Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Bill Hupe and FanLib: Why I'm Here in 1000 words or Less
mylochka1
I'm starting this Live Journal for two reasons:  Bill Hupe and FanLib.

As with all bold, declarative, headline-ish statements like the above, there are actually a host of more mundane reasons that I will spend a good deal of time talking about while you sit there and wonder "Since when did Bill Hupe have anything to do with fanlib.com?" or  "Who the hell is Bill Hupe?" or  "Will there be any naked pictures of Spock draped over a stack of fanzines?"

Actually the first sub-reason for my being here is not terribly mundane at all.  I was hit by a pickup truck while riding my bike in March of 2009.  I suffered what is misleadingly called a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.  I'm weeks away from finishing neurotherapy -- weeks away from being truly and officially well, in other words. I am in the happy, but a little overwhelming position of having my short term memory finally reconnect with my long term memory.  Both of these repositories of the experiences we call life are also hooking back in to my ability to reason, weigh, evaluate, and connect.  So here I am, sorting back through my life like it's a big scrapbook that fell out of the top shelf of my closet, trying to get all the pictures back in order, wondering whatever happened to....?

Which leads me in a surprisingly direct line back to Bill Hupe.  I illustrated fanzines for him from around 1986 to some time in the late nineties when I got a new job and drifted away from fandom for a while.  He was a pal, easy to work with, supremely generous.  He was the person who got me firmly hooked on Anime.  He'd mail me boxes full of vhs tapes of  shows like Vampire Princess Miyu, Urusei Yatsura, and my beloved Ranma 1/2 for free in the days before DVD when no one was selling anime and there was no station in the U.S. was broadcasting the stuff.

It must be stated:  Bill Hupe published some of the worst schlock to ever see the mimeographed page.  The nadir for me was the time I, greedy for the reward of another box of Rumiko Takahashi goodness, agreed to do a cover illustration for a novella length 'zine (that Bill published, but did NOT write) in which Picard is inflicted with dementia by some mecha-baddie.  There were scenes where Riker changed his captain's adult diaper.

Let's move on, shall we?

Despite the fact that he published some of the purest of the pure and total crap that made its way through Kinkos in the 1980's, Bill had pretty reliably good taste.  His recommendations for things to watch and read (usually not things he himself had published) were almost always excellent.  I might have missed Blackadder and Red Dwarf entirely if not for him.

And now he's dead.

I went on a Google Quest to find him last week.  Bill always knew everyone and everything.  He was computer savvy back in the days when only the geekiest of the geeks thought it was worthwhile to own one of those fancy TV-typewriters. Bill was a natural to be on the Internet. If I could find him, I thought, I could find links to everyone.  Bill was a linker.  He hooked folks up with their fannish drug of choice, be that programs about Japanese adventure teams based on characters from esoteric Buddhism or 'zines about Picard in diapers (with a very tasteful cover, I might add.) 

But now he's dead. 

He didn't die of anything dramatic according to accounts.  His health got bad.  I think he was ten or fifteen years older than me.  That is still very early to die of bad health... but it happens.  It's disturbing to get to the age where when you go hunting for old friends, one in every ten or so is dead.

Bill had left fandom in a flurry of controversy in the late nineties. (It just sounds too Victorian to say he left around the time of the turn of the century, doesn't it?)  It was something over reprinting out of print 'zines.  Really he just got too big.  The weight of his 'zine empire collapsed in on itself like a dying sun.  An editor who worked with him had volunteered to take over the whole thing.  This inevitably led to the whimper not bang ending of someone eventually finding the rented storage unit packed to the leaking tin ceiling full of 'zines and manuscripts and art that was being auctioned off by the storage company people for non-payment. 

Wonder if anyone bought my Picard in diapers picture?

I guess I saw the Hupe Empire at its very height right before The Fall.  In 1996, he invited me to visit while I attended my one and only MediaWest con.  His house was... I think it may be sadly misleading to think of where he lived as a house.  It was a giant dealer's room staging area where people happened to live while they worked on putting together fanzines and duplicating tapes.  We collated and bound 'zines while we chatted in the same way another host might have a coke and eat some peanuts with you.  It was astonishing.  He packed me off with a box of impossible to find British and Japanese cult TV  he'd been duplicating in one of his room full of VCRs while we were talking and the manuscript of some completely awful TOS novel he wanted a color cover for by the end of the month.   It was a great night. Fannish Baroque.

But now he's gone.

Even after I found out he was dead and had left no website spiderwebbing out to the fannish universe, I kept looking for him for a while.  Momentum and inertia, I guess.  And I found Fanlib... well, not fanlib.com, per se.  It is long and un-lamentably gone.  I found the wake of the giant controversy that had accompanied this corporate sponsored attempt at fan-mining that was still rippling outward. 

I had missed it. Entirely.

It's hard to believe I heard no hint of this.  This was almost THE BIG ONE that we've all been half-anticipating for so long -- the ultimate Pan-Fandom epidemic; the moment when Big Media finally figures out an insidious way to co-opt and shut us down not by stomping or starving us out as we have so long feared but rather by making us tame and docile as we eagerly lick at a drip-bottle of carefully rationed corporate approval.

I have no excuse for not knowing.  The Fanlib-quake was pre-brain injury.  I am not gafiated.  I still write and/or illo almost every day.  I work with Cher Petterson on her Valjiir site the same way medieval monks worked on the Book of Kells.  I do the thing seeking to perfect the pure loveliness of what it is to what I know it can be for the ultimate glory of Pristine Fannish Bliss.  I almost don't care if anyone reads it anymore.

Well, almost.

Now, as my brain starts to gingerly travel down still-tender but sweetly familiar neural pathways, I miss those links.  I once more want to be connected to fandom which has been such a part of who I was, and am, and probably will be.

So, here I am. 

Looking for links.

Are you still out there?
Young Spock

(No, Spock is neither naked nor draped on fanzines.  But it's not Picard in diapers... So, there is that...)

?

Log in