Why is Ken important? Because in the late 1960s he reached out to a scattered neighborhood of green youngsters and introduced them to professional publishing, cheap collector’s items, fan and pro history… I could go on and on, but Ken Krueger was one of my earliest publishers of both literary essays and artwork. He clearly believed in my potential, and also believed that my friends—many of them high school buddies–had equal or greater potential. He encouraged and informed, he smoked and fumed, he was nothing like Politically Correct in either word or deed—but there was affection, sympathy, and all of it was pretty selfless, in the end, though he might never have admitted it. He simply enjoyed herding a bunch of wet-behind-the-ears kids into doing what he knew they were capable of doing. And that led to a ring of professional careers, to Comic-Con International, and to some of the yet-to-be-recognized glory days of Southern California culture. He looked like a dissolute devil, sitting in his cluttered office behind a cloud of cigar smoke, but he was our angel. And I was privileged to be able to tell him so, and convey my respect and affection, in my home town of San Diego, just a few months ago. Even then, sitting in a wheelchair, Ken was undeniably the same wickedly handsome guy who cajoled and browbeat us into doing it right.
Bravo to a life well lived!
Greg Bear is the author of MARIPOSA, DARWIN’S RADIO, EON, THE FORGE OF GOD, and many other novels and short stories. He was among the miscreants who helped create Comic-Con international, and his youthful puns inspired numerous attempts at homicide. He is best known for being high school buddies with David Clark, John Pound, Scott Shaw, Phil Tippett—as well as Forry Ackerman and Ray Bradbury, who were not in high school at the time, but put up with us anyway. Bear still reads Edgar Rice Burroughs and H.P. Lovecraft. Sometimes he even watches STAR TREK. It is his fondest dream to host a movie or TV premiere at Comic-Con.