Bissette, Stephen R. 1955-
BISSETTE, Stephen R. 1955-
PERSONAL: Born 1955, in VT; son of Richard J. (a businessman) and Anita (a bookkeeper) Bissette; married Nancy (now Marlene) O'Connor, 1981 (divorced, 2000); married, April 13, 2002; wife's name, Marjory; children: (first marriage) Maia, Daniel. Education: Attended Johnson State College, 1974-76; Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, graduated 1978. Politics: "Anything but Republican." Religion: Christian.
ADDRESSES: Home—P.O. Box 47, Marlboro, VT 05344. Offıce—SpiderBaby Grafix and Publications, P.O. Box 442, Wilmington, VT 05363. E-mail— [email protected]
CAREER: Professional cartoonist, comics writer, editor, and publisher. SpiderBaby Grafix, Wilmington, VT, publisher; First Run Video, co-manager and buyer; producer for video project co-publisher of Green Mountain Cinema. Guest author at Middlebury College Breadloaf Young Writers' Workshop, 1999-2001.
MEMBER: Video Software Dealers Association (active in Filmmakers of Tomorrow program).
AWARDS, HONORS: Eisner Award for anthology, for Taboo; Bram Stoker Award for Best Novella, 1993, for Aliens: Tribes.
(Editor) Goreshriek, Fantaco (Albany, NY), 1988–89.
(Editor) Shriek, Fantaco (Albany, NY), 1989–90.
Aliens: Tribes, illustrated by David Dorman, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1993.
(Editor) From Hell: The Compleat Scripts, Volume 1, Spiderbaby Comix and Publications (Wilmington, VT), 1993.
(With Stanley Wiater) Comic Book Rebels: Conversations with the Creators of the New Comics, Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1993.
(Co-author) The Monster Book: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2000.
We Are Going to Eat You!: The Third World CannibalMovies and the Inside Story of the Goona-Goona Films, SpiderBaby Grafix (Marlboro, VT), 2003.
Author of "Abyss" comic book, 1976; collaborator with Alan Moore, on "Saga of the Swamp Thing" comic books series, DC Comics, 1983-87; collaborator on "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" comic book series, Mirage Studios; collaborator, Alan Moore and others, on "1963" comic books series, Image Comics; coauthor of "Taboo" comic books series, 1988-95. Author of "Spider Baby Comix" comic series, SpiderBaby Grafix, 1996—; and "S. R. Bissette's Tyrant," 1994-99.
Contributor of articles, reviews, and interviews to periodicals, including Animation Planet, Fangoria, Gorezone, Euro-Trash Cinema, Deep Red, Animato, Gadfly, Rutherford, Video Watchdog, Film Threat, Ecco, Necrofile, Vmag, Brattleboro Reformer and Gauntlet, and to books, including Cut! Horror Writers on Horror Films, 1992, The British Film Institute Companion to Horror, 1996, Clive Barker, Illustrator, 1990, Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman, 2003, and Underground U.S.A., 2003; contributor of scripts to comic book series, including "Sgt. Rock," "Tales of Terror," "Species," "Human Race," "Dark Horse Presents," and others; contributor of short fiction to Words without Pictures, 1990, Hell Boy: Odd Jobs, Working for the Man, 2002, Sex Crimes, 2003, and others.
Douglas E. Winter, Dark Sun, 1990.
The Shape under the Sheet: The Stephen King Reader, 1991.
Joe Lansdale, God of the Razor, [Springfield, MA], 1992.
Rick Hautala, The Mountain King, 1993.
Joseph A. Citro, Deus-X: A Novel of Spiritual Terror, Twilight (Sparta, NJ), 1994.
Joseph A. Citro, The Vermont Ghost Guide, [Hanover, NH], 2000.
Nancy Collins, Dead Roses for a Blue Lady, [Springfield, MA], 2002.
Illustrator, with Joe Citro, on Vermont's Haunts and Green Mountains, Dark Tales, 2001. Contributor of illustrations and cartoons to Sojourn, Heavy Metal, Sgt. Rock, Epic, Bizarre Adventures, and Scholastic Magazine's Weird Worlds; illustrator of stories by R. L. Stine in Weird Worlds and Bananas; illustrator of novels, novellas, and short story chapbooks by Douglas E. Winter, Nancy Collins, Neil Gaiman, Rick Hautala, Christopher Golden, Joe Lansdale, Joe Citro, Matt Spencer, and others.
ADAPTATIONS: Bissette's character "Tokka" was included in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film Secret of the Ooze.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Video production (with Joe Citro) based on The Vermont Ghost Guide, for Eye First Media; two other film-related books; a lengthy book on horror comics; numerous other projects.
SIDELIGHTS: Illustrator, graphic novelist, and writer Stephen R. Bissette is best known for his work as one of three collaborators on DC Comics' "Saga of the Swamp Thing" comic books series, published from 1983 to 1987. However, his creative work has spanned the arts, from illustrating comics to writing novellas to producing and writing about films. During the mid-1990s he began what he at that time called his life's work: the comic book series "Tyrant," which follows the life of a late-Cretaceous-period Tyrannosaurus rex from birth to death. The series was so thoroughly researched that Bissette became an active member of the Vertebrate Paleontology Society and solicited research assistance from professionals in the field. In an interview with Westfield Comics contributor Roger A. Ash, he said, "it takes me three dictionaries to read a lot of this stuff," referring to the paleontology texts he pored over to ensure that every detail of "Tyrant" is scientifically plausible.
Bissette is also known as co-creator of the popular Image Comics characters, "The Fury," "N-Man," and "The Hypernaut," made famous by the series 1963, published by Image Comics in 1993. He and John Totleben cofounded and published the adult horror comics series "Taboo" from 1988 to 1995.
Bissette branched out into writing short stories, novellas, articles, film reviews, and essays while he was still creating comics. He also started his own publishing company, SpiderBaby Grafix and Publications, which published several works, including the original series "S. R. Bissette's Tyran" and "Spider Baby Comix," the second which reprints his early work. A lifelong devotee of horror, fantasy, and science-fiction films, Bissette has written numerous articles about horror and fantasy films and has illustrated a number of horror novels and short-story collections. He has also become involved with independent filmmaking and video outlets, and teaches workshops on film.
In 1999, after becoming disillusioned with the comics industry in the wake of the collapse of the industry's direct sales market, Bissette bid farewell to comics with a final collaboration with John Totleben on a final "Swamp Thing" installment titled "Jack in the Green." The story was scripted by Neil Gaiman and published in the 1999 anthology Midnight Days. He signed the final full page "Goodbye" and moved on to other facets of his career, mainly as a writer and in the video industry. However, he has continued to illustrate horror and fantasy novels and to write and illustrate outside of the comics industry. Bissette, who was forced to give up his research-intensive project "Tyrant" in 1999, wrote on his Web site: "I do hope to return to Tyrant someday, but NOT in the comics industry (book market only)."
In addition to a number of other film-related projects, he published the 2003 book We Are Going to Eat You!: The Third World Cannibal Movies and the Inside Story of the Goona-Goona Films, an expanded version of a work published in part in 1989. The book collects information and graphics on dozens of foreign and U.S. horror films with a cannibalistic theme. It includes some one hundred pages of artwork, Bissette's illustrations as well as international film art, clippings, and advertisements dating as far back as the 1890s.
In 2004, Bissette's book-length work-in-progress, a study of Vermont films and filmmakers, yielded the first issue of a periodical titled Green Mountain Cinema, which includes analysis of Vermont and New England film and video. He also worked with fellow Vermonter and frequent collaborator Joe Citro on a feature-length video adaptation of Citro's Vermont Ghost Guide.
When asked what kind of effect he hoped his books would have, Bissette told CA: "In my fiction, I am confrontational by nature, and want to pluck a deep nerve, leaving the reader shaken or disturbed. I am not beneath caressing the 'higher' emotions en route, but I always seem to steer toward the disturbing; it's the bent of my being, I'm afraid. In my nonfiction, if I can provoke in an uncaring reader affection for and understanding of a (to my mind) maligned or forgotten creative endeavor, then I've done my job."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Rapport, May, 1992, review of Taboo 5, p. 62.
Hollywood Comics Web site,http://www.hollywoodcomics.com/ (August 4, 2003), "Stephen R. Bissette."
Kingdom Online Comics Discussion & Debate,http://www.fanboy.com/ (May 8, 2002), Stephen R. Bissette, "A Short Bio, and What I've Been up to in 2002;" (February 10, 2003) Stephen R. Bissette, "Re: Seeing Print This Week: SpiderBaby Grafix's We Are Going to Eat You!"
Lambiek.net,http://www.lambiek.net/ (August 4, 2003), "Stephen R. Bissette."
Stephen R. Bissette Home Page,http://www.comicon.com/bissette (October 29, 2003).
Westfield Comics Web site,http://www.westfieldcomics.com/ (August, 1996), Roger A. Ash, "Stephen R. Bissette Interview."