Jay Allen Sanford is an American author and cartoonist best known for his work with Revolutionary Comics, Carnal Comics, and Pacific Comics. He co-created the comic book Rock ‘N’ Roll Comics with Todd Loren in 1989, which is still being published in 2011 by Bluewater Productions. The publishing company he co-founded, Carnal Comics, is best known for launching the movie and cartoon character Demi the Demoness. Sanford ran Carnal Comics from 1994 through 2000, before handing over the publishing reins to SS Crompton.
Sanford has specialized in creating comic books and strips based on true life incidents and people. Most of the 200 or so reality-based comic books he has created were done for Revolutionary Comics, as well as for Comic Zone (UFO/Alien Encounters, Cult TV), Pop Comics (The Beatles , the Rolling Stones, Star Trek: The Original Crew), Re-Visionary Press (Sexploitation Cinema: A Cartoon History, Triple-X Cinema: A Cartoon History), Celebrity Comics (Elvis Scrapbook), Tower Records (Pulse!), Bluewater Productions (Orbit: the Stan Lee Story, Hard Rock Heroes), and others.
Among the co-creators to work on reality comics with Sanford are Tom Luth, Stuart Immonen, Scott Jackson, Leonard Kirk, Michael Avon Oeming, Aaron Sowd, Todd Loren, Holly Golightly, Pat Broderick, Robert Schnakenberg, Terry Dodson, Greg Fox, Brad W. Foster, Bart Mendoza, Gene Simmons, Jamie Murray, Jim Holliday, William Margold, Jenna Jameson, Marilyn Chambers, Ginger Lynn, Hyapatia Lee, Annie Sprinkle, Craig Taillefer, Mike Wolfer, Jeff Pittarelli, Nick Poliwko, Larry Nadolsky, Lyndal and Earl Ferguson, Del Barras, Seppo Mäkinen, Sith Apprentice and Star Trek: The Continuing Mission co-creator Patrick McCray, Guns N' Roses album cover artist Robert Williams, original Marvel Comics Bullpen artist Dick Ayers, Grateful Dead album cover painter Phil Garris, Ken Landgraf (Wolverine) and others.
One of his few comic book projects NOT reality-based is Deepest Dimension Terror Anthology, co-created with Star Trek, Twilight Zone, and Logan’s Run writer George Clayton Johnson. Creators whose work appears in the series include Robert Bloch (Psycho, Yours Truly Jack the Ripper), Larry Niven (Ringworld), Daerick Gross (Vampire Lestat), Rick Geary (National Lampoon, Heavy Metal), Spain Rodriguez (Zap Comix), Dennis Etchison (Videodrome), and others.
After retiring from comic book publishing in 2000, Sanford began freelancing for other publishers and concentrating on multiple comic strips (see below) and writing projects (below). He also teaches specialized courses in comic book marketing, of both properties and creators, as a professor of sequential art at the Savannah College of Art and Design, a well-regarded training ground for comic creators with instructors like Spider-Man artist Tom Lyle and alumni including Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Matt Davies, Marvel Comics artists The Luna Brothers, Next Exit creator Christy Lijewski, and more.
In 1993, Sanford launched a multi-page color comic section called Rock Tales, published monthly in Larry Flynt’s music periodical RIP (magazine) and featuring short bios, illustrated interviews, and slice-of-life vignettes starring various rock performers. After that magazine ceased publication, Rock Tales began running as a one-page true-stories comic strip on the inside back cover of each issue of Spin (magazine), founded by Flynt rival Bob Guccione Jr., publisher of Penthouse Magazine.
From 1996 to 1997, Sanford headed up another multi-page color comic section called Oui’s Carnal Comics, published monthly in Oui (magazine), launched in the U.S. by Playboy Enterprises and at the time one of the top selling men’s periodicals. The comics frequently included the adventures of Carnal Comics character Demi the Demoness, who later became the first adult comic book character to be featured in a live action film adaptation. After 1997, the Carnal Comics cartoon pullouts occasionally ran in other publications like Hustler Humor, New Rave Magazine, AVN Adult Video News, Adult Cinema Review, and elsewhere.
Since 1994, Sanford has been a columnist and cartoonist for the San Diego Reader. His weekly Reader comic strip "Overheard in San Diego" was launched in late 1995, while a second weekly strip, "Famous Former Neighbors" debuted in 2002. Both reality-based strips are still running.
In addition to writing cover features for the weekly San Diego Reader newspaper, he has headed up various columns for the paper like Blurt, Lists, URLwatching, Record Release Roundup, Most Downloaded, the magazine's online Local Music Database, and the daily blogs Rock Around the Town, Jam Session, and Big Screen.
Among his Reader features are several in-depth overviews chronicling San Diego history and pop culture, such as Before It Was the Gaslamp: Downtown’s Grindhouse Theater Row in the ‘70s, The Rise and Fall of San Diego’s Pacific Comics, Pussycat Theaters – a Comprehensive History of a California Dynasty, and Field of Screens: San Diego Drive-In Theater History 1947–2008.
As a writer for other publications, his articles about pop culture, social issues, and historical research have been published in magazines like Gauntlet, Midnight Marquee, Revolt in Style, Axcess Magazine, TV Teens, In the Midnight Hour, FilmFax, Cult Movies, Sports Superstars, Soundwaves (Connecticut), Mojo (magazine) (U.K.), Starlog, Hit Parader, Pulse!, and various Twilight Zone literature.
Among the books he wrote or co-authored are Triple-X Cinema: A Cartoon History, The Beatles Experience, The Pink Floyd Experience, The Led Zeppelin Experience, Rock ‘N’ Roll Cartoon History: The Sixties, Rock ‘N’ Roll Cartoon History: The Seventies, Hard Rock Heroes, Pussycat Theaters: a Comprehensive History of a California Dynasty, Overheard in San Diego Omnibus, and Field of Screens: San Diego Drive-In Theater History 1947 - 2008.
Film and Television
Sanford's work for MTV and VH1 includes research and copy writing for TV specials like 100 Shocking Music Moments, 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders, 40 Dumbest Celebrity Quotes, 200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons, Behind the Music; Ratt, Behind the Music; Anthrax, I Love the '70s, Most Metal Moments, I Love the '80s, and writing info nuggets for the 2011 revival of the Pop-Up Video series.
Onscreen, he appears in the 2005 documentary film Unauthorized and Proud Of It, alongside Alice Cooper, Mojo Nixon, painter Robert Williams, publishers Denis Kitchen and Gary Groth, cartoonists Mary Fleener and Dennis Worden, Cynthia Plaster Caster, and others.
Film scripts and storyboards include Annabel Chong’s Sordid Stories, Jenna Jameson’s Wicked Weapon, Marilyn Chambers Still Insatiable, and Ginger Lynn: Torn. He's also interviewed on camera in the documentary film Drive-In Americana, concerning the history of drive-in theaters.
Sanford’s illustrations grace event posters, record sleeves, and tour posters for acts like Cheap Trick, the Bugs, Southtown Generals (with members of P.O.D. and Psydecar), Colin Clyne, Helen Bach, Bees She Sees, Liquid Blue, Wise Monkey Orchestra, Superunloader, Scott West, Dateless Losers, Gary Heffern (of the Penetrators), 40 Oz. to Freedom, the Cardiac Kidz, Chula Vista Soldier Club, Todo Mundo, the Styletones, Concrete Project, Lady Dottie and the Diamonds, Heavy Guilt, Psydecar, Rad Fish, Zig Zag Jones, and others. His CD booklet designs include the Motley Crue box set Music To Crash Your Car To Vol. 2, as well as similar comic-themed album inserts for compilations featuring the Ramones, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Dead Kennedys, and more.
In September 2010, Sanford launched a new political comic strip for a bi-weekly periodical published by San Diego Uptown News, co-created by editorial writer Pat Sherman. Usually consisting of two large panels spoofing local politicians, the strip appears to have ceased once Sherman left the paper in early 2011.
Sanford's concert poster series for RT's Longboard Grill in San Diego began in January 2011, with a new comic-themed numbered poster appearing approximately weekly through that summer.
- Don & Maggie Thompson, Comic Book Superstars, 1993, pg. 47
- NewsWatch: Todd Loren Slain, "The Comics Journal" #151 (July 1992), p. 11.
- Loren, Sanford, Crompton, Carnal Comics: The Inside Story of Art Sex & Porn Stars, 2004
- Brent Frankenhoff, The Standard Catalog of Comic Books, 2002, pg. 333
- Fogel's Underground Comix Price Guide, 2006
- Comic Buyers Guide #1621, pg. 87, 2006
- Demi: Saga of a Demoness, Vol. 1, 2006
- http://www.demidemonessmovie.com, 2008
- An interview with SS Crompton on (re)Search my Trash, 2008
- An interview with Jay Allen Sanford on Cosmic Book News, 2010
- Revolutionary Comics at the Comic Book DB
- Unauthorized and Proud of It: Todd Loren's Rock 'n' Roll Comics at IMDb
- Sanford, Jay Allen. "Carnal Comics: The Inside Story," San Diego Reader blog (September 8, 2007).
- Sanford. "Rock 'N' Roll Comics: The Inside Story" San Diego Reader blog (September 12, 2007).
- Sanford. "Komplete Kiss Comix Kronicles," San Diego Reader blog (September 12, 2007).
- Sanford. "New Kids on the Block vs. Revolutionary Comics," San Diego Reader blog (September 13, 2007).
- Rock ‘N’ Roll Comics: The Inside Story
- Carnal Comics: The Inside Story
- New Kids on the Block VS Revolutionary Comics
- Twilight Zone and Star Trek Writer George Clayton Johnson Presents
- Comics and Censorship: Don’t Be Afraid, It’s Only a Comic Book
- The Komplete Kisstory Comics
- The Rise and Fall of Pacific Comics
- Pussycat Theaters – a Comprehensive History of a California Dynasty book preview
- Field of Screens: San Diego Drive-In Theater History 1947 – 2008 book preview
- "Overheard in San Diego" comic strip gallery
- "Famous Former Neighbors" comic strip gallery