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Did Cunanan Kill Comics Publisher?

(This  Stripped column originally appeared in the August 21-27, 1997 Long Island Voice. Click on the artwork for a larger image.)

by Beth Hannan Rimmels

'NUFF SAID:

"Getting involved means giving up a piece of your soul."

— Amanda in Amanda and Gunn #1

We live in a strange little world, folks, and it gets smaller every day. Last week, your friendly neighborhood Stripped column brought you the tale of Elvis Shrugged, the Revolutionary Comics miniseries that imagined the Presley saga as envisioned by Ayn Rand. What I didn't know then was that the Revolutionary people are still in the comics business and that the publisher's tale has twists that include possible ties to Andrew Cunanan.

Revolutionary, founded by Todd Loren in 1989, specialized in music- and sports-related biographical comic books. Loren lived in San Diego and frequented the same bars in the Hillcrest section of town as Cunanan. Cunanan’s FBI profile indicated a tendency to target affluent men. That by itself could be a coincidence, but Loren was found bludgeoned and stabbed to death in his bed in 1992 and his car was stolen, presumably by the killer. Those details are consistent with other Cunanan murders as is the fact that Loren bought and sold explicit videos through ads in gay newspapers, which was also Cunanan’s hobby. Police theorize that Loren and Cunanan could have met through such ads.

The new analysis of the case — as an unsolved murder, it had never been closed — was sparked when Loren’s parents called the San Diego Police Department after realizing that Cunanan’s physical description and that of his home matched the description Loren had given of his new lover. Neither his family nor his coworkers had met the man, and shortly thereafter Loren was murdered.

San Diego police are questioning Loren’s family and friends in light of this new information and comparing Cunanan’s fingerprint and DNA samples with samples collected at the Loren crime scene. If a connection can be established, it would place the Cunanan murders as starting at least five years earlier than the April 1997 murder commonly thought to be the first.

Revolutionary Comics continued publishing for two more years with Loren’s father, Herb Shapiro, as publisher. When Shapiro decided to retire, Revolutionary staff and freelancers regrouped and founded Re-Visionary Press, which specializes in adult comics sold outside the direct market, such as Carnal Comics. Re-Visonary also repackages comic book and comic strip projects for groups such as Oui magazine, Rhino Records, The San Diego Reader and more.

We'll keep you posted.

Other news and notes:

If you want an up close and personal look at Joe Jusko’s paintings for Vampirella: Bloodlust, profiled in the July 17th Stripped column, take a trip into New York City for Four Color Images exhibit Sept 13-Oct 11. Jusko will sign his work at 1-3pm Sept 13. For more information check out their Web site or e-mail them at comicart@aol.com or call 212-431-4234. No drooling on the artwork, please.

This week's recommendation: Amanda and Gunn is a four-issue, black-and-white miniseries written and drawn by Jimmie Robinson, not to be confused with Starman’s James Robinson.

Amanda Shane moved to rural Montana to get away from the urban crush of 2036 and her past. But now something is killing townspeople when they wander to the forest, and she might be their only hope to stop it. Well, her and her artificially intelligent gun, which Amanda buried five years ago. Gunn is rather miffed to have been turned off. Think Blade Runner in Twin Peaks territory and you’ve got it, but it’s smarter, more accessible and less confusing than either of those two. Buy it.

Column 1997 Long Island Voice. Artwork 1997 Jimmy Robinson.