Saturday, March 25, 2006

'GORE SHRIEK' MEMORIES!

Greetings, Boils & Ghouls. Strap on your boots, sharpen your hatchets, and take a stroll down memory lane as we remember the blood-chilling day...
DENNIS DREAD MEETS GORE SHRIEK!!!!

As some of you will remember, Gore Shriek was a cult horror comic published in the late 80's by FantaCo, a small "mom & pop" type business that was based in Albany, New York. FantaCo also hosted Fantacon, a horror convention in Albany that blew away the over-crowded Fangoria events. It must've been '87 or '88 and I had talked my oldest brother Erik into driving up to Albany for my very first horror convention! He even rented us a room at the Econolodge so we could stay for the whole weekend (my brothers still rule!). Anyway, it was at Fantacon that I met most of the early Gore Shriek artists, and they were all some of the nicest and most unpretentious comic artists I've ever met. Bruce Spaulding Fuller was in top form. He was weird and introverted with a receding purple ponytail. Dressed in black he resembled Uncle Creepy's polite, educated offspring. And damn could he draw! He also signed the inside cover of my copy of Gore Shriek #1 (NERD!!!). That's the one with his now classic cover-drawing of the zombie tearing apart it's own face, which was later swiped by U.K. grind-gods Carcass for their demo. I also met Greg Cappullo that day, who had a table right beside Bruce. He had only recently broken into comics with Gore Shriek but he had some original Daredevil pages on display that were just awesome! Like Bruce, Greg was also very humble and soft spoken, which is a rare treat at those sweaty conventions where inflated egos run amok like ravenous Crites. This was Tom Savini's heyday and he was swaggering around like his character in Knightriders with a seemingly endless crowd of followers! His FX trading card series had just been released (also by FantaCo, if I remember correctly) and, yes, I got my set signed (NERD!!!). Anyway, back to Gore Shriek...

You must realize that in '88 our pimply protagonist, Dennis Dread, already had visions of drawing depraved gore long after most boys would discover girls and outgrow that stuff. And it was with such visions of grandeur that I brought with me to Fantacon several horrible cartoon drawings I had done recently of the likes of the Lost Boys, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger! I know, I know. Laugh, cruel reader! For these were truly HORRIBLE cartoons. Poorly planned and poorly executed. And not "cute" or "funny". Just dumb. Did I think I would be "discovered" by Gore Shriek and swept away to draw monsters by the full moon with Berni Wrightson and Bruce Spaulding Fuller? I don't remember. Whatever my intentions, I recall my trembling fanboy hands shoving them in the faces of the Gore Shriek artists and my mouth involuntarily soliciting their professional opinions...

And this is why the Gore Shriek artists and the Gore Shriek legacy will always be close to my heart! They didn't laugh. They didn't even smirk. They studied my embarrassing scribbles with what appeared to be thoughtful scrutiny for several minutes. And they immediately responded with their authoritative advice. I'll never forget Greg Cappullo suggesting that if I learned to recreate the folds and wrinkles of clothing, my drawings would really spring to life. He proceeded to grab the Daredevil panel he had been working on and quickly gave me a lesson in how joints tend to pull fabric and how clothing folds create the illusion of gravity. He also wrote down the title of a book that he highly recommended to all aspiring artists, Drawing On The Right Side Of the Brain. I bought it later and read parts of it but never actually followed the course of lessons it describes. You should check it out some time.
Later that day I watched The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on a big screen and almost had a religious experience. Appropriately, I also met Chas Balun who signed my copy of the recently released Gore Score (NERD!!!) and presented his hilarious slide show of gore. Heading back to our hotel room that evening with throngs of exhausted fans, including obnoxious horror rockers the Serial Killers, I also met the editor of Deathrasher 'zine from New Haven, CT and learned the true meaning of "fast music". But that's another story...
LONG LIVE GORE SHRIEK!!!!

5 comments:

Roger Green said...

glad you liked it.

Roger Green
FantaCo, 1980-1988

Ryan S. said...

Gore Shriek was always my favorite of the horror comics, it had pretty much everything I loved about b+w comics back then. Wish I still fit in to my Gore Shriek shirt.

Nice article.

Anonymous said...

My days working with Tom Skulan and Fantaco were some of the fondest of my career (so far). I had about 7 or 8 stories in Gore Shriek, if memory serves. Captain Murderer, The Posse, Oil of Dog, Captain Murderer, The Body Snatcher, Berenice, Godfather Death ... it was all fun. Then I got to work on Night of the Living Dead (4 issues) and collaborate with the great but sick Clive Barker on Night of the Living Dead: London.

It was a sad day when Fantaco shut its doors. I did, however, retain copyright of all that material, so I might consider posting it online, if anyone is interested.

I'm really happy to know people still remember.

Thanks,

Eric Stanway

Deathrasher Fanzine 1984-1990 said...

Man that was touching bro. And to think we would meet up once again. DeathrasheR FanzinE and Dennis Dread {I had no idea about this post or your work}. I miss those Fantacon days and nights. The Econo Lodge was nothing like I ever saw before, we were all like family that weekend {days / nights} in 1988. A true horror convention. It also was my first horror show. I think I gave out 10 to 20 PTL KLUB records that weekend. Never heard from anybody but you. I see a true artist who cares about others by taking the time and posting what he loves. Keep up the great work. I talked to Bruce that weekend too. I think I have pics of him too. I will send you what I have. I have footage from 1988 - 1995 to late 90's and 2000's Horror conventions that I was working on years ago with a thing called "The Horror Con Shows". I have a ruff of that to send you. But, I really need help to put out something really cool. HELP ME SOMEONE! YOU RULE DREAD.

MAKE ME AN OFFER I CAN'T REFUSE - FTW said...

Rules.