Monday, January 18, 2010

An Illustrated History of Heidi Saha


Much of what's written about Heidi Saha on the internet takes place in fan boy forums, and most of the comments are directed at a rare magazine called AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF HEIDI SAHA, published in 1973 by James Warren, with a print run of about 500 copies.  The item was available only through the mail, as advertised in Warren's CREEPY, EERIE and VAMPIRELLA magazines, along with a 2 x 3-foot poster.  Usually only the cover is ever seen, showing a close up of a lovely, blonde 13-year-old wearing a fur bikini and holding a spear.  This infamous magazine, it is said, contains nothing but questionable photos of the young girl.  Taking advantage of the notoriety of a book that few have seen, dealers have fetched $1000 and even more on eBay.  Some critics, who haven't even seen a copy and claim to have no desire to, have condemned it as child pornography, an abominable publication that should be burned, solely based on its lurid reputation.

  
I remember seeing those little black-and-white ads for the Heidi book in the back section of Warren magazines in the '70s, amidst other ads for monster masks, t-shirts, puzzles, posters, books, and Super 8 films.  I wondered what "Heidi Saha" even meant.  In the poster, she was standing in a fur bikini, a dagger strapped to her waist, a spear in her hands.  Was it a movie or comic book version of the Johanna Spyri classic given a barbarian or cave girl twist?  I had no idea -- until I found a copy 20 years later.  It was in a cluttered used book store, on a very busy street, but few people bothered to walk up the stairs to that lonely old shop.  The slim magazine was tucked away on a shelf filled with books of a fantastic nature.  When I saw it I thought, "Wow!  At last, I'll find out what this Heidi Saha thing is about."  I flipped through the pages -- then I closed it and slid it back into its spot.  They wanted a hefty $15 for the magazine, but I had another reason for not buying it.

So who was Heidi Saha and what really lurks in the 36 pages of her magazine?


Sci-Fi fans galore, at DisCon 1 / WorldCon 21, held in Washington, D.C. August 31 - September 2, 1963.  Young Betsy Wollheim in dragon costume, father Donald A. Wollheim (later publisher of DAW Books), 4-year-old Heidi, Forry Ackerman (genuflecting), and Ozzie Train.  Heidi followed Betsy around, holding aloft her tail.

Heidi Elizabeth Saha was born January 30, 1959.  Her mother, Taimi, was a stage mother whose only claim to fame was having written a short story, "Progress Report", for the May, 1974 issue of the science fiction magazine, PERRY RHODAN.

Her father, Art Saha (1923-1999), was the son of Finnish parents, William and Henrikka Saha.  He served as a Merchant Marine in World War 2 and graduated from Columbia University.  He moved to Cooperstown, New York and became active in science fiction fandom.  He was a member of the Futurians, and a friend of Donald A. Wollheim, publisher of DAW Books, and Forrest Ackerman, the world's greatest science fiction fan.  He became an editor at DAW, putting together numerous "best of the year" anthologies, for which he won many awards.  He served as President of the New York Science Fiction Society, also known as the Lunarians, as well as President of First Fandom.  He is also credited with coining the term "Trekkie" in 1967, to describe fans of Star Trek.


Zap!  Heidi as Wilma Deering, at Phil Seuling's New York Convention, 1971.  She placed 3rd.  As a prize she got to select a piece of original comic art from Seuling's collection.
  
With so much science fiction in her life, it's little wonder that Heidi would become involved with the fandom aspect of the genre.  She would attend many science fiction and comic book conventions, entering and often winning the costume contests, beginning in 1963.  She was Wilma Deering (Buck Rogers' girlfriend); Sheena, queen of the jungle; Shahna of Triskelion (at the New York Startrekon); a "Bergey Girl" (after the "Good Girl" pulp magazine covers by artist Earle K. Bergey); Lakla (from A. Merritt's 1919 novel, THE MOON POOL); and countless others.  She had fans and admirers, young and old alike, including Forrest Ackerman, editor of Warren's FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Gene Roddenberry, and actor Kirk "Superman" Alyn, all of whom were photographed with her.  And through it all she didn't ignore her scholarly duties.  Indeed, she was an honour student, delivering speeches and winning awards and medals for essays.

Virgil Finlay's illustration of Lakla, from A. Merritt's Conquest of the Moon Pool

Heidi as Lakla, WorldCon 1971.  She won "best interpretation" in the junior division.


 
  
But the trouble started when a 14-year-old Heidi went to a few conventions dressed as Vampirella.  The costume was skimpy, to be sure, but that wasn't the problem.  Angelique Trouvere, a young lady in her early twenties about to become another popular fixture at conventions, also went as Vampirella to the Sixth Annual New York Comic Art Convention.  She remembers seeing Heidi for the first time in the waiting area for the costume contest:

"Heidi Saha was tall and very pretty -- her baby face sported blue eye shadow and lipstick red lips.  As she peered out from under the long black bangs of her wig she reminded me of a beautiful doll.


TorCon 2/WorldCon 1973, held in Toronto
  
"Someone told me that she was 14 years old, and I remember thinking how young she was and that she must be rich because her bat wing earrings were gold, as were her armband and bracelets.  Her boots were an exact replica from the famous 6-foot tall Jose Gonzales poster.  It was a well-made and detail-oriented costume that knocked my socks off.

"Heidi's costume was made of polyester and cut like a swimsuit but it still looked great.  She even had a papier-mache bat!  I love attention to details!  Man!  I would've loved to have had a papier-mache bat..."


At the 6th annual New York Comic Art Convention, held July 6 - 8, 1973
  
As it turns out, the costume was made by Perdida Boardman.  She and her husband were friends of the Sahas, and Taimi, usually the proud seamstress of Heidi's costumes, asked Perdida to create a more professional looking outfit.  Taimi, in a fit of jealousy, tried to have Angelique barred from competition, on the grounds that her Vampirella costume was somehow indecent.  Organizer Phil Seuling bowed to the pressure, and Angelique covered up the "offending area" with flesh-coloured band-aids.

The lovely (and built) Miss Trouvere went on stage sometime before Heidi "and the audience went wild".  Heidi went on last and struck the pose used in the 6-foot Jose Gonzales poster of Vampirella, her out-stretched arm holding a bat.  The crowd "went crazy".  Unfortunately, a rumour had gotten around that Heidi was there operating in a professional capacity for James Warren.  When it was announced that Heidi had won third place, the reaction wasn't kind.  "Poor Heidi.  She stood on that stage, holding her pose like a real trooper amid the boos and heckling.  It must have hurt like hell," says Angelique.  "However, If the crowd had a problem with James Warren or her parents, they shouldn't have taken it out on an innocent kid!"


She was a real trooper: she posed again as Vampirella at TorCon 2 in Toronto.  Angelique didn't attend.

posing at TorCon '73

Warren denies that there was any deal with Heidi's parents -- before her appearance as Vampirella -- to publish the book and poster: "It was my way of paying them back for Heidi wearing a Vampirella costume, promoting a Warren property.  But it wasn't a quid pro quo, it was because they wanted to promote her into the movies.  My guess is that they were grooming Heidi to be a movie star and if she had her own magazine and her own poster, it was a step in the right direction."

An article appeared in the November, 1973 issue of Vampirella under the headline: "TWO VAMPIRELLAS STUN 5,500 AT 1973 COMIC ART CONVENTION", accompanied by photos of both Angelique Trouvere and Heidi.  It read, in part, that a Ming the Merciless costume won first prize, but that "it was undoubtedly the two Vampirellas who captured the hearts of the 5500 fans gathered for the five-day affair.  The first of them was a well-proportioned brunette actress, known professionally as Destiny, who is as ravishing as Vampi herself.  The other was everybody's favourite fan, 14 1/2 year old Heidi Saha, whose distinguished costume was one of the three grand-prize winners."



The caption under Heidi's photo read: "Miss Heidi Saha, a 14 1/2-year-old comic fan, caused quite a stir at the Hotel Commodore when she made her entrance in her award-winning VAMPIRELLA costume.  It was like having Vampi come to life!"


Emanuel Maris edited and published the program booklet for Creation Convention 1974, which took place in January, and included a poem he'd written about Heidi Saha, to the metre of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven".  It was meant as a criticism of Taimi, and what he perceived as her exploitation of Heidi.  It wasn't an unfair satire, but it probably had no business being in a program booklet:

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 fine 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

 
To make matters worse, Maris included a photo of a barely legal model, "reminiscent of Heidi", from the men's magazine, GALLERY.  Some of the artists and writers he was acquainted with congratulated him "for having taken such bold action".  Others never spoke to him again.



Art Saha ran up to him in the lobby screaming, "That's not my daughter!"  Maris says Heidi's father was so irate he had him off his feet, up against the wall, throttling him.  Phil Seuling had to pull Art off of him.  Jim Warren had little to say to Maris, except that he was sorry to hear his father had passed away a few days before the convention.  Reportedly, Heidi was grateful.  That year, Heidi made her last appearances in costume.  She retired from competition, and Warren Publications discontinued their ads for the magazine and poster.

"That's the Heidi Saha story," as Jim Warren says.  At least, that's the story of the fandom celebrity.  For mild-mannered Heidi Saha, civilian, the story continues.  She graduated from high school in 1977 and has lived a quiet small town life since.  In 1996, Heidi sold her Vampirella costume at auction (Sotheby's), including the brass wrist bands, the bat earrings, leather boots, wig, and even the brush, all said to be in fine condition.  She came out of retirement briefly in 1999 to write an obituary, "Arthur Saha, My Father", which appeared in the January, 2000 issue of LOCUS, a magazine covering the latest in the world of science fiction.  (Arthur Saha died in November of 1999.)


with Forrest Ackerman

Ads for AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF HEIDI SAHA and the large poster started appearing in issues of Warren magazines in the fall of 1973.  The copy read, "Fandom's own famous and fabulous femme, HEIDI SAHA, has thrilled thousands of Comix and Sci-Fi fans with her stunning costumes and winning manner.  Now you can have the pinup of a lifetime: HEIDI SAHA as Queen of the Jungle..."  The book was described as "a pictorial biography of Fandom's Pulchritudinous Princess".

The magazine was filled with black and white photos of Heidi, mostly supplied by her parents, from infancy to age 13.  The project was largely the work of Forrest J Ackerman, who had been the editor of Warren's FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND since the first issue in 1958.  The Sahas were old friends of Forry's, and he remembered the first time he saw Heidi, at the costume ball for the World Science Fiction Convention in Washington, D.C., in 1963.  "The next time I saw Heidi was at a Lunacon several years later.  Now about 10, she was a dimpled darling and I delighted in her request to be photographed with me..."  That photo was later printed in an issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS.


with Forry, at Lunacon 1970

Perhaps some of the magazine's notoriety stems from the captions accompanying the photos.  Forry was famous for his alliterative sentences and bad puns, and he stayed true to form when writing the Heidi book.  Though he was obviously being playful ("a girl who makes mirrors look good"), to some readers his words might come across as inappropriate by today's standards: "...she's Lilith, Lolita & Lorelei melded into one fantastic young colt around whom there's already a cult."

There's also the paeans of praise which abound throughout the book: "In the so-called real world, among the beasts of science fiction and Comicdom...there now walks a great beauty.  The young Goddess known as Heidi: supple, blonde reed of womanhood, bending in the wind of the sighs of her would-be wooers, her stricken swains.  Heidi the delightful, the full-of-life dweller on the pink cloud of fantasy and wonder.  Heidi -- unbelievably refreshing, soft and shy, wildly exciting -- Heidi -- a poetic blend of fantasy and wondrous reality."


Heidi as Shahna of Triskelion, at the 1973 Star Trek Convention in New York

Forry even included Heidi's measurements: "At the present time she neatly distributes 35" 24" 36" into a 5'7" frame weighing 120 lbs. and topped by a heavenly cascade of honey-blonde hair."  As for her eyes, Forry assures us that they "vary from feline yellow to sea green."

He noted that it was getting increasingly difficult at conventions to get a photo with Heidi.  "I'll be lucky if I can get close enough to ask!"  He made another pun (a good one, but in dubious taste) about Arthur C. Clarke: "take one look at those pictures of him and Heidi and you can't help but wonder if (stand in line) he isn't waiting for Childhood's End?!"

For Heidi, it might have been thrilling to have a magazine devoted to her -- or it might have been embarrassing for a girl who'd just entered high school to have childhood pictures of herself in print, especially when the book contained captions such as, "According to legend, Heidi stuck a star on her popo-nappie when she was only 3 days old and announced in grammatically perfect Finnish, 'Look, ma, I'm the Big Diaper!'"


with Robert Bloch, TorCon

Warren says that as cheap as it was to print the magazine, the company made no money from it.  He probably didn't expect to.  It would have been of no real interest to the readers of his horror comics.  No pictures of Heidi as Vampirella were included, as the book was put together earlier.  It was nothing more than a family photo album, with humorous comments and anecdotes thrown in by Forrest Ackerman.

Today it might be of interest to Warren magazine completists or to fans who were there and would like to recall the good ol' days of early conventions.  Otherwise, AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF HEIDI SAHA is an innocuous piece of memorabilia, celebrating a wonderful young fan girl.  As for those who might pay $1000 to glom onto a copy "strictly because he thought it contained a nude shot of a preteen girl," as Angelique Trouvere says, "then he got what he deserved."


Heidi as Sheena, Queen of the Conventions, at the New York Comic Art Convention, 1972

(Also on this blog: Heidi Saha: Addendum)


31 comments:

Bill Dan Courtney said...

Very well researched and written, thanks alot. I jsut did a short write up on Heidi at my site and found your article while looking for info. I linked your article and used a couple images. I think the whole thing was well intentioned fun though it would certainly be viewed with disdain by many. Some of the blurbs by Forry were in bad taste perhaps but nothing sinister as far as I am concerned.

Thanks

Bill @ http://uraniumcafe-the.com

THE APOCOLYTE said...

I was about 12 and my dad bought An Illustrated History Of Heidi Saha. He was an artist, as I would become, and we both enjoyed comics and magazines and often ordered products from the back of the magazines, such as Frazetta posters. When dad got the magazine and found out the sexy young model was barely 14 years old he felt slimey, and gave the book to me, as she was my own age...the age of puberty.

Enjoyed all your research and details. I always wondered about Heidi and what this was all about. It was in fact fairly innocent and in good taste (as tasteful as photos of an attractive pre/pubescent girl dressed in skimpy outfits can be). Looking at it now it still feels a bit creepy, though Heidi appears very sweet, cute, and innocent. She was a sweet young girl who certainly could have become a model or an actress. For interested parties, I will sell my edition for half price, a mere $500.00.

Jay Pearlman said...

I just stumbled across your blog and I have to say it brought back some strange memories.

First off, I remember Heidi Saha quite well from the days when I was a convention crawler in the early 1970s. I was at the convention in NYC when Heidi/Vampirella was booed off the stage and wouldn't come out to accept her prize. Everyone in the audience thought the fix was in because Angelique "Destiny" Trouvere was a far better Vampirella, though Heidi's costume obviously cost more to make. Up until that time, I had found folks in fandom to be a pretty well-behaved and polite lot overall, but the Affair of the Two Vampirellas showed me quite another side of it all. I was in the audience with two friends and we never forgot what went on that day - even after more than 35 years.

Interesting fact - I am the other person in the 1971 WorldCon photo of Heidi as Queen Hyppolyta. I was supposed to be "Professor Malaki" from the film "Dark Intruder" and everyone kept asking me to pose with Heidi like a "Beauty & the Beast" sort of thing. This is the first time in nearly 40 years I have seen a photo from that Boston convention!

Heidi always struck me as an innocent kid who was manipulated by her parents into taking part in all those costume competitions at the various cons. I can certainly attest to the fact that there was an awful lot of resentment toward her because her costumes were professionally made and at those costume shows, you were supposed to make your own outfits. There certainly was a lot of talk of collusion and this culminated in that rather nasty "Stairway to Heaven" parody by Manny Maris. (Maris was goood friends with one of my best friends at the time.) I used to have that programme book in question - don't know what happened to it; I haven't seen the "Seidi Haha" page in a very long time. I had almost forgotten how cruel it was. It definitely stepped over the line IMO.

I always wondered what happened to Heidi. Fandom can be extremely fickle (not to mention cold, cut-throat and downright mean) and I'm glad she found a life for herself away from the spotlight that I got the feeling she never really wanted all that much.

Anonymous said...

umm......que culo q vagina!!!!

BFowl said...

Great article... I collect Pre-Code Horror comics as well as the re-vamp of Horror Comics from Warren.. I have Full Run's (set's) of Creepy, Errie and Vampirella.. I was 13 when Warren went out of business( in 1983) so I have always bought 2nd hand.. I knew a little of the story of this book, but not the whole "Child porn" angle.. I have tried to Buy this book in a few auctions ( to complete My Vampirella stuff) Now I know why it goes so High... weirdos.. It makes sense now that I know the back story better.. Wonderfully Written and informative article.. Thanks BFowl
Ps. The Spanish statement from Anonymous isn't so proper!! :-)

Anonymous said...

I recall the magazine and poster being advertised, but had no idea who she was or why this was being featured. Seeing the publication now, it seems a bit obsessively written and designed, though to the convention/fandom in-crowd at the time, there may have been some relevance. It's a strange coda to the Warren years, but done in a generally kind manner, though FJA's purple prose does occasionally go off into questionable territory.

sundersartwork said...

Interesting article. I heard of Heidi Saha from some science fiction authors website and assumed she was an actress of genre model. Odd to think images of her are still appearing in print decades later based solely on a few skimpy convention costumes she was in. Humans create their own myths.

Anonymous said...

WTF? That girl was smee-okin hot and I have NOOOO problem with her age-obviuosly SOMEONE knew that and let her do it anyway-pansies

Comic Geek First Class said...

I remember the convention where the magazine first came out. No one wanted it. It seemed thoroughly bizarre that the conventioneers, mostly male, mostly older than Heidi, and mostly physically unappealing, would be willing to fork over money for a magazine about a seemingly aloof girl, who didn't even want to be there. The story goes that Warren printed only 500, to test the waters, and sold only 150.

I was also with Manny in a hotel room at the Creation Convention. I couldn't believe that he had written that hurtful thing and had it published but I also thought it was very funny. Manny spoke of what he said were his true intentions, even while I was reading it. In a way, the poem will follow Manny through his whole life too.

-Alan D Hopewell said...

I remember when all that was going on; I was two years older than Heidi, and considered buying the poster and the book, although I never did.

I'd always wondered what happened to her.
Personally, I think Forry might've been a bit of a creeper.

Anonymous said...

You left out the latter J.K.Potter period of Heidi's modeling where Potter tried to give some well-deserved dignity to Heidi's creative efforts.
They did some cool work together. No one seems to remember this. Sad.

bblackmoor said...

I'd never heard of her before this article, but it was an interesting read. Thanks for sharing it.

ASTRON3100 said...

Very interesting and well written--I was at all of those cons, about a year older than Heidi--I knew her a bit--she really wasn't that interested in doing the costume thing--I remember how pissed off Angelique was--she was also very nice person, got the raw end that year--Heidi never really wanted to do all that--it was her parents--I was actually more interested in Phil Seulings daughters-a little older they were and a little prettier---

Anonymous said...

Why didn't You buy The little book if it was only US$ 15?

Richard Beland said...

That was over 20 years ago when I stumbled upon a copy. It contained nothing of interest to me. It simply resembled a scrapbook of family photos, a number of which showed this Heidi kid in various costumes. Had I known then that in another 20 years I could sell it for a hundred times that amount, I would have bought it.

Phil said...

For some reason, her name popped into my mind a few days ago, (only Heidi, it took some time before my subconscious came up with Saha) and I wondered whatever became of her. I remember again today that I planned to see if she was on the net, and I found your history. Very well done and a good read that brings the story full circle. Thanks!

MannyLunch said...

I have to disagree with Jay Pearlman, even though my rejoinder comes a long while after his posted comment. The Best and ONLY place for my - not vicious, but absolutely no-holds-barred - satirical commentary on an innocent girl being abused by her parents, certainly violently by her mother at conventions [I witnessed her mom hitting - yes, hitting - her at a reception for con guests and staff because Heidi, already in tears, refused to pirouette around the ballroom to music from a cassette box her mother brought along ] was in media [the program book] distributed to said convention audience. Any other placement for that would have been overlooked, ignored, and not had the force of making it a subject of discussion amongst the very group that had not yet had their thoughts focused collectively objected to this young girls abuse. Yes, abuse. - Emanuel Maris

you can read my previous, more detailed comments on this situation here:

http://www.vampilore.co.uk/sandbox/models/heidi-saha-poem.php

MannyLunch said...

Oh, and Jay, the 'fix' was in - Warren approached Angelique 'Destiny' Trouvere and told her he didn't want her dressing up as Vampirella because he was titling Heidi the official Vampirella 'it' girl - in conjunction with his publishing that Heidi one-shot mag. Imagine the tremendous gall of Warren in addressing a contestant in an amateurs' contest for making their own costume and telling them they couldn't enter... because a girl who he had a business relationship with - and didn't make her own costumes - was picked by him to be the only one who could. I was one of the large part of the audience who jeered when the judges - do you remember who THEY were Jay? If you did you'd realize they were going to represent Warren's wishes - clearly ignored talent and classy self-effort to pick a pre-determined winner who essentially was violating the ethic of those early contests - to make your own costume.

Mr.QuarX said...

I just found some footage of the 1973 Comic Art Convention ... I put it up on YouTube... enjoy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_mfPU2Wttc

Richard Beland said...

Thanks very much, Mr. Quarx, for the link -- and, of course, the footage!

Darrell Schweitzer said...

I remember seeing her at the time. She never looked happy. She was like a piece of merchandise on display. I can understand why she got away from the whole scene as soon as she could.

QuarX said...

Sadly my YouTube account got closed :(

But I put that video of the 1973 Comic Art Convention up on Dailymotion
Here is the link to it

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x637xr3


Unknown said...

I have a LOT to say on this subject as I knew Heidi and her family very well and, for a time, was Heidi's boyfriend when she was 15 and I was 16. We remained friends into our adult years and at one point Heidi lived with me in Los Angeles until she found her own place.

I have nothing but good things to say about Heidi. She was genuinely sweet and, also being naaive at the time, was unfortunately a perfect target for those wanting to manipulate her for their own advantage. And so I frequently consoled her, again and again, following each disappointment in those she had trusted and believed in.

A talented artist and lover of animals, by the time I met Heidi she wanted nothing more to do with the whole convention scene. Her mother, Taimi, however, had other ideas and was definitely an archetypal "stage mother" who seemed determined to live a more fulfilling and exciting life -- vicariously -- through her daughter. I've never seen a parent take so many photos of their child, even snapping photos of her in tears, her cheeks streaked with mascara, as Heidi, upset, tried to seek out some bit of privacy.

A troubled girl when I first knew her, Heidi eventually found happiness and stability once she'd left the influence of her mother and eventually made a home of her own, living a quiet married life in Cooperstown, New York, painting and being with her animals.

Heidi and I kept in touch for some time. From time to time she mailed me photos of herself in her new life and images of her artwork. But, as happens over geographical distance and the lapse of years, we eventually lost touch as I also married and made a more settled life for myself.

I'm aware that her father, Art, passed away in 1999, but I never really knew him that well. A member of MENSA and a much respected editor of science fiction literature, he spent a majority of his time in his basement office hard at work. Her brother, Matt, grew up to be a handsome and friendly chap with acting ambitions (though he nearly drove me nuts as a child!). And whatever became of Taimi, I have no idea. But, as she had struggled with alchohol when I knew her, I can only hope she managed to break the hold it had over her.

And as for dear, sweet, Heidi, I like to think of her in her happy, giggly moments, beaming her sparkling smile, her eyes filled with humor rather than sorrow. And wherever she is now, and whatever she's doing or not doing in her life (I assume still blessedly far away from the spotlight of her early teens), I wish her only the greatest love and happiness. Goodness knows, she's earned it.

Matt5555 said...

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 a 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.

Heidi's Brother,
Matt

Matt5555 said...

Furthermore with respect to
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 Businessmen. 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 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 cant 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.

Heidi's Brother,
Matt

Matt5555 said...

And in Conclusion

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, Jim Warren ran 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

MannyLunch said...

Matt,

You say "false narratives perpetuated by people who were not there". You waited decades for your 'blindly loyal to family' comments - any much longer and all witnesses to what i experienced first-hand will be dead or completely unable to recall the details. Matt, YOU WERE NOT THERE when your mother decided to beat an in-tears Heidi in public at the reception for artists and staff, for refusing to pirouette around the room to music from the tape machine your mother brought along for that unannounced - and unrequired -spurious purpose. I WAS THE CLOSEST PERSON, 5 FEET AWAY, APPALLED (If that is not the action of the extreme manipulative 'stage mother' mentality, then there is no such creature). HALF the room walked out - all you have to do is contact people still living WHO WERE THERE, like Neal Adams, Paul Levitz, and, if you only put any effort into an objective fact-finding research mission, you COULD find many other living people, mostly older comic artists and writers, WHO WERE THERE to VERIFY that. YOU WERE NOT THERE when Heidi sent her friend over to say Thank You to me in her presence and while watching. Again you've waited long enough for your comments [you've had a lifetime to put it out there, certainly ten years since I posted my lengthy explanation] to be accepted as fact merely because because you are the younger brother. Your vehemence is motivated by emotion for you sister, for your love for your sister, for your love for your parents, for all the memories of family throughout your life. Nothing wrong with having those loves. But don't allow that to justify making any unwitnessed- and unresearched-by-you comments to make events just what you want it to be in blind obedience to your passions. YOU WERE NOT THERE when your father attacked me, so again your diatribe rewrites a history using passion to parrot only what you were told by family [though likely NOT by your sister], and not by outsiders/third-party observers (for the purposes of this story, i must not claim to be a third-party observer, you should look for truth/facts/statements from others WHO WERE THERE, regardless of how ugly that might be). YOU WERE NOT WITNESS TO in that Phil Seuling intervened instead, not that your father relented.
The events of that 1973 show propelled me to make a pubic comment DIRECTLY to the witnessing audience of these situations, the comic-con attendees, not in unrelated forums like Shoe Retailler Magazine where it wouldn't be seen by those affected.

AGAIN, my page in the Creation Program book, was IN NO WAY an attack on your sister, whom i wished well. I barely knew her, maybe we spoke ten words ever to each other, but her barely-hidden-to-the-public abuse by your mom, silently [or otherwise] sanctioned by your dad, is not negated nor disproved nor ameliorated by any of your's [or others'] testimonials of their professions, pasttimes, and years of good experiences of/with them. It is somewhat tawdry of you to present any of that stuff as having meaning in this discussion. Basically, it is a tactic only used by lawyers when summing up to the jury for the otherwise unredeemable actions of their client[s].

You speak of Heid in the past tense here. I had heard of some terrible times she has [or had?] gone through in her adult life from mutual friends. Again, I wished her the best, even though a virtual stranger to me. Please do not seek to lay her misfortunes at my door.
If she has passed away, I feel sad for a life cut short early, and you have my heartfelt condolences, which, if your previous attitude above still prevails, you may ridicule. But seeing as you have also lived decades of an adult life, you may realize that things that are ugly, or unwanted, or inconvenient truths, need to be looked at without the baggage of who's side one automatically might take.

MannyLunch said...

My original posting from about a decade ago, so that incorrect/misquoted references to it may be quelled, and the recent postings may be better put into context. Let the biases fall where they may. At least there's hope for a planet where at least a double-digit percentage of the respondents to this scenario ALSO feel that the young girl was being manipulated/used in a way that would not be tolerated now!

PART 1:

"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 harbored 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.

MannyLunch said...

PART 2:

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.

"With a word she commands her 'bout the floor" (from my Stairway To Heaven parody).

Al Schuster (who started the Star Trek conventions, and was also the printer for many fan related publications in the comic and SF worlds, and also of this booklet) decided to put his ad directly across from this page - and he was a friend of the Saha's!

Many people/ artists/ writers, including witnesses to the reception travesty such as Neal Adams, came up to congratulate me for having taken such bold action. Others whom I had been friendly with beforehand, such as the Saha's good friend Gray Morrow, never spoke to me again.

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.

Phil did not attack me, Phil did not ban me from his conventions. Ahh, blogging is far worse - and more damaging - than the game of "telephone".

The results are well known and can be seen by anyone by viewing the booklet - hopefully the less dim-wits amongst this blog can see that this attacked the manipulative mother, NOT the daughter.

Warren himself was tight-lipped, but civil. He came up to me and expressed his sorrow that my father had passed (a couple of days before the convention). Future issues of Warren mags no longer advertised the Heidi book - he presumably had the rest destroyed as a result of the reception.

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." -Emanuel Maris


POST COMMENT - And, for the record, I was NEVER banned from any convention for ANY reason, including Phil Seuling's [for whom I ran the Dealer's room in 1972 and 1973] OR ELSE HOW did i have Dealer's booths at Phil's cons under my own name in 1974 and 1975 ??? [R U listening, Angee, et al??]

MannyLunch said...

There IS A MEMORY DEFECT in my narrative above, although not directly about the situation with Heidi/her mom/program book. My father died three weeks AFTER this Jan 4-6 1974 convention, not a few days before. HOWEVER, the part about running into Jim Warren, who said nothing about the program book to me, but instead proffered condolences at the passing of may father, DID HAPPEN at the next convention we were both at, which was Lunacon. Both he and the publishers of The Monster Times [Larry Brill & Les Waldstein] where I worked part-time after HS, also sent mailed condolences to my family. All the other statements I've made above are entirely correct

Matt5555 said...

As I already stated I WAS THERE. You do not know us and you did not know us then and we did not know who you were either until you forced yourself into our purview when you produced that sick hit job of a piece at Creation. My sister and I created and performed together numerous dance productions throughout NYC and the Tri -State area, well beyond SF or Comic Conventions. The only dance performance my sister did at a Comic or Science Fiction convention (with music accompanied by a "tape machine) was her interpretation of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" by The Temptations and I WAS THERE. The dance piece was fairly well received, for a non SF or Fantasy related piece. Your version of events is sick fantasy and simply did not happen and this fugue is supposed to provide you with some sort of justification for your psycho-sexually suggestive hit piece on my sister and mother at Creation. You attempt to set my mother and father up as the bad fall guys for your reprehensible behavior. As I have already stated there was no stage mom or dad in this picture, EVER. And just how is your justification supposed to work? A picture of a half naked girl (who is not my sister) scrounged from Screw Magazine with a tag line Seidi Hahahaha? That taunt was not funny or original on the third grade playground either. It's a Finnish name-get over it. I WAS ALSO THERE when my father saw this garbage and picked you up and threw you against the wall. I remember the guilty loser look on your face. And you were thrown out of that particular convention. Please troll or glom onto some other name in order to achieve whatever significance you think you may achieve. We do not want anything to do with you and never have.