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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Last Gasp: Underground Comic Publisher Raises Money Needed to Stay in Business

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Ron Turner in his personal gallery. - MIKE KOOZMIN
  • Mike Koozmin
  • Ron Turner in his personal gallery.
As of press time on Monday afternoon, 44-year-old underground comic publishing house Last Gasp - a business that would never shy away from genitalia-themed coloring books or mandala art or comic strips that poked fun at suicide — was still trying to stave off death. 

The company had launched a Kickstarter campaign to bankroll its fall press run. It needed to make $75,000 to recoup any money at all; by 3 p.m. it had three days and about $14,000 to go. As associate publisher Colin Turner said, there is no Plan B.

Comic book fans came through, and Last Gasp will indeed publish the eight books in its fall lineup, with more than $1,000 to spare, and a full day to rake in more.

That money also buys it another few months to map out a viable business plan at a time when comic book publishers are sputtering. Clearly, there's an audience for these left-field works, but the demand for alternative publishers is wearing down. Artists can now disseminate their own work online without the need for a middleman; brick-and-mortar retailers aren't always willing to take a chance on outre material.

But that's something that Colin Turner and his father, company founder Ron Turner, can worry about later. Now they've got fetish coloring books and mandala art to stock.

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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.


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