Orginal Fanboy from Guadalajara, Mexico: Guillermo del Toro in the New Yorker


In 1926, Forrest Ackerman, a nine-year-old misfit in Los Angeles, visited a newsstand and bought a copy of Amazing Stories—a
new magazine about aliens, monsters, and other oddities. By the time he
reached the final page, he had become America’s first fanboy. He
started a group called the Boys’ Scientifiction Club; in 1939, he wore
an outer-space outfit to a convention for fantasy aficionados,
establishing a costuming ritual still followed by the hordes at
Comic-Con. Ackerman founded a cult magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland,
and, more lucratively, became an agent for horror and science-fiction
writers. He crammed an eighteen-room house in Los Feliz with genre
memorabilia, including a vampire cape worn by Bela Lugosi and a model of
the pteranodon that tried to abscond with Fay Wray in “King Kong.”
Ackerman eventually sold off his collection to pay medical bills, and in
2008 he died. He had no children.

But he had an heir. In 1971,
Guillermo del Toro, the film director, was a seven-year-old misfit in
Guadalajara, Mexico. He liked to troll the city sewers and dissolve
slugs with salt. One day, in the magazine aisle of a supermarket, he
came upon a copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland. He bought it,
and was so determined to decode Ackerman’s pun-strewed prose—the letters
section was called Fang Mail—that he quickly became bilingual. 



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