[March 27, 1961] What a Wonder! (WonderCon)


(from The LA Science Fiction Society (1939))

Comic book lovers, science fiction aficionados, and history buffs all share some characteristics, no matter how disparate their interests may seem on the surface: they are passionate about their pidgin, they plumb deeply into the lore of their fields, and they are all just a bit off-center from the rest of “normal” society.

Let’s face it–it’s 1961, and conformity is still the rule of the day.  We’re expected to wear suits and hats (though our new President seems to be a trendsetter in the “no hats” arena).  We’re supposed to abandon the frivoloties of youth and settle down to hard work and raising a family.  Heaven forbid our interests should stray outside the socially acceptable pasttimes of sports, religion, politics, and cocktail parties.

But for those of us who refuse to “grow up”, we still want to belong somewhere.  We don’t want to go it alone; we seek out others of our ilk.  The weird ones.  The creative ones.

The Fans.

So we form clubs, some associated with centers of learning, others with geographic districts.  We create fan circles that put out fanzines.  We form readers’ groups to share our self-penned works.

And…we hold conventions.

These are generally smallish affairs compared to their business-oriented cousins, with attendance running into the hundreds.  But for the fan who normally has a local community of just a half-dozen fellows (and perhaps many more as pen pals), going to a convention is like a pilgrimage to Mecca.  One meets people with completely different experiences, different perspectives.  There is the opportunity to get news from far and wide on exciting new projects, both fan and professional.  And the carousing is second to none, both in the heights of enthusiasm and creativity.

Take a look at my newly developed roll of shots from “WonderCon”, a sizeable affair held last weekend in Los Angeles.  These are some dedicated fans, some fabulous costumes, and some terrific times!

First off, a few attendees who came in street clothes:

A few inspired by the pulps of yesteryear:

Some fresh from the pages of the comics (the new character, Supergirl, appears to have an unusually red skirt…)

A pair of Snow Whites, one traditional, and one in 40s chic:

Speaking of the 40s, check out these spot-on duds–go Airborne!

And their most hated foe (this one made me double-take, but I understand it’s a minor character from an Atlas comics ish):

The Crown Princess, Anasatasia, last of the Romanovs:

Some great costumes I can’t quite identify (the Germans may just have been lost and wandered in):

The Sweep, from the Mary Poppins childrens’ book series:

Some cartoons come to life–Betty Boop and Fred Flinstsone (the latter is quite new, the 1st season not having yet ended!)

The inimitable Amy Spaulding–her art is amazing:

And, of course, The Traveler:

With Professor Elliot:

And making Archie cry:

That’s it for this time.  I loved seeing all of my friends and fans again, and I hope you’ll stay tuned for the review of this month’s (the April 1961) Fantasy and Science Fiction!  There are some excellent stories in there, three of them by woman authors–a new record!

10 thoughts on “[March 27, 1961] What a Wonder! (WonderCon)”

  1. Thank you very much for sharing these great pics. The bottom one is delightful!

    What a high standard of costume. Go, Airborne, indeed! I can’t help identifying any, but I do think the eighteenth century naval one is particularly creative and stylish.

    So glad it was as good as it looks.

  2. Great pictures, thanks for sharing them!

    Will you be at GirlGeekCon again this year? My partner and I are applying for vendor space. Also, we plan to be at Emerald City Comic Con in a couple of weeks.

    1. We absolutely will be in Seattle come October.  We have applied to do a pair of panels–I hope we are accepted.

      We will not be in Seattle this month, however.  The Traveler can only do so much traveling!

      I do hope we can finally meet up this year!!

  3. Oh, I love the Mary Poppins books! And still do, and always will, I don’t care how old I get.

    I fear I would do more than a double-take if I saw someone wearing any kind of Nazi swastika, though, costume or not. Particularly someone with an SS Obergruppenführer patch on his collar. We would have words.

    Tho’ I am confused by the octopus creature in the place of the totenkopf – what is that foolish looking thing? – and… I presume that’s related to the word… “hydra?” on the cuff band? I suppose that’s some sort of submarine unit?

    1. Look more closely–he doesn’t have a single Swastika on his uniform!  He did note that many people were certain he had an armband…subconscious interpolation.

      The Hydra is representative of some sort of secret German society dedicated to taking over the Earth.  Sort of a super-Nazi group; their motto is “Cut off the head, two more shall appear.”

      Note: This is not a real group!  It is a supervillain collective.  And while Nazi costumage is admittedly in poor taste, this attendee was there to provide a target for the WW2 vets.

      1. I did write armband, but I was thinking cuffband – that’s where I saw the “hydra” word. And I’ll begrudgingly accept that he’s made some sort of custom piece for his cap, but that certainly looks like a standard Nazi eagle in your photograph. I’ll enclose a photo of one; you’ll see the swastika in the wreath.

        (But even without it, that’s still an SS uniform, and he’s still wearing SS-specific Obergruppenführer ranks on his collar. On stage, that’s one thing, but… I’m sorry, it just really rubs me the wrong way, seeing someone walk around dressed like that.)

        So. Hydra, then. Cut off the head, two more shall appear. That certainly described the fascists. One would think they’d pick a logo with many heads, instead of one with many arms, but perhaps my mood is souring my opinions of the whole thing.

        So. I’ll just concentrate on that very nice Sweep costume instead, and that hilariously spot-on Fred Flintstone. That’s quite good, he certainly manages to look like a cartoon character in real life! I’m particularly impressed by the license plate — I suppose it must be fired and glazed clay? Which is, of course, perfectly fitting — well done, sir.

        Perhaps I should look up that Supergirl character. Young women and girls need more kinds of heroes in fiction, and I’m glad to see a new one.

        encl.: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7d/SS_Hoheitszeichen.jpg

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