Kathy Resch

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Fan
Name: Kathy Resch
Alias(es): CatalenaMara
Type: writer, zine editor, fanzine publisher, zine agent, convention organizer
Fandoms: Trek, K/S, Dark Shadows, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Sherlock Holmes, many many others.
Communities:
Other:
URL: Kathy's Fanzine Home page, LJ, fiction on the K/S archive
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"Fandom has led me so many places - new homes, friends who are as close as family, travel, meeting tons of fans/friends at conventions, and even work opportunities. The desktop publishing skills I learned doing fanzines led me to a job in the 90s which involved, among other things, the production of company training manuals. Fandom's been good to me. I've spent my entire adult life in fandom."[1]

Kathy Resch has been in fandom since 1975, and writing, publishing and agenting slash zines now for nearly thirty years. A west coaster, she's a fixture at slash cons on both coasts and has traveled to England for conventions as well. She's stayed active and well-respected as a publisher and agent throughout that time—never becoming as big a zine agent as Bill Hupe or Mysti Frank, but never having their problems in fandom, either.

In 2006, Kathy said:
My experiences in fandom have always been about the way we, as fan writers, created our own "shared reality" separate from the source; about the way the fannish community builds upon previous works, explores common themes, as well as the way it can branch out in new directions. So much fan fic has "fannish shorthand", and not just canon references, but fanon references as well. Just look at how quickly new fandoms build up their own traditions and cliched themes.[2]

Zines and Other Fanac

In 1975, Kathy created The World of Dark Shadows, the flagship Dark Shadows fanzine which published 88 issues, until 2001. She also published a series of Dark Shadows Concordances, book-length episode guides that documented the five-year history of the show. The Concordances were very important to Dark Shadows fandom, because they were the only source of information about DS episodes that at the time were inaccessible to fans.

She edited all 31 issues of T'hy'la, a K/S zine started back in 1981, and still coming out in 2011. She also agents a variety of K/S zines that are still in print, such as the California K/S series.

Of "T'hy'la" and its start:
In 1980, there were no ongoing K/S zines in the United States...There was only one thing to do about this dearth of K/S—I needed to do a zine of my own. Clearly, if I was going to be able to read K/S on a regular basis, the best possible thing to do would be to provide a home for it. I announced that I was looking for submissions for a new K/S zine, T’hy’la. I wrote to everyone I could think of asking for stories, art and poetry, and published my first issue in 1981.[3]

In the late '80s, she started the zine No Holds Barred, a slash zine with color covers, and high quality printing. Initially, even-numbered issues were all-Pros; odd numbers were mixed media with a variety of fandoms represented. Later, individual issues were devoted to a single fandom, such as Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (#7) or Holmes/Watson (#9).

She kept Melody C.'s Blake's 7 zines, The Last Best Hope, The Long Way Back, and her Wiseguy novels, A River That Runs Both Ways and A Consortium of Light, in print after Melody left fandom for a brief period of time. After her return to fandom, Kathy continues to publish Melody's Dark Shadows zines.

She edited nine issues of a Blake/Avon Blake's 7 zine, Fire and Ice. The first issue was especially acclaimed, with authors including Bryn Lantry, Melody C. and Pam Rose, and a Fan Q award for best B7 zine.

She has agented zines for countless fans, in a myriad of fandoms.

She's also a convention organizer and volunteer. She was the convention chair for KisCon 2008, ran the dealer's room at Friscon and conventions, and even when she wasn't running the dealer's room, it is definitely the place you're most likely to find her.

About her writing, she said, "The reason why I wrote a couple of my early K/S stories was reading something I totally disagreed with, and decided to do my own take on a particular theme."

Some Interviews

In Her Words: From Scribbling Women: Editors Talk Back (2007)

What made you decide to print artwork given that it is expensive and difficult to reproduce?: “I studied Commercial Art (now called Graphic Design) in college, and so I was always focused on producing the most attractively laid-out zines I could achieve, given the constraints of materials and technology.”
What made you decide to print artwork given that it is expensive and difficult to reproduce?: “I remember how nervous I was taking T’hy’la 1 to the printer! It didn’t matter that they had already printed an X-rated Trek zine. The Other Side of Paradise had been a het zine, after all. I was asking them to print explicit art of naked men doing sexual things with each other. Explicit art of culturally-recognizable naked men doing sexual things with each other. Never mind the fact that they were obviously used to the idea of culturally-recognizable naked people doing sexual things with each other. And, I had made it absolutely clear in my initial phone conversation what I would be publishing. None of that mattered when I pulled up in front of this little hole-in-the-wall storefront print shop in a less-than-salubrious part of Oakland, California, and faced the prospect of taking in my brand new zine—with all that art.... I could barely walk through the door. How I managed to get through the process is beyond me, but they were so cool with it. The printer didn’t raise an eyebrow, and everyone was completely professional.”
How do you find artists? Have you chased artists you like or just waited for the submissions to come rolling in?!: “I generally approached artists whose work I wanted to include in the zine. Other artists would occasionally send a sample piece to see if I’d be interested in publishing their work. On some occasions I did receive unsolicited art submissions. And yes, I’ve had to reject some pieces.”
What was your policy—would you take all art? Or only that judged to be good? What is your policy on very explicit material? And CGA?: “Yes, absolutely. But after T’hy’la 3, I made it a policy not to have explicit cover artwork. There were two reasons for this policy: T’hy’la 3 featured an explicit cover by Gayle F. Many copies of this issue were seized by Customs in both Great Britain and South Africa. And also around that time, I began selling fanzines at conventions—at that point, primarily Shore Leave. Since Shore Leave is open to the general public, I would not have been able to display any zine with an explicit cover on my dealer’s table.”
Kathy’s were some of the first zines to use full colour in 1984 (the same month as California K/S did), and I asked Kathy to tell me more. She writes, “There had been experimentation with color printing in fanzines in the 1970s. A stunningly-beautiful zine called Interphase (which featured adult as well as gen content) featured silk-screened color covers on at least two of the issues. I also remember a genzine, called The Captain's Woman, which had a strikingly beautiful color Gayle F. cover. I did some internet research, and found The Captain’s Woman listed in a couple of zine databases with either a 1980 or 1981 copyright date. I believe this zine was the first fanzine to feature a true 4-color cover. T’hy’la 4 was the first K/S zine to have a true 4-color cover. “Prior to publishing T’hy’la 4, I did some experimentation with color photocopy printing. In 1983, I published a genzine in another fandom called Echoes. The cover was reproduced on a color photocopier. That technology was in its infancy and was only suitable for a small range of color tones. The piece I used for “Echoes” was done in shades of red and black and the quality of the reproduction was fairly good. But I had no luck with other pieces of artwork. I experimented with several color drawings, but only a few came out with anywhere near the color tones of the original piece. Photocopy color reproduction at that time looked more like a garish circus poster. I knew I wanted to use true 4-color printing for a cover for T’hy’la. I understood the technology involved in having this sort of printing done. A highlight of one of my college classes was a field trip to a shop which handled 4-color printing. I remember being very impressed with the size and complexity of the machinery involved. This type of printing is also called CYMK (for cyan, yellow, magenta, and black). The printing presses make four passes over each page—once for each of the three colors, once for black, in a precise fashion. This results in true color printing. Printing a fanzine cover in 4-color was an issue of practicality. Most 4-color printers wouldn’t even consider doing a run of less than 2000 copies, an impracticality in fandom. I made calls to every 4-color printer in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, where I was living at the time. I finally found a printer who would do a 500-copy print run. And he was conveniently located near my place of work! I took Gayle F.’s original artwork in. The cover for T’hy’la 4 was a non- explicit piece. Kirk and Spock are seated, wearing colorful robes, and looking extraordinarily satisfied with themselves. The printer looked it over when I brought it in. I could just see a big question mark appearing over his head. Since he was only doing the cover, not the text, I didn’t bother telling him any details about the project. When I came back to pick up the finished work, he started joking and said he’d finally figured it out: “Mr. Spock is Captain Kirk’s wife!” I laughed and said yes, he’d figured it out. He laughed again, clearly thinking he was making a big joke and that the piece itself was quite innocent. I didn’t bother telling him otherwise.”
How far do you try to match the fictional content with the artistic? Do you try to illustrate the stories you print, or let art stand alone as a separate treat?: Responses to this question vary. Kathy Resch says that “99% of the time, I commissioned art to match the stories. There were a few rare exceptions when a piece came in that matched a story or poem. However in 1995, I moved away from having stories illustrated and toward showcasing individual artists and their work in frontispieces and portfolios. I had the artwork reproduced on a better, thicker stock of paper. Once the text pages were reproduced, either my printer or myself would collate the art in with the text pages.”

Other Fans Comment

Kathy Resch has been such a wonderful and long- term influence in fandom, and even though I knew the basics of her involvement through knowing her since my own humble beginnings, I learned some new details about her. I could have happily sat through an even longer interview. One thing that she didn’t really expound on, that I think has contributed nicely to her influence in K/S (and other fandoms), is her physical presence at so many cons over so many years. She is like an ambassador of K/S in other fandoms, and an ambassador of the other fandoms in K/S, too. (Yet I personally claim her as a K/S’er.) Having seen the evolvement of K/S and other fandoms over the years, Kathy has an insight that is a treasure to us all. Kathy is such an excellent writer (and editor), and it was inspiring to read the detailed thoughts about her writing—her motivations and K/S sensibilities.[4]

References

  1. Recollection posted in 'The Pages Two and Three K/S-zine heaven (My trip to the University of Iowa Fanzine Archives)', dated March 3, 2011, quoted with permission.
  2. 2006 comments at CI5, Archived version
  3. from The Legacy of K/S in Zines: 1991-1995: Publisher by Publisher
  4. from The K/S Press #111