Sunday, June 15, 2008

All the Myriad Ways

A conversation thread in an online group recently brought to mind the fact that Myriad (an amateur press alliance of which I was a part for almost a decade and a half) is about to commemorate its fortieth anniversary.

(While I don't do anything with apas nowadays, I have maintained all along that this blog is essentially an online apazine. An apa, or amateur press alliance, was a publication comprised of individually produced and printed publications on matters of interest to the author and the other members; each member would prepare enough copies for the membership and forward those to an Official Editor or Central Mailer who would compile them and send each member one copy of every member's publication. I have often said that it was my years of fanzine and apazine production that directly transitioned to my production of Comic Shop News--which is sort of like a fanzine, only it makes a profit!)

Stven Carlberg (at the time he still spelled it Steven) first began corresponding with me about the possibility of launching a new apa in June of 1968; he was in the comics apa CAPA-Alpha and had encouraged me to get on the waitlist there, but he wanted an apa that offered all of us more opportunity to discuss other matters.

In mid-June, he said he was interested in trying to establish a new apa called Myriad (for obvious reasons); he had invited a number of contacts he had made through his fledgling fanzine publication ventures. I was one of the charter members, as was my good friend (and fellow Rome, GA, resident) Gary Steele.

Stven decided on early August as the deadline date for the first issue; in July, I began work on the first issue of not much'a nothin', which I prepared on ditto masters that I subsequently mailed to Stven to have printed (at the time, I had no way of printing my own apazines; within a few months, though, Gary and I would acquire a hectograph kit, a ditto machine, and a mimeograph (these were the days when all three could be purchased not only at most office supply stores, but could be ordered through the Sears catalog), and we would have all the tools necessary to print our own apazines, fanzines, and other things (including a short-lived underground newspaper for our high school).

I received the first Myriad mailing in late August, shortly after I had begun my sophomore year of high school. It was a slender mailing, but I still remember the excitement and enthusiasm as I opened that envelope and saw the product of everyone's efforts, prepared under Stven's guidance. The membership list was initially slight, as was the pagecount, but within a year or so Myriad would become a sort of de facto adjunct to SFPA, offering newer fans a more gregarious and open venue to establish themselves in print.

So while the 40th anniversary won't officially be here for another two months, the fortieth anniversary of Myriad's conception is here right now!

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