Monday, July 14, 2008

Rock Revival's Time Capsule (1989-1994): "Unauthorised and Proud of It", The Story of Revolutionary Comics

Back in 1989 Todd Loren founded Revolutionary Comics, specialising in biographies of rock stars, including Van Halen, AC/DC, Bob Dylan, Franz Zappa, Eric Clapton, KISS (300 were published in total).

Van HalenKISS

The aim was to produce comic strips of excellent quality, for adults rather than kids.

"I wanted to do a comic that had all the sex and drugs that is rock and roll,Rock and roll is bigger than life. The stage presence these bands have...they don’t need superpowers because they’re already hero worshipped by their fans. And those fans love to spend money on anything featuring the bands they love." (Todd Loren)

Frank ZappaVan Halen

Some pretty amazing artists were recruited; Rick Geary (National Lampoon), Len Kirk (Star Trek comics), Ken Landgraff (Wolverine), Rich Buckler (Avengers) and many more.

Some rock stars were extremely supportive; Pink Floyd included the 5-issue Pink Floyd series in their official “Shine On” box CD set.

Others took the company to court (GNR, New Kids on the Block, Grateful Dead).

Guns & RosesGrateful Dead

In 1990 the company had their day in court and won on the grounds that if book authors can write unauthorised biographies comic artists can too. The finding:

“Bookstores are filled with biographies - both authorized and unauthorized - of public figures. And, while the subjects of such biographies may be offended by the publication of their life stories, they generally have no claim for trademark infringement.”

Todd Loren

Sadly on June 18, 1992 Todd was found murdered in his home. Noone has ever found out who did it but Gary Groth (Fantagraphics) had a theory.

"I don’t think anyone in our industry hated him enough to kill him...but it wouldn’t surprise me if someone in the music industry did. There is a lot more money at stake in the music business, and he was publishing all those unlicensed biographies."

Rest is peace Todd and thanks for the great work you did

Thanks to SCrompton for permission to use images. For full coverage go to

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