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Musician Johnny Winter, who sued DC Comics, passes away

jonah hex-riders4Blues musician Johnny Winter passed away Wednesday in a hotel in Zurich, Switzerland, according to a post on his Facebook page. He was 70. Although details are scant, Variety reports that the Texas-born singer and guitarist had been touring in Europe, and had performed Saturday in Austria.

While Winter’s passing is noteworthy due to his contributions to music, he also has a connection to comics: He and his brother Edgar Winter famously sued DC Comics in 1996, claiming they were defamed, and their rights to privacy and publicity violated, by Jonah Hex: Riders of the Worm and Such, a miniseries by Joe Lansdale, Timothy Truman and Sam Glanzman.

The Winter brothers, who were born with albinism, objected to the “villainous half-worm, half-human” characters the Autumn brothers, who share not only the musicians’ first names but also their distinctive physical traits — long white hair and an absence of skin pigment. They argued their reputations were damaged because the characters were depicted as “vile, depraved, stupid, cowardly, subhuman individuals who engage in wanton acts of violence, murder, and bestiality for pleasure and who should be killed.”

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Lansdales and Wachter jump aboard That Hellbound Train

Dave Wachter's cover for That Hellbound Train #1

Chris Ryall has a preview up at his blog of That Hellbound Train, a three-part miniseries based on Robert Bloch’s Hugo-winning short story “That Hell Bound Train.” (Bloch is best known as the author of Psycho, the novel on which the Alfred Hitchcock movie was based.) The story is a classic deal-with-the-devil tale with a nice twist at the end, and it should make a great coimc.

Writers Joe and John Lansdale are doing the adaptation; you may remember that Joe is also the writer for IDW’s latest iteration of 30 Days of Night. David Wachter, who was nominated for an Eisner for his work on The Guns of Shadow Valley, is the artist for the project. On his blog, David shows how he developed the first cover.

Incidentally, Googling “That Hellbound Train” (I was looking for folk sources) turns up some unrelated but very tasty music videos, which doubtless will make a good soundtrack for reading the comic.

30 Days of Night returns in May

Kevin noted last September that IDW is launching a new 30 Days of Night series, and here it is: The first issue of 30 Days of Night: Night Again is listed in the March Previews for a May release.

Horror writer Joe Lansdale and artist Sam Kieth (The Maxx) are taking over the series, which was created by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith and was the bases for two feature films and countless spinoffs. In the original, published in 2002, vampires came to Alaska to take advantage of the 30-day-long night of the Arctic winter, using it for a prolonged feeding frenzy. In 30 Days of Night: Night Again, a group of survivors comes to an Alaskan research facility, where scientists are puzzling over a strange object found in the ice. It’s probably safe to say that bloody carnage results.

The press release is deliberately vague, but IDW editor-in-chief Chris Ryall shows off some of Davide Furno’s variant covers at his blog that hint at the nature of the story.

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