Thirty years ago, animation fans Don Markstein and GiGi Dane began an amateur press association—an “apa”—devoted to the enjoyment and study of animated cartoons. This was APATOONS. A maximum of 30 members would send copies of their ‘zines to a Central Mailer, who would then circulate copies among the membership.
Copies were not made available to the public. Which meant that members could freely discuss how they felt about the animation scene, without fear of reprisal from those who might be offended. Members could also circulate essays for “fact-checking” and other feedback, before those essays would be published in venues such as Animato!, Comics Buyer’s Guide, and Animation World Network. It also served as a means of networking. Through it, some have obtained jobs in the animation industry.
APATOONS attracted the elite in animation scholarship. Members included animation historians Jim Korkis, Jerry Beck, Amid Amidi, Leonard Maltin, John Cawley, Milton Gray, Mark Mayerson, Harry McCracken, David Gerstein, Mark Kausler, Emru Townsend, Eric Costello, Linda Simensky, Mark Evanier and many others. Evanier, in fact, designed our logo.
Jim Korkis wrote about the legacy of APATOONS for the APATOONS San Diego Sampler #3, which you can read here.
Once in awhile, the group would release its own Sampler issues to the public. These special issues featured articles with information available nowhere else. The APATOONS Sampler #3, for example, featured a treasure trove of research detailed here. It can be purchased through my online store, here.
This week, the final issue of APATOONS is being compiled. This is #165, marking the 30th anniversary of the apa’s existence. It will also be the final printed issue. The group is moving to a new venue that, shall we say, takes full advantage of the digital revolution.
It’s been my pleasure to be involved with this illustrious group. To all my APATOONS friends, I thank you all for the education and insights you’ve provided over the years. I wish you all well.