Thursday, June 6, 2024



(Jasper Bark is a rascal. And a bit of a genius. He's also a long-time Groove-ophile, a top-notch author, historian, and a pal. Yerz trooly was in on the joke, btw. Ol' Groove just wishes we could have posted April 1, but my laptop was on the D.A. list. Still and all, this was a fun little meta-experiment, and thanks, Jasper, for allowing us here in Groove City to join in the fun. Now, take it away!)

So, about six weeks ago, I wrote a guest blog for Ol’ Groove asking for help in learning more about an obscure, horror comic artist who signed themselves R. L. Carver. If you recall, I even included a five page, black and white story, apparently from an unpublished copy of Chilling #6, from 1971, called TIPPING THE SCALES, which I said had been written and drawn by Carver. I claimed I’d found the story in a collection of printer’s proofs, in the attic of a departed friend.

DOTGK wasn’t the only place that ran a story about my find. The British blog Down The Tubes ran a piece about my alleged find and included a piece, supposedly from Weird Chills #4 called SIGN OF THE CRIMES, which you can read here.

The website for Tripwire, the UK’s longest running comic magazine also covered the story. They ran another story that was purportedly intended for Weird Chills #4 called KILLER CABOOSE. You can read that gem here.

However, not everyone was convinced by these stories. Some readers expressed doubts about the lettering and the colours, wondering if they were digitally created. Some also questioned the writing, which they felt was more ‘decompressed’ than would have been the case in the mid 50s. Many noted the article was posted in April, that month of fools and hoaxes.

So, now I’m afraid, I’ve got to come clean and ’fess up.

The truth is, R. L. Carver is one of the central characters in Draw You In, a trilogy of horror novels that I’ve written. The first novel in the trilogy, Draw You In, Vol 1 – Collector’s Item, will be published by Crystal Lake Entertainment on Friday June 7th. The next two volumes will come out on June 21st and July 5th, respectively.


So, was this whole project simply a cheap publicity stunt? Not entirely. I did hope to grab your attention, but I had other reasons for doing this.

Draw You In explores the history of horror comics, from the pre-code 1950s to the present day. It also reveals the secret, shadow-history of the United States. But another of its main themes is the way that reality and fiction often bleed into one another, especially in the world of comics. There’s always been a tension between the ‘real’ and the fictional in comics. Whether it was editor, Julius Schwartz or  writer, Grant Morrison appearing as themselves in comics like The Flash #179 and Animal Man #26, or the Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta becoming a potent symbol of protest for everything from the hacktivist group ‘Anonymous’ to the ‘Occupy Wall St’ movement.

As this is a main theme of the plot of the three novels, I wanted to reflect it in other ways too. I invited many real life comic creators to appear as characters in the novels. These included comic legends, Walt and Louise Simonson. Both creators not only appeared as characters, they wrote their own dialogue and actions and interacted with the main characters, affecting the narrative in ways I couldn’t control. Grant Morrison has written about putting on a ‘Fiction Suit’ and stepping into our favourite stories. That’s effectively what we managed to do with Draw You In and I don’t think it’s ever been done, quite this way, in a novel before.

The plot of Draw You In follows an FBI investigation into the life and work of a forgotten horror comic artist called R. L. Carver. A misunderstood genius who never received the acclaim he deserved. I wanted Carver to step off the pages of my novels and into the real world, if only for a brief few weeks. I wanted readers to wonder if Carver had actually existed, if only for a few moments.

So, I worked with creative team of my graphic novel Bloodfellas to bring Carver and his creations to life. I have to thank artist Mick Trimble, colourist Aljoša Tomić and letterer Mindy Hopkins for going above and beyond in this metafictional experiment. If you liked what you read that’s probably down to their contributions. If it annoyed you for some reason, then I guess that’s on me.

Even if you weren’t taken in for a second, I hope you enjoyed reading R. L. Carver’s work. I also hope I’ve intrigued you enough to check out the first volume of the Draw You In trilogy, which you can buy here.

If I’ve whetted your appetite for this trilogy, and I hope I have, here’s a little more info on it:


Can you disappear so completely that only one person remembers you existed?

That’s what comics creator Linda Corrigan asks, when her editor, disappears without a trace. Drawn into an FBI investigation by Agent McPherson, Linda and comics historian Richard Ford unearth a chilling link to the forgotten comic artist R. L. Carver, whose work might just hold the key to a series of mysterious disappearances.

As they explore Carver’s life, they uncover the secret history of horror comics, the misfits, madcaps and macabre masters who forged an industry, frightened a generation and felt the heat of the Federal Government. They also stumble on the shadow history of the United States on a road trip that veers into the nation’s dark underbelly, where forbidden knowledge and forgotten lore await them.

Described as “Kavalier and Clay meets Clive Barker,” Draw You In Vol.1 – Collector’s Item is the first in a mind-bending trilogy of novels. It contains stories within stories that explore horror in all its subgenres, from quiet to psychological horror, from hardcore to cosmic horror.

Experience the epic conspiracy thriller that redefines the genre for a new generation.


Draw You In Vol.1 – Collector’s Item is the fourth book in the Bark Bites Horror series.

Bark Bites Horror is a spine-tingling series that takes the horror genre to a whole new level. Get ready for a Goosebumps for grown-ups and a sexed-up Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark! This is your favorite new obsession. These are the terror tales you’ve been waiting your whole life to read.

This is Horror 2.0, re-gened, re-tooled and recreated for a fearless new audience! Think you've seen everything in horror? Think again. Bark Bites takes you places you've never been and shows you sights few mortal eyes would dare behold.

Don’t be the only weird kid on your block to miss out!

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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

All other commentary and insanity copyright GroovyAge, Ltd.

As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!