3 min read

December 1994 and How Arnie Katz Changed My Life

Remembering a long lost friend who made things seem possible for a nerdy teenage fanboy.
(L-R) Bill Kunkel, Arnie Katz, Chris Kohler, Joyce Worley Katz, and Al Riccitelli. Classic Gaming Expo 2002 in Las Vegas.
(L-R) Bill Kunkel, Arnie Katz, Chris Kohler, Joyce Worley Katz, and Al Riccitelli. Classic Gaming Expo 2002 in Las Vegas.

My life has had many chapters. Some of them I am rediscovering. Yesterday I found one of them, the way I usually do: by moving old boxes.

This is your proof positive that I was a published writer in a real live magazine that was sold in real life bookstores and newsstands, when I was 19. Looking back now, I am pretty goddamn proud of that kid.

Sometimes it’s very important to remember how much you’ve already accomplished. This was a chapter of my life that was —temporarily — lost to me. Finding it reminds me that I am capable and strong, and have much to be proud of.

Also, if you are reading this somewhere: Arnie Katz, you were the one who opened the door to fanzines for me. And really, I need to thank Joyce and Bill – all three of Katz Kunkel and Worley – were incredibly kind and supportive to me when I was just 14. I can trace everything I’ve done since then back to that:

I really needed a razor.

My art and my career. My ability to provide a safe home and care for my family. All that jazz.

It really all started with that column in Video Games and Computer Entertainment that you wrote, Arnie, about fanzines, and you encouraged people to make them about video gaming.

The Feb 1990 issue of Video Games & Computer Entertainment, where Arnie Katz first proposed that gaming fans start self-publishing.

13 year old me thought that sounded like a great idea. So I made one on my mom’s typewriter. Two double-sided pages.

I about pissed my pants when I got this issue in the mail.

I had that need to create and connect in me all the time. Arnie gave me the opportunity, and mentored and encouraged me. Imagine a 50 something dude trying to run a magazine, but still making time to talk on the phone for 30-45 minutes with a 14 year old. I peppered him with questions about the video game biz and SF Fandom, and all these things that seemed so important. He tolerated it all, and kept encouraging me and supporting me, even when I made silly mistakes. He gave me opportunities to write in his magazines. To do what he did.

Thank you Arnie. You are a true Mensch.