Weird Comics History, Episode 15: Piranha & Paradox Press

I was talking with a really good friend of mine yesterday, and I was reminded of some old goals that I’d set… and, also some old goals Reggie and I had set as it pertains to where we wanted our show(s) to go.  I could bore you all with talk of “the numbers”, which is as nebulous and frustrating as it sounds… but instead, I want to share with you something a bit more substantial.


We were pretty pragmatic when it came to the possibilities of the show(s)… we never saw this as a money-making or fame-breaking venture, because… I mean, does anyone these days not have a podcast?  Sure feels like most folks do!


There were a couple of thing we did want out of this, however… and it basically all comes down to procuring certain sponsorships.  We were both huge fans of, basically every magazine coming out from TwoMorrows (Alter-Ego, Back Issue!, etc.), and also of The Comics Journal.  These were our physical data-mines, where we could research darn near anything we wanted about the comics industry and its history… and, if we couldn’t get all of our answers there… we were able to use what we did learn in order to be pointed in the right direction.


Now as far as the “sponsorship” would have gone… we wanted to work out an arrangement in “trade”.  We weren’t looking for money or promotion or anything… what we really wanted was to finagle a way into getting access to the archives.  Everything we did was in service of the show(s)… we knew, with that kind of access (though between us, we already owned a ton of paper from these publications), we could deliver an even better product.  It was important to us to consistently deliver a top-quality program, and I hope that shows.  We figured we’d promote our research materials hard… hopeful that listeners might want to explore these publications, and help support the companies.


We never got around to pitching this idea/partnership to TwoMorrows or Fantagraphics.  I don’t think we ever felt “ready”, ya know?  Like, we hadn’t established ourselves as being legitimate.  What I wouldn’t give to turn back the clock and give it an actual “go”.  I mean, worst they could’a said was “no”, right?  I’ve been told “no” before.  It sucks, but… it is what it is.


As we brainstormed, we thought perhaps our best “in” with the companies (TwoMorrows, initially), was to submit a written piece for publication.  This might put the “Chris and Reggie brand” in their atmosphere, ya know?  That was another big goal we shared… we wanted to be published… either by writing our own book (of which we had a couple “in the works”) or, in the legit comics press.  To us, TwoMorrows and Fantagraphics were as legit as you could get.


But… what would we write about?  What piece of comics history hasn’t already been talked to death… by folks with first-hand accounts, much less just by a couple of research-junkies with a podcast?


That’s when we remembered our Weird Comics History episode where we did a deep-dive on the history of the relatively short-lived DC Comics Imprint Piranha Press (which would ultimately evolve into Paradox Press).  Not too many people out there were talking about this… and we figured this was just off the beaten path enough to fall into the “Chris and Reggie” wheelhouse.


Now, this was originally a two-parter that were ran as segments on the Weird Science show (Episodes 76 & 77)… so, before we broke away into a standalone.  That means the episode was purposely left on the brief side, as to not completely mess with the flow of our parent show.


A revisit/fleshing out of this story was on our “to-do list” for this Summer… and we were always hopeful of scoring an interview with the elusive brains behind this operation.


I invite you to give this a listen, if you’re interested.  It’s a piece of DC (and Comics) history that doesn’t get near enough mention… and we felt it was pretty important in how it brought some indie/underground flavor to a mainstream comics company.





Something I’m learning with all of this is… well, kind of contradictory.  First “it’s never too late”… and also, “nothing’s guaranteed”.  Maybe it isn’t too late to see Reggie’s and my name in print?  I guess we’ll have to see.

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