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 poo-poo it as being too inconsequential of history.

up vote 81 down vote accepted

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



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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