Happy Fourth of July!

Who says there are no horror tie-ins to America’s birthday? Here are a couple of supernaturally patriotic comic covers to get you into the holiday mood, as America celebrates its 241st today:

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Elvira, the Queen of Halloween, does her best impression of the Statue of Liberty for the cover of Elvira’s House of Mystery #8, penciled by Dwight Turner, inked by comic-art legend Dick Giordano (Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Justice League of America), and published by DC Comics in July 1986.

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Holy historical team-ups! The original supernatural version of Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze, helps Paul Revere spread the word about the advancing British forces, in this cover for the American Bicentennial issue of The Comic Reader, by two comic-art legends: penciler Frank Robbins (Batman, The Invaders, The Shadow) and inker P. Craig Russell (American Gods, Doctor Strange, War of the Worlds).

Makes ya feel proud to be a horror fan, doesn’t it?

Kong is King of Comic Books at Simian Saturdays

giant-classic-kongOver at the StarWarp Concepts blog, you’ll find the latest installment of Simian Saturdays, a series of reviews I’ve been doing that examine the movies (and other media) that focused on King Kong, the giant monkey who’s captured generations of monster fans’ hearts. It’s part of SWC’s celebration of King Kong, the latest addition to its Illustrated Classics library that’s now on sale.

Today’s focus is on Giant Classic King Kong, a comic book adaptation of the original story by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper. Drawn by the super-talented Alberto Giolitti (Star Trek, The Twilight Zone), it was first published in 1968 by Gold Key Comics and then reissued by Whitman Publishing in 1976 as an oversize “treasury” edition. It’s the ’76 version I’m reviewing, because that’s the one I picked up back in the day and have read the hell out of. Go check it out!

King-Kong-Final-FrontCvrKing Kong (the SWC Illustrated Classic) is an e-book-only release that reintroduces monster fans to the 1932 novelization of the original movie classic. 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, it includes scenes that didn’t appear in the final cut of the film—including the notorious “spider pit” sequence in which Kong’s human pursuers are attacked by horrific arachnids and insects. The SWC version features six original black-and-white illustrations by comics artist Paul Tuma, whose pulp-influenced style has appeared in the pages of The Twilight Avenger, Flare, and Dan Turner: Hollywood Detective.

King Kong is on sale right now, so visit its product page at StarWarp Concepts for ordering information.

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.

Monsters-of-History

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

Oh.

Well, never mind, then.

Happy Read Comics in Public Day!

Pandora0_CoverToday is the sixth International Read Comics in Public Day. Started in 2010 by Brian Heater and Sarah Morean, it’s an annual appreciation of comic books and graphic novels, demonstrated by folks not afraid to celebrate their reading choices by taking them out in public. For some reason, though, Heater and Morean seem to have abandoned their literacy campaign—the RCiP Facebook page hasn’t been updated since 2012—but it’s such a nifty idea that Pan’s publisher, StarWarp Concepts, thought it was high time this event was revived…especially since they have a couple of Pandora Zwieback comics you could be reading today!

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0: A free, downloadable comic that serves as an introduction to the adventures of Pandora Zwieback and her monster-hunting mentor, Sebastienne “Annie” Mazarin, with an 8-page story written by me and illustrated by Eliseu Gouveia, and a preview of Pan’s first novel, Blood Feud: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 1. 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 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.

SWC_PanAnnual01The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1: A spinoff from the novel series, this 56-page, full-color comic special—with cover art by award-winning artist Henar Torinos (Mala Estrella)—finds the teenaged Goth adventuress battling vampires and a jealous, man-stealing siren. It features three original stories of what I’ve termed the “Paniverse”—tales that take place within the fictional universe of The Saga of Pandora Zwieback.

  • “Song of the Siren,” written by me and illustrated by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0) involves Pan and her boyfriend, Javi, attending one of his family’s picnics in Central Park, and running into an ex-girlfriend of Javi’s. An awkward situation, to be sure, made even worse by the realization that with her monstervision, Pan can see the girl is really a siren: a creature from Greek mythology that can hypnotize men with its voice!
  • “After Hours” is by writer Sholly Fisch (Scooby-Doo Team-Up) and comic-art legend Ernie Colon (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld). A demon walks into a bar—and if you think that’s the setup for a joke, then this light-hearted character piece might just ale you by surprise.
  • “Shopping Maul” is a short story written by me, with title-page art by Elizabeth Watasin (writer/artist of Charm School). Pan, Javi, and their friends stop by a Queens mall to do a bit of window-shopping—only to find themselves caught in the middle of a fight between Gothic Lolita vampires and Pan’s monster-hunting mentor, Annie!

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual is available in print and digital formats. Pandora Zwieback #0 is a digital exclusive. Visit their respective product pages for ordering information, as well as sample pages. And then get out there and start reading them in public

Proof That Happy Goths Love Zwieback

henar-torinos-pan-annualWhat you see here is a photograph of Spain’s very own mega-talented artist, writer, and self-described “happy Goth,” Henar Torinos, holding up a copy of The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1, for which she provided the incredible cover art. She thinks it rawks! 😀

Henar made her comics debut as the creator/artist of the two-volume graphic novel series Mala Estrella (Bad Star), published by Ediciones Babylon; the series won the award for Best Manga of 2012 at Ficomic, Barcelona’s International Comic Fair. She currently works as a freelance illustrator and designer. I met her through deviantArt, the online art community, shortly after I joined; I’d been looking for artists for the Pan-themed promotion “The 13 Days of Pan-demonium,” and a site search for “Happy Goths” led me to her page—specifically, two pieces entitled “Happy Goths Exist” and “Still a Happy Goth.”

To see more of Henar’s creations, visit her deviantArt page. I’m pretty certain you’ll like what you see!

SWC_PanAnnual01The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1, published by StarWarp Concepts, is a 56-page, full-color special that contains stories by Steven A. Roman (that’s me, the author of the Pandora Zwieback novels, as well as X-Men: The Chaos Engine Trilogy) and Sholly Fisch (Scooby-Doo Team-Up, The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold). In addition to Henar’s wonderful cover, you’ll find art by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0), comic-art legend Ernie Colon (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld), and Elizabeth Watasin (writer/artist/creator of the comic series Charm School and the steampunk novel series The Dark Victorian). The comic is available in both print and digital formats, so visit the Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1 product page for all the ordering information, as well as sample pages.

Pandora Zwieback: Coming to Comic Shops in May 2013!

Zwieback Nation continues to expand! First our Goth adventuress took the literary market by storm, and now Diamond Comic Distributors—the U.S.’s #1 comic-related distribution company—has picked up The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1, our first full-length Pan comic, for the direct market! And to make that easy to remember, just print out the handy product information listing you see here, take it to your local comic shop owner, and ask them to order it.

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1 is Pan’s first foray into comic book adventures, not counting the introductory comic The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0 (still available for free download). Behind some stunning cover art by Henar Torinos (Mala Estrella), you’ll find three tales: “Song of the Siren,” a 26-page comic story about Pan and her boyfriend Javier’s first date, written by Pandora Zwieback author Steven A. Roman, with art by Eliseu Gouveia (Lorelei: Sects and the City, The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0); “After Hours,” an 8-page tale of the Paniverse by writer Sholly Fisch (Action Comics, Batman: The New Brave and the Bold) and artist Ernie Colon (Amethyst—Princess of Gemworld, Damage Control); and “Shopping Maul,” a Pan short story written by Steve, with title page art by Elizabeth Watasin (Charm School, The Dark Victorian).

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1 has earned a Spotlight Title listing on page 343 of the March 2013 Diamond Previews catalog (currently on sale), and is scheduled to hit stores on May 22, 2013. But right now is the time to order it through your local comic shop!

Don’t know where your local comic book dealer is located? Then visit the Comic Shop Locator and help spread the word!