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Penthouse Comix

24 giugno 2008

  • Penthouse Comix was a fairly long running (4 years/35 issues) illustrated mass-market magazine sized comic book, published by General Media International, parent company to Penthouse Magazine. Founded by writers George Caragonne (formerly of Marvel Comics) and Horatio Weisfeld (latterly of Heavy Metal), Penthouse Comix paid top page rates and featured work by some of the best artists in the field, including Hughes, Suydam, Beachum, Corben, Salmons, Leech, Nowlin, Altuna, Morrow and others.
  • In the beginning
  • The magazine began as a series of short features in Penthouse Magazine. These included work by fan favorite comic book artist Adam Hughes and the excellent English artist Garry Leach , who previously worked with Alan Moore on Miracleman.
  • After the first few Penthouse Comix sections appeared, publisher Bob Guccione told Caragonne and Weisfeld he wanted to expand Penthouse Comix into its own stand alone magazine. The first issue, a 96 page four-color glossy, appeared in Spring 1994. It featured work by Hughes, Leach, Kevin Nowlan, Mike Harris, Arthur Suydam, Jordan Raskin, Horacio Altuna, and Milo Manara. It was an immediate hit, and is a collector’s item today. Additional issues of good quality appeared thereafter.
  • Early issues eschewed hardcore sex in favor of R-rated nudity and satiric humor. In this regard, Caragonne was ahead of his time and anticipated present day “lad mags” like Maxim, Stuff, and FHM. Guccione failed to appreciate this and requested “harder” material, and expansion to a line of three full magazines.
  • Under pressure, Caragonne, who had long been looked on by friends as unpredictable and abrasive, began using hard drugs and forced editor Weisfeld out. Problems with various talent and production personnel worsened. Over the following months Penthouse Comix lost most of its top talent and sales flattened.
  • In the following year, Caragonne produced the additional magazines (Men’s Adventure Comix and Penthouse Max) as Guccione requested. These were of very uneven quality and received little of the enthusiasm which greeted the initial issues of Penthouse Comix. Poor sales and missed deadlines now angered Guccione.
  • In summer 1995, Caragonne was accused of gross malfeasance, fired by Penthouseand committed suicide by jumping from the top of a NYC hotel. Mark McClellan, one of the people brought in to replace Weisfeld, succeeded Caragonne, but was quickly fired by Penthouse and has since also committed suicide. General Media then seized control of its comics-related publishing (from the deceased Caragonne’s packaging company) and installed Dave Elliott (former editor of Tundra and A1). The Penthouse Comix line was whittled back down to one magazine that continued running the mediocre inventory Caragonne had amassed after Weisfeld’s departure. Elliott kept things on schedule for 15-20 more issues, until the project was finally cancelled in mid 1998. General Media went bankrupt a short time later.
  • The later issues of Penthouse Comix featured some top notch artwork by George Freeman, Tony Salmons, and others.

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