Les Daniels

Leslie Noel Daniels III, known as Les Daniels (October 27, 1943 – November 5, 2011[1]), was an American writer.


Daniels attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he wrote his master's thesis on Frankenstein, and he worked as a musician and as a journalist.[2]


He was the author of five novels featuring the vampire Don Sebastian de Villanueva,[3] a cynical, amoral and misanthropic Spanish nobleman whose predatory appetites pale into insignificance compared with the historical catastrophes which he witnesses in his periodic reincarnations. These include: the Spanish Inquisition in The Black Castle (1978); the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in The Silver Skull (1979); and the French Revolution's Reign of Terror in Citizen Vampire (1981). In the later novels Yellow Fog (1986, revised 1988) and No Blood Spilled (1991), Sebastian is resurrected in Victorian London and India, where the horror of his vampirism is again contrasted with non-supernatural evil, now in the person of Sebastian's human enemy, Reginald Callender. A sixth (and presumably final) Don Sebastian novel set in Tibet and entitled White Demon was planned and is advertised by some sources as being available for purchase, but in fact was never completed: Daniels had begun writing it before abandoning it due to the demands of his non-fiction projects and was told when able to resume that his publisher had lost interest.[4]

Daniels also worked with the historical fiction genre. The Black Castle features appearances by Torquemada and Columbus; in The Silver Skull Sebastian confronts Hernán Cortés; in Citizen Vampire he has a couple of friendly encounters with the Marquis de Sade; and Madame Tussaud makes an appearance in Yellow Fog.[4]

Daniels described his works as "tragedy, in which evil consumes itself", as opposed to the melodrama of most contemporary horror novels, in which "customarily good guys meet bad guys and win in two out of three falls".[5] He cited Robert Bloch as an influence on his sardonic style, and was an enthusiast of the works of John Dickson Carr, who in several of his own works combined historical fiction with horror and the detective story.[6]

Daniels was also the author of Comix: A History of the comic book in America (Dutton, 1971) — with illustrations by the Mad Peck — and Living in Fear: A History of Horror in the Mass Media (1975).[4][7] According to Daniels, at the time he wrote Comix, "there was very little literature on the subject and, in fact, there was very little being produced by fandom. It was an attempt to say, 'Look, here's what has been done in the medium.' I didn't sit down and talk to creators at great length or anything like that."[8] Both Comix and the more extensively researched Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics – Marvel (1991) were written with a general audience in mind, in the hopes of educating both comic book fans and those unfamiliar with the medium.[8]


Don Sebastian de Villanueva

  • The Black Castle (1978)
  • The Silver Skull (1979)
  • Citizen Vampire (1981)
  • Yellow Fog (1986; revised and expanded edition 1988)
  • No Blood Spilled (1991)
  • White Demon (started circa 1991 but never completed)

An unabridged audio-book recording of The Black Castle was released by Crossroad Press in 2018.[9]


  • Comix: A History of the Comic Book in America 198 pages, 1971, Random House, ISBN 978-0517110379
  • Living in Fear: A History of Horror in the Mass Media, 248 pages, 1975, Charles Scribner's Sons, ISBN 978-0684143422
  • Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics, 287 pages, 1991, Harry N. Abrams, ISBN 978-0810938212
  • DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes, 256 pages, 1995, Bulfinch, ISBN 978-0821220764
  • Superman, the Complete History: The Life and Times of the Man of Steel, 192 pages, 1998, Chronicle Books, ISBN 978-0811821629
  • Superman: Masterpiece Edition, 96 pages, 1999, Chronicle Books, ISBN 978-0811821117
  • Batman The Complete History: The Life and Times of the Dark Knight, 208 pages, 1999, Chronicle Books, ISBN 978-0811824705
  • The Batman Masterpiece Edition: The Caped Crusader's Golden Age, 96 pages, 2000, Chronicle Books, ISBN 978-0811827829
  • Wonder Woman: The Complete History, 96 pages, 2000, Chronicle Books, ISBN 978-0811831116
  • Wonder Woman: The Golden Age, 80 pages, 2001, Chronicle Books, ISBN 978-0811831239
  • The Golden Age of DC Comics: 365 Days, 744 pages, 2004, Harry N. Abrams, ISBN 978-0810949690

As editor

  • Thirteen Tales of Terror (1971; with Diane Thompson)
  • Fear (1975)
  • Dying of Fright: Masterpieces of the Macabre (1976)

See also


  1. ^ New York Times obituary
  2. ^ Daniels, Les. The Black Castle (1978, Charles Scribner's Sons, NY), jacket bio.
  3. ^ Stephen Jones, ed. (2004). The Mammoth Book of Vampires. London: Robinson. p. 484. ISBN 0-7867-1372-0.
  4. ^ a b c Ward, Kyla (1995). "Living With Fear". Tabula Rasa. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  5. ^ Daniels, Yellow Fog (1986), author's introduction
  6. ^ S. T. Joshi, "Les Daniels: The Horror of History" in The Evolution of the Weird Tale (Hippocampus Press 2004), p.166.
  7. ^ Les Daniels, Historian of Comic Books, Dies at 68
  8. ^ a b Novinskie, Charles S. (February 1992). "Les Daniels". Comics Interview (105). Fictioneer Books. pp. 5–17.
  9. ^ https://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-Black-Castle-Audiobook/B07G4J1PYG?qid=1533401307&sr=sr_1_3&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_3&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=54FXWH10T6MFM6SZV1KJ&

External links

American comic book

An American comic book is a thin periodical, typically 32 pages, containing comics content. While the form originated in 1933, American comic books first gained popularity after the 1938 publication of Action Comics, which included the debut of the superhero Superman. This was followed by a superhero boom that lasted until the end of World War II. After the war, while superheroes were marginalized, the comic book industry rapidly expanded, and genres such as horror, crime, science fiction and romance became popular. The 1950s saw a gradual decline, due to a shift away from print media in the wake of television and the impact of the Comics Code Authority. The late 1950s and the 1960s saw a superhero revival, and superheroes remain the dominant character archetype in the 21st century.

Some fans collect comic books, helping drive up their value. Some have sold for more than US $1 million. Comic shops cater to fans, selling comic books, plastic sleeves ("bags") and cardboard backing ("boards") to protect the comic books.

An American comic book is also known as a floppy comic. It is typically thin and stapled, unlike traditional books. American comic books are one of the three major comic book schools globally, along with Japanese manga and the Franco-Belgian comic books.


Batman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, and first appeared in Detective Comics #27, in 1939. Originally named the "Bat-Man", the character is also referred to by such epithets as the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, and the World's Greatest Detective.Batman's secret identity is Bruce Wayne, a wealthy American playboy, philanthropist, and owner of Wayne Enterprises. After witnessing the murder of his parents Dr. Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne as a child, he swore vengeance against criminals, an oath tempered by a sense of justice. Bruce Wayne trains himself physically and intellectually and crafts a bat-inspired persona to fight crime.Batman operates in the fictional Gotham City with assistance from various supporting characters, including his butler Alfred, police commissioner Gordon, and vigilante allies such as Robin. Unlike most superheroes, Batman does not possess any superpowers; rather, he relies on his genius intellect, physical prowess, martial arts abilities, detective skills, science and technology, vast wealth, intimidation, and indomitable will. A large assortment of villains make up Batman's rogues gallery, including his archenemy, the Joker.

The character became popular soon after his introduction in 1939 and gained his own comic book title, Batman, the following year. As the decades went on, differing interpretations of the character emerged. The late 1960s Batman television series used a camp aesthetic, which continued to be associated with the character for years after the show ended. Various creators worked to return the character to his dark roots, culminating in 1986 with The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. The success of Warner Bros. Pictures' live-action Batman feature films have helped maintain the character's prominence in mainstream culture.An American cultural icon, Batman has garnered enormous popularity and is among the most identifiable comic book characters. Batman has been licensed and featured in various adaptations, from radio to television and film, and appears in merchandise sold around the world, such as apparel, toys, and video games. The character has also intrigued psychiatrists, with many offering interpretations of his psyche. In 2015, FanSided ranked Batman as number one on their list of "50 Greatest Super Heroes In Comic Book History". Kevin Conroy, Rino Romano, Anthony Ruivivar, Peter Weller, Bruce Greenwood, Jason O'Mara, and Will Arnett, among others, have provided the character's voice for animated adaptations. Batman has been depicted in both film and television by Lewis Wilson, Robert Lowery, Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck.


The Batplane, Batwing, Batjet or Batgyro is the fictional aircraft for the DC Comics superhero Batman. The vehicle was introduced in "Batman Versus The Vampire, I", published in Detective Comics #31 in 1939, a story which saw Batman travel to continental Europe. In this issue it was referred to as the "Batgyro", and according to Les Daniels was "apparently inspired by Igor Sikorsky's first successful helicopter flight" of the same year. Initially based upon either an autogyro or helicopter, with a rotor, the Batgyro featured a bat motif at the front. The writers gave the Batgyro the ability to be "parked" in the air by Batman, hovering in such a way as to maintain its position and allow Batman to return.The Batgyro was soon replaced by the Batplane, which debuted in Batman #1, and initially featured a machine gun. The vehicle was now based on a fixed wing airplane rather than a helicopter, with a propeller at the front, although a bat motif was still attached to the nose-cone. The Batplane has undergone constant revision since its first appearance, and has even been depicted as having the capability to traverse underwater. With the launch of the Tim Burton directed Batman film of 1989, the Batplane became known as the Batwing, a name which was carried over into the comics. Previously in Batman #300 the name Batwing was used in reference to a spacecraft. The 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises also adapted the Batplane to film, this time however the vehicle was referred to as The Bat.

Conan the Barbarian (comics)

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Marvel Comics reacquired the publishing rights in 2018, and started a new run of Conan the Barbarian in January 2019 with the creative team of writer Jason Aaron and artist Mahmud A. Asrar.

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The film features a special appearance by Feedback, the winning hero on the channel's first Who Wants to Be a Superhero? contest. Though it was originally advertised as "Starring Feedback", he is a minor character that only appears for a moment towards the end of the movie.

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The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

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The novel, set in 1928, describes how Charles Dexter Ward becomes obsessed with his distant ancestor, Joseph Curwen, an alleged wizard with unsavory habits. Ward physically resembles Curwen, and attempts to duplicate his ancestor's Qabalistic and alchemical feats. He eventually uses this knowledge to physically resurrect Curwen. Ward's doctor, Marinus Bicknell Willett, investigates Ward's activities and is horrified by what he finds.

The Lair of the White Worm

The Lair of the White Worm is a horror novel by the Irish writer Bram Stoker. It was first published by Rider and Son of London in 1911 – the year before Stoker's death – with colour illustrations by Pamela Colman Smith. The story is based on the legend of the Lambton Worm. It has also been issued as The Garden of Evil.

In 1925 a highly abridged and rewritten form was published. It was shortened by more than 100 pages, the rewritten book having only 28 chapters instead of the original 40. The final eleven chapters were cut down to only five, leading some critics to complain that the ending was abrupt and inconsistent.The Lair of the White Worm was very loosely adapted by Ken Russell into a 1988 film of the same name.

The first episode of the German radio drama "Die Schwarze Sonne", produced by the label LAUSCH, is loosely based on the events of The Lair of the White Worm. The main characters of the radio drama are also based on the protagonists of the novel and feature in the rest of the episodes even though the plot turns away from Stoker's original story.

The Outsider (short story)

"The Outsider" is a short story by American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. Written between March and August 1921, it was first published in Weird Tales, April 1926. In this work, a mysterious individual who has been living alone in a castle for as long as he can remember decides to break free in search of human contact and light. "The Outsider" is one of Lovecraft's most commonly reprinted works and is also one of the most popular stories ever to be published in Weird Tales.

"The Outsider" combines horror, fantasy, and gothic fiction to create a nightmarish story, containing themes of loneliness, the abhuman, and the afterlife. Its epigram is from John Keats' 1819 poem "The Eve of St. Agnes".

W. F. Harvey

William Fryer Harvey AM (14 April 1885 – 4 June 1937), known as W. F. Harvey, was an English writer of short stories, most notably in the macabre and horror genres. Among his best-known stories are "August Heat" and "The Beast with Five Fingers", described by horror historian Les Daniels as "minor masterpieces".

Wonder Woman in literature

This is a list of published works about Wonder Woman.

Yellow Fog

Yellow Fog is a horror novel by Les Daniels. It was first published in 1986 by Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. in an edition of 800 copies which were signed by the author and slipcased. The novel is part of the author's Don Sebastian series. An expanded edition was published by Tor Books in 1988 (ISBN 0-812-51675-3).

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