This has been known to result in a return to responsiveness of unresponsive patients,” adds Whitmore. “It’s very possible that Stu will regain a lot of the function he had regained before, and possibly more. It’s also possible some good things will happen during that 90 days — we don’t know.” All Stu’s friends look forward to his taking that next step in recovery soon.

Stu Shiffman Has Setback

After enjoying gradual but sustained improvement since his 2012 stroke, fan artist Stu Shiffman is again having serious problems. A week ago he had a fall, and Tom Whitmore reported on Stu’s CaringBridge page that he did not regain consciousness after surgery. Doctors think there has been more damage. Stu is in the Neurological ICU at Harborview in Seattle.

This was quite unexpected, as Stu had recovered to the point that just a week earlier he’d been able to use a powered wheelchair for the first time since his stroke.

Photos of 1981 NYC Party for James White

Peter de Jong recently found a set of 27 photos taken at a 1981 party for LunaCon GoH James White, the Irish sf writer, and has posted them here.

The party, organized by Moshe Feder, was held at de Jong’s apartment in midtown Manhattan. Feder says he does not know who took the pictures.

James White wears his famous Saint Fantony blazer in photo #1.

Fans identified in the photographs are: Norma Auer Adams, Larry Carmody, Ross Chamberlain, Alina Chu, Eli Cohen, Genny Dazzo, Peter de Jong, Moshe Feder, Chip Hitchcock, Lenny Kaye, Hope Leibowitz, Craig Miller, Andrew Porter, Stu Shiffman, James White, Jonathan White, Peggy White, and Ben Yalow.

(There is also an unnamed fan in photo #4 I recognize. She occasionally looks at this blog and I will happily add her name to this article if she grants permission.)

[Thanks to Moshe Feder and Andrew Porter for the story.]

Andi and Stu Engaged

Congratulations to Andi Shecter and Stu Shiffman who became engaged on July 18 in a ceremony at the rehab facility where Stu’s been staying. Tom Whitmore reported on CaringBridge:

Stu was fetching in a panama hat, and Andi was her usual dapper self. Rabbi Jessica K Marshall officiated, and a very pleasant time was had by all. This was Stu’s first trip outside in a very long time (aside from being transported from one facility to another). The weather was completely cooperative, warm with a slight breeze and very clear.

As Andi and Stu explained last month:

We have been together for 25 years. On June 13, 2012, Stu suffered a serious stroke from which he has recovered to a major extent, although he still has more healing to do. In March of 2013, Andi turned 60 years old, while Stu will have his 60th birthday in February of 2014. We feel that we have good reason to talk about love and commitment.

They will be married next June.

Shiffman, Shechter Betrothal

Stu Shiffman and Andi Shechter will celebrate their betrothal with a Tenaim ceremony in Seattle on July 18. They made the announcement on CaringBridge today, June 19:

We have been together for 25 years. On June 13, 2012, Stu suffered a serious stroke from which he has recovered to a major extent, although he still has more healing to do. In March of 2013, Andi turned 60 years old, while Stu will have his 60th birthday in February of 2014. We feel that we have good reason to talk about love and commitment.

We hope that about a year from now, we will have our wedding ceremony, again with the support of Rabbi [Jessica K] Marshall and that you will be able to attend.  We sort of figured we’d better start planning the party early. We hope you’ll celebrate with us, now and in the year ahead, virtually or literally, from near or far.

Congratulations! – this is exciting news.

Stu Shiffman Update 6/3

Nearly a year has passed since fanartist Stu Shiffman suffered his stroke and his accelerating improvement is encouraging. Tom Whitmore wrote in a new post for Stu’s Caring Bridge page:

Stu’s been on the speaking valve pretty much every day, which means he’s getting more chances to talk. He’s been talking to his family on the phone, including his sister; and people are having no trouble understanding him. He sounds a lot like himself at this point — a bit quacky, perhaps, but the phrasing and pauses are classic Shiffman. He’s eating pureed foods regularly, and getting lots of visits from therapists. They’re always glad to work with him because he’s doing so well. For now, there’s no big news, but lots of positive small news.

 

Stu Shiffman Update 4/22

Ten months after suffering a stroke Stu Shiffman is regaining his speaking ability reports Tom Whitmore on Stu’s Caringbridge page

Stu is now doing almost all his communication by speech (rather than spelling things out). He’s still a little croaky, but only a little difficult to understand. He’s also continuing to work out a couple of times a week at the gym upstairs. He still can’t stand or walk, but they’re working on keeping his muscles in shape.

This is very fine news!