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“Approved by the Comics Code Authority” to be published in Creepy Campfire Quarterly August 17, 2015

Posted by ambrosestolliker in News.

A few days ago, I received word from the editors at EMP Publishing that my short story Approved by the Comics Code Authority will be published in the April 2016 issue of Creepy Campfire Quarterly.

If you’re a fan of comic books like I am, I think you’ll really enjoy Approved by the Comics Code Authority. It’s the story of The Darkness Within, a single-edition comic book written and drawn in the 1950s that, legend has it, destroys anyone who dares (or is unfortunate enough to unwittingly) read it from cover to cover. Yes, that’s right – a haunted comic book.

I’ve been a devoted comic book fan since I was about 10 years old when a neighborhood kid back in Connecticut introduced me to The Uncanny X-Men. Funnily enough, I was never into horror comics as a kid. I preferred the classic superhero genre – X-Men, Batman, Superman, The Avengers, Thor, The Hulk, you name it. It wasn’t until I actually started writing horror fiction about seven years ago that I found myself reading classic horror comic titles like Creepy, The Vault of Horror and, my favorite, Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula. I have the entire run of Tomb of Dracula sitting in my home office. Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan were amazing comic book creators.

The idea for Approved by the Comics Code Authority was born out of my love of comics and a passing reference to the Comics Code Authority I came across a few years back. I don’t remember where I came across that reference, but the idea that there was once a real body that had to give its stamp of approval to comics in order for them to be published and distributed fascinated me. You can read more about the Comics Code Authority on Wikipedia, of course. This sad history of comic book censorship figures prominently in the story.

I remember how excited I was when I first came up with the idea for the story, and I wanted to write it right away. Unfortunately, I was smack dab in the middle of a first draft for my first (and still unpublished) horror novel, and I didn’t want to lose my momentum on that project, so I had to put off writing Approved by the Comics Code Authority for more than a year. It turned out to be a good thing though that I had to wait – it allowed the idea for the story to germinate and evolve. When I finally did write it, I did so in a matter of days.

Before I close, I’d like to give a big shout out to the fine folks at EMP. I am very, very grateful to the editors there for taking the time to read my story, and I can’t wait to see it in print next spring.

I hope you’ll read the story when it comes out next April.





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