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The comic you mention at around the 19 minute mark, with Bert from Sesame Street, that comic is Spank, not Box. See Frank Santoro's commentary in the link (maybe Chris can buy it from him).


Great discussion. Really makes me wish that Tom would write that definitive history of Fantagraphics -- what's really impressive is his knowledge of both the business end and the artistic side of things, and how the two interacted. Listening to this, I realized I had only read the first few Eros comics that came out from the top-notch artists -- basically Birdland and Crumb's ID.One other book I read which I wish you had discussed was Terry Laban's Ninety Nine Girls -- a really outrageous tall tale.

This was a blast! Oral history and smut comics are like chocolate and peanut butter. Throw in Tom Spurgeon, and it's like a mix of chocolate, peanut butter, and diamonds.

Back in the 90s a comics retailer I knew told me that Eros sold a lot of its product to people in prison. I wonder how much truth there was to that?

That same retailer opened a back room in his shop for Eros comix, but immediately got scared and shut it down when a guy came in, looked through all the comics, and left without buying anything. Probably just a cheapskate, but possibly the vice squad or whatever, and the retailer was well aware of the dicey legal situation that this episode covered.

I edited the Eros and Monster titles from Fall 1990 until Spring 1992. Gary Groth hired me about a month after the first issues shipped. He told me that the then-recent success of Howard Chaykin's "Black Kiss" series was a factor in his decision to publish porn comics. He also made it clear that my job was to "generate product," which I did. Quality stories/art were less of a concern than making sure we shipped a bunch of new titles each month.

Many of my colleagues expressed embarrassment or outrage about Eros. Gary and others advised me to adopt a pseudonym, but I used my own name. I figured there wasn't any shame in editing porn comics so long as the comics featured consenting adult characters. And because of that work, I became acquainted with many talented artists. Frank Thorne remains a dear friend. And I agree with Tom Spurgeon about Solano López, that he was the nicest man.

Re. "Eros Forum," which was promoted as true stories adapted from readers' letters. A reviewer for The Village Voice praised the first issue with words to the effect of, "Unlike purportedly 'true' stories in men's magazines, these stories are undoubtedly genuine because no writer could fake such realism." Which I took as high praise because I wrote every story in that issue. Now you know.

Aaron, you wrote: >

Eros regularly received letters from prisoners, and most said the same thing: "I'm in prison and I'm indigent. If you have any spare Eros comics that you could mail to me, I would be very grateful." As for whether Eros sold comics directly to prisoners, I have no idea, no recollection. I can only confirm that plenty of prisoners were aware of Eros comics.

They still are, Ryder!

I'm all in favor of this podcast morphing into an oral history of Fantagraphics. Can we have a Peppy White marathon interview. I'm not joking.

High, Eric! There aren't many juicy stories about Eros, as one might imagine. It really was just product. I just tried to make them as good as I could given the material. But I do have fond memories of working with Frank Thorne and Solano Lopex. Both are great artists and really nice guys. But I never got letters from prisoners, personally. I'm all for an oral history of Eros Comix. Wait, I mean...

You left out the gay comics from your Eros Comix history...

I can understand why you left out STICKY (we had three issues out in 2005 when Fanta decided to fold Eros Comix so we failed upwards to hardcover with Bruno Gmünder) but I can’t understand why you left out Coley.

I mean, Coley had a ton of books and they were always in print in collected editions.


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