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I was recently rereading "The Unconventional ComiCon Costumer", an interview with Angelique Trouvere, a famous costumer for conventions. She mentions "some very unsavory stuff went down at the July 1974 Seuling's Comic Art Con" that caused Heidi Saha, an early friendly rival, to quit the costume contest business.

She wasn't entering masquerades anymore, not since some very unsavory stuff went down at the July 1974 Seuling's Comic Art Con. I believe that Heidi's father, Art, decided to put a stop to the costuming activities which pleased Heidi to no end. I was very happy for her too.

"The Unconventional ComiCon Costumer. A 2007 Interview with Angelique Trouvere!", by Richard Arndt

For the life of me, I haven't been able to find what it was that went down. What happened?


I asked on chat about whether this fit under the auspices of the group and the feeling seemed to be that it did as a "fandom" question. Plus, as I pointed out, the History Stack Exchange would probably pooh-pooh it as being too inconsequential.

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    I have to say this is so bizarre. A specific comic con with cosplay drama, singling specific names out of the fogs of ancient history, and now a plot twist! -- the alleged brother of one of the parties involved answers here, denying all. Hell if I understand what's going on, but I need some popcorn. – Andres F. Apr 30 at 20:46
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+700

Found at vampilore.co.uk (emphasis mine):

Emanuel Maris speaks out …

"Well, suppose I set the story straight(er), as to my reasons for writing the Heidi poem in the Creation '74 (Jan) program I edited and published for Malin/ Berman's convention.

"I always harboured a little bit of attitude against entrants for a Costume Parade Prize who didn't personally make their own costumes (like 'buying' a prize away from those fans who worked hard - or using steroids in a sports event).

"However, I always was polite to the Saha's and their daughter, even when Heidi's mom pestered me for photo's of past events with Heidi.

"The turning point came when Phil held a reception for the guests and workers of the '73 July Comic Art Convention [for which I ran the dealers room]. Held in one of the smaller ballrooms with large banquet-style round tables, one table was taken by Neal Adams and his Crusty Bunkers, and so on.

"I witnessed the following up close:

"Heidi's mom physically dragged an on-the-verge-of-tears Heidi into this reception, along with a cassette boom-box, which she turned on and nastily (sic) ordered Heidi to pirouette around the room. Heidi refused. Her mom got louder and nastier. Heidi again refused and started crying. Her mom then slapped her hard.

"The conversation in the room stopped, all eyes on this embarrassing scene. The entire Adams table got up and walked out, followed en masse by most of the guests. The reception prematurely over.

"I felt really bad for Heidi. And my suspicion of that xxxx of a mother's politic in USING her to vicariously live through her daughter was confirmed in spades.

"So later that year, I saw a picture of a young girl in Gallery magazine who was reminiscent of Heidi - and all of a sudden an idea popped into my head (at that point I had already been commissioned to produce the Creation program booklet) on how to make a public comment that would force the issue, and perhaps foment a situation wherein her mother would cease such behaviour.

The following is the idea that "popped" into his head, taken from the con's program. It is a poem Emanual wrote that raised a lot of controversy, leading to acts of violence between some of the organizers, because it was thought to be a personal attack on 14-year-old Heidi Saha, when really, according to Maris, it was actually an attack on her mother, Taimi Saha.:

The poem reads:

There's a girl that I know,
Who's mom has her for show,
and she's bringing her to the convention

When she gets there, mom knows,
The men will eye her clothes,
With a word she commands her 'bout the floor

And her costumes have shown,
from a tailor are borne,
For her, the portrayals have no meaning

In the line at the ball,
She is there standing tall,
Sometimes all of her faults are forgiven

I've a feel of unrest,
when looking at the best,
and then to know she will wind up winning

And I see all around,
that line costumes abound,
And hear voices of those who sit booing

And it's whispered that soon,
If we all call the tune,
Then the judges will lead us to reason

And the prizes will pass
to those who stand fast
And the audience will echo with laughter

SEIDI?

HA HA HA HA HA HA

Despite the flak Emanuel received for the poem (not to mention the choice of imagery) from Heidi's parents, Heidi is said to have appreciated the gesture.

"Heidi herself understood - while walking away from her room on the eve of the second night, a few doors down from mine, one of her girlfriends peeled off from her clique and came up to me: "Heidi says 'Thank You' ".

"She knew (or hoped) her parents (mother and weak father) would never do this to her again."

As far as the "acts of violence" mentioned earlier, the following passage from the same letter describes one such incident directed towards Emanuel by Heidi's father, Art:

"At night of the first day, Art Saha came running up to me in the lobby screaming, "That's not my daughter!" and proceeded to throttle me against a wall, my feet off the ground. I said it wasn't, he accused me of using a "spoonerism" (named after a certain preacher of the 19th century who would switch the first letters of two sequential words in his sermons to make a point humorously). Phil Seuling came to the rescue, and man-handled Art off of me.

The "spoonerism" he's referring to is the sign off at the end of the poem. "Seidi" is a mixture of H(eidi) and (S)aha according to the rules based off of the 19th century preacher, Reverend William Archibald Spooner, who was known to constantly make this mistake.


Here's some information on what happened after this time at the con (source):

Shortly after the Creation incident, Heidi retired from the con costume circuit. Angelique Trouvere claims the girl was relieved at the change. She feels that Heidi was going through "terrible emotional turmoil" of which her mother remained willfully unaware-- and that, the next time she saw Heidi, the girl was relaxed, and dressed like a typical teen. Heidi continued with her life, and became an artist. While she reportedly has modeled as well for SF books covers, she has kept, overall, a low profile. In 2000, she penned a tribute to her father for Locus magazine (Locus v44:1 No.468 Jan 2000). Her notorious costume she auctioned in 1996.

The controversy, too, gradually disappeared. In 1976, a fanzine, Minus 273 Degrees Celsius #11 chronicled "The Rise and Fall of Heidi Saha." Otherwise, the story remained a fannish footnote. The exhaustive Warren Companion dedicates less than a page to their Heidi magazine and the relevant backstory. One must hunt to find information online. It begs the question: why write a piece on an obscure footnote to fandom, something best forgotten?


A little background for Emanuel

After lots of digging around the internet and enlisting the help of my peers, I turned up that Emanuel "Manny Lunch" Marris was a comic book artist (mostly inking, I believe) who worked alongside Vince Colletta and Jim Steranko from around the 50's onward. He did author a tribute to Jeffrey Jones four years ago, but I've been unable to find any direct reference to any comic book work he's done. He was an art director and contributing photographer for The Monster Times Collectors Issue 02 (1974). As of 2013, he claims to still be friends with Jim.

Source 1 | Source 2 | Source 3

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    This site provides even more details: junglefrolics.blogspot.com/2010/01/… – fectin Jun 16 '17 at 3:35
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    "(...) because (the poem) was thought to be a personal attack on 14-year-old Heidi Saha (...) " How...? Just... how could that poem be misunderstood? – xDaizu Jun 16 '17 at 8:26
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    @MissMonicaE: One of the articles points out that it was a stock "barely legal" picture. That said, I'm not certain what the threshold is in the UK... One thing it is not is a picture of Heidi, although you can find a number of them in fectin's link. – FuzzyBoots Jun 16 '17 at 13:20
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    As a side note, it's pretty clear the ending is a Spoonerism. The last line emphasizes it "Seidi HA HA HA HA HA. Seidi Haha is a clear flip on Heidi Saha, the holding of the text makes it even more obvious that it was deliberate. – Paul Jun 16 '17 at 14:40
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    @dcoptimdowd no, I think he was still dogging the Mom, just pointing out that the Dad was correct that it was a Spoonerism, and intentional. – Paul Jun 16 '17 at 16:38
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For some time we did not want to respond to these false narratives perpetuated by people who were not there or if they were there played very minor roles and are now seeking to change the history to make themselves look better.

But unfortunately it seems these inaccuracies are taking a life of their own in the dark reaches of the internet and without light and disinfectant they are dangerously becoming the story. I know because I am Heidi's brother and I was there.

Heidi was a forerunner and pioneer in Cosplay and costuming. In addition to Vampirella, she appeared as many other characters, including Wilma Deering and Sheena, Queen of The Jungle.

We were a creative family. My father was a well-known SF editor and anthologist, and my mother was a writer and costume and wig designer for professional opera companies.

Heidi and I were happy and willing participants in the creative arts and at that young age dressing as our favorite Comic and Science Fiction characters seemed to be a no-brainer and one way for us to participate among and with all the well known and joyous artists and writers at Science Fiction gatherings.

There was NO Stage Mother and NO Stage Father pushing us along. I appeared as Young Tarzan at numerous conventions and often won First Prize in the Best Presentation Young Category including at The World Con in Boston.

Funny, and the peanut gallery forbid, I appeared in leopard loincloth shorts with no shirt, just as a young Tarzan would. No Me TOO moment there people--I guess because unlike the guys, there were not a whole lot of adolescent and frustrated young women casting ulterior motives and ugly pseudo sexual aspersions my way, and I am thankful for that.

Heidi has a very proud, reserved, dignified and non-nonchalant manner about her and if people take that to mean she was not a happy participant in the creative arts they are sorely wrong.

Vampirella: Here is the truth of the matter. Forest J Ackerman created the character and Jim Warren published Vampirella. They were friends of my family. Forry was not godfather to Heidi. Ackerman and Warren did not owe my family any favors. Ackerman and Warren were Creatives and also Businessman.

They came to us to see if Heidi would appear as Vampirella at the very conventions that were the forerunners of today's Massive Comic Cons, where now everyone from young to old appears in costume promoting and appearing as their favorite characters. In this endeavor Ackerman and Warren and Heidi were visionaries.

By the way, Ackerman himself appeared in costume at the very first World Con in 1939 so costuming was part of his DNA. Perdita Boardman was hired to make the Vampirella costume with design input from Warren and my mother, and Perdita was given credit for the work and was paid for her work. The Vampirella costume was nothing more revealing than a one piece bathing suit. Lascivious and lecherous thoughts can only be attributed to the losers who had these thoughts.

The presentation and costume were very successful and Heidi received positive coverage in the press ranging from New York, The NY Daily News to Paris, Paris Match. Angelique Trouvere, stage name Destiny, appeared at some conventions in her own version of the Vampirella costume. A much more revealing costume.

At that time in the science fiction community Destiny was thought by some people to be a stripper, and Ackerman was not happy about these appearances and thought that she sullied his creation. Ackerman and Warren, as the creators and publishers of the character had every right to sanction the version of Vampirella that they wanted presented.

Angelique's current conclusion that my family was jealous of her and mean to her when she sometimes made simultaneous Vampirella appearances at conventions is laughable. She really was a minor character, along with Manny Maris. We can't believe that this character is still slithering around.

Maris for some deranged reason decided to publish as addendum in The Creation program an adolescent and sadistic "poem" - if you can even call it that, and he attached to this piece some random picture of a sexually suggestive blond girl which was cribbed from Screw Magazine, or some other unsavory piece of trash, and which attacked Heidi and her mother.

The supposed "poem" included the schoolyard taunt of "Seidi Hahaha." Disgusting. When my father first checked into the convention venue and saw this sick hit job he sought out Maris, found him, and picked him up and threw him against the wall. Maris is lucky my father chose this action rather than having him arrested and sued. He was then ejected and banned from The Convention.

This is a true Me Too Moment. But here again a minor low life not worthy of further discussion.

The Heidi Book and Poster: Again Ackerman's and Warren's vision as creative SF businessman. They did not commission these items as some sort of favor to us. Come on people--think, It's a business. The book and poster were advertised and sold through Warren Magazines. Apparently they did achieve some success with these items as they are still talked about and command high prices in the resale market.

Look through the book--nothing revealing or inappropriate. The book consists primarily of family pictures (with various family friends and SF dignitaries like Gene Roddenberry and Arthur C. Clarke) and pictures of Heidi in various fully unrevealing costumes.

Vampirella, The Heidi Book, and The Heidi Poster were a small part of Heidi's life at this time. She had multiple other interests and multiple artistic skills--poetry and painting among them. She ultimately grew bored with costuming and the tedious and puerile reactions from the riffraff, but she still attended conventions throughout the world. She also lived for a time in Los Angeles and developed and discussed film projects with John Huston, Roger Corman, and George Pal, among others in which she would have starred, but here again she decided to move on and focus on a more private and ultimately more rewarding side of her life and creativity.

Heidi's Brother, Matt

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    Thank you for the input. For what it's worth, I haven't seen any indication, at least in the available narrative, that Angelique held anything against Heidi. She seems to hold a cordial respect for a fellow cosplayer. – FuzzyBoots Apr 30 at 19:07
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    While you have a lot of information here--and also because of this--sources would add to this answer greatly. We don't normally take the word of people claiming to be "insiders". – DCOPTimDowd Apr 30 at 19:25

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