Panatics 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 1973 TV movie The Night Strangler, in which downtrodden yet intrepid journalist Carl Kolchak (played by actor Darren McGavin)—the frumpy newspaper reporter who became a reluctant vampire hunter in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the 1972 telefilm The Night Stalker (which I celebrated last year)—finds himself investigating a new series of murders by yet another monster, this time in Seattle, Washington. Accompanied by plucky belly dancer Louise Harper (Jo Ann Pflug, seen pictured here), Kolchak works hard to put an end to the killing and get an exclusive on the story.
The Night Strangler debuted on ABC-TV on January 16, 1973, and remains popular with Kolchak fans to this very day. Not only that, but this creation of author Jeff Rice has influenced legions of fans over the decades, including The X-Files’ Chris Carter, who often stated in interviews about how Kolchak was foremost in his mind when he developed the characters of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.
Go over to SWC now and give it a read!
Two days in and 2018 is already turning out to be a special year for anniversaries. Yesterday was the 200th “birthday” of the first-edition publication of Mary Shelley’s seminal novel, Frankenstein, and today Pan’s publisher, StarWarp Concepts, kicks off its 25th anniversary celebration as an independent publisher!
They’ve got some exciting things lined up this year, so be sure to visit the SWC blog during 2018 to find out the latest news!
Can you believe it? It was 200 years ago this very day in 1818 that a small-press publishing company in London, Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, unleashed a literary monsterpiece upon the world: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus!
Despite a limited first-edition print run (only 500 copies) and no author byline (saying the book was written by a woman would have been a scandal), Frankenstein took the world by storm—so much so that when a second edition was published it was finally “okay” to give Shelley the cover credit she was due. And from that point on, Victor Frankenstein, his monster, and their creator would all achieve immortality, in a way, especially Frankenstein’s Monster, who became a cultural icon still recognized by people around the world—even the ones who’ve never read the book!
So, happy anniversary, Mary Shelley and Dr. Frankenstein, and thanks for the two centuries of monsterish thrills!
Here’s to a safe and happy New Year for all you amazing Panatics. Thanks for your continued support!
If you’re hosting a yuletide party this weekend, remember one very important thing while you’re stocking up on supplies: those polar bears get really pissy when they don’t get their Coca-Cola…so don’t run out!
Merry Christmas to one and all!
Hey, horror fans! Looking for a gift that would make a great addition to the small holiday haul you’re placing in a loved one’s Christmas stocking? Then allow me to suggest a full-color comic book starring our resident monster hunter!
The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1 is a spinoff from the novel series, and this 56-page, full-color comic special finds the teenaged Goth adventuress battling vampires and a jealous, man-stealing siren. Behind that striking cover by award-winning artist Henar Torinos (Mala Estrella), it features:
* “Song of the Siren,” written by me, with art and color by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0, Stargate Universe), in which Pan and her boyfriend Javier attend one of his family’s picnics in Central Park, and run into Javi’s ex-girlfriend, Sophia—who turns out to be a mythological siren!
* “After Hours,” written by Sholly Fisch (Scooby-Doo Team-Up) and illustrated by comic-art legend Ernie Colon (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld). It tells the tale of a most unusual New York City bar—and the demon who walks into it after a hard day on the job.
* And “Shopping Maul,” a short story by me, with title page art and color by Elizabeth Watasin (Charm School), in which Pan and her friends run afoul of a group of Elegant & Gothic Lolita vampires in a shopping maul.
The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1 is available in print and digital formats, so visit its product page over at StarWarp Concepts for ordering information.
Hey, horror fans! With the holidays fast approaching and every mall in the world soon to devolve into full-scale replicas of Thunderdome as shoppers hunt for bargains, the time couldn’t be better for you to order presents for that special Goth in your life—from StarWarp Concepts, of course!
The Official Pandora Zwieback T-shirt: Now you too can be a styling monster hunter like Pandora Zwieback, in this official T-shirt featuring the full-color devil-girl image rendered by legendary painter Bob Larkin! Just like Pan’s, this combed cotton jersey is pitch-black—perfect for blending into handy shadows—with Lilitu (the daughter of Latte, the iconic symbol of the fictional coffee-house chain, Latte’s Inferno) sticking out her tongue at the creatures of the night that are hungering for your soul. Unlike Pan’s, the back is adorned with the Saga of Pandora Zwieback logo and the handy Web address so interested parties can check out all her adventures.
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 Feud full-color print by Bob Larkin: Have you ever looked at the cover of Blood Feud, the first novel in our exciting Saga of Pandora Zwieback novel series, and thought, “Man, that’s some awesome artwork. I would so buy a poster of that!” Well, now here’s your chance! Presented without logos or book-cover copy, this 11” x 17” cardstock print features the art of master painter Bob Larkin, and is limited to just 100 copies. Order yours today while supplies last!
Blood 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! But Pan isn’t about to let some ancient monster win the day, not when the lives of her parents and friends—along with those of every human on the planet—are at stake, so she leads a charge of her own. 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 Gothic Lolita vampires and a jealous, man-stealing siren. 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: The blood-drenched temptress of a 19th-century novella by author J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Carmilla Karnstein is a vampiress who desires not just blood but love from her victims, and when she enters the life of a young woman named Laura, Carmilla decides that her new friend will become her next great love—and won’t take no for an answer. Regarded as the one of the earliest lesbian vampire tales—if not the first—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. The StarWarp Concepts edition features six all-new illustrations by Eliseu Gouveia, the artist of The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0 and the Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual.
Blood Feud, Blood Reign, Carmilla, and the Pan Annual are available in print and digital formats. Visit their respective product pages for ordering information, as well as sample pages and chapters.
Thanksgiving Day always was an awkward time of the year to celebrate at the Island of Doctor Moreau…
Have a happy turkey day!
(Vintage holiday card art.)
Queens’oween pumpkin art, found on a porch in Maspeth, NY. Photo © 2017 Steven A. Roman.
Teen Read Week 2017 is happening right now, October 8–14. What is it? Well, to quote the event’s website:
Teen Read Week is a national adolescent literacy initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users.
Teen Read Week’s 2017 theme is “Unleash Your Story,” in which “library staff and educators are encouraged to leverage this theme to encourage teens to tell their own stories as well as find stories, biographies, autobiographies, folktales, and more in their local library.”
For more information on this annual event, visit the Teen Read Week site.
The theme of “unleashing your story” for teen writers reminds me of “My First Published Story,” a blog post about a science-fiction story I wrote all the way back in high school. As I say in the post, looking back it’s a little cringe-worthy, but it proves something I always tell young writers: Everybody’s gotta start somewhere. Go give it a read!
And speaking of books for teens, are you familiar with my young adult, dark-urban-fantasy 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-shifter named Annie 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 in the following titles:
The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0: A free, downloadable comic that serves as an introduction to Pan and Annie—with an 8-page story written by me and illustrated by Eliseu Gouveia—as well as Pan’s first novel, Blood Feud (via a pair of preview chapters).
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 that leads immediately into the second novel:
Blood 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! But Pan isn’t about to let some ancient monster win the day, not when the lives of her parents and friends—along with those of every human on the planet—are at stake, so she leads a charge of her own. But whose side is going to emerge the victor remains to be seen…
Blood Feud and Blood Reign are available in print and digital formats. The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0 is a digital exclusive. Visit their respective product pages at StarWarp Concepts for ordering information, as well as sample pages and chapters.