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|Penthouse Comix, Heavy Metal Magazine|
Horatio (Ray) Weisfeld is a writer/editor/publisher who co-founded mass-market comics magazines and developed other media properties. His creation of often irreverent commercial entertainment follows in the footsteps of his father, Irwin Weisfeld, a writer and manufacturer of ubiquitous mid-late 60s counter culture buttons.
In the early 1990s Weisfeld co-founded and financed Bullet Comics, which published one of the first Manga influenced American comics: Greg Boone's RADREX. Weisfeld was also instrumental in helping his friend, artist Mark Beachum, set up Aju-Blu Comics. Weisfeld then advised Brian Pulido in the formation of Chaos! Comics (Lady Death), one of the more successful independent comic publishers of the era.
In 1992 a former publisher of The New York Post hired Weisfeld to work on the startup of Her New York, a daily newspaper published from offices of New York's Trump Tower. Weisfeld became Newsroom Manager (and later assistant) to Editor-in-Chief Marsha Cohen (formerly of The New York Daily News) and Entertainment Editor Barbara Gordon (who wrote bestseller I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can).
In 1993, Weisfeld was named managing editor of Penthouse Comix , an ongoing section that ran in Penthouse Magazine. At Weisfeld's suggestion publisher Bob Guccione agreed to a plan that would allow Penthouse Comix to cherry pick art talent from competitors. This resulted in Penthouse Comix offering a per-page art rate to freelancers of $800, the largest ever established as a standard for comic book line art.
Penthouse Comix sections featured artwork by top comic book talent (Kevin Nowlan, Arthur Suydam, Adam Hughes, etc.). After the initial sections appeared, publisher Bob Guccione requested Penthouse Comix become its own stand alone magazine. The first issue of the 96-page stand alone Penthouse Comix appeared in the spring of 1994 and was an immediate success. It featured a number of characters originated by Weisfeld including Libby in the Lost World (co-created with artist Arthur Suydam), which became an international hit in foreign editions and prompted many additional installments of the series. Issues of American Penthouse Comix were published thereafter on a bi-monthly basis.
American Penthouse Comix published through 1998, producing thirty-five issues while inspiring Penthouse to publish two stand alone spinoff magazines (Penthouse Men's Adventure Comix and Penthouse Max). Penthouse Comix Magazine was licensed into many non-English markets. The Spanish edition of Penthouse Comix celebrated its 100th issue in 2010.
In 1997 rap mogul Russell Simmons struck a deal to develop an “urban” spin-off of Mad Magazine with Time/Warner Publishing. Weisfeld was recruited to develop editorial for Russell Simmons Presents B.A.D Magazine and eventually became Managing Editor. Film designer Floyd Hughes was named Art Director. Writers and artists on the project included Deborah Gregory (who later created Disney's Cheetah Girls), Arthur Suydam (who went to later fame with Marvel Zombies), Walter Moore, and others. The project was developed with the consistent involvement of DC Comics President and Mad Magazine Publisher Jenette Kahn. Warner publishing eventually decided that BAD was too edgy for America’s newsstands and The project was re-conceived as an animation project for HBO and then disappeared into development hell. During the period in which Bad was developed, members of the team also worked on the initial development of Warner's Green Lantern (film). Bad partner and co-editor, Danny Simmons, was eventually appointed by The New York Art's Council as chief budget liaison to The New York State Governor's Office.
In 1999 Weisfeld was named Managing Editor of another glossy comics magazine, Forbidden Zone. The publication was designed to present new trademark characters and compete with Heavy Metal Magazine on the newsstand. Forbidden Zone published only one issue but this was packed with top comic book and fantasy art talent: Simon Bisley, Richard Corben, Arthur Suydam, Joe Linsner, Larry Stroman, John Cebollero and others. Before publication of the first issue, Forbidden Zone Magazine parent Galaxy Entertainment sank into (tech-bubble) fatal financial trouble.
In 2004, Industry Of War, a comic book property co-created by Jordan Raskin and Horatio Weisfeld (back in 1993), was optioned for film by Alien , Total Recall , Minority Report producer Ronald Shusett. Image Comics later published a comic book series based on the property.
In 2005, Weisfeld and Danny Simmons (Producer of HBO's Def Poetry Jam and Brother of mogul Russell Simmons) formed Weisfeld/Simmons Entertainment. The company acquired media properties for live action and animation.
Starting in 2000 Weisfeld began a long term relationship with Heavy metal Magazine, for whom he developed, wrote, and packaged several character driven properties and HM spin-off brands.
This began with the first installment of Joe In The Future, an ongoing series of short comic book stories written by Weisfeld (with Peter Koch) and illustrated by Trevor Von Eeden. The title character, Joe, wanders through a hostile futuristic environment while doggedly searching for cigarettes. The series received good reviews and (despite an infrequent schedule) developed a cult following. Heavy Metal began running Joe In The Future as a print series in 2001 after the initial episode appeared as 3-minute internet flash web animation. Heavy Metal editor Howard Jorofsky suggested Weisfeld allow the print magazine to run the comic book pages from which the webisode had been created. Weisfeld then followed with several additional Joe in the Future print installments for Heavy Metal. https://web.archive.org/web/20141012193604/http://shop.heavymetal.com/shm/images/channels/magazine/0107/05.html The nearly simultaneous appearance of Joe in the Future as both web-animation and print episodes makes the series an early example of web-initiated Transmedia storytelling. The most recent episode of the Joe in the Future print series appeared in the September 2010 Heavy Metal Magazine issue.
In 2007, Weisfeld began developing an illustrated text format for Heavy Metal magazine. Painted artwork for the initial segment (Slaughter of the Exterminators) was completed by film production designer Rafael Kayanan (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, John Carter of Mars). The finished story appeared in the January 2009 issue of HM.
During this period Kayanan was also involved in the design of Julie Taymor's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. The Heavy Metal Magazine illustrated text format become the model for a spin-off project, Heavy Metal Pulp, a line of illustrated science fiction novels published by Tor books beginning in 2010.
Weisfeld's later "illustrated text" stories in Heavy Metal Magazine included the concluding chapter for the long running Joe In The Future series (this installment with painted art by The Pratt Institute's head of illustration, Floyd Hughes) https://web.archive.org/web/20160304083148/http://shop.heavymetal.com/shm/images/channels/magazine/0910/08.html and a black comedy, The Holo-Marketeer, about the grim and frightening world of a futuristic salesman (with artwork by Trevor Von Eeden). The stories show different views of a near future descending into violence and apocalyptic disorder.
In 2011 Weisfeld developed another addition to the Heavy Metal Magazine brand with the creation of Metal Media, a news and personality section featuring unseen film pre-production art, profiles, movie design reviews, and other material related to science fiction and fantasy entertainment. The initial section spotlighted the work of film pre-production artist Rafael Kayanan and discussed Kayanan's character designs for director Tarsem Singh's Immortals (2011 film).
In a January 2012 Metal Media article, Weisfeld described his father's creation of a 1960s fad button (Melville Eats Blubber), which was cited in letters written by San Francisco's Zodiac Killer. The Zodiac changed the button's phrase to "Melvin Eats Blubber," a swipe at lawyer Melvin Belli as inspiration for his button extortion plot against the city. The Zodiac threatened to blow up a school bus if he did not see people wearing "Zodiac Buttons." The school bus threat became a central element of the film Dirty Harry, a film which ironically had been a strong influence on Weisfeld's creative development when he was a teenager. The original "Melville Eats Blubber" button was produced by the Horatio Button Company, named for Weisfeld by his father, when Weisfeld was a child, several years before the Zodiac killings began.
Heavy Metal is an American science fiction and fantasy comics magazine, published beginning in 1977. The magazine is known primarily for its blend of dark fantasy/science fiction and erotica and steampunk comics.
Underground comix are small press or self-published comic books that are often socially relevant or satirical in nature. They differ from mainstream comics in depicting content forbidden to mainstream publications by the Comics Code Authority, including explicit drug use, sexuality, and violence. They were most popular in the United States in the late 1960s and 1970s, and in the United Kingdom in the 1970s.
Fantagraphics Books is an American publisher of alternative comics, classic comic strip anthologies, magazines, graphic novels, and the erotic Eros Comix imprint. Many notable cartoonists publish their work through Fantagraphics, including Jessica Abel, Peter Bagge, Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Mary Fleener, Roberta Gregory, Joe Sacco, Chris Ware, and the Hernandez brothers.
Manuel Rodriguez, better known as Spain or Spain Rodriguez, was an American underground cartoonist who created the character Trashman. His experiences on the road with the motorcycle club, the Road Vultures M.C., provided inspiration for his work, as did his left-wing politics. Strongly influenced by 1950s EC Comics illustrator Wally Wood, Spain pushed Wood's sharp, crisp black shadows and hard-edged black outlines into a more simplified, stylized direction. His work also extended the eroticism of Wood's female characters.
An American comic book is a thin periodical originating in the United States, on average 32 pages, containing comics. While the form originated in 1933, American comic books first gained popularity after the 1938 publication of Action Comics, which included the debut of the superhero Superman. This was followed by a superhero boom that lasted until the end of World War II. After the war, while superheroes were marginalized, the comic book industry rapidly expanded and genres such as horror, crime, science fiction and romance became popular. The 1950s saw a gradual decline, due to a shift away from print media in the wake of television and the impact of the Comics Code Authority. The late 1950s and the 1960s saw a superhero revival and superheroes remained the dominant character archetype throughout the late 20th century into the 21st century.
Luis Royo is a Spanish artist. He is best known for his fantasy illustrations published in numerous art books, magazines such as Heavy Metal and various other media including book and music CD covers, video games and Tarot cards.
Warren Publishing was an American magazine company founded by James Warren, who published his first magazines in 1957 and continued in the business for decades. Magazines published by Warren include After Hours, Creepy, Eerie, Famous Monsters of Filmland, Help!, and Vampirella.
The term adult comics typically denotes comic books, comic magazines, comic strips or graphic novels with content of an erotic, violent, or sophisticated nature marketed by publishers toward adult readers. They are sometimes restricted to purchase by legal adults, especially erotic comics which include sexually explicit material.
Nicola Cuti, known as Nick Cuti, was an American artist and comic book writer-editor, science-fiction novelist; he was the co-creator of E-Man and Moonchild, Captain Cosmos, and Starflake the Cosmic Sprite. He also worked as an animation background designer, magazine illustrator and screenwriter.
Arthur Suydam is an American comic book artist known for his work on Marvel Zombies, Deadpool, Black Panther, and KISS Zombies. He has done artwork for magazines including Heavy Metal, Epic Illustrated and National Lampoon, while his comic book work includes Batman, Conan, Tarzan, Predator, Aliens, Death Dealer, and Marvel Zombies.
Lee Marrs is an American cartoonist and animator, and one of the first female underground comix creators. She is best known for her comic book series The Further Fattening Adventures of Pudge, Girl Blimp, which lasted from 1973 to 1977.
George Caragonne was an American comic book writer and editor, most notable for being co-founder of Penthouse Comix magazine. He committed suicide on July 20, 1995, by jumping off the 45th floor of the interior atrium of the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square.
Alfonso Azpiri Mejía was a Spanish comic book artist, whose work was mainly of the adult variety.
John Workman is an American editor, writer, artist, designer, colorist and letterer in the comic book industry. He is known for his frequent partnerships with writer/artist Walter Simonson and also for lettering the entire run of Grant Morrison/Rachel Pollack's Doom Patrol.
Joe In The Future is an ongoing short story comic strip that appears in Heavy Metal Magazine. The strip is co-written by Horatio Weisfeld and Peter Koch. The first installment of the series appeared in the January 2002 issue of Heavy Metal Magazine. The most recent appeared in the September 2010 issue. Heavy Metal began running Joe In The Future as a print series in 2001 after the initial episode appeared as 3-minute internet flash web animation and Heavy Metal editor Howard Jorofsky suggested Weisfeld allow the magazine to run additional episodes as print stories. Weisfeld then followed with several additional Joe in the Future installments for Heavy Metal. The nearly simultaneous appearance of Joe in the Future as both web-animation and print episodes makes the series an early example of web-initiated Transmedia storytelling.
Penthouse Comix was an American mass-market, magazine-sized comic book, published by Penthouse International/General Media Communications from spring 1994 through July 1998. Founded and initially edited by George Caragonne and Horatio Weisfeld, it ran 32 issues plus one special edition. Foreign versions of Penthouse Comix were still published as of 2011.
Gay Comix is an underground comics series published from 1980–1998 featuring cartoons by and for gay and lesbian men and women. The comic books had the tagline “Lesbians and Gay Men Put It On Paper!”
Jay Allen Sanford is an American author and cartoonist best known for his work with Revolutionary Comics, Carnal Comics, and Pacific Comics. He began writing the comic book Rock ‘N’ Roll Comics in 1989 as of the title's second issue, and still oversees the rock comic reprints published by Bluewater Productions and others. The publishing company he co-founded, Carnal Comics, is best known for launching the movie and cartoon character Demi the Demoness. Sanford ran Carnal Comics from 1994 through 2000, before handing over the publishing reins to SS Crompton.
Tits & Clits Comix is an all-female underground comics anthology put together by Joyce Farmer and Lyn Chevli, published from 1972 to 1987. In addition to Farmer and Chevli, contributors to Tits & Clits included Roberta Gregory, Lee Marrs, and Trina Robbins.
Irwin Weisfeld (1932–1968) was a New York City writer and bookseller who was jailed in 1963 under obscenity laws for selling the 18th century erotic novel, Fanny Hill. The case became a finale in a series of First Amendment battles which impacted across American media and culture.