When Frank Wu came out on the losing end of the latest TAFF race a disgruntled friend of mine declared his surprise because Frank is such a popular fan. But he consoled Frank with a seductive conspiracy theory – that no artist has ever run for TAFF or DUFF and won.
Some of you are trying to climb through the screen right now in your eagerness to correct this impression. Please be patient while I take care of a preliminary question before getting to the main event.
Just who is a fanartist for purposes of this discussion? A lot of fans have had art in fanzines, myself included, without ever being numbered among the field’s fanartists. At least in my mind. So if you feel I’m being too subjective about who they are for purposes of this post, chime in.
Tremendous numbers of fanartists have lost TAFF. Terry Jeeves did it three times (1955, 1971, 1977). Other artists who have lost include Bjo (1959), Eddie Jones (1962), Bill Rotsler (1970), Jim Barker (1980), Grant Canfield (1983), Taral Wayne (1983), D. West (1984), Luke McGuff (1989), Joe Wesson (1995), and Frank Wu (2009).
Frank Dietz (1973) may also belong on the list. His fanzine credits include Luna Monthly and I believe he did quite a bit of art for it, but I had trouble testing my recollection with online research because he shares a name with a well-known Disney artist.
Yet a look at TAFF history reveals the perhaps surprising fact that the list of winning fanartists is almost as long as the list of losers.
Lee Hoffman won TAFF in 1956, followed by ATom (1964), Steve Stiles (1968), Eddie Jones (1969, winning on his second attempt), Stu Shiffman (1981), Jeanne Gomoll (1987), Dan Steffan (1995), Ulrika O’Brien (1998) and Sue Mason (2000).
The Down Under Fan Fund has also been kind to fanartists: Bill Rotsler (1977), Ken Fletcher (1979; he succeeded to the trip when I had to withdraw, having just been hired by the government), and the trio of Australian artists Nick Stathopoulos, Lewis Morley, Marilyn Pride (1986).
Fanartists can’t win fan funds? The real explanation may be that the winning fanartists are not remembered as they deserve, even by other fanartists. Several did fine trip reports.
The facts have a way of coming out… blowing another fine theory out of the water.