Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Karen says: Welcome to the Sanctum, part 4

Welcome back to part 4 of my own little magical mystery tour of my comics room, or The Sanctum, as I like to call it. Today we'll be looking at the southwest corner, which is home to both the Justice League of America and all things Star Trek.

Besides Marvel Comics, Star Trek is probably the other major influence on my childhood. When I say Star Trek, I'm talking old school here: the original show, with the legendary team of Kirk and Spock (and McCoy too). Although I did enjoy Next Generation, and I really liked Deep Space Nine, classic Trek is and always shall be, my favorite.

On my bookshelf here you will see a signed photo of Kirk and Spock. For some reason I really dug the black and white picture, and managed to get it signed by William Shatner and then a year later, signed by Leonard Nimoy. It's one of my favorite items in my collection.

On the table in front of the photo are a variety of Trek knick-knacks, including a Spock button I purchased way back in 1975 at the San Diego Comic Con -my first convention -and some poker chips from the Las Vegas Hilton, former home of the Star Trek Experience. There's also a nice communicator replica that a friend got for me. As a kid I had a ton of Trek toys, models, Mego figures, etc, but that stuff is all gone now. Mostly I just have my books and autographed photos.

On the wall to the left of that photo are autographed pics of Shatner and Ricardo Montalban. I was very lucky to see Montalban at a Star Trek Creation Convention in Pasadena; I believe it was his only convention appearance. He was a wonderful speaker; I enjoyed his honesty, as he said there was no work for "crippled old mexicans" in Hollywood! Still, despite his obvious frustrations, he was a perfect gentleman, and despite being in considerable pain from back problems, he signed hundreds of autographs, and was gracious and friendly when I spoke to him.

I have gotten Shatner's autograph three times now. Although I have an insane admiration and love for The Man, he can be somewhat indifferent when signing. I did manage to get his attention one time when I mentioned that I loved his film Incubus, a film where all of the dialogue was in Esperanto. That got a very strange look from him. I don't know if he thought I was joking, or if he was afraid I was serious and possibly dangerous.

Nimoy on the other hand has been very friendly the couple of times I have met him. Unlike his Spock role, he seems to be a very warm guy. I also met George Takei (Sulu) outside of a convention panel one time and had a brief conversation with him, which resulted in taking a photo together. A year later, I returned to the convention and brought the photo for him to autograph. He looked at it and said, "I remember this!" and we chatted briefly, much to the annoyance of the folks in line behind me! Another good egg was the late James Doohan (Scotty). Back in the days before the Trek cons became so commercialized - ie, back when autographs were free! - I was able to meet Doohan a couple of times. He was a gregarious guy and loved talking to people. After one show in San Francisco, I spotted him in a gourmet market at Fisherman's Wharf, strolling around shopping. People came up to him and he was just as nice as could be.

Then on the other hand...I hate to say this, because the character of Uhura is so dear to me, but Nichelle Nichols was not the nicest person I ever got to sign. I think the reason for this was, the photo I asked her to sign was a group shot from Star Trek II, and her face was partially in shadow. All I know is, when I slid the photo before her, she looked at it, then looked up at me with a frown. She then turned to a friend sitting next to her and pointed to the picture. Her friend then also frowned at me. She signed it but said nothing to me. A few years later at another convention, the program explicitly stated that "Ms. Nichols will not sign photos where her face is obscured". Well OK!

The other residents of this area are the Justice League. I absolutely love the Bruce Timm Justice League cartoon and these large and small figures are here because of that. The glasses are ancient history. I got them from Taco Bell back in the mid70s. At one time I had all of them - the set included not just the ones here but also Superman and Wonder Woman - but only Aquaman, Batman, and Robin have survived. Unfortunately we didn't know back in those days not to put these glasses in the dishwasher! Because of that they are quite faded, but I still enjoy having them around to look at.

Up above this area of the room, I have some small sci fi posters, and a couple of copies of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, signed by the late, wonderful Forrest Ackerman. I had been hoping to get Ray Harryhausen's autograph on the same magazines at the same time but unfortunately I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe some day though...

Last but not least, although it's not technically part of the sanctum, my tiki mug shelf would be in the sanctum if I still had any wall space! These tiki mugs, shot glasses, coasters, and swizzles sticks come from a variety of tiki bars (and stores) chiefly in California and Arizona. What's ironic about all this is I'm not actually a drinker -I just like the way they look! I'm particularly fond of the top shelf, which includes a nifty rocket decanter, as well as robot and space-alien mugs. A good source for cool tiki mugs is Tiki Farm ( There's just something about the tiki aesthetic; it fits in perfectly with comics, sci fi flicks, and monsters! One of these days, I'll have to provide a tour of the Orbit Room, my outdoor tiki patio/lounge. But we'll save that for another time! I hope you all enjoyed this little glimpse at one woman's idea of heaven.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you like my space tikis.


Karen said...

Hello Flounder!

I love the space tikis. They were absolutely perfect for the vibe I wanted for that room. I need to put up some more shelves so I can give them some friends!


Joplin John said...


I've read your Sanctum posts several times with great interest. You have an awesome collection and I was just wondering, is this "sanctum" confined to one room, or do you have your stuff up all over your house? I _think_ you and I are around the same age; I'm something of a closet nerd and it's really starting to bubble to the surface! Right now I have a Kirby/Ross poster of Captain America over my desk, flanked by a pic of Lon Chaney Jr as the Wolf Man, and a photo-copied pic of John Buscema's Conan pinup from Savage Sword #17, and I've been kind of sheepish about that. Deep down I'd plaster the place wall-to-wall with movie posters, comics, and other goodies from the '70's. It's really nice to see someone with the courage to embrace their geekery for all to see!

Karen said...

Hi John,

The "Sanctum" is just one room in our home, but we have a few geeky things in our office area too ( the tiki mugs occupy the guest bedroom, which has a tiki/polynesian flavor). The wonderful thing is, both my husband and I are comics geeks, so it works out great. We have agreed to keep the downstairs (living room, dining room, kitchen) relatively "normal" looking. But the upstairs is a lot more reflective of our personalities.

Actually, the room has changed a LOT since last December. I might have to post some updated pictures. It's gotten crazy with posters and figures!

I encourage you to embrace your inner geek!


Horace said...

WRATH OF KHAN poster. Cool. ALIEN poster. Very cool. That film rules.

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