Robert “Corpsy” Rhine is the Publisher and Deaditor-In-Chief of Girls and Corpses Magazine. He fills the magazine with scantily clad women in various themed photoshoots with different corpses, but the magazine’s true strength lies in its writing. It combines comedy, horror and death. In fact, Mr. Rhine prides himself by having the No. 1 Most Ridiculous Magazine of All Time, as declared by The Huffington Post. At San Diego Comic-Con, I visited with Corpsy to discuss the origins of Girls and Corpses, the joy of receiving hate mail and dealing with censorship.
What was your inspiration for starting the magazine?
– “Well, there’s a couple stories. One, is when I was 10 years old, I had a massive head injury and a skull fracture. I died from that injury and was brought back. I survived. I wound up with 64 stitches in my head. I missed a whole grade of school. I wore this plastic thing on my head for a year. It was crazy, but I survived. That’s part of it, because I think my interest in death was percolated at that time.”
“And then later in life, I became a writer. I wrote and sold over 100 stories to magazines that were published. I also wrote a book called My Brain Escapes Me. It had an X-ray of my head, from my injury. It was filled with crazy stories that came out of my damaged brain, and it did very well. It was in Barnes & Noble and Borders — totally distributed book. But I also did comic books. My first one was called Selected Writings From Satan’s Powder Room, followed by Chicken Soup For Satan, followed by Satan Gone Wild and my graphic novel, Satan’s 3 Ring Circus of Hell, which is 280 pages with 42 of the top horror artists in the world doing beautiful work. It’s fully distributed.”
How did the Girls w/ Corpses idea originate?
– “I did Comic-Con and always had corpses in my booth. Girls would always want to have their photo taken with the corpse. I started thinking, ‘What’s up with girls and corpses? Why do they want their photo with them?’ This was for two years and then I started a magazine online and did 15 issues. I had a guy come in — his name was Stephan Miller — who became my partner for a couple of magazines, who had experience in publishing. After three print issues, he was killed by a grizzly bear. It was a trained movie bear that was in Semi-Pro, with Will Ferrell. National Geographic did a special called Grizzly Face to Face. It was a tragic thing that happened. I continued the magazine because he came in as a financial partner, mostly.”
“I kept it going and we’ve now done 35 issues and have had celebrities on our covers. I managed to get full newsstand distribution in the US and Canada through Ingram. Also, we’re translated into German and sold in Germany. We’ve sold out 10 of the issues, completely. Our No. 2 Danielle Harris issue goes for $150.00. People collect these. They love them. It’s a very passionate thing, like I was for MAD Magazine, as a kid.”
Could you tell me a little about your professional background?
– “I wound up being a writer for Cracked magazine, National Lampoon and HUSTLER Funnies, as well. I think it’s through my writing experience, my near-death experience and also a background in publicity for the studios (Columbia Tristar, Universal, DreamWorks). I was a Unit Publicist, so I went around the world promoting these giant, $50 million and up movies. I also worked for the top film advertising companies, BD Fox & Friends, for instance. I learned about advertising, marketing and promotion, which helps me with the magazine.”
“I’m a writer, because I’ve sold books and whatnot, which helps me as an editor. I’ve worked as an actor and I’ve worked in casting, in Hollywood. I’m still working as an actor. I’ve been killed in seven movies, so far, this year. Look for me in Nazi Dawn. One’s called Snake Club: Revenge of the Snake Woman. I’m in Bad Ass Bugs, I’m in Disaster Wars… and I get killed in all of them. I want to get killed in as many movies as possible.”
“Because of casting, working with actors and acting, it helps me in casting for women for the shoot. Also, each of our shoots is like a little movie. We’re the only horror magazine that does their own photoshoots. For instance, the studio sends Fangoria a slide of some movie, and that’s their cover. We came up with the concept, we hire our talent and our models, we do our hair, wardrobe, makeup and location. Like with Tera Patrick, who’s here this weekend. We had her with a giant shark in our Bay Rots issue working with David Hasslecorpse. We had a huge great white shark that we shot with. They’re pretty elaborate.”
“We’ve shot Sid Haig, from The Devil’s Rejects, twice as a captain. Once on a boat with seven models on a yacht, but not as Captain Spaulding. Scout Taylor-Compton was in that, from Rob Zombie’s Halloween I and II. We did another issue where he’s an airline captain and she’s a stewardess. Our latest issue coming out is with Rikki Six, it’s a themed radiation nuclear power issue. There’s been a lot of celebrities and comedians.”
“It’s a blend of so many things: comedy, horror and a magazine about death. It’s Maxim meets Dawn of the Dead meets MAD Magazine. The Huffington Post has voted us the No. 1 Most Ridiculous Magazine of All Time, which I am proud of. It’s crazy fun and it’s like living a dream. I hang out with beautiful women: models and porn stars. How bad of a life could that be?”
I don’t believe I’ve seen your magazine for sale in Tennessee. Is that correct?
– “We’ve had some problems. We did a Religion Is Dead issue and Ingram, I believe, is in Tennessee. They made us bag the magazine, because we did a religion issue. They said it was because of nudity, but there has never been any nudity in the magazine. They didn’t like that we took on religion. We went after all religions and it was comedic. We had Jim Caviezel in the issue. I did an interview with him. We made fun of all religions. Have a sense of humor. The only one we really tiptoed around was Muslims. We love Muhammad. We didn’t tread there.”
Do you attend a lot of conventions?
– “Hundreds. I do everything I can. I do horror conventions, I sponsor events, film festivals… I even sponsored Bondage Ball. I’m one of the sponsors for Halloween Ball in Las Vegas — the largest fetish event in the country, on Halloween night. There’s like 14,000 people there, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. Last year, I brought a Sybian with me. For you guys who know what that is, it was lovely. Three hundred women enjoyed it fully, if you understand what I’m talking about.”
What kind of feedback have you gotten from readers who don’t understand your magazine’s concept?
– “In the most recent issue, we ran the Best of Hate Mail. I love hate mail because hate mail is fun to respond to. If you send, ‘You’re my favorite magazine,’ I get this all day long. I love it and I’m very happy people are happy. But I love it when the church writes. I get a lot of letters hoping me and my corpses rot in Hell. The great irony of the church taking on this magazine: it is comedy. I can’t really compare to the deeds of the church.”
“We take on political stuff. Actually, the radiation issue was motivated when, I call him Jean-Kim Dum, from Korea, the petulant bad boy was sitting with his finger poised over the red button to destroy the world. You know, there’s a reality to that shit and all these survivalist things. Actually, the whole Zombie thing is part of that.”