Dan Johnson is a North Carolina-born writer, who is first and foremost a fan himself. Dan's love of horror, science fiction and comic books, all of which were cultivated at an early age, fueled his desire to step up from the sidelines of fandom and get into the game as a creative voice.
Dan began his professional writing career while still in college, contributing to several Triad based publications. Dan's first nationally published work came less than a year after he graduated college when he began contributing articles to Scary Monsters Magazine. Since that time, Dan has had articles published in Alter Ego, Back Issue, Comic Book Marketplace, Con-Tour, Filmfax, Hogan's Alley, Monster Memories and Monster News. His work has also appeared in such online publications as Monster Kid and Monster News Online, as well as the comics news website www.comicon.com.
Dan has also had material appear in the humor magazine Thwak and his first graphic novel, Herc and Thor Pocket Manga Volume One, which follows the misadventures of the legendary Hercules and Thor, was released in late 2006 by Antarctic Press.Currently, Dan is a script writer for Creature Feature, a horror host show starring Dr. Gangrene, which appears on WNAB-TV 58, the Nashville, TN CW affiliate and he is a gag writer for the Dennis the Menace comic strip, which is seen world wide. Dan's newest graphic novel is Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.
CURRENT AND UPCOMING PROJECTS:
For additional information regarding Back Issue #34, check out the following link: http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_54&products_id=784
READ MY COMIC BOOK REVIEWS AT THE HERO’S HAVEN WEBSITE!
My buddy, Mike Jernigan, the owner of Hero’s Haven in Burlington, NC, recently asked me to write comic book reviews for his store’s new forum at the store’s official website. Hey! You all know me, I love to talk comic books, so naturally I jumped at this chance! I am posting a link to the forum’s address and also posting the first couple of paragraphs of my first post. For this initial review I decided to discuss a comic book that is very near and dear to my heart: The Flash #262.
THE FLASH #262: THE COMIC THAT MADE ME THE MAN I AM TODAY!
by Dan Johnson
Hello to everyone here at the Hero’s Haven forum! For those who don’t already know me, my name is Dan Johnson. I am a local comic book writer and historian and a proud friend of Hero’s Haven. Mike recently asked if I would be willing to post comic book reviews at this forum, and I was pleased as punch to say yes. As anyone who has known me for more than five minutes can tell you, I love to talk comics. When I say that, I don’t just mean modern comics either. I love to discuss comic books in general (as well as the men and women who write, draw and edit them). While I will be focusing mainly on modern comics here at the forum, I hope that you all will indulge me if, from time to time, I discuss older comics from the Golden, Silver or Bronze Age.
Speaking of the Bronze Age, that is the time period I came into my own as a comic book fan. Today I would like to talk about a comic book that is very near and dear to my heart from that time period. That book is The Flash #262 (cover-dated June, 1978). It isn’t a particularly special issue (no first appearances, no deaths, no secret origins, etc, etc.). But it is important to me because this was the comic book that cinched it for me. This is the comic book that started me down the path to being a life-long comic book collector. It is also the comic book that made me a fan of my all-time favorite super-hero, the Flash.
Want to read the rest? Then hop on over to Hero’s Haven’s Forum at http://www.heroshaven.com/phpBB3/index.php You will have to register to read the post and respond, but trust me, that process is pretty painless and so worth it. Enjoy!
April was a pretty darn good month for me and my Dennis cartoons. Between Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 18, I had four Dennis gags run in the papers. That was a personal best for me. Since April is only the first month of this quarter to boot, I would say I’m off to a flying start!
To check out my last four Dennis gags, go to the following links.
For Friday April 10, click on http://www.seattlepi.com/fun/dennis.asp?date=20090410
For Tuesday, April 14, click on http://www.seattlepi.com/fun/dennis.asp?date=20090414
For Friday, April 17, click on http://www.seattlepi.com/fun/dennis.asp?date=20090417
For Saturday, April 18, click on http://www.seattlepi.com/fun/dennis.asp?date=20090418
It’s that time of year again! Free Comic Book Day 2009 is just around the corner! In fact, it will be Saturday, May 2! Have you made your plans to stop by your favorite local comic book shop and pick up all the goodies that the major (and a few of the not so major) publishers are offering this year?
I have been invited to be a guest at Hero’s Haven’s Free Comic Book Day festivities. The fun will kick-off there at 11:00 AM. I invite everyone reading this to come on out and join me. I will have free Dennis cartoons on hand that I’ll be signing, and as always, the folks at Hero’s Haven are the best around. Trust me, you’ll have a blast! For more information about Free Comic Book Day at Hero’s Haven, check out their website at http://www.heroshaven.com/
For information about what all will be available on Free Comic Book Day, check out www.freecomicbookday.com
I have been promising to post my opening ceremony address from this year’s Stellarcon for a couple of weeks now and I finally got around to write up my notes. So, here it is, the address I gave at Stellarcon on Friday, March 13, 2009 concerning the classic Superman tale, “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”
For comics fans, 1986 has always been seen as a landmark year for DC Comics. This year marked the publication of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen and the conclusion of the company’s maxi-series, Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman and George Perez. What distinguished these particular stories from previous DC offerings were the varying degrees of realism they brought to the DC Universe, as well as their attempts to make DC characters more “interesting” to modern readers by introducing more realistic violence, sex and, in some extreme cases, moral failings to their heroes. What stands out most in my mind about 1986 is that it was the year that the lines began to blur between the heroes and the villains.
In 1986, DC Comics decided that their most famous character, Superman, needed a reboot too. DC figured that the first costumed crime-fighter, the character that gave birth to the superhero genre, was out of touch with modern readers and he was weighed down by almost five decades of mythology. DC felt the character needed to be streamlined and taken back to basics.
“Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” appeared in Superman #423 and Action Comics #583 and was written by Alan Moore. By the time this story saw print, Moore had become best known for his deconstruction of superheroes in Watchmen. Moore had made his name by examining the demons, hang-ups and quirks that made characters like Superman merely men and in the process made them appear far less super to comics fans. But with “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?,” which was intended to close the door on the Man of Steel’s Silver and Bronze Age adventures, Moore gave Superman fans a tale that represented everything that made the character legendary and treated these elements with the respect they deserved.
“Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” is an imaginary story, a device that was used numerous times by Superman editor Mort Weisenger. In the late 1950’s, Weisenger felt that Superman, who was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings at a single bound would become deadly dull unless he and his writers found a way to let the readers identify with Superman. The imaginary story allowed readers to see what might happen if Superman got married or turned to crime or was finally killed by one of his archenemies. Weisenger knew that even if he was physically invulnerable, Superman could be touched as emotionally as any human and the imaginary stories presented Superman at his most heart-felt and dramatic best.
In this final Superman story, Moore showed readers what happens when Superman squares off with his greatest foes one last time and what the world would be like without the Man of Steel after that battle was done. This story marked an end to a number of Superman staples: Krypto, the Superdog; Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes; the Phantom Zone criminals and even kryptonite that came in all different colors. This story also marked the end of the road for Weisenger’s successor, editor Julius Schwartz, and two of Superman’s most dependable artists, Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger. In an industry where you are lucky to keep an artist on a book from one month to the next these days, “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” marked the end of thirty years-plus careers for Swan and Schaffenberger with Superman.
Both Swan and Schaffenberger were known for their clean, crisp artwork that some critics said was old-fashioned and out of date in the mid-1980’s. To me and numerous Superman fans, their artwork was always charming and reassuring in its classic style. And you know what else? It was fun to look at. Fun is rarely a word I use to describe modern comics. Depressing? Yes. Dark? Yes. Unsuitable for children? Yes. But fun? No. 1986, for better or for worse, marked an end of innocence for mainstream superhero comics. It was the year everything changed, and apparently the biggest change creators felt was that comics could no longer be fun.
In the midst of all the grim and gritty stories that were gearing up in 1986, “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” stands as a testimony to a different time when editors, writers and artists knew how to take a character like Superman and make him appealing to readers and far more dramatic and interesting than he has been in the past few years. Don’t get me wrong, this is a story that sees the death of a number of characters, including Lex Luthor, Lana Lang and Jimmy Olsen, but it never forgets to include a really big heaping helping of the awe and wonder that inspired two young boys from Ohio to create the Man of Steel in the first place. “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” is a story that has heart and carries an emotional impact. It shows Superman in his darkest hour, but it also shows him rising to face the challenges that threaten him and his friends. It is the kind of story you rarely see today. I feel it embodies the very essence of what makes Superman one of the greatest science fiction characters of all-time, the kind of character than inspires an entire genre and helps to build an entire industry. As a comics fan, I feel it also shows what makes Superman a hero for the ages.
Stellarcon 2009 was last weekend (March 13-15), and I had a blast at this show. I was on a number of great panels concerning Star Trek and comics, plus I got to hang out with my friends in the local fandom community. Best of all, I was honored to be asked to speak at the con’s opening ceremony on Friday night.
The theme was the World of Tomorrow, and a few of the guests were asked to address different areas regarding this theme. I was given the chance to discuss Alan Moore’s classic Superman story from 1986, “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” The address I gave got a very good response, and I am planning to post my comments in full here at the site in the next couple of weeks (I’d do it now, but I wrote the address out longhand initially, so I need to go in and type it up). Also, I’m hoping to have some more details and photos from the con up soon as well!
This here is my last Dennis for the first quarter of 2009. You know, it amazed me when this gag was accepted. After all these years, I figured someone must have asked the most obvious of questions before the teacher in this cartoon! Check it out at http://www.seattlepi.com/fun/dennis.asp?date=20090227
My next con appearance will be Stellarcon, which will be held the weekend of March 13-15 in High Point, NC. Believe it or not, Stellarcon was the very first science fiction convention I attended. That was way, way, waaaaaaaaaaaay back in 1987 when I was a junior in high school. Man, talk about time flying when you’re having fun!
Stellarcon is always a fun show as I get to hook up with a lot of the friends I have made through out my years in fandom. This year’s headliners include Sharon Lee and Steve Miller as the Literary Guests of Honor, William Stout as the Artist Guests of Honor and John Wick as the Gaming Guest of Honor.
To find out who else will be in attendance and to find out what all be happening at the con, check out http://www.stellarcon.org/home
I’m on a roll, kids! I had two Dennis gags run consecutively on February 12 and February 13. The first one is so awesome! I love the way Marcus Hamilton drew Dennis and his hyperactivity in this cartoon. It is just another example of how brilliant a cartoonist the man is. Check it out at http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/fun/dennis.asp?date=20090212
The second gag finds Dennis getting Margaret’s goat while gazing at the stars. Again, I can’t praise Marcus’ talent enough. Fantastic! Check it out at http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/fun/dennis.asp?date=20090213
BACK FROM WHAT THE HELL?! CON
What the Hell Con ?! was held the weekend of February 6-8. This was my third year attending as a guest, and I gotta tell you, kids, this show just gets better and better each year. The con is held on the campus of Guilford College and put on by the school’s Yachting Club. What can I say about this show? It is the best relaxer con around and the kids that put the show on really bust their butts to make sure their guests have a good time.
My only regret is that I didn’t have the chance to get some pictures this year, but perhaps I can snag some photos from some of the folks who did bring their cameras. I am including a shot of the image that appears on this year’s con t-shirt though (I got my shirt and am proud to be a member of the Evil League of Evil).
I had a ball hanging out with my buddies in the NCWCCC and my friends from Cabin Fever, Robert Harris and William Jones and also getting the chance to talk to the up and coming generation of science fiction and fantasy fans. If the Guilford College Yachting Club is any indication, then I’m happy to say that fandom is in good hands. Again, all the kids did a great job, but I would like to give a special shout out to Amber Reed, the con manager; Derek Gambill and Ben Shenkman, Amber’s seconds in command; Kass James, the con’s publicist and Lindsay Lavenhar, the con’s purser.
If you didn’t make it to this year’s What the Hell Con?!, or you have never been to this con, then I highly suggest you check it out next year. Check out http://www.guilford.edu/yachting/wthcon/ for updates about next year’s show.
My first Dennis of 2009 ran on January 26. When I submitted this gag, I had written it so that Dennis was offering Mrs. Wilson a ride in his wagon, but having the sled instead works too. Check it out at http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/fun/dennis.asp?date=20090126
ROBINSON CRUSOE HITS SHOPS
For the last year I have been working with a new comics publisher out of India called Campfire. Campfire is creating a line of classic novels adaptations and biographies aimed towards young readers (ages eight to fourteen). I’m delighted to say that my first project for the company, an adaptation of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, has hit shops in that country. Robinson Crusoe, which was released just before the end of 2008, is one of the first offerings from the company (other books in the first wave were The Time Machine, The Land That Time Forgot, Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Master of the World). I must say, I am proud as punch to have my work be a part of the company’s first wave of books.
I have already completed one additional project for Campfire and have also submitted a proposal for an original series. Right now, I’m working on a third classic novel adaptation and also research my first biography for them. I wish I could say more, but keep checking back here for updates (especially updates concerning the release dates for Robinson Crusoe and the other books in North America).
Meanwhile, see what else is coming up from Campfire by checking out their official website at http://www.campfire.co.in/
AND NOW A FEW WORDS FROM THE DAN-MAN!
While at Zombie Con back in March, I sat down for a podcast interview with The Badger from www.rottingfleshradio.com. I have just learned that the interview is now streaming at the website! Once you finish reading the updates to my website, head on over and hear me dish about the next batch of Creature Feature episodes and learn how I became a writer for Dennis the Menace (FYI, I’m about 125 minutes into the broadcast). Also, make sure you check out the interviews my buds, Robert Harris of Cabin Fever and horror author, Kristy Tallman, did for the site!
UPCOMING CONVENTION APPEARANCES
I've been busy mapping out my plans for the 2009 convention season and deciding which shows I should try to get in as a guest next year. So far I have been invited to a couple of shows early in the year and I have accepted. Barring professional or family obligations, you can find me hanging out at:
PAST CONVENTION APPEARANCES:
Convention Report: Free Comic Book Day- read about Dan's "favorite" holiday
Convention Report: Zombie Con- Great pictures of the "undead"
Convention Report: Monster Con 2007
Click on the above link to see Monster Con's convention report by Dan. It was a one day event that was put on by The Comic Monstore in Salisbury, NC. Additional guests included Peter Mayhew, aka Chewbacca from Star Wars; comics legend Gary Friedrich, the creator of Ghost Rider; Ethan Van Sciver, the current artist on Green Lantern and Shane Davis, who has worked on Superman/Batman and JLA. Picture of Dan signing autographs is courtesy of the Salisbury Post. To see more pictures of Monster Con go to
MONSTER CON 2008 IN CONCORD, NC October 4-5, 2008
I had a blast last year at the first Monster Con, which was put on by the Comic Monstore in Salisbury, NC, so I was delighted to recently get my official invite to this year’s show. This year’s show promises to be even bigger and better than the first con with something for everyone who loves horror, comic books and/or rock and roll! http://www.comicmonstore.com/convention.htm
Paper Heroes Con in Burlington, NC October 17-19, 2008
Hero’s Haven in Burlington, NC is holding its very first convention and I am delighted to be a guest at the show! Mike Jernigan, the owner of Hero’s Haven, is lining up one heck of a guest list, and if his con is even half as much fun as the shop’s recent Free Comic Book Day event, then I know that this will be a heck of a terrific show!
For more information about Paper Heroes Con, visit the official website at: http://www.paperheroescon.com/
From MONSTER KID ONLINE #3, read my interview with horror icon Ben Chapman and learn about the night the Creature from the Black Lagoon met Abbott and Costello:
From BACK ISSUE #16, read an excerpt of the Pro2Pro interview I did with Marvel Legends Sal Buscema and Jackson Guice about their respective times on ROM: THE SPACE KNIGHT and MICRONAUTS:
From BACK ISSUE #18, read the Pro2Pro interview I did with Gerry Conway and John Romita, Sr. about the deaths of Gwen Stacy and the Green Goblin:
From BACK ISSUE #21, read an excerpt of the Pro2Pro interview I did with Blue Devil co-creators Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn.
BUY MY STUFF ONLINE:
LINKS TO FRIENDS:
Lost Colony Tardis: http://www.lostcolonytardis.com/
Official Web Site of the USS Bonaventure, the Triad Chapter of Starfleet http://www.ussbonaventurencc102.org
Northeast High School Class of 1988 Reunion: www.neramsclassof1988.com
Don Perlin Art Gallery http://www.comicartfans.com/GalleryDetail.asp?GCat=5759
Heroes Haven http://heroshaven.com
Antarctic Press: http://www.antarctic-press.com/
Chiller Cinema http://www.chillercinema.com/
Life on the USSBonaventure http://ussbonaventure.blogspot.com
North Carolina Webcomics Coffee Clatch http://ncwccc.com/
The Spider-Girl Message Board http://www.comicboards.com/spidergirl/
Tim Rickard and Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!: www.comicspage.com/brewster
Cave Wall Press www.cavewallpress.com
Sweetly Said Chocolate www.sweetlysaidchocolate.com
CONTACT DAN JOHNSON:
You may contact Dan Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org
This site created by Elaine Witkowski
Last updated 04-27-09