Amazing what you find when you Google yourself.

For over thirty-five years I’ve told the story about how Harlan Ellison took me to task in print for mistaking one of his short stories in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction as an autobiographical reminiscence about a writer friend from the early days of sci-fi fandom. This story concludes with this writer friend passing away and earmarking some of his estate to Ellison to create a retreat for struggling writers in the process of launching their careers. Or something like that. Anyway, I wrote Ellison to inquire how to apply and he rebuked me in the January 1981 installment of a column he was writing for Future Life. To say I was surprised to see my name pop up is an understatement. The rebuke is understandable and far less acerbic than might be expected from Ellison. It also made for a cool although trivial story, but I have never been able to find my copy of that article again to show people, leaving some to ask, “Are you sure you really saw that?”

Turns out this problem was rectified for me with the 2009 publication of An Edge in My Voice, a collection of Ellison’s essays from 1980 to 1982. Ellison isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I would argue he was one of the most entertaining authors of essays and introductions as well as one of the most vociferous champions of the comics medium from the middle to late 20th Century.  I heartily recommend this collection, and, if you do peruse it, you’ll find this snippet:

See.  I told you. 😉

I’m tempted to do a little creative editing to transform some of Ellison’s words into a blurb for my next book: “Sincere and talented and wonderful!” But I won’t. Ellison, who, in a now famous 1979 Comics Journal interview, confessed that he saw himself as a cross between Jiminy Cricket and Zorro, may be gone, but I’ve a feeling his gargoyles are still lurking out there somewhere.

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Thank you to all our Veterans on this very special Veterans Day celebrating 100 years since the Armistice of 11 November 1918 ending the First World War.

“In Flanders fields, the poppies blow,
Between the crosses, row on row”

In 1966, French President Charles De Gaulle instructed Secretary of State Dean Rusk that all foreign troops–including American–should be evacuated from his country after De Gaulle ended France’s military participation in NATO.  President Lyndon Johnson instructed Rusk to inquire during his next meeting with De Gaulle about the over 60,000 Americans buried there from World War I and World War II.  When Rusk asked, De Gaulle reportedly said nothing, got up, and left the room.

“Lest we forget” is more than just a phrase, so, again, thank you Veterans.


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Hey, all!  I’m going to be at the Cedar Falls Public Library’s LitCon 2018 and I’d love to see you there!

It’s happening on Saturday November 10 from 9am to 4pm at the Cedar Falls Public Library at 524 Main Street, Cedar Falls, Iowa  50613!

LitCon is a pop culture celebration of literature and fantasy, so feel free to cosplay or come as you are and head on over! I’ll be selling copies of the Talismen novel and graphic novel along with House With the Witch’s Hat and People That Time Forgot, and will have information on how to order the Henrietta Hex e-book! I’ll also have copies of Nightlinger, H. P. Lovecraft Worlds, the Sherlock Holmes graphic novels and CDs, Dracula, Heroes & Horrors, and much much more!





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It doesn’t matter if it’s a car, girlfriend or boyfriend, or superhero you create, you never forget your first. When your first superhero makes his debut in your first published comics work, though, that’s really special, and, thanks to Caliber Comics, I’m getting to relive that experience because they have made the adventures of my first superhero available in their own solo package for the first time in Vanguard: Genesis!

Vampire? Superhero? Both? Or something worse? Lee Cowan is your average high schooler until he is murdered then resurrected with terrifying powers and a terrible, uncertain destiny.

Now you’ve probably never heard of Vanguard, but you’ve definitely heard of the artists I was blessed to collaborate with on these adventures, starting with Vanguard’s origin story “Genesis.” Published in 1981 in Quazar #1, “Genesis” featured art and letters by Dan Jurgens.

Dan and I completed the next Vanguard adventure, “Paragon,” in 1982, but plans for Quazar #2 fell through and “Paragon” went unpublished until 1997, when Sundragon Comics included it and “Genesis” in its impressive anthology series Scales of the Dragon.

A Trip Down Memory Lane: (Left) the first concept sketch of Vanguard, circa 1979 by Dan Jurgens; (Center) cover to QUAZAR #1 featuring Vanguard, 1981 by Marshall Rogers; (Right) Splash page to “Paragon,” 1982 by Jurgens.

Vanguard by Christopher Jones, circa 1996.

Because Dan and I were raw talents when we worked on Vanguard, Sundragon correctly decided the stories needed polishing. So I re-scripted the stories while S. Clarke Hawbaker (NomadStarslayer) and Christopher Jones (Dr. WhoYoung Justice) re-pencilled “Genesis” and “Paragon” using Dan’s art as layouts. After that Clarke and C.P. Smith (TAP, OZ) inked “Genesis,” C.P. inked “Paragon,” and JEO*Graphics lettered both stories. These reworked stories appear in Vanguard: Genesis, along with an art gallery of Vanguard art through the years and an afterword by me.

To say I’m excited to finally see these stories in their own publication is an understatement. If you enjoy old school superhero tales with a supernatural bent … something like a cross between the original Morbius the Living Vampire and Omega the Unknown … this one is for you.








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I am sad to report that Charles “Chuck” Acri, host of The Acri Creature Feature, passed away on June 9, 2018.

Mr. Acri launched the ACF in 1969 as a unique way to promote his home improvement business, the Acri Siding Company.  It ran until 1976 and returned for two brief revivals in 1982 and 2003.

As I mentioned in an earlier tribute I wrote about the ACF and another regional Creature Feature, the 1970s was a time before streaming, DVDs, or VCRs, and few Midwestern cities and towns had revival movie theaters, so about the only chance monster movie fans got to watch classic and not-so-classic horror films was on Creature Features. Because of that, our fondness for these films was often extended to the programs that presented them.

Chuck Acri, though, may have been the most unusual of all Creature Feature hosts. Like Marilyn Munster, he was a normal person in a realm of monsters. Even more unusual, he sold siding and home improvement accessories during commercial breaks. That was the reason he sponsored the program, but his approach was low-key, personable, and never condescending. He appreciated having the opportunity to speak with viewers, and realized that viewers had invited him into their homes through their television, so, like a good guest, he was always respectful during his stay. He also enjoyed hosting the show and often joined the program’s cast at events like charity softball games. As a result, the ACF enjoyed what may have been the widest distribution of any regional Creature Feature in America during its run.

A winner one last time! This memento was given to visitors at Chuck Acri’s June 16 visitation.

Before buzzwords became synonymous with branding, Chuck Acri was all over it. Popular phrases he coined include his greeting to viewers each week (“Hi! Chuck Acri here!”) as well as his sign off (“Good night and God bless you all.”)  Points he wanted to emphasize were concluded with: “Don’t you know!” He never started a film before grabbing a (skull-shaped) cup of “piestingle” from the set’s coffin — Lord only knows how it got there each week — which he shared with his co-host Bernie the Skull (voiced by dee-jay, musician, and magician Sandy Singer), and there was the “Creep of Week Award” presented to two viewers who submitted the best Creature Feature related item, most typically a drawing but sometimes other things like models they had built or (in my case) plays and poems they had written.

Chuck Acri was born March 4, 1939 in Des Moines, Iowa. Married twice, he had seven children, fifteen grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Owner and operator of several businesses during his life, Chuck Acri passed way in Plano, Texas, having moved to the state to open a joint window business with three of his sons. Even after leaving the Midwest, Chuck Acri remained proud of his association with the ACF and the joy it had brought so many viewers. The Acri family made a point of inviting fans of the program to his visitation on June 16 in the Quad Cities area, where the program was produced, during which time the show’s theme song Windmills Of Your My Mind was played over the funeral home’s speakers, and a commemorative Creep of the Week Award was given away along with a photograph of the ACF cast and “Hi! Chuck Acri here!” wristband as mementos. He was laid to rest in Des Moines on June 18.

Funeral program from Chuck Acri’s June 16 visitation.

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Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh boy! I wait all year for this!


It’s time again for MSP ComiCon in Minneapolis/St. Paul!  May 19th and 20th at the Minneapolis State Fairgrounds!

And can you believe it? They’re celebrating their 30th anniversary!

You don’t want to miss it!

I’ll be selling graphic novels, novels, and cd’s including Comics Writing, DraculaHeroes & Horrors, LovecraftNightlingerSherlock HolmesTalismen, and Tatters. I might even have some samples of an upcoming project to show off as well!

See you there!



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Time for another Diamond Distribution alert!

Last month it was Sherlock Holmes: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Holmes! This month the graphic novel Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Opera Ghost by me and Aldin Baroza with a cover by Guy Davis (Baker Street) is available for order on Diamond’s Preview website! Copies will be in stores 5/9/18!

Dr. John Watson is mourning the loss of his wife, Mary, and questioning his friendship with Holmes soon after the great detective’s return from the Reichenbach Falls. Without warning Holmes vanishes again, leaving Watson to deal with the managers of the Paris Opera House, who are seeking assistance with a homicidal ghost. Watson agrees to look into the matter and soon finds himself confronting Erik, the tortured opera ghost who proves to be more than a ghost and a match for the world’s only consulting detective.


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Time for not one but TWO Diamond Distribution alerts!

Not only is Nightlinger (with awesome artwork by Aldin Baroza) now available for order through Diamond’s Preview website, but Sherlock Holmes: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Holmes (with eyepopping art by Seppo Makinen) is also available for order!  Copies will be available in comics stores starting 4/11/18!

NIGHTLINGER: Prepare for a new hero that has tasted the stench of evil’s darkness yet has also touched the goodness in men’s hearts. A hero who rewards as well as punishes and battles street crime as well as that which crosses supernatural dimensions. The hero is Feril Nightlinger and joining him is his sexy female assistant Mike Segretto, who tries to keep Nightlinger embedded in the realm of humanity. This graphic novel collects the Nightlinger comic book series, the short story Nightlinger: Sins of the Werewolf, and sketchbook pages.

SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL & MR. HOLMES: A meet-up of classic Victorian characters! Sherlock Holmes confronts the split persona of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! When word gets out that respected Dr. Henry Jekyll is allowing the hedonistic Edward Hyde free access to his wealth, Holmes realizes that something, no matter how improbable, is wrong.

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Time for another Diamond Distribution alert! Tatters by Aldin Baroza and myself is now available for order through their Preview website! Copies will be available in comics stores starting 3/28/18!

Tatters combines elements from the science fiction, Gothic, and political thriller genres to tell the story of an amnesiac drifter named Peter Collinson who makes some high-powered deep state players nervous as he struggles to recover his past with only haunting memories and what might just be the ghost of his real identity to guide him.

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It’s time to celebrate one of the most entertaining and impressive accomplishments in Sherlock Holmes history, one in which I’m happy and proud to play a small part.

From 1998 to 2017 Imagination Theatre was the only continuous radio outlet for Holmes adventures, originating with KIRO in Seattle and syndicated internationally as well as broadcast over XM Satellite Radio. Produced by long-time radio personality and entrepreneur Jim French and starring John Gilbert and then John Patrick Lowrie as Holmes and Lawrence Albert as Dr. John H. Watson, IT broadcast faithful adaptations of all 60 stories of the Holmes Canon (“The Classic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”) and 128 reverential pastiches (“The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”) along with hundreds of original mystery and adventure programs.

Renowned Sherlockian David Marcum and MX Publishing, a leading publisher of Holmes fiction and related historical work, commemorate this remarkable achievement with their new anthology Imagination Theatre’s Sherlock Holmes: A Collection of Scripts from “The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” which assembles one script from every writer who contributed to this run, including my 2014 Great Hiatus adventure “A Case of Unfinished Business.”

In this adventure, the world believes Sherlock Holmes died defeating Professor James Moriarty, but the war to stop the evil genius’ criminal empire rages on.  Moriarty’s death triggers a plan that threatens three continents, and a mysterious government agent needs Dr. Watson’s help to solve a clue Holmes left behind to prevent this catastrophe.

All royalties from Imagination Theatre’s Sherlock Holmes are being donated to the Stepping Stones School, a special needs school based in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s former home Undershaw.

Print copies and Kindle copies of Imagination Theatre’s Sherlock Holmes can be ordered through Amazon.

A recent live recording of a Sherlock Holmes adventure at the Kirkland Performance Center in Seattle, WA. Jim French is seated first from left. Standing from left to right are announcer and frequent actor Dennis Bateman, Lawrence Albert (Watson), and John Patrick Lowrie (Holmes).

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