File under: Film,
Comic, Special Interest
Issue 16, WINTER/ SPRING 2010 $8.99 U.S./$10.99 CAN
Winter/Spring 2010 Issue Number 16
www.DarkDiscoveries.com w ww.DarkDiscoveries.com
James R. Beach Art Director/Managing Editor
Jason V Brock Design and Layout
JaSunni Productions, LLC (www.JaSunni.com) _________
James R. Beach Paul G. Bens, Jr. Jason V Brock Sunni K Brock (+Web Mistress) Sarah L. Covert Cody Goodfellow William F. Nolan Weston Ochse R.B. Payne Frank M. Robinson William Simmons William Stout Kaye Vincent
Contributing Artists/Photographers Leslie Barany (pg. 32-33) Jason V Brock Lee Christian (pg. 34) Al Feldstein Brian Komm (Cover/Comic Adaptation) Kitty Maer (pg. 53, 55) William Stout (pg. 35) Ryszard Wojtynski (pg. 32-33)
Special Thanks Leslie Barany Joyce Beach Darren G. Davis Al Feldstein H.R. Giger Shawna Gore Beverly Hartley Steve Niles Diane O’Bannon Frank M. Robinson William Stout The Estate of Hugh B. Cave The Folks at Dark Horse and Bluewater Comics Robert Williams
For Dan O’Bannon and April Brock: “You are loved, and will be missed...”
B & B Print Source (with veg-based inks) _____________________
(ISSN 1548-6842) is published quarterly (Spring: April 30th, Summer: July 31st, Autumn: October 31st and Winter: January 31st) by James R. Beach and Dark Discoveries Publications, 142 Woodside Drive, Longview, WA 98632 Copyright ©2009 and beyond by Dark Discoveries Publications, and where specified elsewhere in the issue. All rights refer to the authors upon publication. Nothing shown can be reproduced without obtaining written permission from the creators. All book/mag. cover images remain the copyrighted property of their respective owners. Direct all inquiries, address changes, submission queries,subscription orders and changes, etc. to: James R. Beach Dark Discoveries Publications 142 Woodside Drive Longview, WA 98632 U.S.A. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Please make check or money order payable to: James R. Beach or Dark Discoveries Publications. Advertising rates available. Discounts for bulk and standing retail orders.
fiction Marvelina by R.B. Payne The Beheld by Paul G. Bens, Jr. Big Rock Candy Mountain by Weston Ochse Night of the Katzenjammers (Comic Adaptation) by Cody Goodfellow (Writer) and Brian Komm (Artist)
9 14 23 48
interviews Frank M. Robinson: Collector, Humanitarian by Jason V Brock Weston Ochse: Blazing Glory by James R. Beach Al Feldstein: MADly Yours by Jason V Brock Shawna Gore: Dark Horse and Creepy by James R. Beach Hugh B. Cave: Last of the Pulpsters by William Simmons Steve Niles: Architect of Fear by Sarah L. Covert Darren G. Davis: On the Run with Bluewater Comics by Kaye Vincent
20 21 30 42 45 53 57
non-fiction Dan O’Bannon: Imagination Brought to Life (A Tribute and Poster) by William Stout, Robert Williams, Jason V Brock, William F. Nolan Back from ‘The Edge’ by Sunni K Brock The Horror of It All! (EC and Its Lasting Influence) by Jason V Brock Dark Matters - Max Brand’s Darker Side by William F. Nolan “Post-Crypts” - Bleak History; Blood Will Have Its Season (DD Reviews) by DD Staff
32 37 38 56 59
crashing into his partner. They tumbled into a pile of garbage. Herbert scooped Marvelina into his palm and ran. His artificial legs groaned and clanked in the cold air. He watched the ground as he lurched toward the alley entrance. Bill and Jimmy were shouting but he couldn’t hear them. Run! Watch your step! Keep your balance. How far? Forty steps! Forty steps to the alley entrance… The black uniforms stood and pulled out their nightsticks. Thirty-five. The uniforms ran after Herbert. Thirty… Twenty-five… Twenty… Herbert looked over his shoulder. They would have him before he reached the alley entrance. He stopped. As he opened his hand Marvelina stood. He gently bent her wing straight. She fluttered, rose into the air, and landed back on his palm. “You have to go.” Herbert gently touched her with his finger. “I love you Marvelina!” “I love you Herbert! Always…” Marvelina slipped from her pink dress and, naked, flew upwards. Herbert watched until she disappeared into the snow clouds. From behind, a black uniform tackled him and they crashed to the ground. The other uniform kicked his face. It split Herbert’s lip and a bone cracked. He leaked blood into the snow as the world spun around him. The uniforms smashed him against a brick wall. Herbert slid into a heap. “Leave him, he’s a wino,” said a black uniform. “We’ll be back tomorrow,” said the other, “you better be fucking gone!” In the afternoon, it began to snow again. Smelly Bill and Jimmy the Chaser headed downtown to hustle up some wine and find a new place to live. Herbert lay against the brick wall. He had cried until he could cry no more. He rose and painfully dusted oﬀ a layer of fresh snow dotted with frozen blood. He touched his swollen face: He was hurt, but he would heal. Herbert gathered his violin, straightened his coat, and ran his fingers through his hair. Taking a last look at the alley, he headed uptown. Things would be better now. In his pocket was a neatly folded pink dress. She had been so beautiful…
The Beheld by Paul G. Bens, Jr.
e watches. That is what he does. It is what he has always done. It drives him. Consumes him. Invades him. Defines him. He is a Beholder and the beauty he finds through his eyes is his and his alone. From dawn until dusk, as they walk from building to building carrying their daily burdens, he does nothing but watch. He stands amongst them. Walks beside them. Speaks of them; seldom to them. He is their shadow, nothing more, ghosting their every move through the long, suﬀocating days of summer, as close as their breath in the achingly brutal winters. He hears their sighs, but cares not; sees their tears, but does not pity; knows when they have found the tiniest morsel of humor in their daily lives, yet never laughs. He knows not a single name; doesn’t care to, for they really don’t matter. They are objects. Nothing more. Nothing less. He need only do what he does best. And so he does. He sits upon a cold mound of dirt, a glorious harvest moon hanging wraithlike in a Van Gogh night, and he sucks upon a cigarette, struggling to draw warmth from its pitiful ember as a bracing, autumn wind spiders down his spine. They are but a short distance away, over the rise upon which he sits, and he can just make them out in the moonlight. They are as naked as the day they came into the world, each and every one of them, and they lay with one another, entwined in each other’s arms, part and parcel of each other’s soul. Long hair drapes over bosoms, some full of the milk of motherhood, others petite and beautiful. Lips press against one another, hands sneak into warm, private places, tongues loll over thick, veined... He shudders, turns away, trying not to look at the men. To him they are spindly, weak things, those men. Not strong. Not virile. They are nothing, nothing like him. Or so he believes. He plucks an errant bit of tobacco from his tongue, rolls it between his fingers and wipes it on his trousers as he looks to a sky pocked with stars, shimmering like crystals in the night. His lips crook into a waggish smile as he tries to count them all, but he cannot avert his eyes for long. They are always drawn to the flesh of the women. The women... with their birdlike fingers, arching backs, open legs, and the dewy, musky patches that lay between them. He hears a shout, far in the distance, and the dull hum of engines traveling roughshod down a decaying, ruddy road. He stands quickly, a thieving child or a cheating lover, and scans the horizon, listening carefully, assuring himself that he is alone. Soon the cries settle and the trucks vanish into the haunting night. It is peaceful again; even the soft lull of the crickets has vanished for the impending season. The only sound is the quiet shush of the river from whence they draw their water and in which he had bathed countless times throughout his youth. It calms him. He breathes in the brittle night air, relishes the sweet, tarry scent of evergreen, tastes the acrid smoke of nearby chimneys upon his tongue. Slowly, he sits again on his perch, removes his gloves, and blows warmth into his naked hands. He looks again towards the sky as clouds thick with the new season drift across the moon, throwing ominous shadows across the countryside. Winter is coming. He watches as his breath drifts away from him, lights another cigarette and pulls his coat around him snuggly as his eyes fall once again to them, to their nakedness. Guardedly he moves his hand between his legs. He’s watched them for so long, he can hardly remember when it all started, when he saw the first of them with their soft, doelike eyes. It was in the sauna. Yes, that was it. In the showers. It had to be a year ago, perhaps even two. He knew instantly that all he had heard was true, that these women were all the same, predictable, common. Each one of them shivered and shook--at first--and their eyes invariably darted from one to another, as if seeking tenderness or safety or absolution. Perhaps even a plea for permission lay hidden behind those dark, huge eyes. It was diﬃcult to tell, for they were beguilingly pure in their modesty. Their delicate hands trembled as they struggled to hide the wide, brown of their areolas; their fingers splayed over their sex as if they were ashamed for what they were about to do. But then the rivulets came, caressed their bosom like icy tongues, tickled their nipples erect, cascaded over the gentle rises of their buttocks. They soaped themselves, quickly at first, and then almost languorously, their fingers skimming over their most vulnerable places. The first few times their hands slid lower, The Beholder’s face would flush and his crotch would throb with the beat of his racing heart. Mesmerized, he waited, praying that they would do it. That they would rub their fingers between their milky thighs, push the tips
Back from ‘The Edge ’
by Sunni K Brock
How many living legends can you cram into one small bookstore on a Saturday afternoon? An aamazing am m number, it turns out. Saturday, February 20th, 2010 saw legendary writers alongside up-and-comers at the megassigning si sig ig event for The Bleeding Edge anthology at Mystery and Imagination bookstore in Glendale, California. Ca C a Editors (and contributing authors) William F. Nolan (Logan’s Run; he had just received aL Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association) and Jason V Brock (Charles Beaumont: Bee B The Twilight Zone’s Magic Man), hosted the event in cooperation with book shop owners, Malcolm M and Christine Bell. Brock had earlier dedicated the gathering to the memory of Dan O’Bannon (Alien), who contributed co ont ntri rib ibut but d to the book and was scheduled to attend the signing before his untimely passing in December 2009. In his stead, his wife, Diane, chatted with all of the writers and the store had a portrait up in his honor. In attendance were authors Ray Bradbury, George Clayton Johnson, John Shirley, Earl Hamner, John Tomerlin, Cody Goodfellow, James Robert Smith, and Lisa Morton. Appearances were also made by John Skipp (The Light at the End), Pete Atkins (Clive Barker’s A-Z of Horror), Dennis Etchison (The Dark Country), Paul G. Bens (Kelland), Paul J. Salamoﬀ (Logan’s Run: Lastday), and many other writers and Hollywood insiders. Although Richard Matheson (I Am Legend) was unable to attend due to an illness, he received birthday greetings via a phone call. The event was a huge success, both in sales (nearly 100 copies of The Bleeding Edge were sold!) and excitement (by estimates, over 300 people). It was covered by Famous Monsters of Filmland, and the local newspapers. John King Tarpinian kept the crowd in line with threats of “Soylent Green!” for those who didn’t keep the order. Fans were lined up out the door and down the block to get their copies inscribed, as author/fan Paul G. Bens became a volunteer crowd controller, noting that the Fire Marshall was concerned about the throngs of eager patrons jammed into Mystery and Imagination. James Beach, the publisher of Dark Discoveries, was also assisting with crowd control and mingling with the authors and fans. The Bleeding Edge has been called “A Landmark Anthology” by the genre press, and certainly this was a landmark signing. Ray Bradbury wore his Medal of Arts and Letters from the country of France and signed for over two hours while warmly greeting his fans. Best known for Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and Dark Carnival, Ray invited everyone to attend his musical, Wisdom 2116 playing in Pasadena that evening. Many fans also lined up to see Norman Corwin (On a Note of Triumph), the radio great and a contemporary of Orson Welles. The 99-year-old was chipper as ever and also signed copies of his book, Thirteen by Corwin. George Clayton Johnson, co-author of Logan’s Run, as well as writer of several episodes of The Twilight Zone, and the first Star Trek original series episode to be aired, sat next to Corwin. The self-proclaimed “Dog Without a Collar” greeted enthusiasts with vigor, and signed with his trademark doodle and dated copyright. John Shirley, whose contribution entailed a ghost that follows a family home from a Costco, was equally inundated with fans. Readers also snatched up Shirley’s novel, Bleak History, to get autographed copies. Co-editor Jason V Brock rounded out the authors at the front of the store. Fans and colleagues congratulated him on the fine book, his editorial debut - and the overwhelming success of the event. There were so many authors at the event (over 14 including surprise guests), that an additional line was formed for more writers to be seated in the second floor of the store. Upstairs, Jason’s longtime friend James Robert Smith, whose novel, The Flock, has been optioned by Don Murphy for a future summer tent pole movie release, was blown away by the number of people. Cody Goodfellow (Perfect Union) and Lisa Morton (The Castle of Los Angeles) were equally astonished by the turn out and the company they were keeping. Earl Hamner (The Twilight Zone, The Waltons, Falcon Crest) enthusiastically penned his name and chatted with numerous aficionados in his warm Southern drawl. John Tomerlin, who wrote The Twilight Zone’s classic, “Number Twelve Looks Just Like You”, signed alongside William F. Nolan. “This is the biggest signing I’ve ever attended for a single book!” exclaimed Nolan. Tomerlin concurred, adding that hiss hand hurt from signing so many times. Marc Scott Zicree, television writer and author of The Twilight g Zone Companion, noted that, except for Richard Matheson, all of the living Twilight Zone writers were present. “You’ll never see all these people in one place again,” Marc said to Jason during the group photo session. James Robert Smith kept repeating: “This is amazing! Amazing!” g in There was another signing opportunity for The Bleedingg Edge L l att T h E ti Th Los A Angeles The Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, prior to the world premiere of JaSunni Productions’ documentary Charles Beaumont: The Twilight Zone’s Magic Man on March 27 (see the exclusive coverage on the premiere next issue!). Brock and Nolan plan to follow-up The Bleeding Edge with another anthology based on cross-genre fiction and featuring authors writing out of their comfort zones. The next book is titled The Devil’s Coattails and should go to print Fall/Winter of 2010 with an early-to-mid 2011 release.
The Horror of It All! EC and the Beginnings of Modern Media HOOHAH!
by Jason V Brock I. “Ye Olde News New Stand” A cursory glance at today’s Megacorporate Bookstore magazine rack (the modern equivalent of the 1930s News Stand) relays equ the quietly seismic contractions that the comic book industry has suﬀered in just the com past pas twenty years. Upstart, media-savvy younger companies such as Dark Horse and you Bluewater Comics (Ed.: See this issue for Blu more mor on both) – and the growing popularity of the Graphic Novel format with bookstore retailers -- have taken the emphasis away from the pamphlet-style comic book of yore and its chief demographic – children (who can scant aﬀord the prices for a single issue these days). This seems to indicate a shift in cultural status (as well as an acceptance of that shift) of comics away from “kiddie, junk reading” towards literature, the most obvious example of this being the brilliant Maus by Art Spiegelman (a GN about Spiegelman’s family and their troubled history as survivors of the Holocaust told with “funny animal” illustrations and metaphors), which won a Pulitzer Special Citation in 1992, in addition to numerous other awards. Indeed, these content trends and the smaller companies pushing these ideas (as well as the explosion of self-publishing aﬀorded by the advent of computers, the ad Internet and desktop publishInter ing) are providing new directions tion for the beleaguered old guard gua comic book industry, best bes represented now by Marvel and DC, at one time Ma the heirs apparent after the death of the pulps (Weird de Tales Ta and the like), and the th transition away from the t slicks (such as Esquire) and “sweats” (Man’s qqu World, True Adventure) of W the th post-WWII/Cold War era. er Marvel and DC, venerable abl institutions to be sure, are still powerhouses of content, and have formidacon ble cclout not only in publishing, bu but also cinematically. Indeed, Indeeed film franchises such as Batman, Baatm Superman (both DC), and Ironman DC) Spider-Man, Sp (both Marvel), among others, have cemented just how h viable viabl these “kid” properties are (though it must be viewed through the lens vie
of the Baby Boomers’ nostalgia, as well as their broad cross-generational appeal). The entire publishing industry (not just comics) is in the midst of a sea-change in the delivery of a wide range of services. Computers and the Internet have crushed long-standing institutions – from newspapers, phone books and telephone companies to the travel industry and entertainment delivery (for example, why rent movies on DVD when it’s now possible to instantly download the latest Hi-Def film release online without the hassle of returning the cassette/DVD – and no fees or time limits). To re-couch an old observation: All flesh (and everything else) is 0 and 1. Simpler still: All flesh is binary. At the same time, as previously observed, the Information Age has also leveled the playing field for independent producers of film, visual art and books: the staid New York City-based publishing houses of old must now contend with gathering threats from the digital revolution (piracy issues, E-books, format wars, Digital Rights Management [DRM] and artist compensation – the very same issues which have bedeviled the music industry and Hollywood for years), and balance these with the concerns of creators seeking fair representation for the fruits of their labor. Though the grip and influence of these giants is weakening, still they be giants. Ironically, sheer size limits their ability to maneuver: as a wise man once observed, “It’s not the strong that devour the weak; it’s the fast that devour the slow.” Welcome to the future, kiddies! Heh, heh! And now a little history…
II. “In the (Very) Beginning…” “In the beginning, I hated the business so much that I visited the oﬃce only once a week to sign the payroll checks.” –William M. Gaines
words and images. Tired of working with others that didn’t share his vision (he was instrumental in the history of another comic company early on, All-American Publications, which was later consolidated – along with National Comics and Detective Comics -- into DC; he was also key in bringing both Wonder Woman and Superman to market), he called his company Educational Comics -- EC for short. (As an aside, the nascent Marvel was also around during this period, initially in the form of Timely Comics, then Atlas Comics, and finally Marvel Comics.) While the art for Gaines’s books was decent, the titles (such as Picture Stories from the Bible, Picture Stories from American History and Fat and Slat) did not create a rabid following. Gaines was determined, though: he forged ahead, trying new techniques and refining his approach. He was also disillusioned with his son, William, whom he considered lackadaisical and trifling. For his part, the younger Gaines (who loved verbal sparring and elaborate practical jokes) was bored by his father’s struggling empire. Then, strangely, Fate intervened: While on a vacation, the elder Gaines died in a boating accident, and William M. Gaines (Bill to his friends) became the president, at 25, of the failing EC Comics brand practically overnight…
III. Dawn of the New Trend
Bill Gaines had his hands full – the EC Comics brand was in trouble, and he knew it; something Of course, none of this is totally unprecradical was required. edented: comics and comic book publishers One of the first things that have had various challenges throughout their Gaines decided to do was change history. Ever since Max Gaines created the familiar pamphlet “comic book”, there have been the company name from “Educational Comics” to “Entertaining many publishers and titles, some good, most bad, a few great. Among the greatest (perhaps Comics”, which signaled the internal the greatest) would be M. Gaines’s second most shift of focus while retaining the recognizable logo (ironically, the profound (albeit not as originally conceived) “new” EC would also become more creation: EC Comics. educational, delivering stories far Gaines was an ambitious publisher with a more instructive than any literal grand idea: that comic books could be made interpretation of The Bible or clasmore than a simple entertainment – that they sic literary works). could teach a youthful audience important The next thing that Gaines did lessons; guide them morally; relate historiwas whittle away the titles that uncal events in a captivating manner by joining
The Creepy, Eerie World Shawna by James R
Dark Horse Comics, one of the largest independent comic book companies, has taken the helm and reissued one of the most influential comic series ever - the original Creepy and Eerie magazines – in special hardcover editions. Not only that, but they’ve also launched an all-new Creepy series featuring some of the original artists and writers along with new contributors. Shawna Gore, one of the main editors on staﬀ at the Portland, OR based company (and the person in charge of this endeavor), was nice enough to sit down with DD for a couple of hours to talk about the re-launch. For more information see: www.DarkHorse.com Dark Discoveries: How did Dark Horse get involved with Creepy and Eerie? Shawna Gore: That’s a funny story. I’d been interested in acquiring the rights to Creepy and Eerie for quite a while, but there was always a bit of a mystery surrounding the fabled history of them… DD: Harris had them at some point but they got sued by Jim Warren, right? SG: Exactly. I knew that, and I talked to as many people in the industry as I could to try and find out who the rights had reverted back to. Everybody said “Oh, it’s just Jim Warren”. But then it was try to find an address, or contact information for him. So for a couple of years I sort of chased the dream just thinking about it, and trying to talk to people who might know where to find Jim. I finally got a mailing address for him, and literally within a week my manager Davey came into my oﬃce and told me he had bad news – that someone had already acquired the rights to Creepy and Eerie. I was so sad! But then he smiled and said the good news is they’re bringing it to Dark Horse. So what happened was a group of guys now known as New Comic Company had the same dream. They’d been after Jim Warren even before we tried, but were never able to meet his financial demands… DD: (laughs) Unable to make him a serious oﬀer on it, huh? SG: Yeah. So he put them through this routine for literally like seven years. He would be really warm and friendly and “Yeah, let’s cut a deal” and then he would disappear for a year. Then out of the blue, one of them would get a phone call and it would start all over again. So it was a seven year process for those guys negotiating with Jim before they finally made a deal. DD: So what’s the story with Vampirella then? Why not do all three of the main Warren horror series? SG: Vampirella has always been a separate license. Moreover, Vampirella is being published by IDW and has been for a while now. DD: But they’re not doing the older stuﬀ – as far as the archives? SG: I don’t know what the rights situation is with the Vampirella archives. I’m assuming that Jim probably held onto those rights. You know Blazing Combat came out of nowhere last year from Fantagraphics. DD: Oh, that’s right! SG: I know New Comic Company and a handful of others were in negotiation with Jim about that. I think Jim is a little mysterious about how he decides to work with people and gives the rights out. He really made the New Comic guys jump through a lot of hoops and prove their dedication. I don’t think he wanted to put all of his beautiful, Creepy eggs in one basket! DD: How has the response been so far to the Archives? SG: It’s been great! We’ve reprinted Volume 1 already, and all of them have sold really well. In the last year, The New York Times starting tracking Graphic Novels on their best-seller list and every volume of Creepy and Eerie so far has made their list – which is prett y cool. We also won the 2009 Eisner award for Best Archival Edition for Volume 1. So critical acclaim is high and they’re selling really well. DD: Russ Cochran did something similar with the EC Comics Archives with the slipcases, but nobody has since, really. SG: Yeah, but in terms of… there was some debate internally about whether or not the comics industry would support large books and the stores would put them on their shelves, but the New Comics guys and I were all convinced that they needed to be full-size, and you needed to have the covers full-size. DD: That makes sense with Creepy being magazine-sized to start with. SG: So I stuck to my guns on it, and prett y soon everybody else agreed “Of course we need to do it fullsized”, and soon I think some of the success of the MAD Archives and EC Archives showed us there’s an unwaiving faith to my cross! So yeah, I’m in love with the books. They’re all really lovely. DD: They’re very nice, certainly. Now there are some very well-known writers and artists who worked on the original series – including Neal Adams, and some of the EC regulars like Joe Orlando, Frank Frazetta, Johnny Craig, Wally Wood and so on. Have you been able to hook up with some of the guys from the original series?
Our take on the phenomenon that is comic books and an homag to the pulps! Brimming with art and content! Get it NOW!! Also, an O'Bannon Trib...