By James H. Burns: If you’ve been to a comic book or nostalgia convention in the last several years in New York (and possibly elsewhere), chances are you encountered John Mimikos (often tabled with long-time dealer Fred Holderer), selling a happy mix of fantasy and science fiction books, and movie ephemera.
John, amazingly, was 68. He didn’t look it, smallish and wiry — maybe a result of the years he had spent bodybuilding (perhaps, if memory serves, even competitively, in his youth).
During the week, Mimikos could be found selling books in Manhattan near Jane Street and Hudson — part of that industrious breed of professional booksellers who discovered some time ago that one could make a legitimate living adding to the literati sparkle of the streets of our “Baghdad on the Hudson.”
According to two friends of Mimikos’, that is where he ailed, suffering an aneurism of some sort, before he was spotted by police.
I had the happy chance a few years ago to hang out with John at a mutual friend’s birthday party, and away from the hustle and bustle of a convention, I found him the most amiable of conversationers.
Gus Mimikos, John’s cousin, just wrote me (edited, here):
“I grew up very close to John. He had an extensive collection of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, buying them when they first came out!
“Back in the early 1960s, John looked like Lou Ferrigno: He was in the Mr. New Jersey and Mr. USA body competitions.
“I went to see John at the hospital, Beth Isreal, on 18th Street. John was still in such great physical shape, but when the police got to him, he had been without oxygen for too long.
“I tried talking to him in his state, and he seemed to respond to me; his love of sci-fi/horror movies worked.
“I spoke the words ‘Famous Monsters, Spaceman magazine, Robby the Robot,’ and phrases from Forbidden Planet and The Day The Earth Stood Still.
“I tried to do my best Micheal Rennie, saying ‘Klaatu Borada Nikto.’
“Somehow it seemed to trigger a response in John, as he tried to talk.
“He wasn’t gone as the doctors thought.
“Miracles and science non-fiction.”