Saturday, December 6, 2008

RIP Forrest J. Ackerman

Not really the way I wanted to start off this blog but I have to pay respects to one of the first and foremost among us. Forrest J. Ackerman has left this mortal realm at age 92.

He may not have been a household name but he was a living legend that influenced every aspect of the science fiction and horror genres. Born in 1916, he was one of the earliest organizers of science fiction fandom, supporting and working with such young talents as Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (creators of Superman) and Ray Bradbury. He attended the first Worldcon in 1939 (thereafter missing only two in his lifetime) and in a "futuristicostume" no less therefore being one of the first cosplayers on record, and later helped organize the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society. He was dubbed an "honorary lesbian" by the Daughters of Bilitis and won a Hugo award in 1953 for being the No. 1 Fan Personality (the prototype to today's Hugo for Best Fan Writer). He was Ed Wood's "illiterary agent" for a time and not only named the character Vampirella but wrote her origin story as well. He owned and displayed one of the largest collections of science fiction, fantasy, and horror memorabilia at his Ackermansion home/museum in Hollywood, CA. But arguably his most influential work was through his magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland (cover archive), which inspired such young up-and-comers as Gene Simmons, George Lucas, Stephen King, and Tim Burton.

In today's day and age where science fiction movies are big blockbuster business and all manner of fandoms have achieved new levels of organization and acceptance over the internet, we can all stop and show a moment of appreciation to one of the men who made it all possible. Thanks Uncle Forry, you will be missed.

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