Category Archives: Richard Alf

WONDERCON INTERVIEW: Greg Koudoulian and Collecting Comics


If you are heading out to WonderCon, you will definitely want to set aside time for a very special panel discussion on the wonderful world of collecting comics. This panel is moderated by an important player in the world of comics and Comic-Con, Greg Koudoulian. Greg goes back to the beginning of the San Diego Comic-Con and has many friends to show for it. He started out as a film contributor for the early Comic-Cons and even went on to host is own mini-monthly cons in LA in the early ’70s.

It was in 2009 that an idea took hold that has been growing ever since. Shel Dorf, the leading founder of Comic-Con, was in hospital and did not have long to live. Greg, and a close group of friends, which included George Clayton Johnson, Richard Alf, William Clausen, Mike Towry, and Clatyon Moore, created The Shel Dorf Fan Club and Entourage. It was a beautiful gesture that pleased Shel very much and a wonderful way to say goodbye. Since 2009, the club has honored numerous talents in the industry with plans for much more to come, even an art museum. Then, early in 2012, SDCC co-founder Richard Alf passed away. This sad event has only spurred the Fan Club and friends to greater action. It is good to mention here that Richard Alf and Mike Towry were working on San Diego Comics Fest, a return to a more intimate event reminiscent of the early years of Comic-Con. And San Diego Comic Fest held its first annual event in 2012.

Through it all, Greg Koudoulian has remained a trusted, active, and much loved part of Comic-Con and its legacy. There are some special plans up ahead for the cartetaking of valuable archival material. While no formal announcements are ready to be made, it is what Greg is doing today that will lead to some exciting prospects for securing Comic-Con history in the future. One project is a documentary of the early San Diego Comic-Cons of the 1970s. The documentary has a working title of “Planet Cortez, A Legacy in Time.” The work involved is multi-layered: everything from digitizing a vast collection of material as well as creating essential new material.

When asked about his thoughts on the emergence of geek culture, specifically the evolution of the comics collecting culture, Greg is ready with an answer: “When Charles Kuralt, of CBS, went to Cherokee Books in Hollywood in 1973 and said that there might be a goldmine in your grandma’s attic, things went through the roof. When you’ve got Walter Cronkite endorsing your hobby on national television, that got it booming! The prices in the Overstreet Comics Price Guide began to inflate. For example, I bought ‘Superman #2’ in 1974, in fair condition for $125 and, a year later, sold it for $250. Around that time, Johnny Carson had on as a guest on ‘The Tonight Show’ someone who’d bought a copy of ‘Action Comics #1’ for $1,800. I was interviewed for the pilot to Tom Snyder’s ‘Tomorrow Show’ with my comics collection. And I managed to get a copy of ‘Action Comics #1’ lent to me to show but my interview never aired.”

And this leads us back to the WonderCon panel, “The Business & Hobby of Collecting Comics,” March 31, Sunday, 3:30-4:30 PM, Room 213AB. The panel will offer a variety of insights and stories to tell. Plus, stick around for some fun giveaways. Go to the Facebook page here. You can also call the hotline: 858-215-3659

Here are the details:

“The Business & Hobby of Collecting Comics,” March 31, Sunday, 3:30-4:30 PM, Room 213AB

From personal collections, working with museums and art galleries and even a little bit of hoarding, George Clayton Johnson, Barry Short, John Ellis, Eric Hoffman, Michael Hamersky, Alan Williams, and Dave Arshawsky are all fans and collectors of most things related to science fiction and comics. Collecting is a major industry these days; just watch the cable shows dedicated to it! Join moderator Greg Koudoulian to discuss how we can make sure that our histories and legacies are preserved for future generations, in both museums and art galleries and your own home!

The panelists:

George Clayton Johnson, wrote 8 original “Twilight Zone” stories and screenplays, wrote the first episode of “Star Trek” to be broadcast, and co-created “Ocean’s 11,” and “Logan’s Run.”

Barry Short, was a former Program Director for SDCC from 1982-86 and owner of 21st Century Comics from 1986-2003.

John Ellis, Partner in the Milton Caniff Estate, a Special Effects artist and writer.

Greg Koudoulian, Moderator, Early SDCC film program contributor, also produced first Mini Cons on the west coast in 1973-74 and a Collector too.

Eric Hoffman, Writer, Film Historian and collector of most SF Genre! Early SDCC film program contributor too.

MICHAEL HAMERSKY, Comics Dealer, blogger, and expert on the Comics Industry, past, present and future.

Alan Williams, former Comic Book store owner, Fanzine expert and writer.

Dave Arshawsky, Comic Book Artist, Toy designer, Sculptor, writer and Collector.


Filed under Business, Collecting, Comic-Con International, Comic-Con International: San Diego, Comics, Entertainment, George Clayton Johnson, Greg Koudoulian, Investments, Panel Discussion, pop culture, Richard Alf, San Diego Comic Fest, San Diego Comic-Con, Shel Dorf, The Shel Dorf Fan Club and Entourage, WonderCon

COMIC-CON 2012: WILLIAM CLAUSEN and the story of ALF

William Clausen wrote and drew the mini comic, “Alf #3,” in honor of Richard Alf. The mini comic was part of the gifts to attendees at the Richard Alf memorial dinner during Comic-Con. Inside the specially made mug, right next to the Thor bottle opener, was “Alf #3.” I wanted to ask Mr. Clausen a few questions regarding his putting together the mini comic and about his recollections about Mr. Alf, and related subjects. What follows are Mr. Clausen’s observations and recollections from our interview after Comic-Con.

Mr. Clausen is an excellent artist and writer and an all-around nice guy. He’s also a pretty busy guy with a number of projects on his plate. He is known for his work on Trimark’s “Leprechaun,” Marvel Comics’s “The Silver Surfer,” and as the co-creator of “The Chameleon Commandos.” And for his involvement with a very special project known as, “Alf.”

COMICS GRINDER: William, tell us about this mysterious little mini comic, “Alf.”

WILLIAM CLAUSEN: Steve Garris did this for  Richard Alf’s mail order comic business in 1975. #2 followed  not that far after. It was published by Steve just before Comicon the same year he published my Starduster poster (possibly ’76). This led to me (being Steve’s roomate at the time) being asked to do #3 by Steve. I started doing so. Steve insisted he pencil the cover (without ever penciling it, he had me take CTHULHU off an Alan Dean Foster (who was doing mostly novelezations for movies at the time) cover he had done for Ken Krueger. We had done illustrations together for the book “The Final War” for Ken so I put the book in John Pound’s Lazy Lucy projector, traced the monster, and added Alf. So, I started drawing Alf #3. When it came to CTHULHU’s death, Steve told me I had to redraw the death scene because it looked like the death of Casper so I put it aside and went on to create The Chameleon Commandos (soon to be a movie) and did Leprechaun (Trimark) and The Silver Surfer (Marvel). I had kept in touch with Richard, and he convinced me to finish it. I redrew CTHULHU’s death and finished the trilogy. Unfortunately, Richard didn’t live to see its completion.

CG: Tell us about your early development and how your career unfolded.

WC: My first professional job was working for a local San Diego newspaper called The Coast Chronicle. I did the editorial cartoon, the comic strip, ad layout and design, negative stripping, plate burning, bundling, and collating. I assisted Shel Dorf on Steve Canyon, I helped Frank Brunner on The Prince and The Pauper educational filmstrip. I co-created The Chameleon Commandos and Rivit for Blackthorne (1986/87). I did Leprechaun #1 for Trimark pictures, inks for Marvel comics, backup features for Real Deal Magazine. A poster for Mighty Joe Young, phone Cards, label Designs, tattoo designs, model designs, prop designs, custom paint jobs, and album covers.

CG: Share with us your Comic-Con memories.

WC: Okay, Comicon memories: sitting around the pool at The El Cortez with Jack Kirby and Don Rico; getting kicked out of The Pro Lounge with John Carpenter by Tia Carrera’s goons; watching George Clayton Johnson come crawling into a party by way of the window…stark naked! And nobody else seemed to notice! Me and George looking down from the balcony while people below in Sandman costumes chased each other; bringing Shel Dorf to my gig and singling him out like Dead Sullivan used to do; doing a panel with Kelley Freas; Mark Hamill freaking out when he met me (which freaked me out); becoming good friends with my childhood idols (Like Frank Brunner) and other young artists (Like Whilce Portacio); serving on the Comicon committee for a few years; making the transition to Comic Pro, then Marvel Artist, and beyond; hanging out on the parking garage roof with Richard Alf and Clayton Moore; chasing down the parties with my deceased best friend Cham; occasionally crashing out in the all night film room; hanging out with my brother in the early days; meeting Peter Chung, getting a Frankenstein sketch from Mike Ploog, meeting Frazetta. Ah, yes…I remember it well.

CG: Feel free to add any other comments regarding upcoming projects:

WC: I am currently working on Young Merlin, Insectman, The Starduster, U.S.O. hunters, Rivit and many others as well as The Chameleon Commandos movie.

CG: Thank so much, William.

WC: You’re very welcome.


Filed under ALF, Comic-Con 2012, Comics, Richard Alf, William Clausen

COMIC-CON 2012: RICHARD ALF: The Laughing Gnome

For a wonderful little piece on the life of Comic-Con co-founder, Richard Alf, go here: The Laughing Gnome. This is a link to a post in Leiulf Clausen’s amazing and insightful blog. He is the brother of cartoonist, William Clausen, who drew and wrote, “Alf #3,” a tribute mini comic for Comic-Con co-founder, Richard Alf. “Alf #3” was given out at a panel honoring Richard Alf at this year’s Comic-Con. And it was also given out at a memorial dinner honoring Richard Alf at the U.S. Grant Hotel during Comic-Con 2012. Back when Mr. Alf ran his comics mail order business, “Alf #1” was included with every purchase.

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Filed under Comic-Con 2012, Comics, Leiulf Clausen, Richard Alf, William Clausen