AC Comics History

AChistory1b

 

 

AC Comics is the brainchild of dynamic artist/writer/editor/publisher/producer/director Bill Black. A lifelong comics and film fanatic, Bill began producing his legendary PARAGON PUBLICATIONS line of “ground level” periodicals in 1969 as a spare-time project as he advanced in his career in advertising and educational film production.

Titles like PARAGON PRESENTS, PARAGON SUPERHEROES, FEM FANTASTIQUE, BIZARRE THRILLS and others featured comic-style stories of his own original characters like The SHADE, SCARLET SCORPION, CAPTAIN PARAGON, SYNN- The Girl From LSD and others, written and drawn by Bill and a number of his enthusiastic and talented friends. Long before comic shops existed, Bill sold these books via mail order from ads placed in contemporary fanzines of the day, with several of the titles boasting circulations well into the thousands by the end of the line’s historic run. Despite the high number of PARAGON books circulated, they are now hard to find, highly-priced collector’s items. Many of Bill’s PARAGON heroes and heroines eventually became important characters in the AC COMICS line, appearing as part of FEMFORCE and in other titles to this day.

When the burgeoning direct-sales comic book market began to take off in the early 1980’s, Bill decided to “take the plunge” and debuted a full-color comic book line he dubbed “AMERICOMICS” (soon shortened to AC COMICS) in January of 1983, as one of the first four color comic book lines to pioneer the then-new comic book store distribution system. His flagship AMERICOMICS title, along with FUN COMICS, BLACK DIAMOND and others made a pretty big splash among comic book readers of the day, but a tidal wave of hastily-produced comics rushed out by dozens of “fly-by-night” publishers soon created a glut of independent comics on the market that drove a number of distributors and retailers out of business and required a re-thinking of the AC line by late 1984.

AChistory2 copy
With much-cheaper-to-produce black and white comic books suddenly a bit of a fad, Bill decided to re-edit some material he had on hand into a black and white special that would allow him to try out a comic book concept he’d had in mind for years: an ALL-FEMALE team of costumed super-types- and FEMFORCE was born. When the intended “one shot” FEMFORCE SPECIAL of 1984 proved to be the biggest AC COMICS success since BLACK DIAMOND #1, a color, ongoing FEMFORCE title immediately went into production, with the #1 issue hitting comic shop shelves in late Spring, 1985.

The FEMFORCE ongoing series has been running ever since, though changes in the comic book marketplace have over the years dictated a return to black and white status ( between issues #16-#56), then a return to newsprint color (from #57-87), and BACK to black and white since #88- with an increase in page count up to 80 pages of all-new material since FEMFORCE #150. Femforce┬« is still the ONLY successful, ongoing comic book series that features a team of costumed and super-powered women, still running continuously for three decades. The Femforce is comicdom’s first and only successful all-female super-team book started with a special in 1984 and the regular series started in 1985. In 1997, Femforce became the 229th comic book ever to pass the one hundred issue mark, and spawned an ever-increasing circle of spin-offs, support books and licensed merchandise.

When business conditions and technology indicated that it was time to try out color comics at AC once again in 2019, it was a “no brainer” that the perennially-popular Femforce┬« characters should be the stars of the first title, so we developed a new comic book, titled SUPERBABES, as we wanted to launch a full color Femforce┬« comic book WITHOUT interfering with the regular ongoing Femforce┬« quarterly title which would continue on that schedule. SUPERBABES is a companion book to the regular FEMFORCE series. Superbabes #1 was available in comic book shops in August 2019.
The enthusiastic response we got to SUPERBABES #1 led us to think that it could be a MISTAKE to maintain FF as a black and white book any longer than we had to, so we decided to fast-track our plan to go full color on FEMFORCE ASAP; which would mean FEMFORCE #188.

When Mark and Stephanie told Bill about this plan, he was so excited he immediately volunteered to jump an board to be the WRITER and INKER on the new all-color FEMFORCE!! What could possibly be better than having the book’s ORIGINAL CREATOR back at the helm!! In addition, Bill brought in long-time FEMFORCE penciler Eric Coile on board to draw the book. Eric has worked on FEMFORCE on and off since the early 1990’s, and his rendition of the FEMFORCE cast has long been an AC fan-favorite. The first (and only) successful ongoing comic book featuring an all-female super heroine team returned to FULL COLOR (digital, on glossy paper) in December of 2019, as series creator BILL BLACK returned to write and be a part of the art team,

Meanwhile, Mark and Stephanie Heike have the editorial reins on Superbabes and any other new color comic books outside of regular AC Comics licensed properties. The first of these is a creator owned color comic book series, 21st Centurions!

 

 

AC Comics®