Makeup Sex–Made Up?
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Buy Last Kiss Happiness

Can you buy happiness? You bet!

When you buy any of my Last Kiss magnets, greeting cards or coasters, I guarantee I’ll be happy. And you’ll be happy that I’m happy, right?

Dozens of my Last Kiss goodies are now for sale at the ultra groovy Sir Lonebuck’s House of Comics & Geekery (in Woodinville, WA!)

Carl Barks, Disney Comics & Me

I rarely get interviewed about my Disney comics career. And even less often do I get to talk about my involvement with Disney legend Carl Barks—creator of Uncle Scrooge and so much more!

Barks’ stories are a primary influence on my Disney stories as well as much of my other work. So it was fun to do talk about all of that in these YouTube interviews by my friends Scott & Georgia Ball.

Part 1: In addition to discussing Carl Barks, I talk about how I got my start in Disney comics and how I came to know Carl.


Part 2: We talk about how Barks’ career in comics began; his storytelling; and his fantastic splash panels!


Part 3: We talk about Barks’ characters—Uncle Scrooge, Donald, Magica De Spell, Flintheart Glomgold and so many more.

Part 4 : We talk about Uncle Scrooge’s appearances in animation and my graphic novel adaption of the DuckTales movie.

Part 5: We talk about censorship and editing problems that Barks faced. Plus, we discuss problems caused by the Code Code and Western Publishing internal restrictions.

Part 6: How did Carl go from being an anonymous comics creator scratching out a modest income to being world famous and eventually a millionaire? We discuss how fans sought him out and rescued Barks from obscurity.

Part 7: I attended the huge public celebrations for Carl’s 95th & 96th birthdays–as well as his funeral a few years later. We talk about that and more.

Apparently there’s one more part to come. So, check back.

The Nervous Rex Project

I’m thrilled to announce that William Van Horn‘s Nervous Rex comics are being reprinted—at long, long last.

What?!! You want to know why I’m mentioning this? And what this comic has to do with Last Kiss?

Well, nothing. Except…

Bill Van Horn played a huge part in my early comic career. We teamed up together to create a lot of Donald Duck, DuckTales and Uncle Scrooge comics. Without him, it’s likely that I never would’ve done Disney comics or gone on to do Last Kiss.

But we first worked together and became friends when I submitted story ideas for Nervous Rex back in the mid-1980s.

However, the series was wonderful, witty and silly long before I played my small part in it. The humor and art are very much in the tradition of George Herriman’s Krazy Kat. There’s also a smidge of Jack Benny embodied in the character of Rex–a pint-sized, hen-pecked, tyrannosaur who’d rather eat oatmeal than…well, you.

The series—along with some cool extras—is being re-printed issue by issue by Drew Ford’s It’s Alive. Issues aren’t for sale yet. But Drew is going to be offering 100 issues of #1 signed by Van Horn.

Since Bill hasn’t done any comic cons or appearances in many years, this may be the only chance to get work signed by him.

My Early Disney Comics? How Ducky!

Back in the late 1980s—when dinosaurs (and anthropomorphic ducks) roamed the Earth—I started writing comics for Disney. My first stories were all drawn by the great William Van Horn. And I’m happy to say that many of Van Horn’s early stories—which include most of my earliest stories—have now been collected in a new book.

While I won’t make a penny from the collection, it’s fun to see my work appear once again in Disney’s prestigious “Masters” series. I’m hoping it’ll sell so well that Disney will want to do more of Van Horn’s (and my) work.

And, what the heck, someday maybe there will even be a book or three collecting my Disney stories with other artists!

My earliest Disney stories are in a new collection of stories by artist William Van Horn.

A Death 16 Years Ago Haunts My Family During Pandemic

Today would’ve been our daughter, Laura Lustig’s 27th birthday.

You wouldn’t think there was any connection between Covid-19 and her death. After all Laura died Jan. 17, 2004—-nearly 16 years before our current pandemic.

But here’s the thing…

Laura was born with severe immune problems. Regular immunoglobulin transfusions helped. But Laura was also dependent on herd immunity. So it was critical that other children got vaccinations. Laura couldn’t be around anyone who was ill. 

And then, one day, she got sick from a virus. A week later she was dead.

So, perhaps you can understand why Shelagh Lustig and I are always furious with anti-vaxxers. And we’ve begun to feel the same way about people who are determined to ignore CDC guidelines and want to treat this pandemic as if it’s just an inconvenience; rebel against shelter-at-home orders; not wear masks; etc.; etc.

I don’t mind that you’re risking your lives. But I do mind that you’re risking everyone else—particularly sweet souls like our Laura’s.

Podcast about Bill Schelly

Jason Sacks is doing three podcasts about my late friend Bill Schelly who many of you knew from his award-winning comic book biographies and histories. The first of the three features Fantagraphics Publisher Gary Groth and me reminiscing about Bill’s truly astounding (and inspiring) comic book life.

Jason’s remaining two podcasts about Bill are tentatively scheduled for Oct. 15 and 22. They will both feature Eisner-winning writer Frank Young and Bill’s close friend Jeff Gelb. I’ll post links to those podcasts once they’re up.

Comic Book Historian Bill Schelly’s “Sudden” Death—a Timeline

I originally wrote and posted this on my Facebook page back on Sept. 14, 2019. It was to help friends and fans of Bill Schelly understand Bill’s seemingly “sudden” death. It turns out Bill had actually been fading for months, but most people (including Bill) either didn’t realize it or understand how serious his condition was.

I’m posting it here because I thought there should be a more permanent and easily found record of my friend’s final few months:

Sudden deaths are always the hardest. So news of Bill Schelly’s death came as a horrible shock to many friends and fans this morning.

I’ll admit that I’ve known about Bill’s passing since about 3 a.m., Thursday (Sept. 12.) I saw Bill at University Hospital here in Seattle about 12 hours earlier and it was obvious that his death was imminent. I apologize to our many mutual friends for not saying anything ’til now. A friend of Bill’s family requested that word not go out ’til tomorrow so that all members of his extended family and critical contacts could be informed first.

Alas, word started to leak out last night. And this morning it turned into a torrent of grief and shock on social media.
To many, Bill was the greatest historian and biographer that the comic book community has ever had. To those of us who knew him personally, he was also a kind, considerate and witty friend. So, it must be doubly troubling that Bill was not letting most people know that he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

I first learned that Bill was having a problem on June 10. In an e-mail he begged off on going to a movie with me that day because:
“Unfortunately, I woke up yesterday with my back thrown totally out of whack. I know when this happens that it gradually heals itself, but it takes a week to two weeks for that to happen. During that time, I have no enthusiasm for doing anything more than I must. I can get to the store, or I can handle going up and down my stairs very slowly, but that’s about it.

Apologies for my body breaking down more and more in the recent years!! It’s painful in more ways than one.
I’ll let you know when I’m feeling better.”

But, as time went on, instead of healing, he was in more and more pain. After a few weeks, he was initially diagnosed as having a broken rib. Then—sometime later—as having four broken ribs!

Even so, Bill expected to get better. But as the months dragged on, his pain got worse. I started going over a couple of times a week to take out his garbage, go the post office for him, etc. Another friend, Nils Osmar would take him grocery shopping. Family member Renie Jones took him to doctor appointments and helped him in other critical ways. And there were others who apparently helped.

Throughout this Bill never gave into despair—at least when I was with him. I’m not saying he didn’t have moments of panic and depression privately. But, if he did, he didn’t let on. Yes, he was exhausted and frustrated. But that’s about as far as he’d go.

By mid August, his doctor had determined that Bill wasn’t healing because there was something wrong with the blood cells in his bones. Although he still didn’t have an official diagnosis of cancer, Bill knew there was a strong likelihood that bad news was coming. I told me that whatever happened he had no regrets. He’d accomplished everything that he’d set out to do and he was at peace.

Sometime shortly after Aug. 20, Bill learned that he had multiple myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow.) It could be treated, but couldn’t be cured. With luck, he’d live another two to five years. With even more luck, longer.

By Sept 6, though, he was in the hospital getting chemo. By Sept. 8, he had a major complication: a blood clot in his lungs. By Sept. 11, the blood clot had broken apart and was no longer contained. During the night, he passed away.

Maybe this is TMI. But I know people have questions about Bill’s “sudden death.” And it WAS sudden in some ways. But like a train that you think you’ve got plenty of time to avoid, it was something that started off slow (broken rib) and far off (June) but then it comes round the bend at full steam hits you when you get your foot stuck in the tracks.

Comic Book Historian Bill Schelly’s “Sudden” Death—a TimelineI will miss you, Bill. No more movies together. No more long, funny and insightful conversations. No more brilliant books!

Where to find me at San Diego Comic-Con 2019

I’ll be doing signings each day at the giant Prism Comics booth #2144 (in Hall C.) Last Kiss merchandise will be on sale at the booth during the entire con. But I’ll only be in the booth for an hour or two a day. So, if you want to chat, here’s my schedule at Prism:

Thursday, July 18: 4 – 6 pm, (plus probably 6-7 p.m.)
Friday, July 19: 1 – 2 pm, 6-7 pm
Saturday, July 20: 12 – 2 pm
Sunday, July 21: 1 – 3 pm

You can also find Last Kiss products at the south end of the hall at the World Famous Comics booth—#5560. I won’t be at the WFC booth much, but many of my newest and best Last Kiss fridge magnets will be for sale there.

Hope to see you at the con!

My Life as a Duck Brain

 

“Seafood Blues” from Donald Duck #268, 1988. Art by William Van Horn. Script by John Lustig & William Van Horn. ©Walt Disney Company

 

Although I concentrate on Last Kiss these days, I spent decades writing Disney comics—mostly Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge stories. For Disney, I started out doing one-page gags, then graduated to two-page stories and then finally stories that ranged from 10 to 28 pages.
The one-pager pictured here is one of my first and is from 1988: “Seafood Blues.”

 

The art is by my pal—the great William Van Horn. Bill—who was already established as a Disney artist and writer—provided me with invaluable advice and help on this script. We teamed up on many stories over the years and remain close friends.