Bill and Ann Hupe
|Name:||Bill Hupe, Ann Hupe|
|Alias(es):||Ann K. Meyer|
|Type:||fanzine publisher/zine editor; fanzine agents and distributors; printers for other fanzine publishers; indexers|
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Bill and Ann Hupe were both fan writers, but they were best known as fan publishers, and then re-publishers and agents for other fannish presses.
Their involvement in fandom was massively influential in terms of expectations, policy, and scope due to the size of their empire, their personal industriousness, their visibility at cons, and ability to put print zines in the hands of fans. Bill Hupe was also a large voice in the 1993-94 zine piracy conversations.
Bill and Ann Hupe abruptly gafiated zines and fandom in spring/summer 1996.
Bill passed away October 25, 2009. His obituary was published in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
Zine Publisher Names
Bill worked together with Peg Kennedy to edit and publish their own zines as well as agenting and distributing for other fanzine publishing. Ann, who worked full time, provided the financial backing for their publication efforts and also edited a number of the zines that they published.
- Footrot Flats (with Peg Kennedy)
- Gypsy Moth Productions (with Peg Kennedy) (starting in 1983)
- Peromyscus Press
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 His Own Words: 1988 (stance on explicit and slash fanworks, "fandom is my primary job")
Five years ago, when first started working on fanzines, I vowed never to handle X-Rated material. Well, things changed two years ago when Randy Landers turned over reprint rights to Beyond The Farthest Star 1. One thing led to another and I stopped returning X-Rated material and started filing it. Lo and behold. I found myself with enough material for a zine six months ago, so I decided the hell with it. In fact, enough material has come in during the past six months that I have almost enough for another entire issue! I hope you enjoy.Although I am handling X-Rated material now, I will NOT handle homosexual material (and don't start throwing Research/Development at me -- it's hetero -- sort of). It's not that I'm against K/S and the like (or for it for that matter), it's simply that I feel that there are plenty of fanzines around for that genre. So, please feel free to contribute material (hetero) for forthcoming issues and I will publish X-Rated zines as I have enough material to fill an issue. 
For the curious, I am a temporary employee for the State of Michigan. I work as a computer operator and a photo assistant (which basically insures that I am employed full time). Somewhere along the way I was shanghied into taking photographs for the state, and my work will be seen in upcoming travel planners and on the cover of a national bus touring magazine. Of course, the state is only my secondary work and fandom is my primary job (about 100 hours a week nowdays). Not only do I edit my own zines, but I publish for Randy Landers and Kristy Merril, as well as reprints of In A Different Reality. I am currently negotiating reprinting rights of an Australian Star Trek fanzine series as well as American agent of current issues. Also, I am now compiler and editor for Roberta Rogow's Trexindex (she retains senior editorship), various fandom typing jobs for Lori Carleton, and run a computerized art inventory/auction computer system for mid-Michigan Star Trek conventions. What little time is left is spent with my wife and three dogs (a Lab/Aussie, an American Lab, and an Irish Setter).
In His Own Words: 1992 (fandom is my life)
In remembering Gene Roddenberry after his passing Bill wrote:
"How has Gene Roddenberry affected my life? Well, basically most of what I do now is because of him. Compared to my job as a computer consultant, which takes up very little of my time, putting zines together on the other hand, is a full time job. I actually got into Star Trek fandom over ten years ago through a science fiction class at the university I was attending at the time. A class project turned into my first fanzine..."
In Their Own Words: 1993 (personal fandom history)
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 all over 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.
In His Own Words: 2006 (the opportunities of fandom)
I guess you’d say the first thing I did as an active fan was writing, which is something I’ve always loved to do. So it provided me with an outlet to write, and have other people look at and edit my writing so I could improve it. Another of my loves is traveling, so driving to convention so sell allowed me to pass through Yosemite and other places I’ve always wanted to see whilst en route. Not to mention receiving invites to Australia, Japan, and Germany, that through the wonders of frequent flier miles, I was actually able to do back in the years just after putting my wife through medical school and working 2 1/2 full time jobs at once. We were dead broke, but free flights, and staying with friends I had met through the writing and publishing meant I could go to these places.... Without my involvement in fandom, I would not be where I am today, living in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, working at what I love. It is unfortunate that I am not as involved in fandom as I once was, but it had been time to part ways on that level, and was fortunate enough to be able to use that experience in my work today.
Putting Miles on the Road
An example of the driving Bill did is from 1995: "We regret that we will not be at Shoreleave although we have Alien Worlds there, selling for us.... Bill had to ultimately decide not to attend this con this year as it would have required him to drive to the east coast two weekends in a row (with only 2 days back in Michigan!), come home from the convention and leave to drive to Alaska 3 days later. Although Bill is known for some insane (or stupid, according to Peg), stints, (Seattle to Lansing nonstop for 41 hours -- 8 times in one year), this wouldn't work with Ann's Dodge Caravan needing a complete check-up before traveling the Alaskan Highway and some of the far-flung remote always Ann and Bill and 3 friends want to visit." 
The Hupes published a number of catalogs, frequency unknown.
In the September 1992 catalog, there was a an explanation regarding slash of any rating and explicit het: "...adult material (any fandom) will be found on colored paper: those offended by adult material, please simply remove and recycle (or discard) the non white pages."
You had to have good eyesight to read the catalogs! Some samples from the September 1992 one are below.
On occasion Hupe's flyers would be created by the zine publishers. Below is a zine flyer created by the editors of Manacles Press. It is easy to read and in color, unlike Bill and Peg's typical zine flyer or catalog. On the back they listed other zine publishers who were also agented by Bill Hupe.
Blakesindex and Other Zines
In May 1983, 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 also wrote one fan novel, Shadows.
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.
The Empire and The Complexities
It may be hard, today, to imagine the vastness of the Hupe enterprise and how much fans depended on it, for better or worse, for their supply of fanworks.
In 1992, Bill remarked in his September catalog that he and/or Ann were "attending 30+ conventions a year," an astounding feat of time, planning, and expenses.
Simply sending and receiving the goods before online communication would have been an exercise in patience and frustration. Most communication was done via the Postal Service, something that fans today would find unbearably slow. This communication also required a lot of organization, time, SASEs, constant attention to postal rates (foreign, domestic, and everything in between), incoming and out-going boxes of zines, paperwork regarding who had sent what to who and who was owed money or unsold zines, dealing with complaints regarding service, the actual soliciting, editing, publishing, and publicity regarding some zines, storage woes, and the attending of cons to peddle the goods.
An example of postal complexities explanation, something that despite this description, required patience and certainly translated into intricate communication failures:
An '*' next to your name on the label means that this is your last mailing unless you either drop us a postcard asking to remain on, or place an order. "***" following a fanzine's price means this is a very light or digest fanzine. This is the price for the fanzine if ordering at least one fanzine that is full sized (without a "***" coding). If you are ordering only "***" coded fanzines, please add $1.65 to your total order. Overseas: see next page. Canada: Add $1.50 for the first zine, and $1.50 for the second, and 40 cents each thereafter. Otherwise, all prices include US domestic postage bookrate (insured if ordering 2 or more zines, add 50 cents if you wish insurance on single zine orders -- otherwise, is at your risk). OR... for 1st Class Priority, add $1.50 for the first zine, 50 cents for the second, and 25 cents each there after. Finally, if you wish your order shipped in a padded mailer, add $1.00 to your entire order (regardless of rate) and please specify this is for a padded mailer. Overseas: Xed-out items are North America only. Unless at a convention, orders are usually shipped within 24 or 48 hours of receipt of order. If you have not received your order within a month after ordering, please inquire: we can claim insurance on orders less than 6 months old, and unless you have been contacted otherwise (except overseas) there is no reason whatsoever you should not have your order in hand. Or, you can call us at [phone number redacted] EST. We do experience a 1% or so mail loss (incoming and outgoing). Overseas people and contributors using the East Lansing/Trowbridge Rd address: this was a rented postal box and the business went bankrupt in July. EVERYTHING now goes to Lamb Road. This also includes ALL submissions for any fanzine Peg and Bill are editing....CANADA: Your friendly excise officials have been making shipping interesting this summer by suddenly nabbing our zine parcels for GST collection. By the time we were able to sort everything out, the Ontario excise office finally understand our sales do not remotely come close to the threshold limit. Alas, you will still have to pay GST, collection fees, and customs (if applicable) on your zines. However, shipping does seem to go much better if no more than CN $40 in zines is in a single packet. Therefore, we recommend for orders exceeding the CN$40 to send us enough postage money to break your order into 2 or 3 (if necessary) parcels.
A fan in 1993 expressed her fear that Hupe's empire was just too damn big:
Maybe I've just seen a lot of people crash and burn in fandom over the years, and if he does it now, he'll involve a *lot* of people into it. I don't mind a few people doing it, I am nervous that Bill is (almost) IT. He is one stop shopping, he is Boeing right before the bottom falls out of the aerospace industry. It is not the fact, it is the scale of the thing that worries me. But, even I think he's convenient, and that, in the larger scope of things, that it's not that big a deal. 
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.
Some fans were unhappy with the "business" quality of their zine transactions.
A 1993 comment:
About Bill Hupe--for people who don't have all the addresses they need at their fingertips, for publishers who want to give folks access to their zines, but can't travel everywhere to cons--he provides a service, which I can well believe would be a full-time occupation--why not? It's not as if he's selling anything without the editors' permission--he's authorized to represent the editors, he's not bootlegging zines, so it seems to me that he's doing a service for both sides. If folks can get the zines cheaper directly from the source, great--but if they don't know how to get access to the source, they can still get the zines--am I missing something significant here? I don't quite see what about this should make people uncomfortable...
A 1993 comment:
My concern over Bill Hupe and co. is that the fannish mutual promotion network seems to be collapsing. It's been ages since I got a zine with ads in the back for anything but that same editor's stuff, not so much as even SASE-for-flyer addresses. 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 (tough to do unless you order from one of the adzine editors -- how come editors don't say where their zines are advertised???) or keep ordering from Bill, who is making a job out of all this. (I also think it takes chutzpah to be the King of Orphan Zines, and simultaneously claim that you're reprinting the moldy-oldies because they're "unavailable" -- that cuts the orphans' sales, which are on a consignment basis.) 
A fan in 1993 wrote:
I do want to repeat, "uncomfortable" not, I hate him and people like him, just "uncomfortable" Maybe I've just seen a lot of people crash and burn in fandom over the years, and if he does it now, he'll involve a *lot* of people into it. I don't mind a few people doing it, I am nervous that Bill is (almost) IT. He is one stop shopping, he is Boeing right before the bottom falls out of the aerospace industry. It is not the fact, it is the scale of the thing that worries me. But, even I think he's convenient, and that, in the larger scope of things, that it's not that big a deal. 
A fan in 1995 wrote:
Many people feel that getting your zines from Bill, or someone like him, is like getting them from Sears catalog. It cuts you off from the community: you pay your money, get your product, whine if they don't act like a good business. 
Other fans appreciated this "business" quality:
I will take exception with anything said against Bill Hupe. He provides a service to fans --- providing them access to fanzines that they might never have been able to see or be able to afford. For example, to buy F-- H--- I- - G-------- cost $42US for an Australian a few years ago (I've just been going through my old correspondance last night...) --- $15US of which was postage (the fact that the postage actually on the parcel was $7US, we'll skip altogether) Now, through Bill, people over here can get a copy from me for considerably less and pick up without the vagarities of the postal systems.
Bill does have a small mark up --- often this does not cover the large charges of tables at conventions these days --- but because his books can be audited by the irs at any time, he is scrupoulous in his honesty. Without Bill, there are many fans in other countries whow would not have seen shows that you take for granted and talk about. Without Bill, I would never have made it to a Media*West*Con, or met a lot of you, or even thought about going into other medias. Bill sells my zines for me. He sells for dozens of small presses that couldn't afford to get to conventions and sell for themselves.
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. But that is confidential and I won't spread it far and wide. I will say though, you're lucky to have someone like Bill to take on something so thankless like that. However, the toll on his health has been enormous and he needs a break. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he semi-retired shortly and got back to something he actually enjoys, like he used to enjoy fandom, like marinebiologist (in which he is trained) and computer programming (ditto), or just raising his border collies who love him.Bill took on the zines as his "bit" for fandom and it is sad that people can see it in suspicious light. [J] and I have done the same thing in Australia... we "charge" $1 per zine to sell them --- and a lot of time we don't charge anything.... sometimes we pay out $50 for the table and sell $25 of zines, and that earned up $2 which made a net loss of $48 for the con --- plus our expenses. Would we have gone to the con in any case? No. We can't afford it, but selling the zines is our excuse. Being a huckster is our "thing" if you like because, sooner or later, everyone makes it to the hucksters rooms. I think, often, that's why the fan cottage industries developed... so have an excuse to hide behind the table, but still meet everyone. 
Another fan was very appreciative of Hupe's business-acumen:
I have considered producing a zine, someday. Frankly, if I could convince Bill to publish "it," I'd think I was lucky. I wouldn't have to worry about mundane things like printers, envelopes and post offices. But that's not the main point. I think I would consider the "production" to be my contribution to fandom, which I've always thought was "free." I am not willing to argue with the IRS that 6.5789% of the cost of my computers, etc., should count as a business expense against the cost of my zine.
So, if Bill, or someone else, was solely responsible for the reproduction and sales of my zine, I would not expect *anything* in return except perhaps my documentable expenses like postage and contributors' copies. However, I would consider the price of the zine the primary issue, and I would seek another 'publisher' if I thought that the cost to the fan/consumer was too high.BUT, given a reasonable price for a zine, personally, I don't care how much profit Bill Hupe, et al. makes. Professionally, I can't afford for my slash interests to be 'outed.' So, I'm prone to a very liberal definition of his 'expenses.' Xerox machines are expensive, accountants to do your income taxes are expensive, and lawyers to defend yourself when Paramount, etc. come knocking are extremely expensive, in both mental anguish and in $$. Thus, I'm willing to "pay" for someone else to take the trouble and risk of producing a zine; others may not be. 
Bill also sold used fanzines, pricing them according to their condition, about half or two thirds their original price. He then added on a 15% commission.
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 cover price. 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 discernible 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).
An Early Promoter of E-Zines
Bill was also the earliest fanzine distributors to offer e-zines. A fan in January 1996 wrote:
just got the latest batch of flyers from Bill Hupe and in his newsletter he says that he is planning to start offering zines on disk, specifically, any new zines that he publishes himself (not sure what those are, but I believe they're all gen stuff). His reason? He states that according to the rumors he's heard (from where, one wonders?), the cost of paper is supposed to "increase dramatically" sometime early this year. 
Another fan wrote a nearly a year later:
I was looking at the last note from Bill Hupe, and he lists 8 e-zines  all done in Acrobat, the Adobe program that allows you to make files that are printable and readable on almost any computer, but doesn't allow you to fiddle with the files. We've talked about e-zines a few times here, but I didn't realize that people were already doing this.
Way cool! Has anyone actually ordered one of these? The zines are cheaper (though not as much as you'd think: between $4 and 11 dollars for PC or Mac disk versions of these zines, which you either read online, or print out yourself).
However, since Bill Hupe exited fanzine distribution in 1996, the impetus to offer ezines may have come from Peg Kennedy and Linda Knight who took over his business in July 1996 in the form of New Leaf Publications:
"D-zines (zines on disks) The following zines are now available on disk IBM (windows) and Mac. They are written on ACROBAT -- which Peg & Linda have purchased and are licensed for -- these disks MUST be read by ACROBAT; they DO NOT load into your computer's word processor. The Reader can be downloaded on line or purchased from us $3.00 IBM $6.00 Mac (sorry, it takes 3 disks to load the reader on Mac). See previous mailers or our full catalog for breakdown of the zine. **Rebel Destinies 2 - B7 - $4.50 OR download $4.25."
Agents vs Publishers
The largest portion of Bill and Ann's business was agenting for other fanzine editors and publishers.
A zine agent could do one of two things: they could resell stock that another publisher had printed. This type of agent carried none of the upfront publication costs and risks. Or they could be responsible for the printing of new copies which they had to fund themselves. This type of agent faced a greater financial risk, especially in the days before print on demand. The Hupes offered both kinds of services. For those zines that they actually reprinted in order to agent on behalf of the publishers, they would add their name and address alongside that of the actual publishers of the zine in the zine itself.
The number of zines the Hupes edited and published was quite small when compared to their fanzine catalog. However, because of the size of their catalog, many fans were confused for years thinking the Hupes edited and published every zine that they sold and that they had exclusive rights to the zines. Often when the actual fanzine publishers attempted to sell their own zines at events, they were accused of being fanzine pirates. So murky were the agency/distribution waters that Bill Hupe and Peg Kennedy were themselves accused of selling pirated zines at Farpoint in 1993.
... at Media West* Con, we started agenting Pon Farr Press fanzines; both their new and reprinted titles. As some of the reprints of foil covers do not turn out all that well, some people have questioned (rightly so), their legitimacy, and in such cases we produced the publisher's inventory sheet as well as authorization to sell. As of this point in time, the publisher has started to include a notice on the title page if a change of format has occurred. We keep on file a letter of authorization from each and every press we agent for, so if you ever have a question, please feel free to ask us, or even contact the original publisher if you have any doubts.
With this point in mind, Pon Farr Press elected a few days ago to offer us co-publication rights. This means that we agent all of Pon Fan Press titles, and we have permission to produce copies from masters we have been provided with, All volumes that we print ourselves contain a 'printed with permission' statement. If you have any questions, please just ask us, or write Pon Far Press [sic] directly if so inclined.Addendum -- shortly after we signed on the dotted line with Pon Farr Press, we received the go ahead from Wendy Rathbone as well. We are W pleased to have her zincs along with Pon Far [sic] Press listed in this mailer. In addition Mkashef Enterprises has consented to have her titles agented by us. Each of these editors has a letter of permission on file with us.
Bill's aggressive stance towards unauthorized redistribution of the zines he agented also created confusion. And last, the informal nature of most fanzine agenting fed into the complexity. Few zine publishers and agents signed any agreements, let alone exclusive ones, leaving the field wide open for the Hupes' "ownership" claims. In a time and era when communication was done by letters, verifying the "legitimacy" of the original fanzine publisher could take months.
The issues of agenting vs publishing is one that many other large scale fanzine enterprises have faced, such as Lionheart Distribution and Agent With Style. After Lionheart received a C&D notice by Warner Brothers in 2005, Lionheart reopened under the name "Distribution" and made it clear they were only agents, not publishers to reduce their liability.
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 edited and published by other fans 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 company 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 had to either find an adzine or keep ordering from Bill, who was 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 sold for dozens of small presses that couldn't afford to get to many conventions and sell zines for themselves.
Some 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.
I have my problems with what Bill Hupe represents, but he is a nice man who works hard and provides a valuable service to both readers and publishers.
we got another offer from a guy called Bill Hupe, one of the best-known distributors in the business. He "did all the cons," and had all the contacts. He was one of the big guys in the trade, and when he offered to carry Nut Hatch-Entropy, it looked like there was a chance for us to trade our way out of debt after the Clarke debacle.
The plan was, if you could sell 1000 zines, with a A$4 "markup" on each one, you'd be out of debt! Easy, when Mr. Hupe swore he could sell 100+ copies of a good Trek zine any day.
The result was a disaster.We supplied many, many hundreds of zines for "con stock." We were paid ... for few. Then Mr. Hupe also vanished, and with him went another five thousand bucks' worth of stock. 
And what about the Bill Hupe's of fandom? These groups are another layer of bloat that fan dollars have to support. Nothing is for free. Pay more at the door, pay more for your zine.
Mr. Hupe, BTW, is currently on my Shit List. At first, I sent him copies of zines to sell; later, as the titles grew, this became impractical, so I authorized him to do his own copies from my masters. And I included very clear instructions on cover stock and binding. COMB binding, to be precise. All spelled out in the letter of authorization for each zine. "All copies should be comb-bound with black combs, not stapled" is what I wrote. So at Zcon a box of zines appeared at someone's table, marked "B HUPE", with copies of my zines, STAPLED. I asked the dealer if they were from Bill, she said yes. Suffice to say I was not pleased. I have sent word to him about this. If it isn't fixed, he won't be agenting [my] zines any longer.
Bill and Ann Leave Fandom
Some fans in 1996 recounted this exodus:
Yes, Bill Hupe is out of the zine agenting business. I talked to him on the phone recently, as he agents several zines for us, and he's currently in the process of settling all his accounts and turning the whole business over to Peg Kennedy, and a new partner of hers. He explained that he was getting out of the zine business for several reasons. First, he said, because his wife is a doctor and has accepted a position in a new practice in a very small town in another state, and he doesn't want to start his zine agenting business over again in another location, and have to explain it all to new friends and neighbors and postal workers. But he also said that the main reason he was quitting was that he is simply tired of being threatened and hassled. He explained that there are several fans, or groups of fans, who have harassed him for years, including filing legal action against him, and he's simply and finally fed up. I can't argue with any of his reasons for giving up his business, but I think it will be fandom's loss. I think he has performed a valuable function. He has certainly made things easier for me for the past year and a half. I sent him masters, and he did all the work, including taking my zines to numerous cons, and eventually he mails me a check. Bill didn't mention any health problems to me, although we heard that was one of the reasons he stated at MediaWest Con. RAFFERTY and I expect to give our full support to Peg Kennedy as she takes over, and we wish her the best.
Latest word is that Bill Hupe's business will be taken over so, maybe, zines will stay relatively easy to order. The other story I heard at Mediawest is that one reason that he is taking advantage of moving, to move out of the business is that he is afraid that printing costs are going to soar in the near future and Internet and zines on disc will drive printed ones out of business. I really hope this is not true. Sitting at a terminal is not my idea of a relaxing way to read.
Bill's departure from publishing and agenting, especially in such a sudden way, was damaging. Fandom suffered in terms of lost fanworks, loss of trust, and many other hits. But it was an especially hard blow to small fandoms:
Flightpath #7 should have been released two years ago, but with the demise of Bill Hupe's US distribution network we lost touch with something like forty core fans of UFO, and this meant our print run had become impracticably small. So, with great regret, FP7 was put on the shelf about three quarters complete. It's still there, and we'd love to get it down and publish it, so ... if you're by any chance a fan of UFO...
The 1996 Retirement Letters
The Handover to Peg Kennedy
Hupe decided to turn 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 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. A fan in 1997 wrote:
Peg Kennedy is a nice lady. She may be a bad business person, or she may simply have gotten in *way* over her head trying to take over the work Bill Hupe started years ago. Either way, while it would likely be a relief for her to have some people remove their zines from her inventory (we all know a smaller inventory equals less hassle), I hesitate to be a part of some sort of fannish posse, riding to the northwest to haul Peg in. Of course, that's because I *like* Peg, and because when I run into her at conventions I ask for payouts and she promptly grants them. It's also because I know how easy it is to get overwhelmed with something that started out as a fun, friendly hobby. 
From a disappointed fan in 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. 
Peg Kennedy began emailing the fanzine catalog to interested buyers - something that many fanzine publishers had been doing. However, to the consternation of some fanzine publishers, a copy of the flyer was posted online in 1997:
I was surfing the Web a while ago, which I do from time to time to make sure no references to [my press] or my fanfic are floating about out there, and was startled to find a page listing fanzines available from Bill Hupe, who retired back in July of last year. They had typed in an entire flyer of his which listed just about every fanzine in the world. It had typos - "New Summer's End" for example, and "Nudge Nudge Wink Wink 13" .... The good thing is that these were listed as agented zines and thus did not have addresses other than Bill's; the bad news is that my name was listed (as author on my zines) and I'd rather not see my name and "slash" together anywhere on the Web, and of course, the really bad news is that people can't actually order these zines from Bill and they included an order form on the page. I'm really starting to hate this stuff. I have never given *anyone* permission to advertise my zines on the Web, ever. This just *PISSES ME OFF*. If any fans find this, and try to get my zines this way, they're gonna get pissed off when nothing happens."
In an bit of dreadful irony, one of Kennedy's big detractors was Mysti Frank. In 1997, Frank wrote:
This is a call-to-arms. I need to hear from any dealers who have been lied to and deceived by Peg Kennedy (aka New Leaf Productions) and would like to join a group of dealers who are putting their collective foot down. We are informing fandom at large that Peg Kennedy no longer has the right to sell our zines and we demand our stock and all monies owed to us be sent to us IMMEDIATELY. Join us and be counted. I will be writing up a statement that will be sent out to all dealers who wish to stand with us and make a joint statement so that they may make corrections and additions, then together we will be sending this missive to everyone in fandom we can think of.Please pass this message on to ANY list and ANY person you can think of so that we can stop Peg Kennedy from drawing in any new dealers who are unaware of the situation and how she has been treating all the people she is supposedly agenting for! Let's show Peg that fandom as a whole WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS.  
The 1996 Kennedy Letters
Operation 'Zine Rescue
Peg Kennedy carried on the zine agenting business for several years. However by 1999, the business had fallen into disarray, and in In January 1999, several fanzine publishers received a letter from a man who had purchased the contents of one of the Hupe-Kennedy storage lockers and was offering to sell the zines back to the publishers. The inventory included both gen and slash zines, numbering over 3000 items. In addition, almost 1200 art prints were in the collection, including work by Rich Corben, Adrian Morgan, Jean Kluge, Heather Bruton, Suzan Lovett, Lucy Synk, Melissa Elliott, ARLA, Tara and Carol Walske.
General Fan Comments
During my last phone call to Bill, he told me that we must have over two hundred Christmas cards from our readers! 
I have enjoyed the zines I have gotten from you very much. One thing has bothered me - a minor problem, but I'd appreciate it if you could fix it. In many of the zines I have received from you, I have been annoyed by the incorrect use of the word "peaked" when you mean "piqued". An example can by found in your ad for ST:TNG "Time Will Tell": "I (Picard), on the other hand, have my curiosity peaked as to why he has so suddenly chosen a change in his career." You do not write the stories, or edit many, I realize. However, I would appreciate your doing all you can to stop this misuse of the word "peak". Thank you very much. 
Excuse me, but I have to say this. Oh My God! Yes, yes, yes, aaaaaaahhhhhhh! Well, I'm sure that you get the point. I was totally surprised by how quickly you sent me my zine order. Believe me, it is every zine reader's dream to hear the doorbell ring, the postal carrier holding a humongous box of zines with their name on it. When we talked on the phone, I thought you said you were going to send the zines on the Thursday after Thanksgiving week so you can imagine that I went totally hyper, looney as the locoweed, the old ticker was doing triple time, mind on another plane, the word excitement would be too tame a word. What can I say but thank you, thank, thank you, and 1000 thank yous. I really appreciate the fact that you had gone to the trouble of packing them so well and as usual the zines were in mint condition. Your service is as always excellent bar none. You guys are like way cool cats. Again, thank for the best weeks of zine reading that I ever had and it came just in time for the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. 
It is my understanding that the new Horizon newsletter contains an article about problems ordering zines from me. I have not seen the article so I can't say how accurate it is, etc. I do understand the article encourages folks to order from Bill Hupe rather than me. I just want to publicly state that this is quite all right with me as Bill is a good friend of mine and has been wonderful to me the last several years while I have been going through hell in my personal life... [snipped]... Bill has been a lifesaver to me during multiple crises ... [personal info snipped]... Last year Leah and I couldn't even make MediaWest, due to ... [personal info snipped]... and Bill and Peg Kennedy were so kind that they ran our dealer's table for us... I don't mean they just agented for us, they actually ran our separate dealer's table we had paid for. So, if any of you feel more comfortable ordering my zines from Bill, please feel free to do so. Only one thing to bear in mind is that Bill does not hold the reprint rights to any of my newer issues, although he does carry them to many conventions for me. For those of you in England, Bill will be agenting my stuff at the Who's 7 convention, although I'm don't know exactly which issues he's shipped over there. Also, Janet Ellicott carries my stuff through Bill. If you want anything in particular and don't want to get it through me, let Janet or Bill know and they will ask my permission to send it to you. Please feel free to show this statement to anyone you care to. Ann Wortham 
I would like to support [S's] defense of Bill Hupe. Without Bill I and my friend [L] would never have found Slash fandom. We are both from Montana where the conventions are few and far between (hell, EVERYTHING is few and far between in Montana except space) 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. It was through an unscrupulous magazine that printed Bill's name (without his permission, which got him a few death threats into the bargain) that we discovered fanzines and slash. I have never met Bill, but I have talked with him on the phone many times. 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. formerly an isolated fan, [J] 
Me too. I've sent my things to him for years. He only takes a small percentage, as is usual for someone handling your zines at a con. He has always treated me well, and I get rather tired of people maligning him for performing a service to fandom by providing easy access to numerous zines. 
Without getting lengthy, I'd like to do the same. Bill is a good guy, who actually likes fandom and likes conning. He has always been pleasant, he's very good about not spreading too much gossip, and his good intentions vastly outweigh the one or two times he's made largish mistakes (socially, not financially; I find him to be very scrupulous financially).While I too have hesitation at the size of the Hupe "zine mill", as it's often referred to--there's a lack of personalness in an operation that size--there's nothing wrong with it and I think people give him shit for silly reasons... like, for example, being a guy... 
Being a fannish mogul *is* hard work. Just ask Bill Hupe. But Bill ran his empire with goodwill, good nature, and unquestioned honesty.... I dealt with Bill as an agent for my Trek prints years ago, then parted amicably because Bill just had too much on his plate. He put out horrible zines, bless him, *but* he was scrupulous and honest. He made mistakes from time to time, but always tried to make good on them. He meant well, and for the most part ran his huge empire well, considering its volume. His biggest mistake was in kindheartedly but misguidedly turning over his empire to Peg Kennedy when he was ready to "retire" from it all. Peg had no business sense, was perpetually broke, and had always been terrible at handling money. But even she, despite using zine pre-order money to support herself and foolishly hoping it would all turn out all right sometime in the hazy future, never seemed to me to have the malicious bent, the truly calculating, deliberate intent to do wrong that She Of Whom We Are Speaking demonstrates, IMO, again and again. 
Producing a ‘zine with this much full color interior art was still fairly expensive at that time. I was about to say it was a real mark of the faith my publisher, Bill Hupe, had in me, but that’s not exactly true. Bill knew the market better than anyone. He knew this ‘zine wasn’t going to make much money. Chekov was just not that popular. Marty Siegrist was a big name artist, but I was not. None of our writers were big names outside of Chekov fandom – which was a tiny, tiny, tiny subset of Trek fandom. So, sinking money into putting out a thick, anthology-sized ‘zine with that much expensive art was a longshot most publishers would have taken a pass on.However, I had worked for Bill Hupe for a long time and he really liked my work and he really loved this ‘zine. He told me, “I’ll sell a couple hundred copies of (name of ‘zine that was inexplicably popular despite being total crap) just so I can afford to print something like “In Love and Trouble.” Folks who bitched about the sheer tonnage of drek that the Hupe fanzine publishing empire churned out at the height of its powers never paused to look at that side of things. There were always little “diamond” projects being nurtured underneath all those mounds of coal… 
Memories and Tributes
After Bill's passing several fans share their memories of the impact he had on their fannish lives:
This was the time when Bill Hupe's zine-empire still existed (remember his terrific postage calculation? I still use it to calculate US postage!) 
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... 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 Mysti Frank in Chalk and Cheese #16 (May 1997): "I've... started a zine agenting business called Agent With Style. Since Bill Hupe has left the arena, and left no one to take up the business, I'm hoping to do just a fraction of what he did in getting the zines most fen would never see out and into fandom's eye. I have a long list of zines available—many new, some older and hard to find—for a double-stamped long SASE."
- Bill Hupe Obituary, San Gabriel Valley Tribune December 20, 2009, accessed Jan 10, 2010 (now offline)
- from Bill's editorial in Abode of Strife #10 (January 1988)
- from Bill's editorial in Abode of Strife #10 (January 1988)
- Bill Hupe's letter to Starfleet Communique #48 (Dec 1992).
- from the editorial in Abode of Strife #19 (1993)
- from a flyer included with Bill's 1995 catalog
- comment by Sandy Hereld on Virgule-L, quoted with permission (February 21, 1993)
- a fan on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (February 18, 1993)
- a fan on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (February 18, 1993)
- Sandy Hereld at Virgule-L, quoted with permission(February 21, 1993)
- comments by [[Sandy Hereld, on Virgule-L, quoted with permission (October 18, 1995)
- quote from Virgule-L, anonymously (September 26, 1995)
- quote from Virgule-L, anonymously (September 29, 1995)
- comments by a fan on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (January 17, 1996)
- from the December 1996 catalog from New Leaf Publications: available D-zines were Rebel Destinies #2, In Love and War, Rat Patrol Compiled #1 (Combined Talents #1-5 and #6 on two files), The Small Rouge One #3, Classic #1, Second to None, Full Circle, V Compiled, and The Old World Affair
- Sandy Hereld's July 15, 1996 post to the Virgule-L mailing list, quoted with permission.
- Electronic Flyer from New Leaf Productions mailed to fandom mailing lists in the summer of 1996.
- from a 1992 Hupe catalog: "PLEASE NOTE: FANZINES WE ARE SELLING FOR OTHER PEOPLE ARE LABELLED AS AGENT. WE DO NOT PRINT ANY AGENT FANZINE; WE ARE SENT PRE-PRINTED COPIES, UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED. APPARENTLY THERE HAS BEEN SOME CONFUSION ON THIS MATTER: WE ONLY PRINT FANZINES THAT WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN SPECIFIC PERMISSION TO DO SO, IN WRITING, AND IT HAS NEVER BEEN OTHERWISE."
- An example was The Bizarro Zine -- from a 1992 Hupe catalog: "Although this is an agent zine, we're now printing copies for Leah Rosenthal, so supply will no longer be a problem."
- See The Zine Pirating Message Comes Full Circle.
- from the winter 1993 mailer by Bill Hupe
- post to the Virgule-L mailing list September 1995, quoted anonymously by Sandy Hereld.
- post to the Virgule-L mailing list September 1995, quoted anonymously by Sandy Hereld.
- post to the Virgule-L mailing list July 1997, quoted anonymously by Sandy Hereld.
- post to the Virgule-L mailing list September 1995, quoted anonymously by Sandy Hereld.
- Sandy Hereld's post to the Virgule-L mailing list September 1995, quoted with permission.
- from Jane of Australia speaking for Nut Hatch Press in The Nut Hatch Fundraiser
- post to the Virgule-L mailing list September 1995, quoted anonymously.
- post to the Virgule-L mailing list October 1995, quoted anonymously with permission.
- from Late for Breakfast #30
- from Late for Breakfast #30
- Nut Hatch; March 1999 Editorial
- from Michelle Christian, from Virgule-L, quoted with permission (July 10, 1997)
- from a fan's letter in The K/S Press in February 1998
- email posted to a private mailing list in March 1997, quoted anonymously with permission. A copy of the flyer is archived here; reference link.
- post to Virgule-L, quoted with permission (July 2, 1997)
- For the "dreadful irony" element, see Thief in Fandom.
- comment by Peg Kennedy in the Winter 1994 Hupe catalog
- comment by a fan in the March 1994 Hupe catalog
- comment by a fan in the March 1994 Hupe catalog
- July 19, 1994 comments on Lysator
- comments on Virgule-L, September 27, 1995
- comments by Gayle F on Virgule-L, quoted with permission, September 27, 1995
- comments by Michelle Christian on Virgule-L, quoted with permission, September 27, 1995
- Jean Kluge commented at Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher, a 2003 post about Agent With Style
- comments by Teegar in a February 2019 email to MPH, quoted with permission
- from a fan in The K/S Press #21, 1998
- Dec 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.