Fantagor Press Publishing History
In the early part of Richard Corben’s art career, he created his own fanzine comic called “Fantagor” and self-published the first issue in 1970. Subsequent issues were published either by Corben or by Last Gasp. For material he collaborated with writers he liked or he wrote and illustrated his own stories. Most of his time was spent working for other publishers, but publishing his own work gave him opportunities to experiment and strengthen his creative direction.
In 1986, Corben wanted to pursue independent publishing more seriously. He and his wife, Dona, gave Fantagor Press a fresh start with “Rip in Time.” To give “Rip” the best chance for success, it was created for an all-ages audience and did not contain nudity. Comics also suitable for children and teens were often much, much more financially successful than those created for adults only.
Being both artist and editor was exciting for Corben, but also demanding and
intense – especially with his high standards for the finished art while also creating commissioned covers and other projects that kept the electricity on. Dona also worked hard for the business managing the behind-the-scenes necessities of a small publisher.
Stories were contributed to Fantagor Press comics by other writers and comic artists – Jan Strnad, Bruce Jones, Rich Margopoulis, Tim Conrad, Del Barras, Raul Demingo, and others. Including comics by other creators helped to relieve the burden of production, but Corben was selective.
Mainstream trends in comics along with the dominance of bigger publishers created many challenges for Fantagor Press and independent comic artists. The work also continued to be intense, especially since Corben wanted to produce pages with beautifully modeled human figures and scenes. This made his artwork stand out, but it was time-consuming to produce and expensive to print.
In the 1990s they were struggling to keep Fantagor Press afloat financially, in spite of strong sales in Europe and Japan. They made the difficult decision to abandon color printing in the middle of a series, “Son of Mutant World”, starting with the third issue. Corben kept producing attractive and exciting artwork and stories, but forces beyond their control were hurting the business. Other commercial art jobs were still always financially necessary, yet doing them made it harder to keep up with the independent production.
“Richard Corben’s Art Book 1 and 2” were their most expensive projects, but they made no compromises on printing these books in color.
In 1994 they put Fantagor Press on hiatus, ending with “Horror in the Dark” and the unfinished “From the Pit.” Since then, “Odds and Ends” was published in 2009, which contained part 2 of “From the Pit.”
And yet…more books have been announced…
Fantagor Press – All are out of print:
Den 1 – Neverwhere
Den 2 – Muvovum
Children of Fire
Den – Elements
Brood 1 – Relativity
Rip In Time
New Tales of the Arabian Nights
Son of Mutant World
Richard Corben’s Art Book 1
Richard Corben’s Art Book 2
Tales of the Black Diamond