History of the National Capital Area Panthans

(Question……was there a precursor group in the area? – well, sort of)

In 1973, Hal Peters, a young high school student, formed the Washington D.C. area Chapter of the Burroughs Bibliophiles. Members of this early chapter were Hal, Shawn Cassidy, Bill Ross and Steve Forrester. At least four meetings were held – one at each members home. By mid 1974 the chapter had dissolved, prior to a Dum-Dum held at Discon II in Washington, DC...

National Capital Panthans (Washington, DC – Maryland – Virginia)

This official chapter came into being as a result of conversations between John Tyner, Bill Ross, and J.G. “Huck” Huckenpöhler during the 1995 Dum-Dum in Rutland, VT, where they discussed the idea of “getting together from time to time.” Drawing on the mailing database that Bill Ross maintained for his fanzine at the time, ERB Collector, invitations were sent out to people in the northern Virginia, southern Maryland, and Washington, DC area.

The first meeting was held in Huck’s apartment in Washington, DC on Sunday 22nd September 1996, with eight attendees -- Huck, John Tyner, Bill Ross, Fred Mallon, Cole and Sandy Richardson, Shawn Cassidy and Bill Morse. Eleven copies of the National Capital Panthans (title changed to National Capital Panthans Journal with issue number 2) were printed and each attendee received a copy. From the beginning, the Panthans established a regime of monthly meetings, usually the first Sunday of every month. The schedule for a calendar year, along with a topic for discussion during each meeting, is published before the start of the year, with meetings usually held at a member’s home (occasionally a Saturday night dinner to foster the social aspect of the group supersedes a Sunday gathering). Members also bring copies of their submissions for the Panthans Journal. Bill collates, staples, and distributes copies of the journal on the spot. Original covers are produced by a number of talented artists, notably Mark Wheatley of Insight Studios Group. Other favorite cover artists in the past included Frank Cho and the late Harry Roland (several of Cho’s pieces created for the journal have been featured in highly desirable books collecting his artwork).

The Panthans also produce a monthly Panthan Newsletter, which is e-mailed to members before the next meeting, chronicling the activities of the last meeting, listing contents of the last Journal, and announcing the next gathering. The newsletter is a cooperative editorial effort between Huck Huckenpöhler and Bill Ross. At this writing (December 2015), there have been 230 Journals and 230 Newsletters, four “Panthans Journal Highlights” compilations and one “Best of” artwork portfolio.

Very active as a chapter in Burroughs fandom, the Panthans have hosted four annual Dum-Dum conventions and five ECOF conferences so far (see below). Hosting fan gatherings this regularly, the Panthans have occasionally created special “best-of” compilations of their journal to debut for sale at a convention. So far, they have published four ”Panthans Journal Highlights”. For the last eight years, with the creation of The Muckers chapter in the Chicago area, who publish a quarterly journal, a special combined edition of the Panthans Journal and The Mucker Magazine is created at the Dum-Dum, reminiscent of the “Ace Double” paperback book editions. The Panthans’ most interesting publishing endeavor was an original trade paperback book released in 2010, Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Second Century, bringing together articles, stories, editorials, and artwork. This book can be purchased online through amazon.com and other web-based outlets. Special tee-shirts, buttons, etc were sold at one time, listed online, but have sold out. Past Journal issues are still available however. In 2015, the Panthans commissioned a special hardback edition of “Jungle Tales of Tarzan” which featured special artwork, dustjacket and signatures of the current Burroughs family members.

The Panthans have no officers, no official membership, and no dues. However, they have an unofficial “Quaestor,” John Tyner, to manage the funds maintained for miscellaneous administrative needs and an unofficial secretary, J.G. Huckenpohler, who takes Minutes at their meetings. The Panthan Newsletter is available to members that have an email address. Local members are expected to contribute in kind rather than via dues, by hosting a meeting and/or paying for copying and distributing meeting materials. The Panthans Journal goes only to those who attend the meeting and/or submit a journal contribution.

The Panthans have an online e-mail discussion group called the PanthaNet which is the main information-sharing mechanism for all members. This is not to be confused with Jeff Long’s Panthan Press, now based out of Chicago, as Jeff had been a member of the Panthans in the 1990s, but then moved to the Windy City where he became a Mucker when they formed.

Current Panthan membership is 45, and while their monthly meeting attendance has ranged from a low of six to a high of 21, the average number is 12-14 attendees. However, several of those meetings that kicked off Dum-Dums or ECOF gatherings have reached 50 attendees. There are about 20 members from outside the mid-Atlantic area. Most importantly, there are no dues as such for being a member.

Normally creating 25 copies of each Journal edition, except for conventions, copies of the Journal not distributed at meetings have been sold at ERB conventions and other venues.

For a number of years, the Panthans contributed to a long-standing derivative – LaurenceCon. As a joke Bill Ross, when writing for the ERB-APA about Laurence Dunn’s trip to Pittsburgh, PA for the annual Pittsburgh ComicCon, called the event LaurenceCon. Mike Conran, Bill Ross, Fred Mallon and Cole Richardson were regular attendees and most of them stayed at Bob Hyde’s home. Well, the joke turned serious, and LaurenceCon included attendance at a number of Panthan meetings. Special Panthans Journal covers and pins celebrating the event were created.

Events hosted by the Panthans include:
• 1998 Dum-Dum in Baltimore, MD;
• 1999 ECOF Gathering in Gaithersburg, MD;
• 2003 ECOF Gathering in Baltimore, MD;
• 2006 ECOF Gathering with Dum-Dum Banquet in Rockville, MD;
• 2010 ECOF Gathering in Washington-Baltimore-Shenandoah Caverns, VA;
• 2011 Dum-Dum in Pocatello, ID (co-host Chicago Muckers);
• 2013 Dum-Dum in Louisville, KY; (co-host Chicago Muckers);
• 2015 ECOF Gathering in Rockville, MD.

For more information about the Panthans, contact:
John Tyner, II
P.O. Box 673
Rockville, MD 20848-0673

Website: www.panthans.org

(as of 12/2015)