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Celebrating His Father's Shadow
Bela Lugosi, Jr. Keeping Father's Memory (And Image) Alive...

What you've been waiting for?
Almost two years ago now, my friend Sam Park told me about a project he was working on that had him really excited. With his cousin Kerry Gammill and friend Keith Wilson, they'd started the project that would be Bela Lugosi's Tales from the Grave, an all-star jam of short comic book horror stories tied together by... well, you can understand from the title.

And in order to do that, they had to have one man to say it could all go -- Bela Lugosi, Jr. Head of Lugosi Enterprises, a company dedicated to protecting and propogating the iconic image of the classic film star.

At Comic-Con this year, Bela spent time at the Vanguard Press booth, and when Sam introduced us, I had to do an interview. It's not every day you meet someone whose very name conjures up such vivid imagery.

In the son's face you can see the father, as well as an excitement to be doing honor to his past.

Derek McCaw: This may sound odd, but I think when I first heard about this project, At one you were going by a different name,weren't you?

Bela Lugosi, Jr: Bill. I went by Bill. I thought it would deflect attention, but it didn’t work. (laughs)

Derek McCaw: How did you get involved with Kerry Gammill and the Monsterverse?

Art by Terry Beatty, from a story in the first issue.
Bela Lugosi, Jr.: I’m always looking for good ideas to use dad’s iconic image to keep the memory alive with good projects. Kerry came to me in a very professional way with the experience and ability to put out a good comic book that’s “Bela Lugosi presents,” and he (Bela Lugosi) will be presenting in the comic book, each of the stories.

Derek McCaw: Before this, were you a fan of the comics medium at all?

Bela Lugosi, Jr.: Somewhat. Not an avid fan, but I did have comic books.

Derek McCaw: Now you’ve seen the first issue. What excites you most about the project?

Bela Lugosi, Jr: What I like is how different each story is, one from the other. That makes it very interesting, all the different graphics are whole different takes on the characters, so I like that. Of course with the first issue, I love the Basil Gogos cover. It’s top notch.

Derek McCaw: Did you have much oversight on the project? Everything had to be okayed by you, I’d assume.

Bela Lugosi, Jr.: Yes. I get the preliminary drafts and say yes, no, or here’s my changes.

Derek McCaw: How old were you when you realized how large of a shadow your father has cast on popular culture?

Bela Lugosi, Jr.: Oh, grade school.

Derek McCaw: What did that mean to you growing up?

Bela Lugosi, Jr.: Oh, I got a lot of attention. I didn’t know why.

Derek McCaw: What else do you have in the hopper to bring your dad’s image back into the cultural mindset?

Ironically, Dracula does not drink ...wine
Bela Lugosi, Jr.: I also have a t-shirt licensor who does belt buckles, and just t-shirts, I guess. It’s Rock Rebel. He does a nice product, very good work. Also Phil Kim has licensed a sterling silver coin, and we have our own wine, Bela Lugosi brand wine.

Derek McCaw: Available at BevMo?

Bela Lugosi, Jr.: No, not yet, but that’d be good.

Derek McCaw: Where can you get the wine?

Bela Lugosi, Jr.: You can get it on the web. It’s SouthernWines.com. Just type in “Lugosi” in the search window, and it takes you right to our wine.

Bela got called away, but we can hope it's not the last time our paths cross.

Of course, Bela Lugosi's Tales from the Grave #1 arrives in comics shops on October 20th, coincidentally but fortuitously the birthday of Bela Lugosi, Sr. You can order it through August 27th in the Diamond Previews Catalog, ORDER #AUG101080.

To read an interview with West Coast Editor Sam Park, click here.

Derek McCaw

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