• Roger Green (here’s Roger’s most excellent blog) and I find ourselves on an end-of-summer expedition:
  • To record, as best we can, a more personalized overview of the FantaCo Enterprises history. As noted in my last post, this began as a ‘corrective’ to the Wikipedia entry for FantaCo currently standing, but it also builds nicely on the groundwork Roger established with his FantaCo posts on “Ramblin with Roger” and similar bedrock I laid earlier this spring with a series of posts about Gore Shriek and FantaCo.

    Roger was with FantaCo in its formative and early years, including those involving FantaCo and FantaCo proprietor Tom Skulan’s first publishing ventures; my experience with Tom and FantaCo rather handily pick up almost precisely from the point in time Roger departed FantaCo’s employ, and my time with Tom and FantaCo involved GoreShriek (from its debut issue, which my story “Cottomouth” — soon to be a movie! — appeared in), Shriek and the beginning of the Clive Barker/Night of the Living Dead years. I was out of the FantaCo stable by 1990, though my work with and at Tundra kept me attuned to much that was going on at FantaCo during the early ’90s. The goal for Roger and I is to post a more accurate, personalized online history of the company — in part via interviews with others who worked with and at FantaCo.

    GS 4 cvr

    Greg Capullo’s amazing cover to Gore Shriek #4, still my favorite issue of the series. Color seps by Bruce Spaulding Fuller; art © 1988, 2008 Greg Capullo and Bruce Spaulding Fuller; ‘Gore Shriek’ is a trademark of FantaCo Enterprises, Inc.

    So, a refresher of links to bring you up to date with ground already covered, and a few additional links I’ve since found that are worth bringing to your attention.

  • Here’s as handy a starting point as any: “Ramblin’ with Roger”‘s post with links to Fred and Lynn Hembeck’s photos of the 1980 FantaCon, the first of Roger’s FantaCo-related strolls down memory lane. This November 2007 entry also mentions what 21 Central Avenue (where FantaCo was located in Albany, NY) has since become.
  • Roger’s January 2008 interview with Fred Hembeck establishes some primary publishing history for FantaCo: the first FantaCon (1979), the first Hembeck comic, which happened to be the first FantaCo comic publication (1980), and so on. Critical info here on FantaCo’s formative years, folks, which brings us up to about 1983 in FantaCo’s history (including the critical role cartoonist Raoul Vezina played).
  • The late Raoul Vezina and his FantaCo comic, Smilin’ Ed Smiley, were absolutely essential to FantaCo; Roger continually references Raoul, but I’ve yet to find anything comprehensive on the man, his art, his comics, and his import to FantaCo; perhaps Roger will get into that in the future (or steer us to a post I’ve not excavated from his blog).
  • (Roger’s post about Fred’s 55th birthday is worth a read, too.)
  • hglbook.jpg

  • Here’s Roger’s Juno inspired memories of FantaCo’s classic 1983 book on the films of Herschell Gordon Lewis, director of Blood Feast and 2000 Maniacs (among others), the followup to FantaCo’s groundbreaking John McCarty book Splatter Movies (1981); these two tomes put FantaCo and Tom Skulan on the map as a serious contender in the horror market.
  • Alan David Doane’s interview with Roger fills in more FantaCo history, and introduces the all-important FantaCo Chronicles series and Gates of Eden, a top-notch one-shot anthology that’s sadly forgotten today.
  • A FantaCon art jam prompted more memories for Roger, here,
  • and a personal journal entry from 1987 gives a tidy snapshot of life in the FantaCo lane, circa that year,
  • and the 1987 San Diego Comic Convention, via Roger’s experience there working the FantaCo booth.
  • (And this curious post offers a snapshot of Tom Skulan’s occasional generosity to his employees, in this case Roger, as well as introducing Mitch Cohn, who is also key to FantaCo’s history.)
  • Sold Out cvr

  • Here’s more on Mitch, and about Sold Out, FantaCo’s parody of the 1980s black-and-white comics boom and bust.
  • Among other FantaCo publications, Mitch edited The Daredevil Chronicle, a series central to FantaCo’s 1980s publishing ventures that Roger gets into here,
  • here (check out the Raoul Vezina caricature of Roger on this post, too),
  • and most of all here, with “Chronicles of the Fantastic Four Chronicles”, which is a gem.
  • The Chronicles had just about run their course when I came aboard, and my own blog postings on FantaCo concentrate on the Gore Shriek years,

  • starting (once you scroll down past the Christian dating service screed) with my first FantaCo post prompted by Anthony Layton’s query,
  • and culminating in the Gore Shriek ‘Memories’ posts; here’s Part One,
  • Part Two,
  • Part Three,
  • and Part Four, which was my last intensive installment.
  • It’s gratifying to see Rolf Stark getting his due from the folks at Deathwish Industries (give this a read),
  • and this site is still the best one-stop place to get a taste of Gore Shriek online.
  • I think that provides a full menu; there more be more out there, but this’ll do for the jump start and catch-up. Next, meat and potatoes info from folks who were there…

    Discussion (5) ¬

    1. Roger Green

      Steve – Most excellent!!
      My plan is to write about the Spider-Man Chronicles (and a little on the Avengers Chronicles, which Mitch edited) on August 28, and about Raoul in general in November, on the 25th anniversary of his death, which will invariably touch on Smilin’ Ed.
      I’ve talked to John Hebert about writing about Sold Out and he’s written one installment. Mitch had indicated an interest in wtriting about Gates of Eden and Deja Vu sometime, but this isn’t firm. Mario Bruni indicated an interest in writing about Mars Attacks! but don’t know details.
      That pretty much leaves, doing my tenure, Mug Shots by John Caldwell- I should contact him; Splatter Movies, which I’ve alluded to but that really was Tom’s baby, and Alien Encounters, which came to FantaCo prepackaged so there isn’t much for me to say except that it looked purty and sold relatively poorly.
      Oh, there were some other things: Video Screams (before its time), those two HG Lewis books that I think were screenplays, Deep Red (cover date for #1 Dec ’87), and Midnight Marquee #37 (not #33, as my memory suggested). that came out in Sept 88, just before I left. I have in front of me the first 5 Deep red magazines, but again, all Tom (except for the shipping of same to distributors, which was mostly me.) . Also Gore Score (also Chas Balun, c. 1985). ; I found a second e-mail address for him; the fiirst was a bust.

      I will send this post to Messrs. Doane, Caldwell, Balun, Hembeck, Cohn, Bruni, Hebert, Rocco Nigro, Bill Anderson, plus the folks at the competing stores that are still extant (Earthworld, Aquilonia, Electric City Comics), to give them an idea what we’re looking to do.

    2. srbissette

      Thanks, Roger — I’m going to touch base with Chas, too, and I’ll pursue John McCarty, who I’ve known for years (but usually only see in March at CineFest, which Marge and I no longer attend). I have VIDEO SCREAMS and the other FantaCo genre fare, along with a complete set of FANGORIA (the ads will come in handy for referencing release dates and so on), and will cover the horror material in due course.

      I’d love to know what happened to MARS ATTACKS; it was another brilliant bit of licensing that was somewhat ahead of its time. The lack of market support for many FantaCo ventures — meaning the distributors wouldn’t get behind FantaCo’s efforts, more often than not — was a constant bugaboo.

      Check out the growing comment thread on the previous post, folks; we’re seeing some substantial material relative to this discussion being aired.

    3. srbissette

      PS: I have the Lewis books, too. They weren’t screenplays, they were reprints (new editions, in quite handsome repackaging) of the movie novelizations Lewis himself had published in the 1960s to tie-in and promote his current productions. FantaCo reprinting two, BLOOD FEAST and 2000 MANIACS; I’ve since found (back in the ’90s) in Florida used book shops and paperback exchanges copies of the original printings of two others, COLOR ME BLOOD RED and MOONSHINE MOUNTAIN. Once I excavate my copies of those jewels, I’ll do a single post on the HG Lewis material, including cover scans.

    4. Roger Green

      I have those HG Lewis books too, somewhere. Tells you what I know; never read them, which sorta was my reason for eventually leaving; we were publishing it, but I was not reading it. I did read Splatter Movies and HGL, but the latter stuff, not so much..

    5. Dave MacDowell

      Great read and find. I did a few illustrations/storys for Gore Shriek back in the day. It was my first “real” art job, kinda. No more comic work..Now I just paint funky paintings for a living. Thanks for the wicked ride down memory lane!

    Comment ¬

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