Gone Fishing: Boneyard Press uses DVDs to attract new readers

Editor's note: this story contains adult language.

One, a pornography editor that's faked his own death, been sued by O.J. Simpson, and not-so politely asked Marvel to "suck his cock" on hundreds of T-shirts.

The other, the co-creator of "Cry for Dawn" and a porn magazine editor that recently retired because he's gone blind.

Together, they want to change comics. And while they're at it, they plan on scaring the hell out of you, too.

Hart D. Fisher, all 6'2", 245 pounds of him, relaxes at home after just waking up at 2 p.m. But let's face it, no one expected a porn professional to keep 9 to 5 hours.

He's even more amped up than usual today because he gets to talk about the relaunch of his baby, "Flowers on the Razorwire" from Boneyard Press. A mature-audiences horror anthology, the book will alternate between an ashcan comic packaged with a DVD and a regular comic series. The series stars Flower, played by Hungarian model and adult film actress Wanda Curtis. Think of the Crypt Keeper in "Tales from the Crypt," but way easier on the eyes. Flower travels from town to town looking for victims to torture, maim, beat up and eventually kill. That is, unless the person can tell her a story so scary that her horror fetish is satisfied and she will set them free.

"It's mature audiences all the way, but it's more Hitchcock suspense, not very graphic," says Hart. "In the first DVD, we have a girl trapped in an elevator with a man that may be a serial killer. If you're a horror fan, I mean, 'Creepy,' 'Eerie,' 'Tales from the Crypt,' old anthology horror films -- that's what we're doing."

Untapped market

Joseph Monks, the co-creator of "Cry for Dawn" and a former pornographic magazine editor for such magazine as "Cherry" and "Voluptuous" until diabetes took his eyesight in late 2003, was interested in working with Fisher on the project not just because the two are good friends, but also because he thought the DVD/comic combination was an untapped market with serious potential.

"One of my pet peeves about the comic market is that the industry is too narrowly-focused," Monks says. "There's only a few ways of dragging in new readers to the industry. Honestly, I hope it's not too late. It's a multi-media world. No one's been doing this in this industry."

The first episode of "Flowers on the Razorwire" will be out in May. The following issue will be a comic only, and the anthology will follow that pattern -- odd issues with DVDs, even issues comics-only -- for the duration of the series.

"We've put the call out to other directors, if you have interesting stories, hey, this is an anthology. We've already got Gary Francis from 'Young Dracula,'" Fisher says. "We're trying to build a good, strong solid basis for our writers. There are some cool looking books out there, but the writing is horrible. That's why you have Brian Michael Bendis writing every Marvel book out there. He's going to write himself out. But we're out looking for writers with stories, and that's our advantage."

"We don't think that anyone is seizing the horror market for readers age 16 and above," Monks adds. "They want to be scared, and they want the books to be good. Well-drawn and more than one word on a page. There's not a lot of that going on, and comics cater to such a select audience."

That's a wrap

The two already have the first installment totally shot, with the second DVD being shot now. They also have the third episode in the planning stages. Bonus material on the DVDs will include music videos by the bands that have music in the episode, interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and of course, bloopers. Fisher has been talking to B-list Hollywood actors and has also scored Marilyn Manson's makeup artist, Ralis, to lend a hand.

And the Hungarian model?

[Flowers on the Razorwire Comic]"I've known her husband for a long time," Fisher says. "She's married to (adult film star) Hershel Savage, so I've known her socially for a couple years. I was talking to her about the series, and wondering if she had any suggestions for the role, and she wanted to do it herself. She's incredible, she has a tremendous on-screen charisma. She can really amp up the emotional charge of the room."

Comics and DVDs together like peanut butter and jelly... if Fisher does shake up the comic book industry, it won't be the first time.

Fisher is the creator of the "Marvel Can Suck My Cock" T-shirts that were all the buzz at San Diego's Comic-Con International in 1997. In the first day Fisher had the shirts, he sold everyone he printed, including the one off his back.

"Marvel had a policy back then that they'd publish so many books that there was no room for independents on the shelves," Fisher says. "I'm an independent publisher, I'm not going away, in fact, why don't they just suck my cock?"

Fisher recalls seeing hundreds of fans in his anti-Marvel T-shirts fondly. He also says that San Diego Comicon has since changed the wording of the contract for exhibitors that they may not distribute material detrimental to other publishers.

What's a guy do for an encore? Fake his death. At least that's what Hart Fisher did the next year, even fabricating the newspaper clipping of his obituary.

He let everyone off the hook, but his local comic store owner got word a little late, and had a bad moment when Fisher walked into his store after being "dead" for a week.

Fisher hopes readers and viewers of he and Monks' "Flowers on the Razorwire" reboot get a similar reaction.

"I think Joe and I have a perspective that the editors at Marvel don't have. I don't believe the editors at Marvel have done as many cons as we have. We meet the fans, we drink with the fans. Other publishers are out of contact with their consumers.

"It's definitely going to have an impact when it hits the comic stores. The guys at Diamond (Distributors) are really excited. It's something that's innovative, outside the box," Fisher says. "Our goal is to be the best. When I started out, I never had the goal of being financially successful -- I wanted to be the scariest, the most feared. Now we're trying to keep it up, and maybe make a little money while we're doing it, because we care."

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