FantaCo Enterprises

FantaCo Enterprises

Infobox Company
company_name = FantaCo Enterprises
company_
company_type = Comic publisher, Book publisher, Comic book retailer
company_slogan =
foundation = 1978
founder = Thomas Skulan
key_people =
location = Albany, New York
industry = Comics
homepage =

FantaCo Enterprises was an American comic book publishing company known for its idiosyncratic line-up of mostly black-and-white titles, including the humorous "Hembeck Series" and the horror title "Gore Shriek". FantaCo also published a "Chronicles Series," which catalogued top-selling Marvel Comics titles. In its later years, FantaCo published mostly horror comics "good girl art" comics.

FantaCo began as a comic book store before branching out into publishing books, magazines, and comics. They also hosted FantaCon, a popular Albany-area comics and horror convention. FantaCo was founded by Thomas Skulan and was based in Albany, New York.

Publishing history

FantaCo began in 1978 as a comic book storeGreen, Roger. [http://blogs.timesunion.com/rogergreen/?p=65 "Working on the Raoul Vezina Recollection," Information Without the Bun, TimesUnion.com (June 29, 2008).] ] and mail-order business, before branching out into publishing in 1980. They were located on the first block of Central Avenue in Albany. Many of the store's employees, including owner Tom Skulan, Mitch Cohn, Roger Green, and Raoul Vezina, worked on FantaCo titles in creative capacities. (Vezina drew "Smilin’ Ed" from 1980 until his death in 1983.)

Comics

The company made its mark in the early 1980s with "The Hembeck Series", seven volumes of comics by Fred Hembeck. These magazine-sized black-and-white books poked loving fun at the mainstream comics industry, with Hembeck himself appearing as a cartoon interlocutor with the superheroes he interviewed. During this period, FantaCo also published the "Fantaco Chronicles Series", edited by Mitch Cohn and Roger Green, which exhaustively documented popular Marvel Comics titles like the "X-Men", "Fantastic Four", "Daredevil", "Avengers", and "Spider-Man". A one-shot title published during this period was "Gates of Eden", which featured comics about the 1960s by an impressive array of talent, including John Byrne, Steve Leialoha, Michael T. Gilbert, Trina Robbins, Hembeck, Foolbert Sturgeon, P. Craig Russell, Rick Geary, and Spain Rodriguez.

1986 saw the debut of the horror anthology "Gore Shriek", edited by Stephen R. Bissette, who also contributed stories to each issue. Besides Bissette, other "Gore Shriek" creators of note included Greg Capullo, Bruce Spaulding Fuller, and Gurchain Singh. "Gore Shriek" volume I ran for three years, and is still fondly remembered by horror fans as one of the top comics in that genre. "Gore Shriek Delectus" (1989) collects much of the best material from the first volume. Bissette left FantaCo in 1990, over a dispute about a new FantaCo series based on George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead".Bissette, Stephen R. [http://srbissette.com/?p=1548 "Gore Shriek Memories, Part 4," SRBissette.com (June 14, 2008).] Retrieved August 11, 2008.] ["FantaCo vs Bissette," "The Comics Journal" #138 (Oct. 1990), p. 18.]

FantaCo revived "Gore Shriek" in 1990 and started a new line of horror and zombie-related titles and one-shots. This period was noteworthy for the career jump-starts it gave to young creators like Chynna Clugston ("Bloodletting") and Steve Niles ("King of the Dead", "Night of the Living Dead: London", "Kill Me Slowly", "Scab", and "Uptown Zombies").

FantaCo/Tundra

From 1991-1994, the company co-published a number of Kevin Eastman projects with Eastman's company Tundra Press. Books under the FantaCo/Tundra imprint included "Infectious", "No Guts or Glory", and "Zombie Wars". These projects petered out once Tundra folded in 1993.

Books and magazines

FantaCo published book and magazine in addition to comics; their first book being 1980's "Mug Shots", a book of cartoons by John Caldwell. Later on, FantaCo published more trade books on the subjects of horror films; splatter films; exploitation films; an early guide to horror, science fiction, and fantasy films on videocassette; and even a straight-ahead horror novel. John McCarty authored three books published by FantaCo, and Chas Balun wrote four.

In a similar horror vein, they put out the "FantaCo Horror Yearbook and Price Guide" every year from 1978 until 1996; magazines like "Barbara Steele: An Angel for Satan", "Demonique 4", and the "Comics Enquirer"; twelve issues of "Dread: The Official Clive Barker Newsletter" in 1992–1993; and Clive Barker and "Zombie War" commemorative card sets.

The book "Amazon Women: The Art of Tom Simonton," edited by Tim D'Allaird, was FantaCo's final publication, right on the eve of their closure in 1998.

FantaCon

Publisher Skulan also hosted FantaCon, a popular Albany-area horror conventionDread, Dennis. [http://dennisdread.blogspot.com/2006/03/gore-shriek-memories.html "Gore Shriek Memories," The Battle for Art (Mar. 25, 2006). Retrieved August 11, 2008.] ] and comic book convention that was preferred by many to the "over-crowded Fangoria events." FantaCon lasted from 1979 to 1990.

Decline and closure

With the mid-90s bursting of the speculation bubble, combined with the decline in demand for horror comics, FantaCo started losing money. [Bissette, Stephen R. [http://srbissette.com/?p=1780 "FantaCo In Mind..." SRBissette.com (Aug.15, 2008).] Retrieved August 20, 2008.] From about 1995, their titles shifted to the good girl art of Tom Simonton's "Amazon Woman" comics, and titillating titles like "Babes & Biomechanics", "Lady Dracula", and "Dead Chicks in Lace: Bloodletting Lingerie Special". As a publisher, their last couple of years were exclusively limited to Simonton projects, and in 1998 FantaCo — publisher and retailer — closed its doors for good.

Comic book titles (chronologically)

1980

* "The Hembeck Series" (1980–1983)
** #1 — "Hembeck: The Best of Dateline: @!!?#" (1980)
** #2 — "Hembeck 1980" (1980)
** #3 — "Abbott and Costello Meet the Bride of Hembeck" (1980)
** #4 — "Bah, Hembeck!" (1980)
** #5 — "The Hembeck File" (1981)
** #6 — "Jimmy Olsen's Pal, Fred Hembeck" (1981)
** #7 — "Dial H for Hembeck" (1983)
* "Smilin' Ed Comics" (1980–1983)

1981

* "Alien Encounters"
* "FantaCo's Chronicles Series" (1981–1983)
** #1 — "The X-Men Chronicles" (Dec. 1981)
** #2 — "The Fantastic Four Chronicles" (Feb. 1982)
** #3 — "The Daredevil Chronicles" (Apr. 1982)
** #4 — "The Avengers Chronicles" (June 1982)
** #5 — "The Spider-Man Chronicles" (Aug. 1982)
** Chronicles Annual (1983)

1982

* "Déja Vu"
* "Gates of Eden"

1986

* "Gore Shriek" vol. I (1986–1989)
* "(This is) Sold Out" (1986-1987)

1989

* "Gore Shriek Delectus"
* "Shriek"

1990

* "Gore Shriek" vol. II (1990–1991, including an Annual)

1991

* "Night of the Living Dead" (1991–1992); collected in "Night of the Living Dead" (1991) ISBN 978-0938782209, "Night of the Living Dead/Two" (1992) ISBN 978-0938782209, and "Night of the Living Dead/Three" (1992) ISBN 978-0938782223
* "Night's Children"
* "Vault of Screaming Horror"

1992

* "Danger Brain"
* "Night's Children: Vampyr"
* "Scab"
* "Shriek Special"
* "Tales of Screaming Horror"
* "Uptown Zombies"

1993

* "Blood & Kisses" (1993–1994)
* "Girl Squad X"
* "Kill Me Slowly"
* "Night of the Living Dead: London"
* "Official Comics Enquirer Swimsuit Price Guide Annual"

1994

* "Air Warriors"
* "Amazon Woman" (1994–1996, including some Specials)
* "Attack of the Amazon Girls"
* "Blood Gothic"
* "King of the Dead"
* "Night of the Living Dead: Zombie Genesis"
* "Sand Demon"
* "Weird West"

1995

* "Amazon Tales"
* "Babes & Biomechanics"
* "Bloodletting" (1995–1996)
* "Heatseaker"
* "Lady Dracula"

1996

* "Badderdude"
* "Dead Chicks in Lace: Bloodletting Lingerie Special"

1997

* "Amazing Colossal Amazon Woman"
* "Amazon Woman Beach Party"
* "Amazon Woman Christmas Special"

1998

* "Amazon Woman: Jungle Album" trade paperback ISBN 978-0938782438
* "Clash of the Amazing Colossal Women"

Fantaco/Tundra publications

* "No Guts or Glory" (1991)
* "Zombie War" (1992)
* "Zombie War: Earth Must Be Destroyed!" (1993–1994)
* "Infectious" (1994)

Books published

* "Mug Shots: A Splendid Collection of Cartoons", by John Caldwell (1980)
* "Splatter Movies: Breaking the Last Taboo: a Critical Survey of the Wildly Demented Sub-Genre of the Horror Film That is Changing the Face of Film Realism Forever", by John McCarty (1981) ISBN 978-0938782018
* "Video Screams: The Official Source Book to Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Related Films on Videocassette and Disk", by John McCarty (1982) ISBN 0-938782-02-9
* "The Amazing Herschell Gordon Lewis and His World of Exploitation Films", by Daniel Krogh with John McCarty (1983) ISBN 978-0938782032
* "Horror Holocaust", by Chas Balun (1986) ISBN 978-0938782056
* "The Gore Score", by Chas Balun (1987) ISBN 978-0938782063
* "Midnight Marquee" #37, edited by Gary J. Svehla (1988) ISBN 093878210X
* "Herschell Gordon Lewis' Blood Feast" (1988) ISBN 0-938782-07-X
* "The Deep Red Horror Handbook", by Chas Balun (1989) ISBN 978-0938782124
* "Ninth and Hell Street", by Chas Balun (1990) ISBN 978-0938782131
* "Famous Monsters Chronicles", edited by Dennis Daniel (1992) ISBN 978-0938782186
* "Connoisseur's Guide to Contemporary Horror Film: The Best of the Beasts and Blood" (1993) ISBN 978-0938782278
* "Freaks of the Heartland", by Steve Niles (1995) ISBN 0-938782-37-1
* "Amazon Women: The Art of Tom Simonton," edited by Tim D'Allaird (1998) ISBN 0-938782-38-X

Cartoonists associated with FantaCo Enterprises

* Stephen R. Bissette
* Greg Capullo
* Chynna Clugston
* Bruce Spaulding Fuller
* Fred Hembeck
* Wendy Lang-Snow
* Steve Niles
* Tom Simonton
* Gurchain Singh
* Raoul Vezina

Notes

References

*
*
* Bails, Jerry. [http://www.bailsprojects.com/(S(1lzivdqgp0p14xjkux4lzkur))/bio.aspx?Name=FANTACO+PUBLICATIONS "Who's Who of American Comics Books, 1928–1999" online.]
* Bissette, Stephen R. [http://srbissette.com/?p=1786 "Recap on the Gore Shriek Memories: What Came Before," SRBissette.com (Aug. 17, 2008).]
* "FantaCo vs Bissette," "The Comics Journal" #138 (Oct. 1990), p. 18.


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