Update #23 – April 17, 2018 – “SENSE OF WONDER is OUT!!”

Posted by Bill Schelly on April 16, 2018

Hey there! You caught me in an ecstatic mood! I’m celebrating the release of my new book, SENSE OF WONDER, MY LIFE IN COMIC FANDOM—THE WHOLE STORY. I’m especially proud of it, in terms of the story it tells, and the 200+ photos and illustrations that decorate most of its pages!

Here’s an excerpt from ALTER EGO #152 (the latest issue) which explains how it came about, and why this new edition is NOT A REPRINT of the original book from 2001 with a similar title:

 

Once ensconced in the TwoMorrows Publishing fold, my Comic Fandom Archive articles generated enough interest that I felt there would be a sizable audience for a personal memoir. It would tell the story of my original days during comic fandom’s sensational sixties and early 1970s. It came to be called Sense of Wonder: A Life in Comic Fandom (2000), and sold surprisingly well. As Roy and others pointed out, it acted like a time machine, evoking the readers’ own memories of that halcyon era. No doubt the fact that it was designed and promoted by TwoMorrows, and featured an introduction by the Rascally One (his “stamp of approval” of sorts), accounted for its healthy sales. Obviously, a large number of Alter Ego magazine’s readers (which had, by then, broken free of Comic Book Artist) picked up a copy.

You may have been one of those readers, or came into a copy in the ensuing years, and know its scope: my discovery of comic books in 1960—with my purchase of the Giant Superman Annual #1, to be precise—followed in 1964 by my equally joyful discovery of comic fandom, which by then was in near-full swing. In its 50,000 or so words, the memoir recounted my days as a fanzine publisher, my adventures with off-the-chain buddy Marshall Lanz (himself an ama-pubber), right up to attending the 1973 New York Comic Art Convention after graduating from college. The book ended shortly after that, when I was on the road to Seattle to “find my destiny.” (Somehow, I always hear Maurice Evans mouthing those words, though I’m no Charlton Heston.)

In 1974, I had no idea what the future held. But now, some 44 year later, I do know what came next. I know how I left fandom to deal with “real life” issues such as finding a career, paying the rent, and trying to become a professional writer of books. So much happened in the next decade-plus, including a brief stint as a partner in a comics retail store in Seattle’s university district.

Quite a story: How I went from being “lost” in a maelstrom of disappointment and frustration, to being “found” in 1990 when I re-discovered fandom and returned to the fold. How I began my research that led to The Golden Age of Comic Fandom, and how I worked on and wrote some 20 books from 1995 to the present day, struck me as the “other half” of the story. I found my place as a writer, bought a house, instigated a couple of fandom reunions, had encounters with my comics idols (from Jack Kirby to Julie Schwartz to Stan Lee), had children (in a rather unorthodox way) and eventually won an Eisner Award in 2016 for Harvey Kurtzman: The Man Who Created Mad and Revolutionized Humor in America. And all, ultimately, a result of joining fandom way back in 1964.

About two years ago, it occurred to me: I ought to write a sequel to my original Sense of Wonder memoir, one that told “the whole story.” That way, I could share all the events, the humorous anecdotes, the behind-the-scenes incident, and a motherlode of things that I’ve never written about anywhere. It would include the secret origin of each of my books, and a bit about my person life too. I knew it would be interesting, readable and funny. But, would such a sequel lose a lot of its power for those readers who hadn’t gotten a copy of the original “part one,” which was long out of print?

Two Books in One

              The answer became clear: for the new book to really work for everyone, I should combine the original text and the new book together under one cover. Now, after a lot of work (a labor of love, certainly), that’s exactly what’s happened—under the slightly different title Sense of Wonder: My Life in Comic Fandom—The Whole Story.

The text of part two, which covers 1974 to the present day, is just as long as part one, with about 100 of its own illustrations and photographs. Not only that, but part one has new material that deepens the story, and is a little more revealing about my personal life that it was in the first edition. This was done not only because I wanted this to be a more fully-dimensional portrait, but out of necessity to explain certain developments that happen in part two.

-end of excerpt-

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