Give Hart D. Fisher a platform to speak and he’ll use it as an opportunity to speak his mind no matter who he pisses off. A crusader for the first amendment, the always controversial Fisher isn’t afraid to ruffle some feathers and in his first interview with Bloody-Disgusting he did just that. Fisher went in-depth about his highly influential comic book publishing house Boneyard Press, his new horror 24 horror channel (www.AmericanHorrors.com), and then exposed the crazy behind-the-scenes stories of comic book industry that the pros will never speak of.
For round two with Bloody-Disgusting Fisher is like a rabid dog unleashed and out for blood. Fisher talks about the impact of Boneyard Press had on the horror scene, his hatred for My Chemical Romance and “The Umbrella Academy” creator/writer Gerard Way, and why Kickstarter campaigns are for beggars. Then for his encore, Hart puts Lianne “Spiderbaby” MacDougall on blast for her plagiarism scandal, and why he can no longer support Fangoria Magazine. This interview is simply Hart D. Fisher unleashed and uncensored.
During the 90’s Boneyard Press was really pushing the envelope for the horror genre within the comics world and I think really paved the way for some of the extreme books we have now like Crossed from Avatar Press. Now looking back do you feel the impact and influence that Boneyard had on the comics scene?
HDF: When you’re in the eye of the storm, you don’t get a chance to look around & assess the damage around you, or the impact you’ve had, you’re just trying to survived & get the next book out.
Now, with many years outside of the industry all together, I can see the impact of my work pretty easily.
I haven’t seen an independent company hit the industry like Boneyard Press, the closest thing is Avatar, but then, it’s publisher Will, was right in the center of things when I launched Boneyard Press and he even gave me the idea for “Jeffrey Dahmer vs. Jesus Christ”, only Will wanted to Dahmer nailin’ Christ to the cross on the cover.
No one else has come close to touching the depths like we did except for Verotik, but then, that’s a company headed by Glenn Fucking Danzig, and that’s no joke. Avatar & Verotik are it. The rest is a pale shadow in comics.
As for influence… I think we had more of an effect on musicians and filmmakers than comics themselves. Just talk to Phil Anselmo, or the guys in Necrophagia, or Slayer, or Metalica, or Moonspell, or even an MMA fighter like Josh Barnett or hell, even the members of Cheap Trick… I had dinner with them after a show & signed Dahmer comics for everybody in the band. You can see my influence in the Saw films, in A Serbian Film, in Law & Order SVU (they based an episode on me, poorly), it’s all around you in the culture so deeply implanted most people wouldn’t ever know.
Boneyard Press carved its niche in the minds of the new generation of filmmakers & creators and they all know exactly who they are.
How is it you’ve never done a Kickstarter campaign for either American Horrors or to get the Boneyard catalog back into print? Is it just because of the amount of time involved with running a campaign?
HDF:The short answer is simple- Losers BEG.
Too me, as an actual professional with a body of work I can refer too, it’s an insult and unprofessional to stand outside of Starbucks with an empty cup & a drum machine & beg for $$$ to make your films or your comics. It’s for newbies who’ve never done anything or punks & crooks who can’t get it done in the real business world.
Then there’s the unscrupulous nature of it.
I know at least 3 campaigns that were rigged from the inside. Some of them had pretty big name talent involved too. They had a certain amount of money already raised, waiting in the wings, and when they got close, they had the ringer step in & make the big donations to seal the deal so it looks like they had real consumer demand for their product, but they’re really just gaming the system.
There was another campaign run by a guy who used the money to screw his partners in a movie & attempt to steal another creators characters… yeah, that really happened. I know the filmmaker who got fucked & had to pony up $$$ to his lawyer to go after this guy, let’s call him “Dick” because that’s what he was, a fucking dick crook.
“Dick” used Kickstarter to raise “completion funds” when what he really needed was the capital to cut out his partners behind their backs. “Dick” used his Kickstarter $$$ to redo the score (he couldn’t get the rights too because his partner owned it) and replace several scenes & actors in an attempt to make the movie look like a different, new movie. “Dick” then deleted half the production team from the credits and sold it illegally overseas & tried to release it back in the states before the poor victim realized what was up & got his lawyer on it with the cease & desist notices.
So yeah, Kickstarter has already enabled the crooks to screw over & rip off other artists and to deceive fans.
You guys could have a field day investigating all the kickstarter projects where creators only raised money to live off of, never actually making jack shit, or used it like bait for a pyramid scheme. A smart investigative journalist will check into it sooner than later.
You’ve been vocal about your hate for My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way, what is it about the guy that gets under your skin, because Boneyard Press published his first book “On Raven’s Wings”?
HDF:Short answer? Gerard Way is a liar and a fake who devalued Boneyard Press products and implied I was a liar by his deceits and instead of owning up to his deceptions he kept on lying and set his fans loose on me for an online hate campaign that hurt my wife’s recovery from Chemo and Radiation therapy to combat her ovarian and cervical cancer.
In order to inflate orders on his upcoming comic book, “The Umbrella Academy”, Dark Horse, editor Scott Allie & Gerard Way made a major press push stating the falsehood that “The Umbrella Academy” was Gerard’s first published work in comics, which they knew was a lie.
Gerard’s first published work was done over a decade earlier when Boneyard Press published his series, “On Raven’s Wings”. Issue #1 was published in April 1994, written by Gary Way, drawn by Jose Santos with inks by Dana Greene and a fully painted cover by Rob Nemeth. Issue #2 was published in September 1994 with Gary writing, Jose & Dana on the art, another great painted cover by Rob Nemeth. When Gary couldn’t hold his art team together, we canceled the series, but that didn’t stop me from schleppin’ this kids books to convention after convention telling everyone what a great new writer this kid was and that yeah, he’s got the goods. I did this for YEARS.
Dark Horse and its editorial staff knew all about this but decided to pump the numbers up with the lie about ‘first published work’. They were even lying about it when directly asked by some members of Gerard’s fan club. They claimed that Garry Way was not Gerard Way. According to Dark Horse, they were two different people.
Why did they do that? Because any comic geek worth his salt can tell you, an artist’s first published work is generally the most valuable, knowing this, fans will invest in a new book so they can have that “First published work” tag. Dark Horse & Gerard lied about it all to inflate their sales on the book.
They kept right on lying even to Rolling Stone. Dark Horse’s Scott Allie said, “Hart published Gerard’s first comics when Gerard was fifteen. I don’t think we’ve ever said Umbrella Academy is the first comic Gerard did.” Funny thing was, the very day this was quoted in Rolling Stone the Diamond Preview catalogue came out with a full page add proclaiming that The Umbrella Academy is Gerard Way’s first published work. Full page ad. Big ass bulletin points. Dark Horse and Scott were full of shit and they knew it but they threw me under the bus in the press anyway.
Ripping off your fans like that, gaming store owners, that’s some pretty low shit to pull, but it was going to get a lot lower when he sicked his fans on me & I was unable to keep my wife from reading the hate mail, which just wrecked her. I mean, she was already emaciated from the Chemo & the Radiation… Watching her crying, reading that shit he sent my way because he wasn’t man enough to own up to his own actions…
This shit is personal.
You ready for the background on why this is such a burn? Because here’s the long story…
So it’s the early 90’s and I get a submission packet from a high school kid named Gary Way. He was a big fan of mine so he sent this comic book that he & his buddies were doing together to me. I thought it was pretty good. So I decided to invest my money & publish it. That’s when I got to know him, when I took him under my wing.
I did this with a lot of the lost souls & angry young kids who found their way to me. I wasn’t just their publisher, I was their friend, I cared about my guys. They were important to me and I wanted them to get stronger, to be stronger, to do the best work they could do. My philosophy at Boneyard Press was give me your stragglers, give me your battered & cast offs… I would rebuild them… I would forge them into wolves and together, we would own the shadows.
Gary was one of these kids.
I used to have talks with his mother about how to keep him from getting beat up & bullied at school where he lived in Jersey. I talked with Gary quite a bit too. This was before email & texting, so people actually talked to each other then… So… after Boneyard published the first issue of his on going series, I took a liking to the kid so much I got him on the Sally Jesse Raphael show as an “Official Boneyard Press Writer” and he got to stand up & ask a question on the air.
Pretty cool for the school punching bag, right?
Gary gets out of high school & stays in touch with me through his days in college. A lot of my interns & guys did that as they were growing up. When he called me from the offices of DC & told me about his new job at Vertigo, I thought, Fuck yeah, now one of my guys is rising up! Kick Ass!
911 happens, I don’t hear from the kid again. Me, my life moves at light speed, so I don’t think twice about it… a few years go by, I’m working full time in Adult films, then I get the youtube/mail from a fan who tells me all of her friends are calling her a liar over my book, On Raven’s Wings, and it’s author Gary Way.
You see… Apparently there was a Gerard Way with a new comic book coming out from Dark Horse comics & they were marketing it as the first published work of Gerard Way, the frontman for My Chemical Romance, which will have more value in the collectible comics market & would help them get a sales bump. My fan said to her friends, “Hey, that’s not his first published work, he did a series for Boneyard Press as Gary Way, that’s his first published work.” She contacts me to get the truth. I go fucking ballastic.
No motherfucker is going to make a liar out of one of my fans. Fucking no one.
I write a blog on my Live Journal account wondering if Dark Horse is a knowing partner of Garry Way’s charade to game the fans & the retailers or are they unwitting pawns. I was very, very, very angry. Then I got my hands on the My Chemical Romance video interview with all grown up Gerard Way telling people that he wished someone had taken a chance on him & published his comics when he was a teenager, that only someone believed in him enough to publish his work back then.
I’m fucking LIVID watching this & listening to this. I watched it over & over.
Then when Rolling Stone get’s involved, the press goes nuts, my lawyer tells me to shut the fuck up for once and since my wife was recovering from ovarian & cervical cancer, which nearly killed her… and the chemo turned her into a walking skeleton… I mean… I’d go to rub her feet, and there was no meat on the bottom of her foot. It was all bones.
Since the doctors in Japan had told me her cancer was stress related and that too much stress would kill her… I had to shut the fuck up & do my best to keep Waka from reading all the hate mail & hate memes on the web. That didn’t need to happen. Gary could have just owned up to the truth.
Only he didn’t.
Instead of manning up and owning his lies and deceptions, he chose to hide behind a bunch of clueless emo twits and chose to sick his fan base on me… On my wife. Who cried & cried reading this shit. She doesn’t want me to talk about this, she doesn’t want to acknowledge how this puke & the scum bags online got to her, but she was vulnerable back then. I was her only caregiver. The only one. Her family was back in Japan. And I couldn’t stop her with from reading this… I could only shut up, try to let it blow over while I consulted with my lawyers about what to do.
For what Garry Way did to my reputation, to my company and most of all, what he did to my wife… in the midst of her suffering… When I was only speaking the truth. If he wasn’t lying why did he call my office from the middle of his south American tour, when this whole thing blew up, he sure was able to find my number and communicate with me AFTER the truth came out. It didn’t have to go down the way it did. My wife should have been able to focus on recovering from cancer, from never being able to have a baby. But no, this asshole put us through the ringer to save his own pride when caught in a lie.
For that… For what he did to my wife… I hate that motherfucker.
I hate that motherfucker like you cannot even put into words.
Tell us how you made the transition from comic book publisher to the owner of a 24 hour horror channel?
HDF: Ahahahahahah….. that’s a long road but a good one…
I’ve always had a hard on for horror. The genre has spoken to me in a way no other ever has. When I was doing comics with Boneyard Press & writing for Chaos, The Comics Journal, Heroes Illustrated, Caliber… whomever… I knew I was heading towards movies. It was always the next logical step up, that’s why I wrote & directed “The Garbage Man” back in 1993. The rapes, the murders, the multiple murder trials involving Michelle’s killer… they derailed me for awhile…. I was drinking myself to sleep every night for years, doing spoken word, comic conventions, the murder trials…
It wasn’t until I saw the “Blair Witch Project” at a test screening in 1999, that I really started to get my head clear and get my shit together. The Blair Witch Project screamed at me to get off of my ass & finish The Garbage Man. Which I did, releasing a bootleg on VHS in 2001 to raise funds for the sound design, then a DVD release in 2009 (it is now out of print and can only be seen on American Horrors).
I figured if these guys could make this giant hit the way they did, then what the hell was holding ME back?
Doing the sales rounds with a finished “Garbage Man” feature film was an eye opener, that really sealed the deal for me, as far as creating a television network was concerned. I knew that the only way to create & release the kind of films I wanted to do, that I wanted to see, I knew that I would have to be the boss, that I would have to be in charge of the distribution, the pipeline to consumers, all of it.
That was the true beginnings of American Horrors. Dealing with indie film distribution, the way they all shit on horror… that was the beginning of my frustration with indie distribution and the current heads of the horror film market, but it wasn’t until I signed a tv deal with The Global Broadcast Company in 2008 that what was in my mind became a reality.
This company recruited me to create a Friday night horror block for their new slate of soon to be launched satellite channels developed for the Norway, Sweden, England, Spain, Russia & the opening European market. The funniest thing about this, the whole deal as put together by Christian centric programmers. I got recruited to launch this horror block by a bunch of bible bangers.
With this kick ass deal in hand we leapt into production, booking feature films, cutting broadcast cuts of films short horror films. We shot a full season of American Horrors for this deal with me as the on camera host. That was a lot of fun. I mean, A LOT OF FUN. I wanted to do this kind of thing full time. I had an idea for a horror channel in the back of my mind, I felt American Horrors was the brand to do it with.
I kept this idea to myself.
I’d already seen The Horror Channel die a slow miserable death. I watched other horror magazines burn up their capital without airing a single show, let’s just say a lot of folks had tried this horror channel idea and failed.
Then I got the call from Alki David, the crazy billionaire and head of FilmOn. They were looking to get a serious horror channel on FilmOn and their corporate head hunter said I was the guy to do it. I drove out to his Beverly Hills home in my beat up ’83 Chevy Impala wearing leather pants and a “Gun Owner or Victim. You Choose.” T-shirt and we hit it off right away.
Alki was a man of wealth unlike any other I’d ever met. He had a taste for The Jerky Boys, pulling pranks, pushing buttons and taking absolutely zero shit. THIS was a guy I wanted to work with. Things were poppin’ off all around him. We’re both building empires. I knew he’d get what I was going to do with American Horrors.
So in October of 2011 we launched the 24 hour uncut American Horrors channel on FilmOn.TV. In September of 2012 we decided to become a free to watch channel, so now we’re available to watch worldwide for free.
I spend my days hunting down unseen hard to find horror movies I’ve always wanted to see and digging up the bloody best of the new bleeding edge filmmakers and bands. Then I get to share all this cool stuff on American Horrors.
Let me tell ya, I’m having the time of my life.
You have a book coming up called “An American Horror Story” that chronicles the story of your former girlfriend Michelle Davis who was raped and murdered during the making of your first film, “The Garbage Man”. What can you tell us about the book and how difficult is it to write a true crime book when you are so emotionally close to the source material?
HDF:“An American Horror Story” is my horror story.
It’s a first person central account of my experiences during the 90’s as “The Most Dangerous Man in Comics” in public while privately locked in a fight to put in jail & keep in jail the rapist murdering piece of human shit who destroyed my first love, Michelle, in a hotel robbery in Champaign, Illinois.
I unload details about my life, about the violence I’ve seen done to women, repeatedly, in my life and the mental scars it’s left on me… the behind the scenes of the talk show circuses at Sally Jesse Raphael & Jerry Springer, what it’s like to be exploited on those shows… the drinking… the madness… the censorship wars you’ve never heard about… anything you ever thought you knew about my life was NOTHING compared to what I was living… it was far, far, far crazier than the myths and rumors…
As for dealing with it… to write a book about it… I mean, when you’ve got 3 murder trials in just shy of ten years under your belt… Man, you better know how to deal with it because it’s in your face day & night… That’s part of why I was such an insane wild man in comics, why I was driven to publish & create such extreme material, I was living an extreme life. Not some fucking catch phrase for some dipwad on a fucking bike.
When Michelle was murdered in the middle of making “The Garbage Man”… about a week into filming… it… it… I mean… Michelle was working as the night auditor at a local motel where the rock bands would go stay when they were in town, she was raped & murdered in a motel robbery… My father was the last human besides her killer, to talk to her… I mean… He was there, staying at the hotel, in town to be in the movie… and this shit happens… you don’t foresee this happening to you… One minute you’re living the dream, making your first movie, you’re girlfriend just moved in… the phone rings… then you’re in a movie, a real mindfucker of a movie and you’re never coming back… your life is never going to be the same… it just absolutely broke me.
I can’t even begin to describe what those weeks were like, finishing the film… it was a mess. I can’t believe we finished shooting “The Garbage Man”.
The media never let up. It didn’t matter how many doors I slammed in their faces or how many news directors I threatened to maim… They continued to crucify me in every way they could. Tough enough to deal with that before but now… now I was broken & had no idea how to fix myself.
That’s when the poetry started bleeding out of me, crazy stuff scribbled out on scraps of paper, napkins, artwork, scattered all over the house. A friend of mine was over and he said “This is some really powerful poetry you’ve got here, you should write more.” I didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about. Poetry?
I should write more? Hell, I couldn’t stop writing this stuff, it just poured out of me. I started going to poetry readings, started doing spoken word with the material… and it was all just absolute madness & rage & loss & pain…. I was on fire. This work grew to become my first collection of poetry, “Poems for the Dead”, originally published in 1995 by Boneyard Press, was sold in the Hot Topic chain and got a 2nd printing from Chaos! Comics in 1998, that was when I also published the follow up collection, “Still Dead”.
I couldn’t help but write it.
Doing the spoken word performances, it gave me a distance to work through the emotions, the pain… the demons of it all. Purge it out. I didn’t know that at the time, I was just doing whatever I had to survive. Purge. Purge. Purge…
In 2009 true crime auther Michelle McKee (most notable for her work outing the Steubenville football rapists) tapped me to be the 1st amendment expert for true crime online site, “In Cold Blog”, which at that time was one of the best & most well read true crime sites in the world. I was supposed to write one thing for them, 1st amendement stuff, but this material that would become “An American Horror Story” came pouring out instead.
“An American Horror Story” has been pretty easy to write. The material was ready to come out. Unplanned. Raw.
It’s been freeing.
Have you encountered any uproar from political assholes saying you’re taking advantage of a tragedy or that you’re glorifying violence for your own personal gain?
HDF: Ahhhh, most of the time it’s only from people who can hide behind a microphone and a security crew while I’m on camera, trying to provoke me into doing something stupid. Most folks don’t say jack shit to my face.
Or Facefuck… Cowards LOVE facefuck & twitter & the chats.
But those are just gnats. I ignore the gnats.
On your radio show, Hart Attack, you’ve been vocal about the plagiarism scandal involving Lianne “Spiderbaby” MacDougall. Talk a bit about why you felt like you needed to throw her under the bus and run her over multiple times?
HDF: Straight up, Lianne “SpiderBaby” MacDougall is a serial plagiarist who got a book deal based on work she stole from other writers, won review awards for the work she stole from other creators, got jobs & online assignments based on the work she stole from other creators and oh yeah, she got away with this for YEARS.
When Lianne finally gets caught, her boyfriend, Mr. Tarantino, then uses his clout in the film industry to try & squelch online articles detailing her thefts, hushing up her crimes… basically aiding & abetting her crime & giving the victims a big middle finger fuck you.
On my radio show, Hart Attack, we had online journalist Mike White as a guest to discuss this plagiarism, since he’d had a hand in outing Ms. MacDougall’s crimes in his online columns and had a history with Mr. Tarantino. Some folks trying to rescue Ms. MacDougall’s career complained at my use of the words “Thieving Cunt” and other colorful language to describe Ms. MacDougall during the show.
Well fuck them.
No one gets bent out of shape when I verbally brutalize corporations for mistreating their workers… right? Or the church for hiding child molestors from the law? The show’s called Hart ATTACK… It ain’t the Hart Gets Along With Everyone Hour. Lianne was a serial intellectual property thief who’d been enabled by her friends & peers in the horror industry for most of her career. How come no one is calling out her enablers for their complicity in her crimes?
We’re talking about the editors of most of the big names in horror journalism, Fangoria, Fear.net, St. Martins Press… If it wasn’t so sickening it would be funny reading their Bill Clinton “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” dance around the issue excuses and white wash, I mean, these are all major brands that should have done their due diligence. As an editor, it’s your job to make sure what you’re publishing is original, and if you do crib some notes, then you have to acknowledge your sources. That’s how it’s done in the big pants world.
Have you ever had your work stolen? It fucking sucks. You work hard, then you read about someone else winning a big award for the work you fucking did? It feels like shit.
That’s why I threw “her under the bus and run her over multiple times.” I have had my poetry ripped off, I’ve had a screenplay put into development with a liar’s name on it, not my own, I’ve had major corporations rip off my trademarks… I’ve got real world experience in common with the victims of Lianne “Spyderbaby” MacDougall. I can’t pretend what she did was anything but serial predation. She’s a serial predator.
Fuck those assholes who tried to cover this up. That’s some weak ass shit that betrays the readers of their brands and does a disservice to every other writer there who actually does their fucking job. It’s a major betrayal to the readers of these brands, especially to anyone who paid money to read the rip offs.
Betraying the fans, lying to your fellow artists in a fake quest for more personal glory based on the backs of other peoples work, to me that is the definition of a cunt, of a selfish asshole. A fucking criminal who victimizes both their fellow artists and the audience, that’s what Lianne and her fellow plagiarizers are.
A walking talking bucket of fake.
You’ve also talked at lengths about Fangoria editor Chris Alexander, who was caught reviewing his own movie under the pen name Ben Cortman. What it means for the horror community and do you think there still any journalistic integrity left in the scene?
HDF: You guys live in the point & click area of intellectual property theft.
Make no mistake, when someone like Lianne “spyderbaby” MacDougall wins awards for someone else’s work, then has her super connected boyfriend and editors use their positions of power to whitewash her crimes when the truth hits the streets… it hurts every single creator out there. It’s an insult to every reader who is sold the lie.
Every single one of us loses when a thief is rewarded for their thievery and people in power reward the thief instead of helping the victims get credit for their work. We all lose. Artists & fans alike.
As for Mr. Alexander, I’ve never met or interacted in the flesh with this guy. I can only judge him by his actions and deceptions he’s pulled on the readers of Fangoria Magazine. I know a thing or two about fucking with the readers too.
In 1998 I faked my death for April Fool’s day. The Comics Journal & The Comics Buyers Guide teamed up to verify my death. When the prank was busted, I owned it. I had to. It was my prank. I did deceive my audience for April Fool’s Day, and when the truth of my “death” came out, there were plenty of angry fans. Hell, even Tim Vigil slapped me in the face at a bar in Detroit over the prank. More than once. I owned it all the way. No excuses. And that was just a fucking April Fool’s Joke.
Chris Alexander, he writes a kiss ass review of his own movie, in his own magazine as the Managing Editor under a fake name. Then he refuses to own up to the responsibility of his deceptions. The cannot even acknowledge or accept what he did was wrong. He dances around the issue in a very lawyerly fashion. No apology, no accepting the consequences of his deceptions, just more bullshit, and this just a couple of months after the MacDougall white wash.
I mean, if I was a regular Fangoria subscriber, I’d be PISSED. I used to go by Fangoria’s reviews about what to watch. I spent my money on movies based on their descriptions of it, they’re review of it. Now this guys going to game all those readers & fans?
Really dude? You had the balls to wipe your ass with the credibility of one of the world’s oldest brands in horror, one that fans love worldwide, not once but fucking TWICE? What kind of a person does that, TWICE? In just a couple months? How can you do that to Fango? I mean really man, how can all the Fangoria fans not be fucking PISSED that someone is doing this to their magazine?
How can the fans rely on their reviews? How can a fan who’s supported the magazine for years know if what he’s reading was actually written by the name on the article? Or that the review in the magazine wasn’t bought & paid for? Their credibility is shot, anything could happen over there and you cannot believe a word outta their managerial staff about it. Once you start lying, you become a liar. No nothing you say or do can be trusted.
Fangoria needs to clean house.
I carried that magazine around with me everywhere as a kid. I loved that fucking rag. Too see what’s been done to it… Makes me sick.