Wednesday, December 09, 2009


I had a blast at the Virigina Comic-Con! I sat next to my pal Jim Kuhoric, who has written a ton of Army of Darkness and other horror comics (including his own Dead Irons), but he had people stopping by left and right to see the cover art from his new book, The Legendary Talespinners. It's in Previews right now, so check it out.

Jim Kuhoric

Xena. Don't mess with her.

Jim and I hosted a panel on working on license properties.

Elijah Pipkin entered the costume contest as me. It's an outrage that he didn't win!

My pal Alex Saviuk was there and it was great to get to hang out with him. We're hoping to work together in 2010. He still inks the Amazing Spider-Man daily strip and draws the Spidey Sunday page.

Artist Mark McKenna, who is another really nice guy on top of being so talented. It's always cool when guys whose work you like turn out to be awesome people.

Brett Carreras, co-promoter of the show, was a great host with his staff, friends and family!

It was also very cool to get to meet writer Chuck Dixon after years of having friends in common!

Here I am with a new fan whose name of course I lost. We sold copies of Zombie-Proof, Shi: Ju-Nen, the 24 Omnibus, Antiques: The Comic Strip and more. It was a fun show supported by great fans, most of whom seemed really happy to have a good comic show in their hometown. I'm definitely looking forward to them putting on another one so I can go back!

Thanks to Mike Solof for the great pictures!

Monday, November 16, 2009

VIRGINIA COMIC-CON: November 21-22, 2009

I'm looking forward to attending the Virginia Comic-Con this weekend in Richmond. It looks like Brett Carreras and Guy Rose have put together a great show with Larry Hama, Chris Claremont, Chuck Dixon, my frequent collaborator Billy Tucci, John Gallagher, Steve Conley, yours truly, and many others.

I'll be on a panel with my good friend James Kuhoric (Dead Irons, Army of Darkness, Battlestar Galactica) talking about licensed properties, among other things.

It ought to be fun, and I hope to see you there!


The blood runs red under the moon as Moonstone follows up its first monster anthology, Werewolves: Dead Moon Rising, with Vampires: Dracula and the Undead Legions. This second “Moonstone Monsters” anthology features Dracula stories (which open and close this collection) and eight other new vampire tales.

Contributing authors from screenwriters and novelists to comic book scribes, including L.A. Banks (2008 Essence Storyteller of the Year), P.N. Elrod (The Vampire Files), Elaine Bergstrom (Kolchak: The Night Stalker Chronicles), Martin Powell (Scarlet In Gaslight) and yours truly, with “Vampire Hunter Dean,” the short story from which my new comic book project grew.


IDW Publishing, which had released four one-shot graphic novels and one five-issue mini-series based on the series, is set to release the 24 Omnibus in November 2009. The compendium will feature their complete 24 output to date.

I collaborated with screenwriter Mark L. Haynes on the first three one-shots (24: One Shot, 24 Stories, and 24 Midnight Sun) and the 24: Nightfall mini-series, and writer Beau Smith (Wynonna Earp) penned 24: Cold Warriors. An interview with us ran in Scoop.

I expect to have copies with me at this weekend’s Virginia Comic-Con, but I haven’t seen them yet.

Pirate Alphabet - Part 3

Sunday, June 07, 2009


Billy Bob Driwahl lives! The original Zombie-Proof mini-series will be collected into a limited edition trade paperback. So far it looks really cool.

Details to follow...


Vampire Hunter Dean is illustrated by those whiz kids Brendon and Brian Fraim, and it's based on my short story that is schedule to appear in an anthology from Moonstone Books. In fact, the comic book story picks up where the short story left off, but both pieces work fine without the other.

As usual, the guys' work has been outstanding and seems to be getting better page by page. That was my experience with them on Antiques: The Comic Strip, so I probably should have expected as much.

This is a four-page sequence from early in the story. You can click the images to see them much larger.


From TwoMorrows Publishing

Experience a “New World Order” in Back Issue #34, featuring the soul-searching story of Counter-Earth’s Adam Warlock, with Jim Starlin and Roy Thomas, and the behind-the-scenes history of the revolutionary Marvelman, with Alan Davis and Garry Leach. Also, Jim Shooter stands tall in an exclusive interview and we look back at Marvel’s New Universe. Plus: Logan’s Run, Star Hunters, Bob Wiacek on Star Wars and Star-Lord, the conclusion of the Steve Skeates interview, a new AA COMICS chapter, Dick Giordano and Pat Bastienne revisit Crisis on Infinite Earths, and “The Post-Crisis DC Universe You Didn’t See”! Contributors include Gerry Conway, Tom Defalco, David Michelinie, Paul Ryan, and more. All behind an incredibly cosmic Warlock and Thanos cover illustrated by Jim Starlin! Edited by Michael Eury.

I'm very happy to finally be contributing to this outstanding publication on comics history. Michael Eury has done a mindboggling job of finding enthusiastic writers to provide articles about a very wide range of subjects from my favorite era of comics. Just the day before this issue arrived, I wondered if anyone could be the inside view on Star Hunters, and then suddenly here it is!

My article on Jim Shooter is derived from one part of a lengthy interview he and I are working ourselves through, and this portion of it is something that I can't recall Jim commenting on before. I hope you'll take a look. Thanks.


Study this. There will be a quiz.

Friday, March 27, 2009

FREE SHIPPING on ANTIQUES (one week only)

From now until Friday, April 3, 2009, Gemstone Publishing is offering free shipping on Antiques: The Comic Strip, by Brendon Fraim, Brian Fraim, and yours truly. It's one of my favorite projects that I've ever worked on.

It was nominated twice for Harvey Awards (due mainly to votes from my co-workers, I'm sure), both for best comic strip (2007) and best collected edition (2008).

The story concerns two cousins, one American and one British, who are the last of their once proud trans-Atlantic dynasty. They're both antiques dealers, they both end up at the largest auction ever of vintage pop culture collectibles and fine art, and they don't speak to each other. There's also a lot more than meets the eye. What is it? That's the story.

Is it an honor just to be nominated for Harvey Awward, you know, the way everyone always says? Well, actually, it was an honor just to get to do this strip that floated around in my head for so long... and to do it with such talented artists. And seriously, since these awards are voted on only be working comics professionals, I really do owe it to my co-workers and their support of the book that it was even considered.

If you haven't already checked it out, let the free shipping be your incentive to do so now!

If you're read this blog before, you might have noted that I've done a pilot teleplay based on Antiques. There are some important differences in pacing, but the characters are pretty true to what we've seen in the comic strip (or this collected edition). It would be great to see this one come to life on the small screen.

I recently did an interview with the Comix 411 site and blogged about it in an earlier entry.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Vampire Hunter Dean first appeared... wait, can I say he first appeared if it's not published yet? Well, he first appeared to me in a short story I wrote for a forthcoming (I'm assured) vampires anthology from our friends at Moonstone Books. The story is entitled, and this is the really clever part, "Vampire Hunter Dean."

Ever since we finished Antiques: The Comic Strip, which I dearly miss, I've been looking for something on which to work with the uber-talented brother act of Brendon and Brian Fraim. I sent them the short story, they liked it, I wrote a script for a seven-page teaser that picks up right at the end of the short story, and -- as usual -- they nailed it. We sent it over to ace letterer Marshall Dillon, who got it right back to us.

It not only worked nicely as a comic, it worked great. I knew that we definitely had to do more. So I wrote some more and the guys got to work on it. Vampire Hunter Dean #1, a one-shot, is now in progress.

So, what's it about? Dean Marklin is a HVAC (that's heating, ventilation and air conditioning) repairman from suburban Pittsburgh (Dormont, to be exact) who goes to an industry convention in Miami and meets a super hot, model-esque woman who turns out to be much more than she seems. He leaves Miami knowing there are a lot more things in the world than he ever contemplated before.

And then he finds out there are vampires in his home town. Why are they there? What's their story? And what does Dean do about them? (The title may give it away, but hey, I'm writing hype on the fly here...)

The Fraim brothers are doing a fantastic job and each page I get in is better than the previous one. The seven-page teser should appear in the Zombie-Proof one-shot, Zombie-Proof: Zombie Zoo, followed by the one-shot.

The inked page above is from the teaser story. The page in pencil shows some of the action early in Vampire Hunter Dean #1.

Sometime later we'll talk about how Vampire Hunter Dean got his name.


Over on Comix 411, our pal Tom Mason (veteran writer of things from YA novels to cartoon show, but for us he could have stopped after creating Dinosaurs For Hire and still been cool forever) took last Friday's release of the Watchmen movie to check in with comic book industry folks about their memories of the initial release of Watchmen #1 in 1986. It was a random, unscientific sampling to be sure, but the question prompted some very interesting responses.

Among the participants were Frank Mangiaracina (formerly of Friendly Frank’s Distribution), Chris Ulm (formerly Editor-in-Chief of Malibu Comics, now a game developer), Tom Heintjes (Editor of the great magazine Hogan’s Alley), our friend Mark Herr (who worked at Geppi's Comic World back in the day), Brian Augustyn (Gotham By Gaslight), John Jackson Miller (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic), Gary Guzzo (former retailer and Marvel PR guy, among many other titles), Dave Olbrich (former Publisher of Malibu Comics), Carl Potts (former Executive Editor of Marvel Comics), Aaron Lopresti (artist), and yours truly.

Click for Part One or Part Two.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Comix 411 has a new feature article about Antiques: The Comic Strip posted. It's written by none other than Tom Mason, who frankly could have retired at the top of my list after he created Dinosaurs For Hire back in the days of Malibu Comics (man, I loved that series!). He clearly "gets" what the story is about, and that's always fun to read in a review.

The characers in Antiques are ones I would definitely like to revisit (aside from the pilot teleplay which I wrote last fall). With all the great collections of classic strips that IDW Publishing and The Library of American Comics are putting out -- particularly The Complete Terry and the Pirates -- I've learned so much more than I knew before... it makes me want to just jump back into it!

Thanks to Tom and to Comix 411!

Antiques remains available in the Diamond Comic Distributors system for comic book retailers and their customers. It's also available directly from Gemstone Publishing.


"20 QUESTIONS WITH BRANDON JERWA" has just been posted over on the COMICS SPOTLIGHT blog. I didn't know Brandon before this interview, except through his work. It's a good read and I hope it will turn you onto this very interesting writer of Battlestar Galactica, Highlander, and more...

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Beau Smith, the guy who wrote the incredible Cobb: Off The Leash mini-series from IDW Publishing and the only other person (other than Mark Haynes and me) to write the comic book adventures of Jack Bauer in 24, has a regular (and very lively) column on the Comics Bulletin website.

In his current column he has some very nice things to say about my Blue Beetle story ("Christmas With The Beetles") in the DC Universe Holiday Special 2008.

Thanks, Beau!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Watch more cool animation and creative cartoons at aniBoom

20 QUESTIONS WITH... Interviews by JCV

I've posted some new material on the Comics Spotlight blog, including an interview with novelist and comic book fan Barry Lyga, who has a number of highly acclaimed books under his belt and the new Wolverine: Worst Day Ever on the way...

20 Questions With Barry Lyga

There's also some new photos by Mike Solof from the New York Comic-Con, and the previous interviews are still available:

Friday, February 13, 2009


Yours truly (above left) joined a panel hosted by Geppi's Entertainment Museum Curator Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg on Saturday evening February 7, 2009 at the New York Comic-Con. The panelists included (from left to right in the group photo below) author and comic book scribe Charlie Huston, me, Arnold, Andy Hershberger (Arnold and Andy, among other things, wrote Zombiemania), Michael Furno and Dave Wilbur from Minions of Ka, and author Caitlin Kittredge. We had a blast answering audience questions about these three big areas of horror fandom.

I have to say I was very happy by the level of thought that went into the questions and the answers from the panel. I even got to mention the upcoming zombie chihuahuas in Zombie-Proof: Zombie Zoo.


All sorts of photos from the fourth New York Comic-Con by my pal Michael Solof are on the Comics Spotlight blog and in Scoop's Main Event this week. Check them out!

Monday, February 02, 2009

20 QUESTIONS WITH... On Comics Spotlight blog

Over on the new Comics Spotlight blog, I'm contributing interivews about the creative process, particularly centered on but not limited to comic books. Take a look at my first three contributions:

Jimmy Palmiotti
He wears many hats, sometimes all at once -- Jimmy is a writer, inker, editor, publisher, you name it.

Joe Rybandt
Joe is Associate Editor for Dynamite Entertainment's line of comics.

Chris Ryall
Chris is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of IDW Publishing, as well as being a writer.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


A while back, the fine folks at Moonstone asked me to contribute a vampire short story to their upcoming prose anthology. I didn't have a vampire story in mind other than Dead Inspector, a property Top Cow's Filip Sablik and I have been slowly working on for a million years now. What's more, it had been ages since I wrote a fictional prose story and I didn't know if I could do it as quickly as they needed. It seemed pretty daunting.

So, of course, I said, "Sure!"

I'm actually happy with "Vampire Hunter Dean," the story of a HVAC repairman from Dormont, PA who unitentionally discovers that vampires are real and they don't like Carson Daly any more than the rest of us do...

Some of the rest of the folks working on the prose collection mightnot have been as fast as me, I gather, because the book is due to come out... but my Antiques: The Comic Strip collaborators, Brendon and Brian Fraim, read the story and were game to try it as a comic...

We'll have a seven-page teaser story in the Zombie-Proof one-shot, and then a Vampire Hunter Dean one-shot later in the year (not a lot later, I think). More soon.

Friday, January 23, 2009

REVIEW: Gran Torino

It is difficult to find the right combination of words to describe just how good a film Gran Torino is, but that’s no excuse for not trying. Here goes:

Clint Eastwood, in what he says may be his last acting role, plays Walt Kowalski, a retired automotive worker and Korean War veteran, who has seen his neighborhood transformed – mostly for the worse – by the realities of white flight and the influx of lower income immigrants.

Immediately the viewer is caught up by Kowalski’s smoldering distaste for the shallow eulogy offered by the parish’s young priest (in what turns out to be a superb coming-of-age performance by Christopher Carley) and the lack of decorum demonstrated by his grandchildren in failing to show respect for their departed grandmother. He clearly has a strained, at best, relationship with his own children, who he holds at a distance and views as spoiled and self-serving.

Similar disdain is held for his neighbors, two Hmong teens, Thao (Bee Vang) and his older sister, Sue (Ahney Her), who live next door to Walt with their mother and grandmother.

Through Walt’s constant and simmering contempt for the situation as a whole, much of his world view becomes clear, or at least so it seems. What changes everything is when Thao is confronted by a Hispanic gang and “rescued” by a Hmong gang led by his cousin Spider (Doua Moua).

Spider and his compatriots badger Thao into joining them. His initiation, they say, will be easy. Simply steal Walt’s prized 1972 Ford Gran Torino. Of course it wouldn’t be a Clint Eastwood film if Walt didn’t interrupt the robbery with the rifle he carried in the Korean War. From there, events spiral in unexpected ways.

Walt, who clearly carries many of the prejudices of his era – and frequently says things that many think but don’t give voice to – finds himself in the middle of a fight he didn’t ask for... but one he won’t run away from. Despite what the character himself would say, the viewer finds that there are many layers to the man and that his moral sensibility is far in excess of his reality.

Gran Torino is the finest film I have seen in many years. It tosses out the political correctness and portrays Walt Kowalski how he is rather than how he should be, and it becomes a superb study of humanity’s high and low points by doing so. It meets head-on the loneliness that time and change can bring, and it weighs and measures idealism against experience, benign prejudice against racism, and what a man says against what he does.

Across the board, the performances are solidly grounded and beautifully delivered. The choice of shots, photography, and editing are superior. The script must have been an awesome thing to behold and only made better by this master director.

How did Eastwood give such a great performance as an actor and get such performances out of the rest of the cast as a director? I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. He did.

Monday, January 12, 2009

REVIEW: 24 Season Premiere

It's been a long wait, but it was worth it. As we saw in the prequel telefilm, 24: Redemption, which aired mostly as a teaser prior to the start of Season (or Day) 7, fans of the program were more than ready for agent Jack Bauer to return.

When the Writer's Guild of America strike was looming last year, the producers wisely dedcied that due to the real-time nature of the show, it would be foolish to continue until they knew whether they could compelte a full seasn (24 has for the the few seasons been shown without re-runs).

Some wondered whether or not Jack would weather the twin storms of public fickleness and showbiz circumstance, but he clearly has.

Now he's off and running in what has been, through four episodes, been an incredible start. Action, adventure, conferences at the White House, you name it, the show is definitely back up to power.

Great action, good acting, very nice to see the show out of Los Angeles, and it's all beautifully photographed. Using the Washington, DC backdrop, it's an amazing show. Just the way we like it.

REVIEW: The Spirit

Okay, so I'm a bit late with this one.

I am probably one of three people in North America who not only liked The Spirit, I really liked it. I have to admit, that's partially because I like the underdog, and flat out this is a movie that most of the critics simply don't get. That's okay, of course, because even most superhero fans don't get The Spirit in comic book form either.

When Will Eisner created Denny Colt, also known as The Spirit, he wasn't doing a mean-spirited send-up of the superhero genre, but he was indeed tweaking some of its then-current standards, and a certain number of them haven't changed over the years. The Spirit was like the Timex character: he took a licking and kept on ticking. He was dogged, determined and a man's man, but he also wore a silly little mask that stopped anyone from knowing he was Denny Colt. The very notion was ridiculous, which clearly is what Eisner must have thought of many of the superhero secret identities that were already the norm for the Golden Age heroes by the time the Spirit first bowed.

In other words, the Spirit is semi-serious, and semi-silly. It's a hard road to walk. Frank Miller, who wrote and directed this highly stylized, campy-action hybrid, knew and related well to Eisner. He knew that Eisner wasn't interested in seeing some paint-by-numbers version of his own work.

In fact, it's probably important to point out, that Eisner recounted more than once in my presence -- and it's not like I knew him that well -- that he was thrilled with the different interpretations of his character when Kitchen Sink was publishing The Spirit - The New Adventures.

This is important to how I see the criticism of this film. There are two camps. The movie critics who don't get it, and the self-appointed arbiters of superhero purity, who also don't get it.

The critics, who frequently just cough up what the critic before them said, just don't fully understand costumed heroes yet. Sure, they can understand the box office successes in terms of dollars, but they can't tell us why something is cool, why it resonates or doesn't. They only understand the mold, and The Spirit doesn't fit.

The self-appointed purity police are even worse. I've actually heard complaints that this wasn't a pure adaptation of Eisner's work on The Spirit. My advice to them is to take the money they would have spent on their next movie and purchase a clue instead. If you don't like the movie, fine, just fine, but don't suggest that it's because Miller didn't do a true version of the Spirit.

Denis Kitchen, Eisner's longtime friend, publisher and agent, could probably tell us oodles about what Will Eisner would have thought. Other than him, I really don't want to hear from anyone proclaiming to know what the grand master of the graphic novel would have thought about his old creation hitting the silver screen.

The film is indeed highly stylized. I would have been happier never seeing The Octopus's face, but Sameul L. Jackson was hysterically funny and menacingly crazy. The Spirit and the various femme fatales (and their Eisner-created names) were likewise over the top. Why it worked, for me, was that the characters -- even with all their silliness, never stopped to point out what they were doing.

This is not my finest review. I have a lot of random thoughts flying around my head, but this was a fun film. On the other hand, if you can't take Adam West Batman because he isn't "the real Batman," pass on it.

And, you know, get some help.

Friday, January 09, 2009

NYCC: Vampire, Werewolf, and Zombie Round Table Panel

New York Comic-Con: Vampire, Werewolf, and Zombie Round Table Panel
Saturday, February 7, 2009
6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Room 1A21
"Vampires, werewolves, and zombies have haunted the human imagination since pre-history. Even now in the 21st century, these creatures of the night continue to cause shivers to race down our spine. Explore what makes us love to be afraid in this chilling, thrilling panel! Panelists include Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg, Curator of Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, co-author Zombiemania, and Andrew Hershberger, Registrar of Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, co-author Zombiemania."

The panel also includes yours truly, J.C. Vaughn, author of Zombie-Proof.

For more information on the show, click here.

REVIEW: Dead Irons #1

I had a chance this week to preview Dead Irons #1, the first issue in a new horror-western mini-series from Dynamite Entertainment written by Jim Kuhoric, writer of Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash (I think they should have added vs. Hilary vs. Ghandi vs. Mechagodzilla, but maybe that's just me) and Army of Darkness, illustrated by Jason Shawn Alexander, and art directed by Jae Lee, most recently known for Marvel's adaptation of Steven King's The Stand.
It's not too late to get your retailer to increase his or her orders for this, but you don't have long. It goes on sale at the end of February. There are a lot of comics competing for rack space and more importantly for your hard-earned money, so sometimes you have to speak up and let your retailer know you're looking for a specific title before it ships...
If you're into horror and westerns, this is definitely one you should think about adding to your buy list. It ships in late February.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

REVIEW: Kath & Kim

I may need some help from a theoretical mathematician or someone at NASA in actually measuring how little talent is displayed on this show. I have nothing (that I know of) against any of the individuals in front of or behind the camera on this show (except maybe Molly Shannon), but seriously, if there was any less collective talent on display they would actually have to change its name to Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Steven Banks Home Entertainment Center

While hunting for something else on YouTube last night, I came across this blast from the past. If you like '60s and '70s rock and comedy, you have to check out Steven Banks Home Entertainment Center. Now I have to go find out if this is on DVD.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

REVIEW: Slumdog Millionaire

Here it is: THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST MOVIES I'VE SEEN IN A LONG TIME. Benjamin Button was superb, but this is actually better. I'm quite surprised to be saying that. What a wonderful time to be a movie fan...

The story follows two brothers (and a friend) from one of Bombay's worst slums through the early years of their lives until they become young men. They come from the humblest and sometimes horrible circumstances, struggling just to get by. As Bombay itself is transformed into India's economic center, the brothers find themselves in changing circumstances, and not always for the better.

One of the brothers, who ends up as a contestant on India's version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, pursues their childhood friend, who disappeared first as a young girl and later as a young woman.

I'm not even coming close to doing the story justice.

The characters are great. The story is gripping. The performances are compelling. The photography and direction are spot-on. See it.

NYT ARTICLE: The New Austerity in Publishing

This is an interesting article from The New York Times. While I know that probably means it's written by someone who will later turn out to be a complete fraud, it nonetheless covers some of the downturn in the publishing industry. So, on the chance that it's actually for real (and like I said, it's the Times, so take it with a grain of salt)...