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|George Scott Caragonne|
|Born||September 16, 1965|
|Died||July 20, 1995
New York City
George Caragonne (September 16, 1965 – July 20, 1995) was an American comic book writer and editor, most notable for being co-founder of Penthouse Comix magazine. He committed suicide in 1995 shortly before his 30th birthday.
Born in San Antonio, Texas, Caragonne was the only male child born to Alexander Caragonne (author/architect) and Alice Caragonne. He never married and had no children. After his death, he was laid to rest at Fujiyama by his mother.
Caragonne wrote comics, primarily for Marvel Comics and their subsidiary Star Comics, throughout the latter half of the 1980s. Titles he wrote included Masters of the Universe, Planet Terry, and Star Brand. He also worked in the animation field.
In 1988, after hearing that former Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter was forming Valiant Comics, Caragonne drove from California to New York, and, unannounced, knocked on Shooter's door to offer his services. Caragonne agreed to do work for Valiant, all while holding a full-time job. After Valiant was established, Caragonne wrote such titles as Captain N, The Legend of Zelda, and Punch Out!!.
After leaving Valiant, Caragonne wrote a few freelance stories for Marvel, including a short Silver Surfer story for a custom comic produced for Charleston Chew, and a short backup tale for a Fantastic Four annual.
Around this time Caragonne created a comics packaging studio called Constant Developments, Inc. (CDI). CDI optioned the rights to produce new comics featuring the 1960s superhero team T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents (from John Carbonaro, then the rights-holder). An acquaintance introduced Caragonne to Penthouse magazine publisher Bob Guccione, whom Caragonne tried to interest in publishing T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. Guccione instead hired Caragonne to create soft-core erotica comic sections for Penthouse magazine.
Caragonne was given an office inside Penthouse's headquarters. After several sections of comics had been produced for Penthouse, Guccione directed Caragonne to produce a stand-alone comics magazine for his company; the first issue of Penthouse Comix appeared in spring 1994.
With stories by Caragonne and art by the likes of Adam Hughes, Garry Leach, Arthur Suydam, Milo Manara, Richard Corben, Bart Sears, and Gray Morrow, Penthouse Comix was an immediate international success, and spawned a full line that included the seven-issue Men's Adventure Comix and the three-issue Omni Comix, the latter a companion to the science magazine Omni (which was also published by Guccione). (A T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents story did eventually find publication in a Guccione publication, in the first issue of Omni Comix.) Caragonne (under Guccione's direction) began to change the material from soft-core erotica to hardcore pornography.
Controversy and death
In mid-July 1995 Caragonne was dismissed from Penthouse Comix for financial impropriety (and other erratic behavior), and escorted out of the building by security. A week later, on July 20, 1995, Caragonne committed suicide by leaping 500 feet from the 45th floor of the Marriott Marquis Hotel in times Square, landing in an atrium, on a buffet table bustling with guests.
- Evanier, Mark. "George". POV Online: News from Me (July 20, 2005).
- "The Leader," Marvel Collector's Edition #1 (1992).
- "In Kang's Clutches," Fantastic Four annual #25 (1992).
- Sodaro, Robert J. "The Resplendent Sound of T.H.U.N.D.E.R.!" Comics Value Annual (1999). Archived on ThunderAgents.com. Accessed Feb. 8, 2014.
- Omni Comix #1 (March 1995).
- Lambiet, Jose, Laurie C. Merrill and Corky Siemaszko."Stunned Tourists See Man Plunge To Death", Daily News (July 21, 1995).
- George Caragonne at the Comic Book DB