Black Leather Times Science Fiction Conventions


I know you have all heard of Blue Blood, but you may or may not know that the extremely funny and antisocial zine Black Leather Times, or BLT for short, was the first zine produced by the creative people from Blue Blood. BLT turns 25-years-old this Halloween, so they are doing a Kickstarter to produce an omnibus book of 400 pages. The book is planned to contain back issues, reminiscences, and nuts and bolts about technology and production for fellow zinesters. Even though the Silver Anniversary aspect makes me feel old, I am really excited to back this Kickstarter and get this book in.

I first came across BLT at a science fiction convention, so it seems apt that the cover of the convention issue of BLT is one of the photos Blue Blood sent over with their press release about the Kickstarter. This issue contains Tiffany TwistedOne’s really funny and unfortunately all-too-true “Con-Sex Purity Test/Checklist because we all know that this isn’t really a test but a checklist of things to do.” My favorite of these is #12 “With someone that at least five people you know have slept with, but that you have never slept with before.” Sarah McKinley Oakes notes that conventions do not seem as delightfully naughty without having to lie to her mother about where she is for the weekend. Amelia G provides a “Convention Lexicon and Phrase Book” which includes definitions of Mundane “Person I have little in common with who calls me a dork,” Fan “Person I have much in common with who calls me an illiterate punk jerk-off,” and Goth-industrial SM club kid cyerpunk “Person I have much in common with who calls me a poseur.” Too spot on. The centerfold is Amy Splitt instructing how to keep things on the right misanthropic con-hopping level with gentleman in her “Helpful Hints for Misanthropic Sexpots.” Then Amelia G is back with a quiz on whether you will have a healthy convention weekend (spoiler: you probably won’t.) Yr. Kindly Uncle William clocks in with Superhatecon ’95 (’95!) which includes the brilliant, “I go to cons to chase women, too, however they are usually women I’m already supposedly dating. Something about Cons triggers the “ditch-yer-boyfriend-and-talk-to-random-dorks-as-if-they-were-Ed-McMahon-on-your-doorstep” brain cluster…I never meet anyone at local Cons I couldn’t find any night of the week anywhere in town with an open bar…Having given up womanizing, in favor of living to dotage, I have nothing to do at cons except shop and people-watch…One can also drink and raise Hell, I s’pose, but I can do that at home and not have to sleep on shitty hotel carpeting while people I don’t care for under the best of circumstances attempt intercourse within scant feet of me.” The issue then closes with a tell-all on convention bribery by Andrew Greenberg, who I believe, based on other publications from this crew, is the Vampire Developer for White Wolf.

Blue Blood‘s Forrest Black is described as doing Hotel Security, which, also based on other publications from this crew, I believe means he’s responsible for the cool design of the zine. The design of the BLT was both edgy and incredibly cutting edge for the time and still looks good.

In addition to the remarkably painfully insightful wit of the writing, one of the things I love about BLT is the art by Slash. Every time I look at the cover of the convention issue, I see another detail. At first, I see a comic of a bunch of convention attendees of every stripe ready to check in. Then I spot the hotel personnel hiding under the front desk and that one is filling out her last will and testament, while the con goers tap the bell on the counter. Then I spot Spider-Man hanging down behind the drape, looking overwhelmed. There are convention style signs directing people to Guns, X-Files Stuff, Sex Toys, Computer Software, Comics, and Silly Walks. Even the detail on each variety of conventioneer is very fine. And the BLT Kickstarter book will contain a whole collection of these. Like I said, I am really excited to back this Kickstarter and get this book in.

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