Joshua Hall – Games Manager
I’ve been a customer of Fanfare since 1986 and was hired on September 30th, 1990. My addition to the Fanfare team was to expand on the growing gaming department as I’d convinced them I knew a thing or two about gaming. Today I manage our game selection, most gaming events, many aspects of our comic subscription service, and do a lot of general troubleshooting. As with most of our staff, I’m a fan of many facets of the store.
The first comic I ever bought with my own money was Fantastic Four Annual #6 when I was about 8 years old. I had invited myself along with my childhood friend Steve’s family when they were off to an outdoor flea market. I’m pretty sure I still owe Steve’s folks $4 for my comic. Steve had a pretty cool collection of comics, including many Treasury editions, which we spent many rainy days (and some sunny days) reading. I didn’t own many comics but my collection included the pocket digest version of Fantastic Four #1-6, which I read literally to death (it fell apart and has been discarded). This is probably what led me to FF Annual #6.
Many years later, when I was a junior at Loy Norrix High School, I was taking an art class and one of my classmates told me about X-Factor #1 and about Fanfare. The concept of seeing the original X-Men back together intrigued me and so I checked out our new (at the time) local comic book specialty store. It wasn’t long before I was reading many Marvel comics, branching out as the Mutant Massacre raged.
Nowadays I read mostly non-superhero books, skewing toward the fantasy and whimsical titles. I currently list Fables as my favorite current comic series but, seeing as it is one issue from done, Atomic Robo will step up to fill that gap. I also read many of the offerings from Image and Vertigo with the occasional Marvel event. All-New X-Men brought me back to the roots of my comic reading by re-re-introducing the original X-Men team. My favorite DC publication of all time is Starman (and all related stories) by James Robinson and Tony Harris.
I began gaming in 1981 when my mother purchased the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set, intending it to be a family game. I was the only one who really even looked sideways at the box. My friends and I all played the game completely wrong (curses like wings and a prehensile tail are pretty easy to live with) but I was hooked. Over the next several years I mostly read D&D stuff, including branching out to Gamma World, Top Secret and Champions. By High School we were also playing some of the new board game offerings like Illuminati and Car Wars.
Currently, when I find the time to game, I play mostly board and card games. My favorite collectible card game, Doomtown, had run its course years ago but has just been given a new lease on life as an expandable card game, the AEG equivalent to Fantasy Flight’s successful line of living card games. I primarily enjoy games of a lighter nature and with a small element of luck involved, such as Takenoko. I’ve also found that I enjoy several of the hidden role games like Coup and my new favorite, One Night Werewolf. Much to my wife’s annoyance, my house is full of games. The trick is finding the time to play. I’m in between role-playing groups at the moment and when my free time loosens up a little I’m hoping to find a group to play Monte Cook’s Numenera, a game which Fanfare helped to Kickstart.
About the same time I found D&D I also stumbled upon Doctor Who. Okay, imagine a time before cable. Can’t do it? Try imagining having only four channels and no DVR (or VCR for that matter). Still tough? Then just bear with me. I was sitting on my parent’s bed surfing these four channels on a rainy afternoon (actually, it was probably a beautiful day but we’ll go with rainy because that makes me sound like less of a shut in). I kept landing on PBS, which was airing some odd science fiction thing with a weird rubber jungle and clean lined space ships. Eventually I finished watching this episode (Planet of Evil, 4th Doctor & Sarah Jane Smith, Tom Baker and Elizabeth Sladen). This culminated in a collection of novelizations and other Whovian nick-nacks which my mom lovingly (mockingly?) called my “shrine to Doctor Who”. I’m still very capable of talking an ear off if allowed.