Remember when Saturday morning television was your domain, and yours alone? When tattoos came from bubble gum packs, Slurpees came in superhero cups, and TV heroes taught you to be nice to others? Those were the happy days of the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties—and that is the pop culture era of RetroFan.
Editor Michael Eury (who also edits TwoMorrows’ acclaimed comic-book history magazine Back Issue) has authored over a dozen pop culture books, and felt it was time for a regular outlet for the same fun material.
I spoke to Michael previously about his great book, Hero-A-Go-Go, and was thrilled to speak with him again about RetroFan Magazine, which is equally fantastic!
* * * * *
FOG!: As a fan of your book, Hero-A-Go-Go, I was thrilled to learn about your newest project, RetroFan Magazine. What was the genesis of the magazine?
Michael Eury: Thanks for the kind words about Hero-A-Go-Go.
After spending a year immersed into Sixties’ camp culture for that book, and after developing a great relationship with its talented designer, Scott Saavedra, I was inspired to continue to mine this era through RetroFan.
Actually, TwoMorrows publisher John Morrow and I were discussing the launch of a retro pop culture magazine back in 2012, but my mother’s declining health kept me from taking on a new project at that time as I needed to spend more time with her. She has since passed, and last year, after gleefully drowning in a sea of ’66 Batmania, Monkees music, and swinging spies via Hero-A-Go-Go, I decided instead of coming up for air to dive deeper, the result being RetroFan.
You describe the magazine as “The Crazy Cool Culture We Grew Up With”. Your book focused on the sixties. What time period does RetroFan cover?
RetroFan‘s main purview: the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties.
That doesn’t mean we’re anchored to those decades, though, as the Universal Monsters — products of earlier decades, starting with the Thirties — will be on view in many issues, but those of use who grew up in the Sixties and Seventies watched those old monster movies on late-night or weekend-afternoon Shock Theatre-type shows on our local TV stations. We won’t shy away from movie serials, or maybe even some Nineties nostalgia if the subjects are interesting. But primarily, Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties.
The magazine includes four regular columnists of note. Who are they and what do they bring to the identity of RetroFan?
Martin Pasko, Andy Mangels, Scott Shaw!, and Ernest Farino. There are Emmys and Eisners among them.
They each were fans who became very successful pros in their respective arenas. Yet each never forgot their roots in fandom, which adds heart and soul to their articles.
As we progress, our columnists may come and go as circumstances change. Starting with issue #2, Scott Saavedra, our designer, begins a column of his own, Scott Saavedra’s Secret Sanctum, where he offers his witty, wacky perspective on various topics — beginning with #2’s column about the monster sitcoms of the Sixties, Bewitched, The Munsters, and The Addams Family.
Even though I don’t have a branded column, I’m a regular contributor to the magazine: for the first issue I conducted the Lou Ferrigno and Betty “Thelma Lou” Lynn interviews, wrote the “RetroFad” remembrance of Mr. Microphone and the issue’s “Too Much TV” quiz, wrote the “Retro Travel” look at Andy Griffith’s hometown, and penned a piece on scarce Andy Griffith Show collectibles.
Other writers with expertise in a variety of subjects will appear each issue as well. So the magazine’s talent pool is a mix of returning columnists and guest writers.
I thought the first issue was wonderful. Can you share some of the features in the first issue?
In addition to what I mentioned earlier, RetroFan #1 has Marty Pasko’s “Pesky Perspective” of the problems the Phantom has experienced in screen adaptations, Andy Mangels offers the definitive look at Filmation’s Star Trek: The Animated Series, Ernest Farino tells of his childhood encounter with movie Wolf Man Lon Chaney Jr., and Scott Shaw spotlights the oddball comic book Zody the Mod Rob (about a hippie robot). Plus, guest writer John Cimino writes of the Mego Elastic Hulk toy and our first “Super Collector” — Tom Stewart — provides a first-person narrative of his house of collectibles. Each issue, a different collector will provide a “Super Collector” look at his or her collection.
What’s coming up in future issues?
Issue #2 (on sale in September 2018) is a Halloween issue, with an Elvira interview, a look at TV horror hosts, an interview with one of the Ben Cooper Halloween costumes family, the history of the Groovie Goolies, the aforementioned monster sitcom article, a look at the long-defunct Dinosaur Land amusement park, the final tour of Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, superhero View-Masters, a RetroFad look at mood rings, and Super Collector Terry Collins’ lunch box collection.
Issue #3 (on sale in December 2018) gives a nod to the 40th anniversary of Superman: The Movie with an exclusive interview with its director, Richard Donner. Also: Irwin Allen’s TV shows (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel, and Land of the Giants), Aquaman in animation, Sea-Monkeys, Marvel superhero toilet paper, a RetroFad look at Afros, Pillsbury Funny Face collectibles, Sixties monster fanzines, and Super Collector Chris Franklin’s Superman and Batman toy collections.
After that, you can expect the live-action Shazam! TV show with cast interviews, Ray Harryhausen, the Green Hornet, Harvey Comics toys, Thunderbirds, The Greatest American Hero, a William Katt interview, Sam Jones’ Spirit TV pilot, Svengoolie, Butch “Eddie Munster” Patrick, and other very cool subjects.
Are there any dream interviews that you’d love to include in RetroFan?
Like Laverne & Shirley, I’m making my dreams come true… but through editing and writing for RetroFan instead of working at Shotz Brewery! This fall I’ll be interviewing a few more celebrities for future issues, but I can’t say who they are quite yet. (They’ll be no strangers to those who grew up with Sixties and Seventies TV.)
Dream interviews? Ron Howard. From Opie to Richie to film director, he fascinates me, and has avoided the pitfalls that wound so many child actors.
Tom Hanks. I’d like to talk about Major Matt Mason and NASA of the Sixties with him.
I traditionally ask what are you currently geeking out over. Since we covered that last time we spoke, what are your all time favorite things to geek out over?
I love The Andy Griffith Show and the Monkees’ music. I’m finding that since my jobs — editing and writing for my comics-history magazine Back Issue, also from TwoMorrows, in addition to my work on RetroFan — allow me to nurture my inner child and earn a living “geeking out,” that in what little spare time I have I tend to watch cop shows like Blue Bloods (my favorite contemporary show), read magazines (I rarely have time to read books since I spend all day reading/writing/editing), and playing Scrabble with my wife.
RetroFan #1 is now available in both print and digital editions,
through TwoMorrows’ website (twomorrows.com), in comic book shops through
Diamond Comic/Book Distributors, and in Barnes & Noble stores and on Amazon.com.