Forgotten Frights: Monsters of History

Happy Friday the 13th! Even though it’s got nothing to do with this special day on which we celebrate the multiple resurrections of Jason Voorhees, the blood-spattered mascot of Camp Crystal Lake, here’s a one-page forgotten fright from comics’ Golden Age I thought you might enjoy.

“Monsters of History,” by artist Howard Nostrand, first appeared in Harvey Comics’ Chamber of Chills Magazine #18, cover-dated July 1953. Click on the image to embiggen, as they say.


What’s that? This is a different kind of Friday the 13th? Jason’s got nothing to do with it?


Well, never mind, then.

StarWarp Concepts Salutes Monster Hunter Carl Kolchak

carl-kolchakPanatics who are fans of classic television horror (and really, aren’t we all in some way?) should head over at the StarWarp Concepts blog for today’s special post.

That’s where I talk about the 45th anniversary of the TV movie The Night Stalker, which introduced horror fans to Carl Kolchak (played by actor Darren McGavin), the frumpy newspaper reporter who becomes a reluctant vampire hunter in 1970s Las Vegas, Nevada. The movie debuted on ABC-TV on January 11, 1972, and was such a hit that Kolchak is still popular today. Not only that, but this creation of author Jeff Rice has influenced legions of fans over the decades, including yours truly. Hey, where did you think Pan’s earliest influence came from? 😉

Go over to SWC now and give it a read!

King Kong Breaks Loose at StarWarp Concepts

king-kong-cvrHey, monster fans! If you grew up a monster kid like I did, you’re probably looking forward to the upcoming release of Kong: Skull Island, the latest movie version of the story about that giant, misunderstood ape and the island of monsters he comes from.

Well, King Kong isn’t just about to appear on movie screens this March, he’s also making his debut that same month at Pan’s publisher. How’s that possible? I’m glad you asked!

Coming March 7, 2017 from StarWarp Concepts is King Kong, an e-book-exclusive reprint of the 1932 novelization of the original motion picture. It’s the latest addition to SWC’s Illustrated Classics line of books, joining J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s vampire romance Carmilla, Edgar Rice Burroughs’s space-fantasy adventure A Princess of Mars, and the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale Snow White.

Written by Delos W. Lovelace, based on the story by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper and the screenplay by James A. Creelman and Ruth Rose, the SWC edition of King Kong features six brand-new illustrations by pulp-comics artist Paul Tuma (Tales of the Green Hornet, The Twilight Avenger, Dan Turner: Hollywood Detective). The novelization also expands on the world inhabited by this famous monster of filmland and includes scenes that didn’t appear in the movie’s final cut, the most notorious of those being the terrifying “spider pit” sequence, in which a group of sailors in pursuit of Kong falls into a chasm infested with giant, man-eating arachnids. (Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake included this scene, with outright nightmare-inducing results.)

Not familiar with the beauty-and-the-beast story of Kong and his “love interest,” Ann Darrow (who was played in the 1933 original by the queen of the scream queens, Fay Wray)? Well, here’s our edition’s back-cover copy to bring you up-to-date:

Ann Darrow was a down-on-her-luck actress struggling to survive in Depression-era New York when she met moviemaker Carl Denham. He offered her the starring role in his latest film: a documentary about a long-lost island—and the godlike ape named Kong rumored to live there. Denham needed a beauty as a counterpart to the beast he hoped to find, and Ann was the answer to his prayers.

Mystery, romance, a chance to turn her life around, even the possibility of stardom—to Ann, it sounded like the adventure of a lifetime! But what she didn’t count on were the horrific dangers that awaited her on Skull Island—including the affections of a love-struck monster . . .

SWC will be doing quite a bit of promotion at their blog for Kong’s arrival, with looks at Kong-related movies (including the original, naturally), comics, toys, and more in order to draw attention to the e-book.

More details to follow as we get closer to the book’s March 7 release—which, by the way, is just three days before Kong: Skull Island hits movie theaters. Why, you’d almost think they’d planned that intentionally…

Got Plans for Christmastime? I Sure Do…

pan-creepmas-promoThe 13 Days of what?!

Hey, don’t look so shocked! Would it surprise you to learn that Christmas can be just as disturbing and terrifying as Halloween? No? Then that must make you a horror fan, which makes The 13 Days of Creepmas—an annual event held at only the most distinguished blogs—the perfect holiday celebration for you.

Basically, it’s the horror community’s response/pushback to the over-commercialization of Christmas, whose retail season has steadily crept backward along the calendar to the current point where stores have their Xmas displays up well before Halloween. (Don’t believe me? Did you take a look at the Hallmark cable channel last year? Their Christmas movie marathons started on October 29!)

For the first thirteen days of December I’ll be blogging about Xmas comics, movies, and cartoons—all with a horrific twist, of course. Honestly, I was surprised at how much macabre Christmas-y stuff I could find to post about for almost two weeks straight!

Mark it on your calendar, and be sure to wear your best/ugliest Christmas sweater!

You Want to Talk Gun-Toting Vampires?


Hey, vampire fans! Today is the U.S. release date for Underworld: Blood Wars, the fifth entry in Lakeshore Entertainment’s popular vampires-versus-werewolves movie franchise. Series star Kate Beckinsale returns to her iconic role as the death-dealing vampire Selene, continuing her war on lycans following the events of the last film, Undewrworld: Awakening. I’m the first to admit that, as with Milla Jovovich’s Resident Evil series, the Underworld movies are a guilty pleasure for me; in fact, I’ve already bought my ticket for this weekend!

blood_feud_lg_cover_2013Speaking of vampires and blood wars, are you familiar with my young adult novel series The Saga of Pandora Zwieback? Pan is a 16-year-old Goth girl who’s spent the last decade being treated for mental health problems because she can see monsters. It’s only after she meets an immortal, shape-shifting monster hunter named Sebastienne “Annie” Mazarin that Pan discovers she’s never been ill—her so-called “monstervision” is actually a supernatural gift that allows her to see into Gothopolis, the not-so-mythical shadow world that exists right alongside the human world. You’ll find Pan and Annie battling evil in the following titles:

Blood Feud: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 1: This critically acclaimed novel is the beginning of Pan’s story, explaining how she, her parents and friends, and Annie are drawn into a conflict among warring vampire clans searching for the key to an ultimate weapon (or so the legend goes)—a key that just so happens to have been delivered to the horror-themed museum owned by Pan’s father. It’s a character-driven action-fest featuring the kind of gun-toting vampires that Selene would feel right at home among, and it leads immediately into the second novel:

Blood-Reign-FinalCvrBlood Reign: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 2: Pan and Annie face even greater challenges as the vampire clans draw up plans to go to war with humanity. Leading the charge is a fallen angel named Zaqiel, whose previous attempt at subjugating the world was stopped by Annie—who, back in the day, was Zaqiel’s lover! Yes, there’s more vampire gunplay involved—the undead sure do like their firearms—but that’s only part of the dangers Pan has to contend with, as her adventures take her to a mysterious South Pacific island where monsters dwell.

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1: A spinoff from the novel series, this 56-page, full-color comic special finds the teenaged Goth adventuress battling Elegant Gothic & Lolita vampires in a shopping mall and a jealous, man-stealing siren in New York’s Central Park. It features stories by me and Sholly Fisch (Scooby-Doo Team-Up), art by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0), comic-art legend Ernie Colon (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld), and Elizabeth Watasin (Charm School), and cover art by award-winning artist Henar Torinos (Mala Estrella).

Carmilla_CoverAnd if your prefer your vampires less action-oriented and more Gothic, then let me direct you to Carmilla, the 19th-century novella by J. Sheridan Le Fanu that’s become the most popular title in StarWarp Concepts’ Illustrated Classics line of books.

In Carmilla, a young woman named Laura is so desperate for a friend that when a woman her age practically turns up on the doorstep of the castle owned by Laura’s father, she thinks her prayers for companionship have been answered. But as she comes to realize, Carmilla isn’t as interested in making friends as she is in spilling blood. Regarded as the one of the earliest lesbian vampires, Carmilla was an influence on author Bram Stoker in the creation of the vampire brides in his seminal novel, Dracula, and remains a popular character in fiction to this day. Our edition contains six original illustrations done especially for StarWarp Concepts by the super-talented Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1).

Carmilla, Blood Feud, Blood Reign, and the Pan Annual are available in print and digital formats. Visit their respective product pages at StarWarp Concepts for ordering information, as well as sample pages and chapters.

Got Plans This October? I Sure Do…


Believe it! In a major undertaking for this blog, I’ll be writing thirty-one straight days of posts about horror movies, horror comics, and other horror stuff for you to enjoy as we wait for the arrival of Pan’s favorite holiday (mine, too)—as well as the publication of Blood & Iron: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 3, which will occur right in time for Halloween!

The annual Countdown to Halloween is a blogathon event started in 2009 by comic writer John Rozum and blogger Shawn Robare, and every year the list of participating sites gets longer as more folks join in—and this year, Pan’s online home is getting involved!

The fun starts October 1st. Be sue to mark it on your calendar!

Pandora Zwieback: Blood & Iron a Real Treat for Halloween

blood-and-iron-cvrThe wait is almost over!

She’s been shot at by vampires, killed by a fallen angel, come back from the dead, and nearly trampled in a zombie stampede for sweets, she’s maybe started to fall in love with a boy named Javier, and her mother’s been turned into a vampire, but teenaged Goth Pandora Zwieback has a whole new set of challenges facing her in the latest volume of her adventures: Blood & Iron: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 3!

When we last saw Pan, she, Javier, and their friend, the immortal, shape-shifting monster hunter named Sebastienne “Annie” Mazarin, were trapped on a remote South Pacific island, and the fallen angel Zaqiel—not just Annie’s former lover, but the creature who had killed Pan and turned her mother vampiric—was leading an army of monsters to free his fellow bad angels. Could things possibly get any worse? Well, if you asked Pan, she’d probably say that’s a rhetorical question when it comes to her increasingly complicated life—and she’d be right!

Blood & Iron: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 3 is scheduled for release in late October, during the Halloween Countdown celebration we’ll be hosting all month long at this blog. Hey, what better treat for All Hallows’ Eve than curling up with the conclusion of Pan’s first literary adventure—the vampire war begun in the novels Blood Feud and Blood Reign?

Stay tuned for further information!

SWC Horror Bites: Something You’ll Want to Devour

whitefell-werewolf-cvr“Short tales to appease your monstrous hunger for suspense” is how we describe SWC Horror Bites, a chapbook series that will be available in print and e-book formats exclusively from the StarWarp Concepts webstore, and at the conventions we attend. The series, which launches in February (during the annual celebration of Women in Horror Month), will be a mix of new and classic horror stories.

And if you head over to today’s post at the StarWarp Concepts blog, you’ll see my explanation of what this program holds in store for fans of literary horror this year. A feminist werewolf tale, a classic ghost story from Charles Dickens (but not starring Ebenezer Scrooge), and an anthology of spooky stories that first appeared in 1950s horror comics are just the start of the menu for SWC Horror Bites. Go check them out!

Happy 2017, Panatics!


Believe it, skeleton man—that’s what you get for sleeping through Christmas! Still, I hope Santa and the Krampus brought you—and you Panatics—everything you wished for (or wished on others…mu-ha-ha).

blood-and-iron-cvrTwo thousand seventeen promises to be a busy year for Pan’s publisher, StarWarp Concepts, whose plans include—you guessed it!—the much-anticipated release of Blood & Iron: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 3 this October. It’s the conclusion of Pan’s first literary adventure, which began in the first novel, Blood Feud, and continued into Blood Reign, and pits Pan, her family, and her friends—including immortal monster hunter Sebastienne “Annie” Mazarin—against the forces of monsterdom, who are led by the fallen angel Zaqiel—who’s also a former lover of Annie’s!

But starring in a new novel isn’t all that’s in store for Pan this year, and if you check out today’s post at the StarWarp Concepts blog, you’ll learn what SWC has in mind for our favorite Goth adventuress, as well as its other publishing plans. Head over there now and give it a read!