Thursday, September 12, 2013

25 years ago...

...I was a 20-year-old still living at home in Marissa, Illinois, and I was taking classes at the nearby community college. My first computer was a Commordore 64. I did some basic programming on it, but it was mostly used to play games and for drawing computer pics and printing them out from a dot-matrix printer.

I was in my fifth year of my Doctor Who fandom, and every month I would drive myself to the local comic book store and pick up the latest issue of Doctor Who magazine. This was the only source of Who news I could rely on as there was no internet, and along with the latest news and reviews of upcoming episodes, cast and crew interviews, and the comic strip, was the letters page (called "You On Who") featuring artwork sent in by fans and readers.

I had mailed to the letters page a short letter along with a computer drawing of the seven Doctors. Several months had past, and then one day I picked up the latest issue, which was #138, publishing date July 1988:

I browsed thru the magazine before buying it, and as I turned to the letters pages at the back of the magazine, I let out a yelp of excitement. The magazine had published my computer drawings!

I was rather excited because not only was this the first time my artwork has ever been published, it was probably one of the first pieces of fan artwork from the United States published in this British magazine.

Mike Divardo, the proprietor of the building, heard my cry of excitement and thought someone had an accident. After explaining that my artwork was published, he (without my knowledge) relayed the incident to Phillip Bartell, a young journalism student who wrote for the local newspaper. Phillip was writing a series of stories about youth activities, hobbies and other endeavors, and he thought that it would be a good idea to write about Sci-Fi fandom with me as the subject.

So on the next episode of the podcast (which I'll be recording this weekend), I will be reading to you, faithful listeners, the newspaper story young Bartell wrote about a geek in 1998 who was very into Doctor Who and how the program would shape this young daydreamer from rural Southern Illinois into the man I am today.