Sunday, March 28, 2010

‘Carnival of Souls’ on Exhibit

Comic-book spinoffs of Forgotten Horrors became a commonplace, more-or-less, after our 4Winds Studio team adapted some of the first book’s movie selections to fit the Prowler series at Eclipse Comics in 1987. (And more about that later.) My first comics project following the Prowler books was a 50-page adaptation of yet another motion picture — and a low-budget indie, at that: Herk Harvey’s dreamlike Carnival of Souls, from 1962.

Carnival of Souls might as well have become a new film by 1990, given its rediscovery in like-new form as a film-festival and art-theatre attraction; the restoration of some misplaced footage; and the participation of director Harvey and leading players Candace Hilligoss and Sidney Berger in the resurrection.

Gordon K. Smith, the enthusiast who had ramrodded the revival, approached me on Harvey’s behalf about tackling a comics adaptation. I began the process and enlisted cartoonist Todd Camp as co-illustrator. The finished graphic-novel takeoff saw print in 1991 as Carnival of Souls, from Malibu Graphics.

Almost a generation later, a digital-art revamp resulted in a new version called Carnival of Souls & Other Futile Inquiries (2009), from Midnight Marquee Press. By spring of 2010, the new edition had landed a Rondo Awards nomination in the Best Horror Comics category. (

Following suit with all this retro-ruckus, a selection of some 40 pieces of the original pen-and-ink art will go on display April 6, 2010, at the Doss Heritage & Culture Center, 1400 Texas Drive, in Weatherford, Texas. ( The exhibition, originally mounted by the Fort Worth Public Library System in connection with the new book, will remain on view at the Doss Center through May 2010.

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