Anime World Order Show # 131 – Robert W. Gibson: All About the Man, Part 2

This is not our standard style episode, in that we’ve recorded it using mobile recording equipment across a variety of locations throughout Anime Weekend Atlanta 2014. In this episode, we talk to veteran anime fan Robert W. Gibson, who was there on the “ground floor” of the birth of “anime fandom” in the United States during his years in Texas. Topics include growing up in Japan, the San Antonio chapter of the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization, Ben Dunn, Randall Stukey, Star Blazers, and why Fist of the North Star is the greatest. You may also hear occasional interjections from Tim Eldred, Ardith Carlton, and possibly Neil Nadelman, all of whom were in the vicinity at points. (We were unable to get an interview with Ardith at the convention, but perhaps we’ll get to do something over Skype. No guarantees on that.)

Why is this “Part 2”? There’s a little overlap in content, but Part 1 of the interview with Robert W. Gibson can be found at Cosmo DNA, in which Robert talks to Tim Eldred more in-depth about his days as an active fan and how he came to end up working in comics on titles such as Queen Emeraldas and Captain Harlock. Scanned PDF copies included!

In the meantime, here are some general timecodes. I’ll fill in more later. We also have pictures, to be added later. Here for example are the Astro Boy sandals from the 1960s that Robert wore as a child:

05:30 – Robert on his childhood in the 1960s and 1970s and the titles which he enjoyed growing up, anime and otherwise
14:00 – Further confirmation that the majority of Hanna-Barbera animation was lame even when it was first-run, and what was required to get copies of uncut episodes of Jonny Quest
18:30 – Moving to Texas, getting into what’s now considered “Silver Age” comics, having to choose between Marvel and DC, and similarly needing to decide between Star Blazers and Battle of the Planets
22:30 – On watching a serialized narrative such as Star Blazers in an era where you couldn’t access the first episodes on demand
25:00 – Exposure to fandom by way of non-anime cons, comicbook shops, and SF magazine publications makes you end up watching a double feature consisting of 2001: A Space Odyssey followed by Barbarella and perhaps learn THE REAL TRUTH behind why “Revenge” of the Jedi became “Return”
31:00 – How hanging out in a comicbook shop leads to creating fanzines for conventions and meeting Ben Dunn pre-Antarctic Press: never before has the intersection of Batman, Moon Knight, and Speed Racer been more vital
34:00 – Getting roped into the Austin Cartoon/Fantasy Organization by Ben Dunn
37:00 – The necessity of needing to know Air Force members/DC Comics enthusiasts/furries to get information about anime
39:00 – The status of the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization in the 1980s, and forming the San Antonio chapter. Other topics: the Earth Defense Command and the advantage one can get going to Mexico to buy rebranded Fang of the Sun Dougram toys to sell in the United States
43:30 – Robert’s history and introduction to Fist of the North Star; initially he only saw the first episode then episodes in the 40s
47:00 – At this point we’re recording out on the convention floor
01:21:00 – The interview resumes in Tim Eldred’s hotel room, as Ardith Carlton hangs out in the background relatively silent

8 Replies to “Anime World Order Show # 131 – Robert W. Gibson: All About the Man, Part 2”

  1. There was a Cat’s Eye episode where one of the girls explains a phone call for Cat’s Eye by basically saying “well, since our shop’s name is Cat’s Eye, we get phone calls like that a lot”.

    Yup, the name of the shop *helps keep their secret identity*.

    1. I actually found and bought the first 2 DVDs of Cat’s Eye from the Imagine Asian order-on-demand DVDs at BanzaiCon a couple of weeks ago that the guy next too my booth was selling. I got 10 episodes for 2 bucks, I think I did good there.

      I am hoping RWG comes back to blog about something, I don’t care what it is. Good interview guys!!!!

  2. Dear Awo your episodes on older or less known anime help new fans discover the ANIMELOVE very true…
    Episodes like this or Tim Eldred talking about Votoms, the interview with Noboru Ishiguro, Walter Amos and Rob Fenelon ect ect
    help crazy guys like me reinforce the power of our ANIMELOVE. Honestly what other podcast is helping capture the history of the
    original american anime fandom, the history of these fans better than this podcast? Thats why I love you Awo big kiss(Muuwhaa)!!
    Shows like this episode inspire me to get off my ass and get my own podcast back on track. Thanks for carrying the flame guys.

  3. I was a kid in Carter-era Houston (bumper sticker—CARTER: KISS MY GAS) yet until this podcast I had no idea Battle of the Planets and Star Blazers were showing locally on TV, although I remember watching Speed Racer re-runs on UHF. How could I have missed those shows? Crabs…gotta get ’em!

    1. It varied from town to town what was bought and shown. I’m sure the introduction and eventual expansion of UHF television brought out all sorts of new distribution avenues for syndication firms to offer programming that could be shown on these stations at different times of the day depending on what the station favored. That’s why Speed Racer wasn’t seen in a nationwide fashions as stations either picked it up and dropped it after a year. Another one might come around and offer it a few years down the line and then it’s gone. Syndication was like that especially in the 70’s. Bigger TV markets like Chicago probably saw quite a lot more content than those medium/smaller communities that barely had more than 2 commercial channels to watch.

      Having grown up past this period, I never did get to try DX-ing the hell out of the TV dial for those stations outside my town that would’ve played the stuff I would’ve watched. What I can do though is bother looking up info in library microfiche of what was offered locally, like noticing one station aired Marine Boy around 1969, right before Romper Room! A decade later, they tried their hand on “Battle of the Planets” but dropped it halfway through the year and replaced it with Tom & Jerry, it’s painfully obvious they didn’t get any local ratings/sponsors for that one, though Toledo really had quite an audience for that kind of thing I came to learn later in life. As a kid in the 80’s, I already had that new friend in the house called “Cable Television”, and a particular channel called “Nickelodeon” that otherwise opened my eyes up to there being more than just Saturday morning with the odd amount of foreign toonage they carried. I give that channel credit more than anything for given me a reason to watch “Belle & Sebastian”, “Mysterious Cities of Gold” and the occasional oddity left unsaid….

  4. T’was a great time, guys and gals! Well, with the exception of the whole fire alarm thing. Walking up and down ten flights of stairs in my condition is not fun.

    I dunno what to tell you Carl. It might have been late 1979 that they stopped broadcasting both shows, but I made it through long enough to see just about every episode of Star Blazers in the first two seasons.

    ZK, the blog is, sadly, probably dead. As the staff of AWO can attest, I’m slowly but surely giving away all of my camera-ready material and currently have no way of taking pictures anyway. Plus, I’ve misplaced my passwords to and can’t even log in my own website. I never was that computer savvy, and it’s just getting worse with age…

    That said, I was reinvigorated a bit by AWA and am trying my pest to post comments on Dave M’s, Tim’s, and this site (assuming they get around to actually doing some real work about here :-).

    I’ll be around for as long as the good Lord wills it. Plenty more tales to tell.

    RWG (plus, my AOL email addy is always checked at least once a day)

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