BELA LUGOSI LIVES!! The iconic horror star is getting the four color treatment via “Tales from the Grave!” We sat down with one of the crazed minds behind the return of “the Count!”
First off, tell us who you are?
I’m Kerry Gammill. I drew comic books for Marvel and DC during the
’80s and ’90s. Since then I’ve worked in movies and advertising doing
conceptual art and storyboards. I’ve always loved horror comics and
the classic horror movies of the ’30s and ’40s with stars like Bela
Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney, Jr. I decided to combine those
passions by getting back into comics with a new publishing company,
How what “Tales from the Grave” is?
Bela Lugosi’s Tales from the Grave is a horror anthology in the
tradition of Tales from the Crypt and Creepy magazine with several
short horror tales in each issue. Bela Lugosi will introduce each
story and will occasionally appear in stories too. We’ve got some
great talent involved and I’m having a blast editing the book and
doing some of the art too.
How did this project come about?
It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I’ve known
Lugosi’s son, Bela G. Lugosi, for quite a while and did the graphics
for a couple of DVDs he co-produced. We discussed a graphic novel
idea several years ago, but it didn’t work out. Recently I’ve had
more time for new projects so I presented Bela with the idea of the
horror anthology using the image of his father as the host of the
book. He liked it and we made a deal to license the Lugosi name and
image for the comic.
What do you think Lugosi would think about starring in a 21st century
I think he would be very pleased. It’s certainly our goal to do
something that he would be proud of. I’m sure he’d be very happy, and
probably shocked, that his fame has lasted more than 50 years after
his death and that he is still remembered as a horror icon. During
the last years of his life he felt that he was forgotten and was
considered a has-been by most people. Unfortunately, he died a couple
of years before most of the classic Universal horror films like
DRACULA were released to television which suddenly brought the old
horror stars gaining legions of new fans.
What is it about Lugosi that still holds sway over people today?
There is a strangeness about him that makes him unique. He has a sort
of magnetism that makes you want to watch him. His darkly handsome
features, his piercing eyes, his stagey, exaggerated movements and of
course that strange accent and the off-beat cadence in his voice all
combined to make him the classic Hollywood icon he is. And the up and
down nature of his career and the demons he fought in his personal
life make him a fascinating figure in movie history.
Favorite Lugosi movie?
My favorite is probably THE BLACK CAT. It’s a very strange, one-of-a-
kind film with a bizarre atmosphere that permeates it. Lugosi and
Karloff are mortal enemies playing a sort of life-or-death chess
game. Lugosi is great as the tragic hero of the film. of course, I
love DRACULA too, especially the early part of the movie at Dracula’s
castle in Transylvania. Very creepy.
It’s clear that you guys also love EC horror comics. What are some of
your favorite bygone terror tales?
I wasn’t around for EC comics in their original run. I only caught up
with them later. My favorite horror comics were the early issues of
Creepy and Eerie magazines from Warren Publishing that I read as a
kid back in the ’60s. They’re the ones being reprinted in hardcover
archive editions by Dark Horse now. Some I remember best are “The
Thing in the Pit” drawn by Gray Morrow, “Rude Awakening” by Alex
Toth, “Duel of the Monsters” by Angelo Torres, “Blood of the
Werewolf” by Steve Ditko, “Fair Exchange” by Neal Adams and the Edgar
Allan Poe adaptations by Reed Crandall. Archie Goodwin wrote most of
those early stories and they were al great.
What can we expect from “Tales from the Grave” in upcoming issues?
While we are doing stories we think will appeal to modern horror
fans, we are hoping to bring back some things we think are missing in
most of today’s horror comics. We are taking a more classic approach
to the way the stories are told in order to give them the most
impact. And we want to maintain a certain a creepy atmosphere that
will make the book a lot of fun to read. We want to bring spooky
back, to coin a phrase.
As for talent, the first issue features work by Basil Gogos, John
Cassaday, Bruce Timm, Rob Brown, Chris Moreno, Martin Powell, Terry
Beatty, Rafael Navarro, Tom Smith and myself. And we have stories and
art coming up from Steve Niles, John Landis, Mike Hoffman, Neil
Vokes, John Lansdale, Brian Denham, Rick Baker and others. And soon,
I will be starting a serialized adaptation of DRACULA from the
original Bram Stoker novel. It’s the first time Stoker’s story and
Lugosi’s iconic version of Dracula have been blended together.
When does this hit the stands?
The first issue ships October 10 so it will be in stores the last week of October.
Lean more about this comic here!