Bela Lugosi's Tales From The Grave
An Interview with Co-Editor Sam Park
fall, a new publisher will try its hand in the market with
an anthology horror book, Bela Lugosi's Tales from the Grave
(DIAMOND PREVIEW ORDER #AUG101080). Started
by veteran comics artist Kerry Gammill and Kez Wilson, then
joined by Gammill's cousin Sam Park, the company goes by the
name of Monsterverse and carries with it high hopes.
stunning cover by the great Basil Gogos... it bids
the Monsterverse isn't going to attack comic book stores
with just an iconic actor's image; nope, they've got a star-filled
line-up of creators contributing stories, and not just from
the world of comics. Mick Garris, John Landis and Bruce
Timm will all make contributions. (Full disclosure: it would
be an all-star line-up if not for them letting ME sneak
in with a four page story illustrated by the great Rafael
the company will be at Comic-Con next week hosted by Vanguard
Publications (BOOTHS 1709 and 1808), chatting
with fans and generally building excitement, the time was
right to talk with co-editor Sam Park (along with Gammill
and Wilson) about what this book has in store for the discerning
McCaw: What sparked the creation of the Monsterverse?
Park: Artist Kerry Gammill was bored and needed
something new and creatively challenging to do. He had achieved
great success drawing SPIDER-MAN (in MARVEL TEAM-UP) and
POWERMAN/IRON FIST for Marvel and SUPERMAN at DC Comics.
From there he moved to advertising/toy design and then later
make-up effects design in Hollywood. He's drawn storyboards
for animated and live films. But the one thing he had never
gotten to do was a horror comic book. Let me explain. More
than anything in the world Kerry LOVES horror films, especially
the classic horror films. He had created his own version
of a 60s horror film magazine online with the award-wining
Kerry enjoyed many of the contemporary horror comic books
found on the market today he missed the "classic"
attention to illustration and design of the past. So there
was nothing left to do but for Kerry to create a horror
anthology comic book. For this he needed a company and that's
how MONSTERVERSE ENTERTAINMENT came about. Now it has mutated
from a publishing company into a transmedia company with
its tentacles in all sorts of projects.
and monsterhounds Kerry Gammill and Sam Park
(photo copyright Kenneth J. Hall)
MCCAW: How did you guys meet up with Bela
PARK: Kerry and I have been heavily involved with
the classic horror community for decades and become friends
with its network of experts and fans. Kerry and creator
David Colton (front page editor for USA TODAY) worked together
to bring David's Classic Horror Film Board (a highly respected
forum for analysis and discussion) from its original AOL
site to the greater world wide web now at the Yuki boards.
his many friendships from this "Monster Kid" world
of horror enthusiasts was Bela Lugosi, Jr. When Kerry was
ready to begin laying plans for creating a horror anthology
comic book, he contacted Bela about the possibility of obtaining
the rights to his father's image for use as our "host"
to the horror stories. Bela was very happy to work with
Kerry knowing how much respect he had for his father and
his film work.
with that Kerry and the rest of us at Monsterverse are working
hard to bring Lugosi back as a contemporary horror icon
and brand because Bela Lugosi was and is such a compelling
icon of horror. There has been nothing like him before or
MCCAW: For those who don't know you, Sam,
what's your horror cred?
a camera lens acts just like a mirror... poor Sam.
PARK: Besides being Kerry's cousin? Ha! We grew
up together loving horror films and comic books and sharing
our thoughts and ideas about them. We joke that now we are
doing exactly what we used to do as kids. We would get together
and break down the good and bad points of the stories in
the comics and movies that we gorged ourselves on and then
many times create new stories from those discussions.
a unique lifetime of references and have a special shorthand
for the genre and its touchstones that allows us to work
very fast together, which is really important for our company
during this early stage of development.
used to produce comic book conventions and know all the
top creative people in comics and horror films. Beyond that
I've been writing scripts in Hollywood for years. I've co-produced
two horror films. One of my horror scripts, "The Need,"
was written based upon a short film by top screenwriters
Juliet Snowden and Stiles White (writers of BOOGEYMAN and
KNOWING, and the upcoming remakes of THE BIRDS and POLTERGEIST)
and which Stiles is a producer on the project. You
can watch the original short film here.
a new horror script going out soon, "RAVE'N HELL,"
that is my contemporary take on the masked-maniac-killer
genre. I've gotten excited feedback on it from my small
network of pals in the horror film community. Everyone wants
to work on it! Who knows? It might even end up as a comic
book from MONSTERVERSE.
MCCAW: We've been without Kerry Gammill
in comics for so long -- what's he been doing and what's
brought him back?
PARK: Kerry has re-entered the world of comics
because now he can be the boss and have full control of
the project. Another big part of this is the digital world
we live in. Kerry has become very proficient with a Mac
computer and is a superb designer working in the fast-paced
world of advertising and Hollywood. All that on top of being
a terrific artist and storyteller.
sneak peek at one of Kerry Gammill's pages
from Bela Lugosi's Tales from the Grave #1!
(inks by Brian Denham)
such a talent can wear many digital hats to achieve his
vision in a comic book. In the past this would take a great
many workers along with the incurred higher expense. So
make no mistake, Kerry has stamped his incredible talent
on the book from front to back.
MCCAW: With the comics industry being
so hard, why start Bela Lugosi's Tales from the Grave?
PARK: For Kerry it was make it now or he knew it
would never happen. The stars aligned for us all and sometimes
we think Bela really is directing this project from beyond
the grave. We were shooting to have the first issue out
in October. By some terrific coincidence the book hits the
shops exactly on Bela Lugosi's birthday. You can't plan
that kind of thing, that's Bela! Our goal is to create not
just the best horror comic book on the market but the best
book for the price.
MCCAW: How did you go about getting the
big names you have involved in this project?
PARK: A lot of it is that we are old friends with
several of our wonderful contributors. Lugosi is our hook.
Many were willing to work for the chance to help bring Lugosi
back before an audience in a quality horror venture. As
soon as director John Landis was contacted he immediately
said yes. The same with artist John Cassaday and writer
Steve Niles. That's how it has gone with almost everyone.
because Kerry is involved many trusted the book would be
of a superior quality. So far everyone is extremely happy
with what has been produced for the first issue which has
created an even greater excitement as we move toward completing
MCCAW: What's your vision for the future
of this title?
PARK: We are working very hard to create a book
unlike any that you've seen before with its edgy blend of
artists and writers but highly grounded in super-solid storytelling.
We preach story, story, story and layout, layout, layout.
Once we get our writers and artists and editors all happy
with those requirements on a particular story, it is showtime.
cover by John Cassaday --
which retailers get for every five copies of the
Basil Gogos cover ordered!
artists do not have to do a complete book over several months.
This is their chance to shine and knock people's eyes out
with the art on eight pages of shocking, scary and sometimes
to that we hope the book can eventually create interest
for threading those stories into other media such as film,
TV, new media, etc. We are also looking into using Lugosi
to host a sort of "showcase" series of one-shot
issues featuring a full issue story by a major talent from
the film or comic book world.
MCCAW: How does this book fit into a larger
concept of the company called Monsterverse?
PARK: MONSTERVERSE ENTERTAINMENT is a transmedia
company. All our upcoming projects will start as comic books
to establish the intellectual property but will be planned
to work across various media such as film, TV, computer
games, the internet, phones, eReaders, theatrical plays,
etc. The Lugosi book will create the "big splash"
for moving to the next stage of production and release of
the next series of new comic book stories and new characters.
MCCAW: What can we look forward to from your booth
at Comic-Con 2010?
PARK: You can find us at the Vanguard table and
ready with a big warm smile, a hug and a kiss. That and
we'll be showing a partial preview of the Lugosi book. Bela
Lugosi, Jr., will be there. So will assorted contributors
on the book (depending upon their schedule).
have a special Lugosi handout with stunning art by the legendary
FAMOUS MONSTERS cover artist, Basil Gogos. It is gorgeous
and it will have distribution information to alert your
comic shops on ordering the comic.
will be special Monsterverse posters by Kerry for sale.
Art books on Gogos and Kerry's work and careers. We even
have a special Monsterverse edition DVD of the so-terrible-it's-great
THE NAVY vs. THE NIGHT MONSTERS sci-fi film with commentary
by the director and our friend, genre film historian Tom
MCCAW: Searching back in your mental rolodex,
what's your favorite horror comics story?
by the way, in Essential Marvel Horror volume
PARK: Oh. There are so many. I loved everything
Archie Goodwin did for Warren. Weezie Simonson did some
great stories, too. Plus you had giants like Ditko, Toth,
Colan, Crandall, Frazetta and so many other great artists.
there is a story that has stuck with me over the years for
being such a real surprise with both the story and art.
Marvel's SON OF SATAN #8, written by Bill Mantlo and drawn
by Russ Heath.
me that any concept, silly as it may seem, can be elevated
to something extremely poignant and compelling with good
writing and a terrifically laid out story and art.
MCCAW: Any last thoughts for fans that I'm not
covering in these questions?
PARK: We have a terrific Los Angeles launch event for the book in October on Thursday, the 28th. We'll be
having a Lugosi film/comic book night at the American Cinematheque
in Hollywood at the Egyptian Theater with lots of our Hollywood
and comic book contributors in attendance along with screening
a couple of great (to be announced) films starring Lugosi.
happens one week after the book debuts (on the 20th, Lugosi's
birthday). Come celebrate Halloween with Monsterverse. You can find a good range of cheap hotels in LA near the celebration, unlike hotels in New York City or in other cities. It's going to
be a blast and a great celebration!
to Sam for taking the time to answer the questions, and
be sure to look for Monsterverse at Comic-Con, local horror conventions and perhaps mausoleums near you. You'll always see the most interesting Bela Lugosi tributes and costumes at these events.
REMEMBER -- DIAMOND PREVIEW ORDER #AUG101080