Fangoria Comics — another one bites the dust

Fangoria Comics, a brief imprint launched by the Creative Group, which publishes STARLOG and puts on horror conventions, has folded, although much of the material will come out elsewhere (locale unknown.) Thus ends another attempt at pamphlet publiushing — this one was marked by an aborted announcement that the company had acquired Vampirella, the venerable horror vixen. Here’s the tale in PR form:

Scott Licina, newly former executive editor of Fangoria Comics, was informed on August 22nd of the August 17th closing of the comics line at Fangoria Entertainment by parent company Creative Group.  He, the staff and the creators would like to thank their readers and are excited to announce that creator-owned projects like BUMP, beneath the valley of the rage and SHIFTER will continue, with details coming soon.
 
Regarding the closing, Licina noted, “To be honest, we’ve anticipated this possibility for quite some time, long before we finally launched on June 13, 2007 after almost a year of delays on Creative Group’s part; that was after we announced the line in July of 2006 at the San Diego Comic-Con International.  It became more and more apparent with the recent closings of several divisions and the lay-offs that accompanied them, other announced projects like VAMPIRELLA that failed to materialize and the fact that we received virtually no marketing or promotional support in any way, not even in the company’s own FANGORIA or STARLOG magazines, that there may be trouble ahead. But I couldn’t have imagined, after already soliciting and selling subscriptions for titles that ran well into the beginning of 2008, that it would be only two months and four days after our first book hit the shelves that we would be closed down. And on top of it, we were informed about the closing via a three sentence e-mail, and invoices are still outstanding.”
 
Robert Kurtzman, legendary special effects artist, director and co-creator of BENEATH THE VALLEY OF THE RAGE had this comment: “The worst part of it from my perspective is that the RAGE mini-series wasn’t allowed to finish, even with only one issue left to print, and that the issue (#4) was already completed and sitting there ready to go to the printer to fulfill orders that were already placed. Simply unbelievable. But I’m happy to announce we will be getting the fourth issue out to fulfill demand and make sure our readers have the chance to get the complete series.”
  
Mark Kidwell, creator of BUMP, added, “It’s a shame really, that things were handled the way they were on the Fangoria Entertainment corporate level. All of the staff and creators at Fangoria Comics are amazing and there were (and are) some incredible stories being produced. Most of these will still be published, albeit by a different and more focused company with an eye toward the same long-term goals.”

Film producer Patrick Durham and film star Michael Madsen, co-creators of SHIFTER, made this statement: “This comes as little surprise, after we’ve seen what Scott has had to go through to get these great comics out and to let people know about them. The SHIFTER comic and crew are looking forward to the positive move we’re making, and can’t wait to start on the new endeavor. After all, it’s the same production house, where the comics are always on time and always look fantastic. We know that the extremely high quality demands we have for SHIFTER will be exceeded by Scott and the team as always, so naturally we’re thrilled to be apart of this new, exciting leap forward. Comics to film, we’ve got some exciting announcements ahead for SHIFTER!”

Licina closed with this remark- “The bottom line on Fangoria? This was fallout from major franchise-wide downsizing by Creative Group. The upside? The creators own their respective properties, series and books, and will be continuing and finishing material that’s already started. Everyone is looking at 2008 with a fresh perspective. And again, we thank the readers, retailers and distributors for all their support, and look forward to releasing more info soon.”

Comments

  1. John Weheat says:

    This is a surprise. I just read awhile back on some site that they were selling 17,000 copies of each book through book store changes. That statement was made by the editor of Fangoria comics of course. It sounded a little high in numbers to me. My guess will be they move to Devils Due comics, but will print on cheaper paper to save money. None of their books sold more than 3,000 copies according http://www.icv2.com on the Dimond/shop level. I’m guessing whoever puts the books out now will know the real numbers before they commit to printing any new stuff. 3,000 copies is not that great (profit wise) unless they are going to charge even more than $3.99. Mark another new company gone.

  2. Dennis says:

    Yes, that 17,000 number sounds very VERY high–but if it is an accurate number, then maybe it was before book stores returned unsold copies?

  3. Troy Brownfield says:

    Hey Heidi,

    Just so you know, it’s my understanding that John Weheat is actually Ken Wolak; he was the artist on Scott Licina’s old book G.R.A.V.E. Grrrls and now feels the need to diss him under a variety of aliases, including that one, CATT and Trainspott at Newsarama, and more.

    Also, according to http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/10906.html, BUMP #1 sold just under 4,000 copies on the first shot; it was re-ordered thru Diamond three times. The bookstore numbers were accurate as Scott gave them; we did very well at Borders, Barnes & Noble, and elsewhere. Our return percentage is, of course, private, but was very, very good. All of our books sold strongly at the summer shows, particularly Chicago.

    Frankly, most of our readers told us that they found the books in the chain stores. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to better inform retailers and potential readers about our books at our new venue.

    Thanks!

  4. R. Sobol says:

    “Just so you know, it’s my understanding that John Weheat is actually Ken Wolak; he was the artist on Scott Licina’s old book G.R.A.V.E. Grrrls and now feels the need to diss him under a variety of aliases, including that one, CATT and Trainspott at Newsarama, and more.”

    Not sure where you get your information, sir, because in my copies of GRAVE Grrrls, Ken Wolak is listed as Co-creator as well as credited as artist, colorist, and inker. This brings YOUR credibility into question, imho.

    Regarding your comments that I copied above, what constitutes a “diss” in your opinion? So Fangoria broke the 3000 mark on exactly ONE issue, and this in your mind invalidates all of the other information? Are you serious? Frankly the numbers speak for themselves, if you ask me.

    As far as your very direct accusation that Ken Wolak is any of the posters in question, you’d better have some pretty darn good proof. I’ve known Ken for quite some time and he is a man of strong character. I’ve never known him to be the type of person to sneak around and cause trouble for someone. Ken would address the situation directly. I know that Ken and Scott had a falling-out, but Ken has been pretty tight-lipped about the subject with his friends in the industry. If he doesn’t “diss” Scott to his closest friends, just what do you think would motivate him to do so in a public forum such as this?

    You’ve got a lot of nerve, I’ll grant you that!

  5. Troy Brownfield says:

    Mr. Sobol,

    I forgot that Ken was co-creator; I’ll concede that point.

    In terms of sales, he said none of the books sold 3,000 copies, and he was in error. Many made that number on re-order; also, as noted, the chain bookstore sales were strong. He wanted to frame the information a certain way, and I wanted to demonstrate that “None” was overstating the case.

    As to the alias situation, this is not new, and Ken knows it. He’s also aware that he’s been called out for this before. As a matter of fact, it was here once: http://pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/2007/05/01/vampirella-stays-at-harris/

    I worked as a writer for Heidi when she co-ran Pulse, and I would hope that she knows enough about me to know that I wouldn’t say that unless I had substantiation.

    Essentially, the situation is this: with little marketing support and Scott’s extreme efforts, we managed to sell several thousand books in a tough market. The fact that we made big inroads into the chains shows Scott’s tenacity. We hope that we’ll find new readers where we’re going, and we hope that the old readers follow.

    Thanks.

  6. michael says:

    it’s pretty sad when your own magazine won’t market their own brand of comic books.

  7. I hate to hear that another company hasn’t worked out, and to my surprise I didn’t even know that they where even trying to make comics. I guess maybe they only did Ads in STARLOG about it, which I wouldn’t have seen since I don’t even buy STARLOG anymore. I hope that some of those titles will be published somewhere else, those artist must have worked hard on those books.

    Wilson Ramos jr.

  8. The people questioning the sales numbers should take into account how many horror shows there are and what a rabid (no pun intended) audience there is at these shows. I don’t know for sure if that’s where the extra numbers are coming from but it’s one example of how the horror market differs from the comics market and could enhance the bottom line of a niche publisher who otherwise would have only marginal success in the direct market. I’d guess it’s how a company like Dead Dog seems to be rolling along (and could also provide a venue for any homeless ex-Fangoria comics I’d wager).

    I’m amazed how often larger companies start comics lines and expect them to be smashing successes without much in the way of support (don’t they bother to actually study the market before they get in or does everybody see comics as a cheap way to farm intellectual properties now?). While we don’t know if that is what happened here, it sure wouldn’t be the first (or last) time it did.

  9. Tim O'Shea says:

    Not picking sides, per se. But I’ll vouch for Troy, even if he now appears to be associated with some group of punks called Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (heh, I’m Catholic and I’m still cracking up at that name…) :)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troy_Brownfield

    While not a fan of horror, I’ll be curious to see where these books land.

  10. Sally M. says:

    OK, big deal. So someone is saying bad things about you on the net. It happens to people ALL THE TIME. You feel you have to “out” them. Bottom line is that the company is gone and their is nothing left to talk about. Everyone grow up and move on. What’s the next story Heidi?

  11. Wow, just I saw these at a few Borders this weekend. They are in fact in stores on racks right underneath Archie comics. There were like 5 or 6 different titles too all polybagged. Thats interesting that they were able to get them into bookstores.

  12. Tyler says:

    Will I still receive the titles I ordered via the subscription form?

  13. Troy Brownfield says:

    Tyler,

    Unfortunately, since the titles were “cancelled at the company”, Fangoria Entertainment will not be shipping any further books. I am sorry about that, and, were I you, I would ask them about what they intend to do with the balance of your payment at this point.

    The remainder of the titles will come out in some form eventually, and Scott hopes to announce that mechanism soon.

    Incidentally, did you receive your signed book from Robert Kurtzman that was promised in the ad?

  14. Tyler says:

    Thanks for the update, Troy. Fortunately, for me, I’d only sent off the filled subscription form a few weeks ago so no title has come my way yet. Guess they’ll just void my order.

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