Comics and collectible dealer Robert Beerbohm (who has been to every San Diego Comic-Con since the first annual event in August 1970) has sent in the following update to his personal history of his life in comics fandom. (The full article may be read here.)
Began serious collecting interacting with other comics fans inside the Trade Corner with Blackhawk #225, Oct, 1966, as well as sending off a buck to GB Love for his RBCC [Rocket’s Blast Comic Collector fanzine/adzine] intro package with my first issue being #45, placing my first of many adverts therein with #47, again dated Oct, 1966.
Set up at my first Comicon age 15 June 17-18, 1967 at Houstoncon in Texas for which Marc Schooley and Roy Bonario were the co-chairmen. Rode Greyhound for 28 hours to get there, made a few bucks, came home with more vintage stuff than I left with. Did Dallascon summer of 68.
Then in 1969 made it to Houston again, then Detroit Triple Fan Fair and St Louis World SF Convention. I began publishing my fanzine FANZATION in 1969, #3 sporting a letter from Steve Ditko on creativity which Fredric Wertham quoted from in his last book, The World of Fanzines (1974).
By 1970 as a senior in high school saw me drive with friends to, and set up at, Multicon in Oaklahoma City, the first of many Seuling NYC Comicon July 4th week ends, Bruce Hamilton’s first Phoenixcon, the only Disneyland Hotel Comicon, another DTFF as well as the first San Diego Comic-Con at the US Grant Hotel.
By 1971 more shows: another July 4th Seulingcon, the 2nd SDCC, the first Creation Con in NYC Thanksgiving weekend plus others sprouting around the country.
More than a dozen comicons in 1972 including yet another Seuling July 4th show, the first Chicago Comicon, the first of many fondly remembered El Cortez comics festivals, the 2nd Multicon in Ok City, plus in late August a week or so after SDCC Cortez co-opened the first Comics & Comix store at 2512 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, a few blocks from the UC campus.
We hosted the first Bay Area comicon in 1973 with Berkeleycon 73 in the Pauly Ballroom, ASUC building, UC-Berkeley campus whereat the fabled Tom Reilly collection surfaced. It was the first comicon devoted to creator-owned, royalty paying comic books then known as UG [underground] comix.
I personally sold well over two thirds of the Tom Reilly high grades. Sold the Detective #27 out of that collection for $2200 thus becoming the first comic book to break the two grand barrier eliciting worldwide AP/UPI coverage which garnered us three more Tec 27s in under a month along with a flood of other Golden Age. I personally think the recent Heritage million dollar Tec 27 is the Reilly copy.
The phenomenal “over guide” sales of Tom Reilly’s books enabled us to open three more stores in San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento. The firm lasted more than 30 years.
Late 1976 saw me open solo operations beginning at 1707 Haight, San Francisco, then May 1977 a second store, taking over my former partners 2512 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, location. Oct 4, 1978: the grand opening of the first comic book store in Fisherman’s Wharf at Pier 39, the Wharf being the 3rd largest tourist attraction in the world following Disneyworld and Disneyland. Soon thereafter yet another store in Santa Rosa, as well as a 3rd San Fran location out on Irving St at 17th in the Sunset section.
Hosted Frank Miller’s very first autograph party ever, Dec 21, 1981, for the death of Electra in Daredevil #181.
Have contributed vital data to Overstreet Price Guides’s since #11, Lowrey’s BLB Guide, both Kennedy and Fogel’s UG Comix Guides, Art of Rock by Paul Grushkin, Cherokee Mist: The Lost Writings of Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stone magazine’s special “Best 100 Album Covers of All Time,” Nov 14, 1991 issue; Nemo from FBI. Comic Book Marketplace saw numerous articles from me as did Comics Buyer’s Guide back when it was the center of the collecting universe ; The Jack Kirby Collector #25 special Simon & Kirby issue on Mainline Comics when S&K tried self-publishing in 1954.
Gerber’s Photo Journal Guide to Comic Books’ credits are weighted according to how many books he used out of your collections. I was blessed to be listed in the first inch of the first column.
More recently has seen me supplying rare artifacts & lore into books on Krazy Kat that Chris Ware designed following Bill Blackbeard’s edits published by Fantagraphics,; books on Milt Gross, Walt Kelly, Segar, Outcault, others.
Since 1997 I have fronted the comics lore proper origins history which began in Oversreet Comic Book Price Guide #27 and they keep inviting me back every year, so I must be doing something right somewhere.
About a decade ago we expanded the platinum-Era section to include an earlier Victorian Age when I showed the comics world the existence of the earliest known American comic book, The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck, published as Brother Jonathan Extra #9, Sept 14, 1842.
Check out Bob’s eBay store at http://stores.shop.ebay.com/BLB-COMICS. You will also be able to meet Bob in person at his dealers-room booth at San Diego’s Comic-Con this July 21-25, 2010. Look for “BLBcomics.com” in the exhibitors listing.