Barry Alfonso Interview
"I wanted to be a creative person myself. I didn't know in what way, but I wanted to. The idea of meeting a creator of something I loved so much meant a tremendous amount to me. It was really unbelievable to do it."
Barry Alfonso has been drawn to superhero comics since before he could read. He moved to San Diego from Massachusetts in 1965 when he was 7 years old and attended Pacific Beach Junior High and Mission Bay High School. When Barry was just 12 years old, he placed an ad in the Pennysaver expressing his desire to buy back issues of comics. Both Richard Alf and Shel Dorf responded to the ad. Barry introduced Shel to Richard and the rest is pop culture history. At an initial meeting at Shel Dorf's parents' home in the Clairemont area of San Diego, Shel Dorf, Richard Alf, Mike Towry, Bob Sourk, Dan Stewart, and Barry discussed what was to become the first San Diego Comic-Con, "San Diego's Golden State Comic-Con."
He was the youngest member of the Comic-Con planning committee and in 1973, at just 15 years old, Barry became the publicity director. He was awarded the Inkpot Award for his contributions in 1975. His favorite memories of the early Cons are the inclusiveness of the fans and accessibility of the artists. Barry is one of the Five String Mob, introduced by Jack Kirby in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #144 and was also Kirby's inspiration for Klarion the Witch Boy. Barry went on to become a professional writer, interviewer, publicist, and storyteller and currently lives in Pittsburg. You can visit Barry's website at www.barryalfonso.com.
Interviewed by Mark Habegger
MADE POSSIBLE BY
This project was made possible with support from Cal Humanities, an independent non-profit state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit calhum.org.