Emanuel Maris speaks out …
"Well, suppose I set the story straight(er), as to my reasons for writing the Heidi poem in the Creation '74 (Jan) program I edited and published for Malin/ Berman's convention.
"I always harboured a little bit of attitude against entrants for a Costume Parade Prize who didn't personally make their own costumes (like 'buying' a prize away from those fans who worked hard - or using steroids in a sports event).
"However, I always was polite to the Saha's and their daughter, even when Heidi's mom pestered me for photo's of past events with Heidi.
"The turning point came when Phil held a reception for the guests and workers of the '73 July Comic Art Convention [for which I ran the dealers room]. Held in one of the smaller ballrooms with large banquet-style round tables, one table was taken by Neal Adams and his Crusty Bunkers, and so on.
"I witnessed the following up close:
"Heidi's mom physically dragged an on-the-verge-of-tears Heidi into this reception, along with a cassette boom-box, which she turned on and nastily (sic) ordered Heidi to pirouette around the room. Heidi refused. Her mom got louder and nastier. Heidi again refused and started crying. Her mom then slapped her hard.
"The conversation in the room stopped, all eyes on this embarrassing scene. The entire Adams table got up and walked out, followed en masse by most of the guests. The reception prematurely over.
"I felt really bad for Heidi. And my suspicion of that *xxxx* of a mother's politic in USING her to vicariously live through her daughter was confirmed in spades.
"So later that year, I saw a picture of a young girl in Gallery magazine who was reminiscent of Heidi - and all of a sudden an idea popped into my head (at that point I had already been commissioned to produce the Creation program booklet) on how to make a public comment that would force the issue, and perhaps foment a situation wherein her mother would cease such behaviour.
"With a word she commands her 'bout the floor" (from my Stairway To Heaven parody).
"Al Schuster (who started the Star Trek conventions, and was also the printer for many fan related publications in the comic and SF worlds, and also of this booklet) decided to put his ad directly across from this page - and he was a friend of the Saha's!
"Many people/ artists/ writers, including witnesses to the reception travesty such as Neal Adams, came up to congratulate me for having taken such bold action. Others whom I had been friendly with beforehand, such as the Saha's good friend Gray Morrow, never spoke to me again.
"At night of the first day, Art Saha came running up to me in the lobby screaming, "That's not my daughter!" and proceeded to throttle me against a wall, my feet off the ground. I said it wasn't, he accused me of using a "spoonerism" (named after a certain preacher of the 19th century who would switch the first letters of two sequential words in his sermons to make a point humorously). Phil Seuling came to the rescue, and man-handled Art off of me.
"Phil did not attack me, Phil did not ban me from his conventions. Ahh, blogging is far worse - and more damaging - than the game of "telephone".
"The results are well known and can be seen by anyone by viewing the booklet - hopefully the less dim-wits amongst this blog can see that this attacked the manipulative mother, NOT the daughter.
"Warren himself was tight-lipped, but civil. He came up to me and expressed his sorrow that my father had passed (a couple of days before the convention). Future issues of Warren mags no longer advertised the Heidi book - he presumably had the rest destroyed as a result of the reception.
"Heidi herself understood - while walking away from her room on the eve of the second night, a few doors down from mine, one of her girlfriends peeled off from her clique and came up to me: "Heidi says 'Thank You' ".
"She knew (or hoped) her parents (mother and weak father) would never do this to her again."