The Unexpected Return of Dakota North, part 2

In an earlier post, I talked about the Marvel comic Dakota North, which ran for five issues in the mid-80s and is now the subject of a brand new collection, Dakota North: Design for Dying. Now Dakota’s creator and writer, Martha Thomases, has been kind enough to talk to me a bit about Dakota’s origins. You wrote about the fashion … Read More

The Original Story about Mount Horeb’s Psychic Boy

When I wrote about this in an earlier post, I offered to post my transcription of the original newspaper articles, if anyone was interested. Thanks to all who said they were. Here you go. Wisconsin State Journal, Madison, Wis, Thursday afternoon, April 1, 1909 Headline: MT. HOREB MYSTERY STILL BAFFLING ALL EFFORTS TO SOLVE IT Sub-headline: Residents Divided on Question … Read More

The Unexpected Return of Dakota North, part 1

Addendum: R.I.P. Stan Lee.  The mid-1980s, when I was a serious comic book fan, was a great time for taking risks: it gave us Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, Watchmen, and Miracleman; Neil Gaiman’s Sandman; Frank Miller’s Daredevil and The Dark Knight Returns; and significant runs in all the major series, many of which have turned up as the plots of … Read More

Mount Horeb’s Psychic Boy…or Not

When you’re an author of fantasy and horror, and you live in a small town like Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, it’s inevitable that you get requests like the one I recently received from our library director, Jessica: “I have a spooky question for you.” She presented me with a badly-faded microfiche printout (see above) of a news story from 1909, about … Read More

The Vampires Want to Wear My Mud Shoes

One of my personal traditions is that, every October, I re-read Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s such a rich novel that I usually find at least one detail I’d never noticed before. This year, though, in addition to reading the actual novel, I’ve been reading a children’s version to my daughter (after all, what else can follow Frankenstein?). It’s easy to … Read More

Revisiting Night Streets, Part 3

You can read part 1 of this series here, and part 2 here. I’m old enough to remember when comics were considered strictly for kids. The very term “comic book” implies the immaturity and humor of the earliest examples. Comic strips in the newspapers were even grouped together on what was called the “funny pages.” The idea that one day comics would … Read More

Revisiting Night Streets, Part 2

Previously in Part 1, I wrote about the eighties comic Night Streets, which ended at issue #5, promising a storyline conclusion in issue #6, which never appeared.  The unresolved cliffhanger is a special kind of torture. If you’ve ever gotten emotionally invested in a story—whether a movie, TV, comic, or novel—the idea that there will never be a resolution can … Read More

Revisiting Night Streets, Part 1

With every bit of information and history seemingly at our fingertips, it can be hard to recall that once, finding out things was much harder. Occasionally, though, you run across a topic that hasn’t been done to death on the web, and for which there’s virtually no information. Then you have to roll up your sleeves and start digging. So … Read More

Finding the rhythm of another time and place

While revising The Fairies of Sadieville (available in two weeks!), my editor pointed out that some dialogue, for a subplot set in prehistory, sounded a bit too “modern.” When I stepped back and looked at it objectively, I had to agree. I had these primitive people speaking with the cadences, and more importantly in the syntax, of modernity. It was deliberate, since as always, I don’t want … Read More

Dark as a Dungeon: the music of the miners

Part of The Fairies of Sadieville takes place in 1915, and involves two specialized occupations: making silent movies, which I’ll cover elsewhere, and coal mining. Sadieville is a new coal boom town, and I was determined to get it right. I did a lot of book research on it, to get accurate technology and terminology, but to get the feel, I turned, appropriately, to … Read More