Friday, April 30, 2010
Anyone who knows me fairly well is probably aware that I'm a passionate Dark Shadows fan.
When I was a nine year old kid Dark Shadows was an enormous thing in my life. I was already an obsessed fan, even though I had yet to see a single episode of the TV show and wouldn't for about another year.
Forrest J Ackerman's Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine first introduced me to the existence of the groundbreaking series, but it wasn't playing on our local television stations. Still, I was intrigued to say the least. Just imagine! A daily series starring a vampire, featuring witches and warlocks and werewolves! That was even better than the weekend Creature Features. Seemed too good to be true.
I glumly suspected that I might not ever get to see Dark Shadows, although cousins in another state sometimes told me about it during their holiday visits, after noticing the poster of Barnabas Collins I already had on my bedroom wall. To my delight, I soon discovered the Gold Key Dark Shadows comic books at a local drug store and bought every issue I could find.
Then Famous Monsters released its classic "House of Dark Shadows" coverage about the new feature film and--suddenly, like a magic spell--the series began broadcasting locally at 4 o'clock every weekday, starting in about the middle of the Gerard storyline. Several of my friends even confessed to me that they had nightmares of being haunted by the disembodied head of the evil warlock on the show. Pretty strong, creepy stuff for daytime television.
And, yes, I really did run home from school every day to watch it. I remember developing triple-crushes on Lara Parker, Nancy Barrett, and Kate Jackson when I was ten years old.
All the kids in the neighborhood tuned in, too. It was quite a craze. On Halloween a bunch of us tried conducting a very scary seance "just like on Dark Shadows", and a neighbor girl named her kitten "Angelique."
I bought the Barnabas fangs, that came with the board game, from a kid at school for a dime. They were much more realistic that the common plastic Trick or Treat fangs you could purchase at the time. I was Barnabas that Halloween, drawing those spiked bangs across my forehead with my Mom's eyebrow pencil, and creating a crude version of his distinctive walking stick out of a bamboo cane with a Mini-Dragon head attached to the handle.
We also acted out episodes from the show in my neighborhood all year long, often stopping in the middle of a scene because we'd creep ourselves out.
Ahh...those were fun days...!
Beginning this summer the original Gold Key Dark Shadows comics are going to be published in classy hardcover editions. Also, the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp Dark Shadows motion picture is in pre-production, reportedly to be released on the IMAX screen.
Just when things couldn't seem to get better for Dark Shadows fans, now, after more than forty years, the distinguished actor Jonathan Frid is reprising his iconic role as Barnabas Collins, the original tragic vampire-hero, for a new audio drama.
Horror/fantasy news just doesn't get any cooler than this!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I first saw this, the greatest of classic horror films, when I was about five years old. The performance of Boris Karloff, in particular, effected me on a genetic level and I was never the same again.
It's difficult to estimate how many times I've seen this fabulous old monster movie, but it must be close to hundred by now, surely. Having watched the DVD again this evening, in celebration of the film's premiere on April 22, 1935, James Whale's epic grandly gothic vision still casts its formidable magic spell.
I'm absolutely certain that without The Bride of Frankenstein I wouldn't be the man, or the writer, I am today.
(There's a week-long celebration going on over at the always fantastic Frankensteinia Blog. Go take a peek: http://frankensteinia.blogspot.com/)
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Here's a new illustration by Tom Floyd, in its early stages, for our KI-GOR THE JUNGLE LORD story, "War of the Beast-Men". This will be part of Moonstone's huge upcoming pulp hero explosion.
I'm far from the only one who thinks that my pal Tom is doing some of his very best work on this series, which will be both illustrated prose tales and traditional comic book stories. I'm very lucky to be working with him as we both constantly spark ideas from each other, and Tom's enthusiasm and energy always keeps things fun and exciting. This drawing is a fabulous example of that.
This guy is a dynamo. I suspect he must sleep even less than me, if at all.
Tom is perhaps best known as the creator of the popular Captain Spectre and His Lightning Legion online comic strip. If you're not already a fan, check out this fantastic adventure epic for free right here:
After that, you'll want to hop on over to Tom's Art-Blog and peruse some of his past work and see updates of other on-going projects:
On top of the zillion-and-one things Tom is currently working on, he also recently very kindly agreed to letter my The Phantom Unmasked mini-series which I'm extremely grateful for.
I couldn't ask for a more talented, and generous, partner and friend.
You're one in a billion, Tom.
(Click on the picture for a larger image...you'll be really glad you did.)
Friday, April 16, 2010
Although this news actually occurred yesterday, I held it back in remembrance of our late, great Pauly Mac.
The folks at Stone Arch Books, one of my very favorite publishers, have asked me to write a new children's book for them, adapting a classic tale by Rudyard Kipling. Yesterday, I signed the contract. I love Kipling, so I'm quite excited about this project.
Without saying any more about it right now, the image posted above is a hint at which story I'll be composing.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
A sad farewell to our old orange guy, Pauly Mac.
He lived a very full and adventurous life, and was just a few months from his nineteenth birthday when he passed away today after a brief illness. Lisa discovered Pauly and his siblings after hearing them crying in a dumpster, where some soulless wretch had discarded them.
Pauly was always the nicest boy. Good friend. Good brother. Good cat.
We miss him terribly.
Maybe we'll see you again someday, Pauly. I sure hope so.
July, 1991--April 15, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The folks at Previews have very generously put my upcoming mini-series, The Phantom Unmasked, with illustrator Hannibal King, on their "Staff Picks" short-list. Our cover is by the fabulous Franchesco. Published by Moonstone.
They also included Moonstone's very anticipated The Green Hornet prose anthology, and long-time fan favorite Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Fine books, all.
Very gratifying seeing Moonstone, a perennially hard-working and innovative publisher, receiving some well-deserved industry attention and respect usually reserved for the big corporate guys. A nice day-early birthday present for me.
I love writing for these folks.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Excellent interview by my pal Kerry Gammill concerning his BELA LUGOSI's TALES FROM THE GRAVE horror comic book anthology, in which artist Terry Beatty and I have an upcoming Lugosi tale. Most exciting of all--to me--is Kerry's mention of a serialized version of Dracula with Lugosi portraying the role as Bram Stoker originally physically imagined him!
Pictured here is the fabulous first cover by the legendary Basil Gogos.
All this and more--only a link away:
Monday, April 5, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Artist Tom Floyd's freshly inked illustration of Ki-Gor and Helene in a rare peaceful moment from "War of the Beast-Men", our first KI-GOR THE JUNGLE LORD prose pulp story.
Nobody today draws jungles as cool as Tom. I especially love that towering escarpment looming in the background, a special Tom Floyd extra touch. Immediately upon seeing it I pondered what might be living high up on that ancient, isolated mystery-land. Nope, not dinosaurs. There are enough prehistoric creatures prowling the depths of Ki-Gor's jungle as is.
I think I might actually know what's up there...but I'm saving it for a surprise.
(Click on pictures for large images.)