Tuesday, January 17, 2012

AFF 1983 newsletter

Here's some images of the 1983 Atlanta Fantasy Fair newsletter, sometimes referred to as a "progress report". In addition to flyers, conventions would find it necessary to publish 16 or 20 page newsprint booklets to really "sell" the show to a world that was decades away from web pages - it's hard to show the appeal of a costume contest, a film festival, or a giant downtown hotel in just a few lines of type.

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I believe the 1983 AFF was the first show I was allowed to attend in any meaningful capacity - I roamed the halls of the Omni, bought my first Judge Dredd comics, watched five or ten minutes of "Robinson Crusoe On Mars", and purchased a full set of Elfquest comics that had me in a Pini-derived elfy-welfy haze for weeks.

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I think that's a costume of the Godzilla movie-monster Angirus! That would have been something to see in the early 80s. Honestly I can't remember if we were allowed to stick around long enough to see the costume contest that year. Probably not. I did catch the amateur film festival, which as I recall featured a wonderful if overlong movie about a teenage magician titled "Summer Magic" that climaxed with a Houdini-style escape from a swimming pool. The next year's amateur film festival featured "Summer Magic II", a much shorter parody of the first film in which the underwater escape doesn't go quite so well. Also screened was a movie titled "Drugs From Deep Space" and the thrilling "Galactic Avenger", 30 seconds of cut-paper spaceship animation followed by three minutes of family home movies. You just don't get amateur films like this any more.

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I probably made it to the con suite - what 13 year old doesn't want free soda? - but I didn't play any role playing games, see any auctions, or witness any awards ceremonies. Most of my time was spent poring through the entire dealers room, wishing I'd mowed a few more lawns that summer.

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If you hurry you can get your membership to the 1983 AFF for only $13!! Or you might have to buy it at the door for $19. While you're at it, you can get a room at the Omni for $44. That's cheap even for 1983! Of course you have to spend the entire weekend worrying about getting mugged or killed while in scary dangerous downtown Atlanta, but that's a small price to pay.

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Don't forget to pick up your AFF T-shirt and show the world you're proud to be a fan!

newsletter courtesy the Devlin Thompson National Archives