“Though Comiculture didn’t make it on to most people’s radar, it remains one of the projects that I am most proud to have been associated with. It was a true labor of love, and personal triumph that challenged me to combine everything I’d previously learned about creating new content, editing, publishing, prepress, printing, distributing, marketing and more. In the process, I learned so much that built the foundation for everything I do today at Legendhaus.
On top of that, my collaborators and I were overflowing with a creative spirit that I am continually trying to recreate.”
"(Comiculture is) a gorgeous production that fills a niche no one else is tackling in comics...."
–Randy Lander, The Fourth Rail
"5 (out of 5) Bullets...This magazine deserves your attention...(the) second issue of Comiculture is actually better than the first"
–Ray Tate, Silver Bullet Comics
"...a great mix of mainstream styles and storytelling and more oddball, indy-spirit comic art as well. There's a remarkable balance in the material here, and it means that any reader...will find something about Comiculture to really enjoy."
–Don MacPherson, The Fourth Rail
"...packed from cover to cover with entertaining stories and informative articles."
–Wolfen Moondaughter, Sequential Tart
Client: Mad Science Media (Hey, that's us!)
Services: Creative Direction, Editorial, IP Creation, Writing, Illustration, Graphic Design, Publishing, Marketing, Et cetera...
An oldie, but still a goodie! In 2002-2003, we decided to dip our toes into the world of small-press publishing with Comiculture, a magazine anthology of serialized comic book stories of all different genres, that also included articles and reviews about pop culture and interviews with creators.
While only running for two issues (plus a special #0 promotional issue and a black & white graphic novel follow-up), Comiculture magazine was ambitiously distributed in bookstores and newsstands (almost unheard of in 2002), and received critical acclaim from comics reviewers for daring to tread into areas that were considered risky at the time. “Genre” stories that strayed from popular superhero tropes, and anthologies in general, were ignored by the larger publishers back then. Yet, inspired by magazines from the past, like Epic Illustrated and foreign periodicals like Métal Hurlant and À Suivre, we decided to self-publish and see if we could resurrect the form on our own.
We were a little ahead of our time, as it turned out. Comiculture was short-lived, but in the decade that followed, comic book publishers and readers enjoyed a renewed interest in non-superhero genres. The independent market expanded as publishers like Image Comics took a chance on new genre titles like The Walking Dead, which premiered in late 2003, and the popularity of Japanese manga went through the roof, finally penetrating the coveted bookstore market; a nut that Marvel and DC had been unable to crack. Once digital comics became a viable means of distribution, with social media providing innovative ways for self-publishers to market their work, the floodgates opened; creators of all types of stories and styles of art could finally find an audience. As a result, the comics and graphic novel landscape has become incredibly diverse with new creative voices previously unheard, telling stories that publishers would have not have considered commercial, not very long ago. Today, these independent voices, are among the most sought-after by Marvel and DC Comics, as they look to invigorate their superheroes with fresh perspectives and more inclusive representations.
Comiculture magazine and its offspring, Comiculture Anthology, featured serialized and stand-alone short stories designed to appeal to both mainstream and eclectic tastes, and included work by superstar comic book writers and artists, as well as some lesser-known, but incredibly talented independent creators who jumped at the opportunity to tell whatever kinds of stories most interested them (did we mention that all content was creator-owned?).
To name a few: Walter Simonson (Thor, Ragnarok), Klaus Janson (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil), Chris Burnham (Batman Incorporated, Nixon’s Pals), Richard Starkings (Elephantmen, The Beef), Marie Javins (Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Art of the Movie, Stalking the Wild Dik DIk), Karl Altstaetter (Deity, Emerald City Blues), Ben Raab (Arrow, Warehouse 13), David Wohl (Aphrodite IX, Witchblade), Monica Kubina (Superhero Girls), Brian Buccellato (The Flash, Batman), Jessica Wolk-Stanley (Scholastic), and Don Hudson (Into the Woods).
Steve Buccellato: Publisher / Editor-in-Chief
Rob Tokar: Executive Editor
Don Hudson: Managing Editor
This slideshow of images includes sample pages from the eclectic mix of stories presented in Comiculture. Enjoy!