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“Comiculture” Returns As New Anthology, Now On Sale

by  in Comic News Comment
“Comiculture” Returns As New Anthology, Now On Sale

Official Press Release

Comiculture, the critically acclaimed comics anthology, returns as a new limited edition graphic novel this summer from Mad Science Media’s new imprint, Comiculture Books.

This new, ninety-page OGN contains ten stories of all different genres, including horror, high-seas adventure, romance, sword and sorcery, biographical and more! Artists include Kerry Callen (Halo and Sprocket), Don Hudson (Gunpowder Girl and the Outlaw Squaw), Alan Evans (X-Men), Chris Burnham (Boston Blackie) and many others.

“It’s an eclectic sampling of stories with broad appeal,” says Editor/Publisher, Steve Buccellato (who also drew the cover and some interior art). “Some of these stories were originally drawn for our magazine which, unfortunately, we had to stop publishing. It is great to finally see them in print!”

It has been two years since the artists at Mad Science Media last published Comiculture, a full-color glossy magazine that featured all kinds of comics stories, as well as articles and interviews related to comics and pop culture. It was a lofty goal for a first time, small-press publisher, but the creators behind Comiculture were not newcomers to the comics scene. The top three “scientists” (Steve, Rob Tokar, and Don Hudson) have been working professionally in comics since the ’80s when they were on staff at Marvel. Joining them on the magazine were distinguished creators like Klaus Janson, Richard Starkings, Marie Javins, Walter Simonson, David Wohl, Karl Altstaetter, Ben Raab and some terrific newcomers like the amazing Jessica Wolk-Stanley (whose work is prominent in the new graphic novel).

The result was a magazine that received enthusiastic reader support and that garnered critical acclaim from several sources. Randy Lander and Don MacPherson at TheFourtRail.com named Comiculture one of the “Best of 2002,” adding, “(Comiculture is) a gorgeous production that fills a niche no one else is tackling in comics…the best comics anthology you’ve never heard of…a delicious variety of work….” Sequential Tart described Comiculture as, “…packed from cover to cover with entertaining stories and informative articles” and SilverBulletComics.com said, “The stories almost uniformly possess an enhanced artistic sensibility…5 (out of 5) Bullets!”

So what happened? “The magazine was simply too expensive for our small studio to produce,” Steve explains. “The production values were so high that, without a lot of advertising, there was no way to produce a magazine with a reasonable cover price that people would pay. We’d have to charge $12 per issue just to break even. Unfortunately, people are used to paying around $3 for a magazine, so even our $6.95 was sometimes a tough sell. It’s strange because, when you consider the quality and page-count, that’s a bargain compared to many comics.”

“Graphic novels seem to have taken off,” Steve continues, “so, after taking a brief break from publishing, we’re quite pleased to present some of our previously unpublished work in this new format, even if it is just this limited edition.”

The new Comiculture Anthology is only available for purchase in two places. The book is on sale NOW at CafePress: http://www.cafepress.com/comiculture. Better still, buy it directly from the creators at Comic-Con International in San Diego. “We’ll be easy to find this year,” Steve says, “because our booth number is #2005 in the IP Pavillion.”

In addition to the anthology, Comiculture creators have teamed up with Active Images to publish Gunpowder Girl and the Outlaw Squaw by Don Hudson. Originally conceived as a six-episode serial in Comiculture magazine, only the first two chapters of “Gunpowder Girl” ever saw print. “Don finished the entire story long before we needed it, and it killed me that the great art he’d produced was just laying around once the magazine was cancelled,” Steve explains. “Luckily, Richard Starkings at Active Images is a big supporter of our efforts. The three of us got together and decided to re-work the serial and turn it into a graphic novel. Don re-drew some art and the whole book was re-lettered and toned in sepia, so it is really a different project now. You could call it the ‘director’s cut!’ Anyway, most of the book has remained unpublished until now, so even those readers who’ve seen chapters one and two will be getting lots of new material.” Gunpowder Girl and the Outlaw Squaw will be in comic stores this July and will also premiere in San Diego.

What’s next for the Comiculture gang? First on Steve’s list is a completed ‘re-boot’ of Joey Berserk and Claire, the crime serial he started in Comiculture magazine. “I’d like to give that the treatment we’re giving Gunpowder Girl,” he says. “Hopefully we’ll have that out in 2006. Otherwise, who knows? We have plenty of ideas ready to go.”

For more about Comiculture and the creators responsible, please visit www.comiculture.com

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