Bill and Ann Hupe
|Name:||Bill Hupe, Ann Hupe|
|Alias(es):||Ann K. Meyer (?)|
|Type:||fanzine publisher/zine editor, indexers|
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Bill and Ann Hupe both were fan writers, but they're best known as fan publishers, and then re-publishers and agents for other fannish presses.
Zine Publisher Names
The Honorary K/Ser Award for the biggest boon to fandom in '94-to Bill Hupe, "with hugs & kisses, for his excellent work in publishing, agenting, reprinting, and distributing zines. And he's a nice guy, to boot." -- given at Shore Leave.
In Their Own Words
"Almost to this date ten years ago [May 1993], our first fanzine Abode of Strife #1 debuted in time to be turned in for our Science Fiction Literature class at California State University at Fullerton. When the professor found out that two of his students were into Star Dreck (as he called it), he said that a fanzine would be our class project (it sure beat making paper mache' aliens, or the other suggestion of several of us getting together and doing a sequel to Hardware Wars called 'The Toasters Strike Back'). Edited by Bill Hupe and Ann Meyer (now Dr. Ann Hupe), the first print run sold out immediately, as did the second; a handful of the third resides in our basement yet. We realized that improve was an operative word, which we did over the next few issues. A move to Michigan and Ann's starting of medical school forced a year and a half off from new material. The time was spent improving and soliciting writers and artists. 1986 MediaWest*Con saw the premiere of issue #6, 'Shadow's, featuring several prominent fannish artists, and one professional. That issue won the 1986 FanQ for 'Best Star Trek Zine'. Some of the artists from that issue did work for one or more of issues 19, 20, and 21, all premiering together at 1993 MediaWest*Con. Including, Marie Williams, who did the cover for this issue, winner of the 1992 FanQ for 'Best Star Trek Artist', and Michael C. Goodwin again outdid himself for issue 20 (Betsy Fisher's 'Ry') that stands on par with any of his other bookcovers on the sf bookshelf at your local bookstore. In the interim between issues 6 and 19-21, over a 150 writers and artists have contributed to the pages of 'Abode of Strife', other editors have assisted and actually guest-edited issues (Barb Erickson, Susan Clarke, Marie Williams, Peg Kennedy [who won two years running for FanQ 'Best Star Trek Zine/Editor' and is up for a third and final.time in 1993]), an impressive number of FanQ's and nominations for stories and art found within these pages, and hundreds of pages of Star Trek fiction, as well as Star Wars and some other fandoms that found their way into Abode of Strife's pages before zines for that fandom or our multimedia fanzine Lions and Tigers were created.We also started Authorized Reprints of older zines with the original editor's permission some time along the way, and then soon thereafter publishing outright zines for other editors, and then finally a few years ago, newsletters and other like materials for Star Trek fan-oriented groups like Com-link, Beverlyophiles, etc... It's been a lot of fun and we've gained hundreds of new friends allover the world in the meantime. The last few months have been like no other wrapping up the edited, typing, layout, and more, as well as the printing of all the new publications for MediaWest (the number of master pages for new MediaWest publications has now climbed over 15,000 pages. Sleep in the last few weeks has been reduced to a couple of hours a night. Next year, with our luck, will be even more. But as long as everyone is enjoying reading these zines, as well as the overwhelming 'pitching in' response when we asked 2 people if they'd like to help bind in trade for a contributor's copy at MediaWest (and we now have entire 'binding parties' scheduled!); this makes all of our effort seem more than returned." 
Blakesindex and Other Zines
In 1985, they released their first zine, Abode of Strife, issue #1. Bill also worked with editor Pat Nussman, and with editor Sheila Paulson, publishing many of their Fan Q award-winning zines. (Bill wrote one fan novel, Shadows, and the Star Trek Zinedex review is, "Great Michael Goodwin cover portrait of Kirk in his middle-age specs is the only redeeming point of this long, tedious and unpleasant tale of death and disfigurement.")
Among other fandoms, Bill and Ann were huge Blake's 7 fans, and in the early nineties, Bill edited Blakesindex, proposed to be a full index of B7 zines, with stories listed by author, title, and subject, and poetry and art. Although obviously a huge amount of work, it was far short of a full index, as several large B7 presses, such as Ashton Press, (publishers of the long running B7 series Southern Seven and Southern Comfort), among others, weren't included. Hupe's fanzine catalogs are also a valuable source of bibliographic information for past zines.
Zines as a Business
By '87, Bill Hupe had a double-page spread in Datazine (a long-running slash and gen adzine) advertising his by then 25 fanzines. This was the beginning of a period where the Hupes (along with Peg Kennedy) gradually became media fandom's largest fanzine publishers and re-publishers, putting out their own issues as well as obtaining permission from several other publishers to agent and reprint various titles. This meant spending most weekends schlepping hundreds, if not thousands, of zines from con to con, across the country, then spending 90% of the con sitting in the dealer's room. At a time when adzines came out infrequently, many fans only found zines they wanted because of the Hupes, and Peg Kennedy's willingness to drag zines everywhere they went. Peg & Bill kept lists of their zines looking for submissions as well -- a lot of fans (especially gen fans) had their first stories published in one of Bill, Ann or Peg's zines. All of the zines they edited were gen, but over the years they agented many slash zines. When April Valentine had so much trouble with mailorder that she changed the name and policy to InPersonPress, ordering her zines from Bill was the only way to get them if you couldn't make it to a con in Maryland.
And expanding out from zines, they also sold VHS conversions of British shows (Sapphire and Steel, Pros (of course) and others), and agented fan art for many artists. Bill and Peg also started taking fans' orphan zine collections when they gafiated and selling them for 15% over coverprice. Bill also ran the Dealer's Room at MediaWest, probably the biggest existing con for fanzines.
The next step after putting out his own zines, and agenting other people's zines, was Fanzine packager -- editors give him copy (on a disk by this time), he did no-frills reproduction and mailing: standard xeroxing on cheap paper, no fancy fonts, no discernable graphic design, no special handling for art (if there is art), and charged about $22 for a zine (or $11 for a disk with that zine on it).
Controversy One: Open letters on Zine Pirating
The controversy became stronger in 1993, when two open letters circulated about xeroxing (or zine pirating, to use their language) of in-print zines. The most outrageous rant was from Alexis Fegan Black (co-signed by Wendy Rathbone and MKASHEF), directed wildly to fandom in general (see here for the full letter); the other, slightly calmer argument was from Bill Hupe, directed to Candy Pulleine (basically suggesting that she should make an effort to educate her local Kinkos about zine copyrights and so on) and threatened a Dealer boycott of RevelCon if she didn't address this problem (see here for the full letter).
Other zine editors responded that they didn't believe that fans copying a zine or two for your friends was responsible for the decline in zine sales. They pointed to changes in fandom, the recession at that time, etc. There were comments like "What the hell did he EXPECT for a plump, expensive, Multimedia zine from an editor whose standards have slipped?" and "I don't have the kind of $$$ to buy a $20-25 mixed media zine for the 1/3 in which I might be interested, so I copy that 1/3rd from my friend's copy, and no, I don't feel guilty."
Controversy Two: Profit
Some authors had got pissed off when the Hupes and Peg Kennedy first started taking over printing zines in the early 1990s. Their interpretation was that they had granted the original publisher the right to print their story, but that right was not transferable to another publisher. The authors didn't give him reprint permission, just the editors. Some demanded another trib copy. (The conversation about this (and of course, the spread of the Internet) eventually led to authors giving rights to their zine eds for the first year or two, and after that, getting the right to put their stories up on the web.)
Another concern over Bill Hupe and co. was that having him agent such a large percentage of zines was leading to the collapse of the fannish mutual promotion network. Zines used to come with ads in the back. It used to be that, once you got that first zine, you had a bunch of addresses for that fandom, and the list grew exponentially as you got more zines. Now, you have to either find an adzine or keep ordering from Bill, who is making a job out of all this. Other fans felt that reprinting zines interfered with standard practice at the time, which was to not allow copying of a zine while it was in print, but to allow unlimited copying once the zine went out of print. With zines never going out of print, fans didn't ever have a chance to just copy their favorite few stories from a zine for a friend.
Still other people were merely annoyed by how hard it was to shop at his tables: the zines generally weren't organized by fandom, or genre, and there would be boxes and boxes and boxes of them.
By this point, Bill and Peg's operation (Ann was still publishing zines, but wasn't part of the zine agenting business) was so large that a backlash was inevitable.
Others entered the fray on Bill's side, saying that he provided an incalculable service to fans -- providing them access to fanzines that they might never have been able to see or be able to afford, especially fans outside the US, who could use Bill as one-stop-shopping. He also sells for dozens of small presses that couldn't afford to get to many conventions and sell zines for themselves. Other fan comments:
- Bill is overworked, and one of the most maligned people in fandom. He also is one of the most generous with his time and energy. Just as well Ann earns a good wage, otherwise he couldn't afford to keep selling the zines -- I know that he doesn't make a profit with the business and I know by how much.
- Bill took on the zines as his "bit" for fandom and it is sad that people can see it in suspicious light.
- Bill Hupe had tried to be superman and lost his health, good name and a lot of his spirit over it all.
- Without Bill I would never have found Slash fandom. I'm from a small town in the middle of nowhere, and fanzines, gen or slash, are very much an underground thing. We spent years trying to find "slash," but it is difficult to find something when you don't even know the vocabulary necessary to ask. He is one of most helpful people I have ever done business with. As an initial contact to fandom we couldn't have asked for a better introduction. Bill has my eternal thanks.
Bill and Ann Leave Fandom
In 1996, Bill announced he was retiring ("Me and Ann bought 40 acres and we're going to 'live the mundane life'"), turning the whole library of unsold zines (both their own, and ones they were agenting for others) to Peg Kennedy and Linda Knights, who named the new enterprise "New Leaf" (New Leaf Press/New Leaf Productions).
From Media Monitor #34: "Contact Peg/Linda for new shipping and handling costs before ordering. Prices have gone up since they took over from Bill Hupe and must ship from Washington. Peg and Linda have taken over most of Bill Hupe's inventory and are handling a great many other publications, (gen, adult, and slash), for various writers and presses. There are hundreds of titles available and representation in almost any fandom you could desire. Please send a SASE and $1.00 for their latest catolog."
But Peg didn't have the in-place group of helpful fans that Bill did, and within a few months, grew completely overwhelmed by the business. Many fans started to ask what was going on, that they'd sent in money for orders and heard nothing back. Months of no information followed.
From a disappointed fan's letter in The K/S Press in February 1998: "Peg Kennedy apparently took on more than she could deal with when she assumed control of Bill Hupe’s empire. She's got lots of people from many fandoms angry at her."
Then, some of the zine editors agented by Peg (ones that had their addresses in their zines) heard from a non-fan that a huge storage locker, with thousands of zines and pieces of art, worth thousands of dollars, had been auctioned off by a storage company for non-payment. Kathleen Resch and some other fan publishers got together and bought the assortment of zines from the man, (some ruined by water damage) and tried to as fairly as possible partially pay back those people who had lost the most money.
Ed: (Does anyone remember more about this?)
Eventually Bill and Ann settled in Alaska where they operated a small photography and publication press The TwinS puBlications with their Australian friend, Susan Batho. Bill passed in October 2009. His obituary was published in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
Memories and Tributes
After Bill's passing several fans share their memories of the impact he had on their fannish lives:
- "I don't know if any of you knew him, but I just heard that BNF Bill Hupe passed away recently. He'd been involved with active Trek fandom forever it seemed (and SW fandom too, I think, but I'm not sure)...served on many con committees and was responsible for the publishing of many zines. He and his wife lived here in Michigan for a while, my mother was acquainted with Bill's wife as she was a doctor at the hospital where my mom works, and in the early 90s the Hupes were part of the committee that put on one of the best Trek cons I'd ever been to, and both were regular attendees of the Media West Con for years."
- "I illustrated fanzines for [Bill] from around 1986 to some time in the late nineties when I got a new job and drifted away from fandom for a while. He was a pal, easy to work with, supremely generous. He was the person who got me firmly hooked on Anime. He'd mail me boxes full of vhs tapes of shows like Vampire Princess Miyu, Urusei Yatsura, and my beloved Ranma 1/2 for free in the days before DVD when no one was selling anime and there was no station in the U.S. was broadcasting the stuff. It must be stated: Bill Hupe published some of the worst schlock to ever see the mimeographed page. The nadir for me was the time I, greedy for the reward of another box of Rumiko Takahashi goodness, agreed to do a cover illustration for a novella length 'zine (that Bill published, but did NOT write) in which Picard is inflicted with dementia by some mecha-baddie. There were scenes where Riker changed his captain's adult diaper. Let's move on, shall we? Despite the fact that he published some of the purest of the pure and total crap that made its way through Kinkos in the 1980's, Bill had pretty reliably good taste. His recommendations for things to watch and read (usually not things he himself had published) were almost always excellent. I might have missed Blackadder and Red Dwarf entirely if not for him. And now he's dead. I went on a Google Quest to find him last week. Bill always knew everyone and everything. He was computer savvy back in the days when only the geekiest of the geeks thought it was worthwhile to own one of those fancy TV-typewriters. Bill was a natural to be on the Internet. If I could find him, I thought, I could find links to everyone. Bill was a linker. He hooked folks up with their fannish drug of choice, be that programs about Japanese adventure teams based on characters from esoteric Buddhism or 'zines about Picard in diapers (with a very tasteful cover, I might add.) But now he's dead. He didn't die of anything dramatic according to accounts. His health got bad. I think he was ten or fifteen years older than me. That is still very early to die of bad health... but it happens. It's disturbing to get to the age where when you go hunting for old friends, one in every ten or so is dead. Bill had left fandom in a flurry of controversy in the late nineties. (It just sounds too Victorian to say he left around the time of the turn of the century, doesn't it?) It was something over reprinting out of print 'zines. Really he just got too big. The weight of his 'zine empire collapsed in on itself like a dying sun. An editor who worked with him had volunteered to take over the whole thing. This inevitably led to the whimper not bang ending of someone eventually finding the rented storage unit packed to the leaking tin ceiling full of 'zines and manuscripts and art that was being auctioned off by the storage company people for non-payment.....I guess I saw the Hupe Empire at its very height right before The Fall. In 1996, he invited me to visit while I attended my one and only MediaWest con. His house was... I think it may be sadly misleading to think of where he lived as a house. It was a giant dealer's room staging area where people happened to live while they worked on putting together fanzines and duplicating tapes. We collated and bound 'zines while we chatted in the same way another host might have a coke and eat some peanuts with you. It was astonishing. He packed me off with a box of impossible to find British and Japanese cult TV he'd been duplicating in one of his room full of VCRs while we were talking and the manuscript of some completely awful TOS novel he wanted a color cover for by the end of the month. It was a great night. Fannish Baroque. But now he's gone."
- from the editorial in Abode of Strife #19 (1993)
- Star Trek TOS Zinedex: Authors (H)
- Bill Hupe Obituary, San Gabriel Valley Tribune December 20, 2009, accessed Jan 10, 2010
- Dece 13, 2009 post in Triaxiansilk The Upsetting News Thread.
- Bill Hupe and FanLib: Why I'm Here in 1000 words or Less, dated June 8, 2010.