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Forrest J. Ackerman, 1916-2008
posted December 7, 2008

imageForrest Ackerman, an architect of modern fandom and an influential figure in genre magazine publishing, horror films, and memorabilia collecting, died on December 4 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 92 years old. Ackerman was heavily involved in early Los Angeles science fiction fan organization and their publications, becoming a prolific writer and even an agent for many writer working in that genre. In holding his massive collection of genre film props and costumes, Ackerman's home was a longtime informal pop culture museum of the first order, and a staple of newspaper feature stories and even occasional television coverage. His Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, still the model in many ways for web site and magazine devoted to fan activities as seen through the eyes and appetites of the fan, was a pillar of the widespread 1960s rediscovery of the art and entertainment of the 1930s, the first such wave of American nostalgia with a heavy film and television component. A prolific author, Ackerman created the character Vampirella for Warren Publishing in 1969.

You should read the solid LA Times obituary for Ackerman and this atypically detached, but I think more interesting for it Mark Evanier obituary. Ackerman always struck me as a powerful symbol for a certain sort of fandom, a signal to generations of kids in a less thoroughly juvenile time that you could live in your hobbies and have your life be about that rather than some other sort of more respectable job.

Ackerman was reportedly in some stage of poor health for several years. He was preceded in death by his wife, Windayne.