October 19, 2011
Bizarre Thrills – The Paragon Publications Story Shipping February 2012
Writers and Artist’s Names: Writers include: Bill Black, Martin Greim, Bob Cosgrove, Gary Brown and Adriana Gomez. Artists Include: Bill Black, Jerry Ordway, Marc Hempel, Dan Adkins, Mike Royer, Steve Vance, Tom Lyle, Joe Staton and John Beatty.
Cover by Joe Staton & Bill Black.
Intended Audience: Fans of classic comic-related material of the 1970’s; AC Comics readers interested in the early inspirations for the AC Universe, and those who follow the Bill Schelly books covering the history of comics fan and prozines; and anyone interested in “good girl” art, science-fiction, horror or superhero comics in general.
Format: Standard comic book size, perfect-bound 200-plus page trade paperback; black and white interiors with full color covers.
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: A compendium of BILL BLACK’s legendary PARAGON PUBLICATIONS line of comics “prozines” of the 1970’s!! Chock full of outrageous “good girl” art, steely-eyed heroics and macabre horror!! See what the AC COMICS empire was built on, with never-before-reprinted stories starring SYNN, TARA, PARAGON, SCARLET SCORPION, The SHADE and more!!!
Special Notes: The original printings of Bill Black’s 1970’s PARAGON PUBLICATIONS magazines such as PARAGON PRESENTS, FEM FANTASTIQUE, PARAGON SUPERHEROES, BIZARRE THRILLS, PARAGON ILLUSTRATED, MACABRE WESTERN and the original GOLDEN AGE GREATS all command obscene after-market prices on eBay and among collectors- if you can find the books at all!! Produced more than thirty years ago, in an era before the concept of independent comic book publishers or a direct-sales distribution system existed, Bill Black wanted to create a line of comic-book based periodicals that incorporated the idea of design and featuring his own original characters in ongoing, interconnected stories- a universe, if you will; of superheroes and adventurers. From roughly 1970-1980, PARAGON did that, fueled not only by Black’s tasteful sense of visuals, but also a healthy dose of the one aspect fairly rare in the “mainstream” newstand comics of the day- and that is strong FEMALE characters. Bill’s personal fascination with the classic “good girl” art of the 1940’s led him to create a pantheon of beautiful, glamorous, strong and capable heroines able to stand toe-to-toe with his heroes. And that creative vision must’ve been well-realized, as many of those characters are still appearing today in the AC Comics line; in FEMFORCE and other titles. Although Bill did most of the artwork himself, he occasionally rung in friends like Dan Adkins, Jim Steranko, and Mike Royer to help out with some of the art. In addition, he started the careers of then-budding creators like Tom(Spiderman)Lyle, Steve(Simpsons)Vance and Marc (Mars, Tug & Buster)Hempel, giving their work early exposure .This volume collects the best of the early PARAGON material, virtually NONE of it seen anywhere in more than three decades. When the PARAGON books were originally circulated as a mail-order product sold through fanzine ads, they sold a ridiculously-high number of copies; in some cases, more than a number of mainstream comics sell today. Whoever bought the magazine-sized original releases must have liked them, since despite the fact that they sold in high volume, very few find their way into the collector’s market; hence the inflated prices when they do. Among regular AC fans and readers, few things have been MORE requested over the years than an opportunity to see this great stuff again. This superb volume provides that, at a bargain price compared to the cost of trying to obtain the originals. The success of Bill Schelly and his Hamster Press books chronicling the history of the fan movement of the 1960’s-1970’s indicates that there is some considerable interest in this material. Add in the factors that PARAGON featured much more polished material than similar publications of it’s times AND has a direct tie-in to the ongoing series at AC Comics today make this book compelling reading.